By Sally Johnson
On Saturday 19th of November of 2016, twenty brave CDL students headed to Glion Institute of Higher Education for a day filled with professional presentations, tough challenges and exciting prizes.
The day began at 6:45am and after a rainy bus journey we had arrived. We were greeted by professionals in suits and were offered hot drinks and croissants. We were all amazed at the level of professionalism at Glion, so we were glad we were wearing the appropriate attire. After introductions the day began with a presentation by Lorenzo Stoll, Swiss Air’s head of western Switzerland. He introduced us to the world of hospitality.
We then were given a presentation by a professional skier and businessman who has worked for FIFA, UEFA and many other big names. In his words he “Taught us all of the hospitality management skills you would learn in two years in five minutes.” After his brief speech we met Eline Beernaert, owner and founder of the event management company “Elegant Events”. She taught us all we needed to know about wedding planning and how to deal with tricky customers. She offered a valuable insight into the world of business management and how she achieved her dream after not having support from her parents. We also met professional ice skating duo, Robert Dierking and Anna Bernauer, who have worked for countless ice skating shows both on the stage and behind it.
After their presentation we were given our first task. We had to plan an event for a stadium opening in Geneva or plan a celebrity wedding. We had a budget of 4 million and had to create a PowerPoint with the running order of events all in twenty minutes! The pressure was on and everyone was full of ideas. Conflicts arose in all the groups but compromises were met and eventually, after a lot of stressful typing, all the groups managed to give in their USB sticks.
After a quick break we watched (no pun intended) a presentation by watch company “Audemars Piguet”. The presenter taught us about luxury items and what makes something luxurious. We learned that their specialty is “continuity” and “stability”. We then had to fill in a questionnaire about exclusivity and luxury branding.
Following the most fabulous lunch we had ever eaten we went back up to the event room and had a brief introduction to entrepreneurship. There was then a panel of alumni who spoke to us about their experiences in business and how they overcame the tough challenges of the hospitality world.
After our final break we were ready to face the real challenge. We had to design a hotel of our choice in: London, Paris, Bangkok, Singapore or Dubai and supply all the details about the functioning of the hotel, who it would be marketed at and why. We worked really hard and all of the teams designed amazing hotels including and eco-friendly hotel, a floating hotel on a boat, a luxurious business and leisure hotel and lastly a colourful art hotel in Paris. After we had all presented the awards were given out. CDL’s group 1 team won the summer camp scholarship prize! We were so happy and grateful for the opportunities provided for us and felt very privileged to have won.
We left feeling like we had all learned new skills and were still buzzing from such an exciting day. We hopped on the bus and headed home to celebrate.
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