A pilot spends hours behind a simulator before they fly, should it be the same in hospitality?

Peter Russell, Operations Director at Russell Partnership Technology and Andy Heyes Strategic Partnerships Assistant explore the future of hotel simulations.

With thirty years of trading history built on listening to clients, The Russell Partnership Collection has always kept teaching market leadership at the heart of their operation. During these years the business has developed Russell Partnership Technology (RPT), the software arm of the Collection to ensure continued learning and the evolution of thought, product and team.

What is your view on simulations?

Simulations have found a market niche within education and can be used to deliver and teach the art of service quality, build commercial confidence and deliver focused sector learning initiatives.

To become a pilot, one must spend hundreds of hours within a flight simulator before being allowed behind the controls of a real aircraft. We believe in the same ethos for hotel management. Our focus is to develop future business leaders within education and work with industry professionals as part of their continued professional development.

Simulations deliver an effective method of gaining a deeper understanding of the decisions which need to be made by senior managers daily. It is this understanding which needs to be filtered through the organisation in order to develop future leaders within an organisation.

What do people say about simulations in the hospitality industry?

A great deal of information and research is available outlining the benefits of simulations within the hospitality world, all of which we echo.

 We believe strongly in preparing and developing the business acumen of both students and industry professionals. This is delivered through a mix of theoretical understanding and the ability to utilise those important managerial skills to run a successful business – and of course at the same time have some fun.

The gamified nature of the simulation experience has tremendous benefits to the individual, as it fosters a competitive and dynamic business spirit. The ability to learn and understand the theory behind the decision-making process within a safe environment affords participants with a great learning and development opportunity. Simulations deliver an environment where learners formulate conclusions without the fear of making a mistake – thus allowing them to learn and prepare for real life scenarios.  

“We are constantly innovating and observing the market, this keeps us at the cutting edge and we remain the industry leader.”

What has been the response to HOTS (Hotel Operations Tactics and Strategy)?

There is a constant requirement across the industry for continued professional development. The courses that RPT offer are a contemporary approach to enhance both operational and leadership skills to both potential and current hospitality managers.

We constantly receive great feedback from both our industry partners and hospitality schools, with many of our global partners having worked with us for ten years or longer. We often hear stories of students gaining their first jobs in industry, after having spoken about their HOTS experience within the interview. We also work with many aspiring managers within the industry who all benefit from the simulation experience as part of their path towards higher level management.

From the hotel groups we work with, the feedback continues to be very positive – not only from a course delivery aspect but also from a business improvement aspect. We regularly connect with hotels to assess progress following the training and 100% state that the knowledge gained by participants is providing real life return on investment across the business. This includes all areas of operations, including guest satisfaction, staff quality and, of course, revenue generation.

How do you deliver your courses?

Following on from the gamified nature which many people describe when they utilise business simulations, we awaken the competitive spirit within the participants. There is great atmosphere within the training room no matter where we are in the world – all participants engage within the course and are positively surprised by the breadth of topics covered.

We usually create teams of two-three people and ask them to make decisions on a month by month basis. How we judge a “winner” to the whole exercise is different to most business-based simulations as, rather than focus solely on revenue and profit, we base our scores on a balanced scorecard being more in-line with the areas which all hotels are focusing on, including guest satisfaction, RevPAR, GOP, market share and overall profitability.

How is HOTS different to other simulations on the market?

We are constantly innovating and observing the market, this keeps us at the cutting edge and we remain the industry leader. We spend a great deal of time developing our programs to ensure they remain up to date and industry relevant.

Updates over the last few years include our partnership with STR to include benchmark reports with HOTS, a module on sustainability, interactive social media hub and guest reviews being delivered in the same format and style as TripAdvisor. All of this delivers an environment which is a close mirror of the real world.

We are enthusiastic to continue learning and continuously investing in refreshing the programme – we are always welcome to suggestions.

For more information on Russell Partnership Technology and the HOTS simulation program, please visit www.russellpartnership.tech