Today was obviously my first day of class and like many before me, I had no idea what to expect. Only with nervous thoughts of people reminding me of the rigor, work, and time the class takes, I was both scared and excited to see what this first session will bring me. We assumed that it would be wise to get to class early, and we happened to see one of our professors walk up the staircase as we entered the building. Because we visited the place yesterday, we knew our way around and we actually had twenty minutes to spare when we arrived.
Looking into the room were name-tags neatly arranged in front of every seat. I searched high and low for mine and found it in the side of the room. After everyone began to flow into the room like a symphony of backpacks and bags, the class actually commenced. Reneta and Mark McCarthy re-introduced themselves to the class and went into orientating the students to adjust to the specific course. We got a lecture on the norms of the class and what is expected in our nuances and behaviors, how the mandatory office hours from Sunday-Friday work, and the iteration that Hotel Operations Management is certainly not anything near a summer camp.
Our first lecture revolved around what the various types of hotel companies exist (franchising, ownership, and management), brand titles and how they can make or break a hotel, and specific strategies behind rates. While the book on Four Seasons and previous research have made me comfortable with the differentiation of the three lodging activities, the McCarthys further reinforced what they represented. They also went into detail as to what the major players and brands are in the industry such as Starwood (which we had a reading assignment of), IHG, and Accor. The brands were broken down in a list representing how many hotels they owned, how many they franchised, and how many they managed. And according to the top brands, the hotel industry is a predominantly franchising market.
I also learned of valuable terms including the "bottom-line" which is your raw revenue before expenses, variable and OTAs (online travel agents e.g. Expedia and Travelocity). The distinction between rates and rooms were absolutely distinguished in the latter half of today's lecture as well. People don't sell rooms, but rates, and more often than not, the rates are associated or linked to rooms. However, hotels are sometimes willing to sell more rates than there are rooms to accomodate guests, and when this happens, it is not uncommon for hotels to "bump up" or upgrade a guest's room into something better.
During our breakaway sessions between lectures, we participated in a Champoux survey to help optimize group combinations for the course. I was considered a Persuader-Stabilizer who cares sincerely about others in his group, but when it comes to communication, he always tries to avoid a specific point and just attempts to go around it. I feel it reflects me just well as I try to be everyone's friend, but there are always people who just can't get along with me no matter how I try.
Office hours topped off the cake of this very interesting day. Because of the three-hour block between class and office hours, I absolutely felt like time was my enemy. I only really had time to eat dinner, but at least it makes everything go by fast. Office hours was a good experience as this is not only where you can do your assignments, but this is an environment in which they should get done. Reneta and Mark McCarthy go through all of the rooms to see what everyone is doing, and the TAs are more than certainly willing to share their vast knowledge to assist us when the need desires.
I have learned that a smart professor doesn't necessarily make a good professor. By no mean am I trying to put down Reneta and Mark McCarthy since I find them to be very intelligent people, but they understand their audience. They know that many of us are extremely unfamiliar with how business and economics works and they tailor their program to ensure not that everyone catches up with the latest and most advanced lessons, but that everyone catches up because the lessons are amazingly refined.