Monday, June 27, 2011

Succeeding on the First Day of Class is No Easy Task

I have never had such a demanding first day of class in my life.

In elementary school, middle school, high school even, first days of class consist of not much more than receiving syllabi and reuniting with one’s peers. Not so in Hotel Operations Management. Of course, we did participate in ice breaker activities today, but only for a tiny portion out of the school day.

During the course of our first day, Hotelies discussed some of the brands and business models of the major players in the industry, including the Four Seasons, Marriot, Hilton, Starwood, Hyatt, Fairmont, International Hotel Groups and Accor, among others. I was intimidated by how much the other students knew about the different hotel companies and their brands. We discussed the benefits and drawbacks of exclusively managing hotels instead of owning them, and the benefits and drawbacks of franchising. We learned the difference between income, revenue (top line), and expenses.

We learned how to calculate Revenue per available room (RevPAR) and Average Daily Revenue (ADR), and also how to differentiate between the different types of hotels: luxury, upper upscale, upper scale, upper midscale, midscale, economy and budget. Corporate structure and its different positions were also covered.

After 3 hours of lecture followed by an hour and a half of lunch, we headed back to the classroom for three more hours before we had a three hour break for eating dinner and resting. After that, we attended mandatory lab hours from 7 to 9 PM, which is when we read about the history of the hotel business and practiced calculating RevPAR, ADR, and occupancy percentages. Professor Mark McCarthy, who also goes by his first name, briefly showed us how to use Microsoft Excel to organize and calculate the same problems instead of using a calculator.

In short, it was an incredibly intense first day. Anyone who said this class was “rigorous” was 110% correct. I know this class will be a challenge. It already is a challenge for me. I found many of the business concepts covered today to be difficult to understand. I’ll have to do some extra studying tonight just so I can keep up. (It’s the first day!) But that is also what makes the course exciting, and so, I am confident that I won’t be having any trouble waking up bright and early tomorrow morning.


  1. Terilyn,
    Excel is ubiquitous in the business world. It is great that you are learning to use it now; it can only help you as you go along. But to learn excel AND all the hotel lingo and business concepts is a lot for anyone to digest! You can do it!!!
    Best of luck,
    Taylor's mom

  2. Teri,

    You know we love you all to death but at the same time we have to wonder at what point you all, collectively, will start believing what we're telling you.

    When we told you that this course was rigorous; when we told you you needed Excel and PowerPoint (and offered to teach them to you); when we told you that your days and nights would be filled with classes, studying and reading--what was there about all of that that would make you think we were just joking around with all of you?

    You're all bright, studious and resourceful. We have faith in you individually and as a group. Now you just have to start believing in yourself the same way that we believe in you.