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.