I’d back to my classes last week and I had a field trip to a hotel in London last Wednesday!
Since I’m studying hospitality and one of our courses is related to current issues in the hospitality industry, our professor organized a field trip for our class either visiting the Hilton London Gatwick Airport or the Le Meridien Piccadilly. Of course, our visiting is not just for fun. Before the field trip, we had handed in an individual report which we investigated both the academic and non-academic literature and focus on an issue or trend in the industry in terms of hotel development, human resource management and technology. We also outlined the execution of our field trip including the methods and approaches we would apply to evaluate the hotel operations as well as a number of specific interview questions to ask the staff when visiting the hotel. After gathering information from the hotel we had visited, we would then need to present all our findings by groups.
Our group has chosen Le Meridien Piccadilly since it is situated in central London and we thought that its market segments and strategies would be very different from Hilton London Gatwick Airport, which has a large part of market segment related to the airport.
During the field trip, we got to look at the rooms and facilities they have, including their health club (gym) and indoor swimming pool. It is one of the very few hotels in central London having a swimming pool in it. Being in central London, they own an excellent location. They also have a Terrace Grill & Bar with the Piccadilly view, along with 7 meeting rooms which can hold various conferences, banquets and events.
In the second part of our field trip, we had a chance to talk to their managers and ask questions. We learnt a lot through the conversations and discussions we had. One of the biggest issues we inevitably touched on is the acquisition of Starwood by Marriott and their effects to the whole Starwood company as well as specifically to Le Meridien Piccadilly. These issues include how their loyalty programmes (Starwood Preferred Guests and Marriott Rewards) would be dealt with and how all the different brands under Starwood and Marriott would be affected respectively. Will they be re-positioned, renamed, or re-branded? We will surely need to wait and see how all these interesting questions would be answered.
This field trip really gave us an opportunity to get a close look to the real things happening in the industry instead of just knowing them from the internet or the academic literature. Talking to the managers in the hotel also gave us a deep insight into the current situation of the industry. On the whole, it was really a nice field trip for us.
Straight after finishing our field trip on that day, a few of our colleagues got together and headed to the China town since we missed the Cantonese food so much! Haha, please bear with me, I really can’t resist food!