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Closed campuses didn’t stop students organizing the monthly Hospitality Innovation Trends conference (HIT) in May. All it took was a bit of innovation! Students from Glion and sister-school Les Roches kept the learning alive by creating an online event, featuring three VIP speakers from Hilton Hotels.

Led by Carolina Sanchez, Bachelor’s student and President of the Networking Committee, the first ever online HIT Conference was one of the most accessible yet, with students from Glion, Bulle, Montreux, London, Les Roches and even those on internship able to log in and attend.

 

VIP guest speakers

Three iconic hospitality personalities spoke at the event to share their insight and predictions at this unique time: Jochem-Jan Sleeiffer, President of Hilton Middle East, Africa and Turkey was also joined by Korey Genckul, Vice President of Human Resources Middle East, Africa and Turkey, and Bjorn Oltof, Senior Manager Graduate Recruiter of Middle East and Africa.

President of Hilton Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Jochem-Jan Sleeiffer brought over 30 years of experience to the event, with a career spanning Europe. Of the 180 hotels he oversees, 100 were closed during the recent pandemic, but Jochem was upbeat about the prospects for the industry. “This is an unprecedent time, the more we can share, the more it will be helpful for all of us,” he said.

 

Rebound in 2021, if not late 2020

Jochem expects domestic travel to be the first market to return, then International leisure and finally business. “Of course people want to fly and they want to fly safely,” he says, “…but it also depends on airlines and how they will deal with it”. He is positive and believes hospitality will see a rebound in 2021, if not at the end of 2020.

As well as industry insight, Jochem gave attendees career advice and insight into what it takes to get a graduate role at Hilton. “What do I look for in people at all different levels within the organization? I am looking for the things that you are doing out of work, what are you doing over and above? Do you have hobbies, are you integrated, when you are a student, are you doing extracurricular activities?”

“Your network is really important and the extracurricular activities that you have don’t have to be focused on business. It’s about leadership, it’s about how to motivate people, it’s about learning lessons in life,” he said.

 

How to get a job or internship during or after COVID-19

After a fascinating talk on the functions of a modern human resource department by Vice President of Human Resources Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Korey Genckul, the final guest speaker at HIT online was Bjorn Oltof. Bjorn’s career in hospitality has seen him work with Radisson Group, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), and now Hilton, as Senior Manager Graduate Recruiter of Middle East and Africa.

He gave the keenly listening students an insight into looking for an internship or job in these current circumstances. “There is a lot of things happening, but I think there is a few things you always have to bear in mind. You have to be flexible because hotels are still closed and don’t expect them to run from 80 to 100% occupancy levels as soon as they open,” he said.

“What you can do is get in touch with the local HR Representatives, so they can tell you what is going on in their countries and what are the requirements. The second thing would be to join jobs.Hilton.com, there is an option to connect with our talent network and get vacancy notifications sent to your inbox.”

 

“…get out of your comfort zone.”

“Flexibility and creativity come out during a crisis, so use the time to understand and learn more about the business and how to develop yourself personally,” he says. “It is a challenging time, however it does give you opportunities, see it from a positive point of view, see where you can enhance more and get out of your comfort zone”.

 

Hilton graduate schemes still running

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For a first-ever venture online, May’s HIT Conference proved an overwhelming success, with students pulling together to deliver insight and advice, in spite of global campuses being closed. It was innovation and the Glion Spirit at its very best.

 

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Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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