Hospitality Brand Innovation, Experience Design, and Management
Virgin. W Hotels. Ritz-Carlton. Hilton: Names that connote instantaneous images, associations, and expectations. Brands indeed play an imperative role on the 21st century consumer, driving loyalty and business by aligning with the customer’s perception of oneself. This course explores the power of brands across the hospitality industry on guests, associates, and management alike, with special emphasis on the translation of brand aspirations to design and experience creation, delivery to guests, and the future role of a brand in general. Initial investigations explore the components of a brand, from its mission and positioning, to defining target and aspirational audiences. Students will assess the ideas behind rendering big-picture values into sophisticated experiences for guests at engineered moments, as well as the business of hospitality design, brand administration, and standards & compliance.
As the finale and culminating course in the Global Hospitality Leadership program, the Capstone showcases a student’s mastery of subject in one, comprehensive research project.
This course gives the student the opportunity to focus on the particular subset of hospitality with which they identify and in which they are looking to specialize. The industry-based Capstone project will serve as a semester-long opportunity for students to produce a substantial piece of original work under the tutelage of an industry sponsor and program faculty. Students will partner with a Capstone Advisor, who—as an industry professional—will serve as a guide through the detailed development and execution of the actual project and related deliverables. Successful projects will reflect current and future industry challenges, partner with a brand or company within the industry, and produce a body of work that delivers recommendations, and practical, implementable, and innovative solutions.
As an individualized endeavor, the course provides the opportunity for students to synthesize the theoretical and practical content taught during the program while will also reviewing and examining the primary knowledge, skills, and learning goals of the MPS-GHL program. Special emphasis will be placed upon the leadership and ethical skills introduced early in the program, including verbal presentations, written assessments, research methodologies, decision-making, and strategic planning. Students must propose a thesis project, work with a dedicated Capstone Advisor to develop the project, author an in-depth research paper, supporting action plan, executive summary (“white paper”), create a visual presentation, and present and orally defend their work in front of a panel of faculty and experts at the semester’s end.
Enrollment in this course is through application and approval. A minimum grade of "B" (3.00) is required in the Capstone course to graduate regardless of the student's cumulative GPA.
Note: MPS degree core requirement. Minimum grade of "B" is needed to pass. Students must have completed at least 24 credit hours before enrolling.
A small percentage of premium guests in the hospitality industry represent a majority of the profit, especially for hotel, restaurant, transportation, and credit card companies. But, how does a company give consumers a compelling reason to choose and frequently return to a brand? Moving beyond this repeat business and into true loyalty and brand advocacy is big business in hospitality and travel. The landscape of loyalty and customer expectations is evolving dramatically due to new customer segment needs, the complex and expensive financial structures of programs, the ubiquity of programs across industries, and the transformation and accessibility of technology and information. The question for companies is how can they win in the ever-growing loyalty war. The question for customer is whether the program is worthwhile to join. And, the overall question for the industry is whether true loyalty exists. This course looks analytically and creatively at the future of these programs, including deep insights into the business, finance, and design of loyalty programs, consumer perspectives, partnerships, and marketing efforts.
The Integrated Practicum (internship) option is geared towards students who wish to gain experience in the hospitality industry and build a professional network while simultaneously studying. It is one of the most advantageous features of the MPS degree program, allowing students to earn three credits in place of one regular, three-credit Elective. The option is strongly encouraged for those students who are taking the program full-time, or for those students not currently employed within the hospitality industry.
Practical learning opportunities are available through our various hospitality partnerships, including hotel, restaurant, association, and convention placements. Internship opportunities have been reviewed and approved by the program and are offered to students each term. Students may also bring special opportunities to the Executive Director for vetting and approval. Students will document their weekly objectives, activities, network contacts, leadership / management observations, and assessment tools in a project portfolio, which is submitted to their internship advisor at the end of the term.
Note: Extensive documented academic activity and distance learning outside of class is required. This course meets in person on five occasions and has directed learning requirements, outside interning, for a minimum of 37.5 hours.