A teaching hotel for Hawaii

The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s School of Travel Industry Management (TIM) currently offers internships with local and international companies. But I think that students would benefit from hotel experience in Hawaii. Why go overseas when Hawaii is a world-class destination?

Since 1950, Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, in partnership with the J. Willard Marriott Executive Education Center, has staffed the Statler Hotel. It’s a “Teaching Hotel” that integrates university courses and career experience, while offering accommodations for visiting students, families, faculty, alumni, and conferences.

Why don’t we start a world-class “teaching hotel” in Hawaii?

With the help of University of Hawaii students, we could design and build a first-rate facility, highlighting energy efficiency, technology, and Hawaiian culture. Working with hotel management professionals, students could staff the hotel, learning everything from reservations, concierge, maid service, and laundry to cuisine, conferences, events, and marketing. We could assemble all the best-practices of Hawaii hotels and offer unique training services for tourism and hotel operators.

Best of all – if it’s run properly, the hotel should pay for itself. Especially if we contract with vocational students for electrical, plumbing, and engineering maintenance – not to save money (though that is a consideration), but to give students experience and responsibility.

The “Teaching Hotel” doesn’t have to be very big – it could even be a boutique hotel. The challenge is finding a desirable and affordable location.

What do you think? Can University of Hawaii students build and manage a not-for-profit teaching hotel? Can we create a unique hospitality teaching experience that will draw people from Asia and Europe?

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