Young Hotelier Summit

Sometimes memories come at the most unexpected times!  We were both working when we got an unexpected email from our department chair about an opportunity of a life time for us.  Getting asked personally to attend and represent our school at a global event was the greatest honor we have ever had.  At first it seemed unbelievable that we were given this opportunity.  Knowing financially we couldn’t do it by myself, we knew we would need support.  Finding scholarships and sponsorships were key and what sent us over!  We couldn’t have been more grateful.

It was a great honor to be chosen from HTM faculty members to attend the Young Hotelier Summit and the Hotel School of Distinction. To be honest, we were both a little nervous about this event. Do not get us wrong, we was completely excited about this experience that was about to come, but we did not know what to expect. Talking and getting to know people that I just met is not my strong skill. I am usually the quiet one. This summit got us both out of our comfort zone and helped us achieve a stronger communication skill level. Meeting delegates and key note speakers from different countries was really interesting and exciting. Everyone at the summit was welcoming and friendly, but why wouldn’t they be? We all have hospitality in common.

The Young Hoteliers Summit consisted of 81 delegates and over 40 different schools.  The Summit consisted of keynote speakers, workshops, discussion panels, and lots of networking.  Doubling in size compared to last year.  It was nerve wrecking knowing that we were going to be watched and be in a new culture we’ve never been to before.  Being around other delegates and hospitality leaders at first seemed a little intimidating but then getting to talk them, we all had so much in common.  It was easy to talk about our industry but also about our lives within hospitality.  We made friends for a lifetime.  Whether it’s just adding each other on a social network or asking each other for advice, we know we have each other’s support.

The YHS challenge was also a way to put my skills we have learned in the past four years into practice. We were amazed to say that Sara’s group won the challenge out of the other 11 teams that we competed with. The change this year was about the student hotel and how they can connect the community they are building to further after their stay. Sara’s group created an application that was both physical and digital. The app had many different features that included a virtual postcard with a personal story, activities that other guests wanted to participate in, and also a location service where a guest can type in any city and see the stories that have already been created by other guests of the student hotel. This application was also exclusive to only guests that have stayed at the student hotel.  This was the second year IPFW has attended the Young Hotelier Summit and also the second year walking away with a challenge winner!

When leaving the Young Hotelier Summit, we left with the best memories and experience of our lives.  No nerves any more, just confidence.  We feel like we could take on the world after this trip.  And we would of never had this opportunity if we weren’t attending Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.  Being a part of a HSD has given us experience we couldn’t have got elsewhere.

Looking forward to our careers but also cherishing our experiences, we’re looking at a bright future. Look out for the HSD Student Instagram account, should be up and running within a month!

Sara Christner & Sarah Bertsch
Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne

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