Artificial intelligence, as we know, is making a foray in most sectors. Some elements of AI has been included in the hospitality industry as a result of which the students are being trained to learn new courses designed as per the changing requirements of the industry.
There is a certain amount of uncertainty and apprehension over jobs being eaten away by AI. Ulrika Bjorklund, academic director, Hotel Institute Montreux, Switzerland, does not consider AI as a threat to the jobs in hospitality.
“AI has definitely replaced humans, but the human connection is crucial in the hospitality industry. The ‘human touch’, care and empathy that is required within our industry cannot be replaced entirely by AI,” says Ulrika while chatting with
AI should be seen as an instrument complementing our jobs since it brings an element of ease, she says. “We have been able to use AI to bring an element of fun, excitement and convenience for the guests.”
“Hospitality is not restricted to hotels. There are several students who studied Hospitality Management, now work with Tesla, or in the watch industry, banks and more. This is because a bit of hospitality is in every sector,” Ulrika says.
As the academic director, she aims to make the new-age curriculum more relevant to the changing times and technology. “Hospitality education now has greater focus on Luxury Management. In our luxury brand management specialisation, we emphasise on artificial intelligence, along with sustainability and heritage management,” adds Ulrika. The brands, says Ulrika, are focussing more towards sustainability and safeguarding the heritage. The fashion industry, for instance, is now using more sustainable products.
“We are including the industry partners to formulate the curriculum. We need to bring those topics to the classrooms that are in sync with the industry demands,” she adds, underlining how the learning is not complete in the classroom where one is dependent on the books. “When the students go out to work in the industry, the learning takes a new turn.”
As the tourism sector expands across the globe, the hotels are undergoing changes too. “Travellers now have a much broader choice. We have travellers who would want to stay in high-end luxury hotels while there is a new generation of travellers who would get budget hotels such as Airbnb and some are nomadic who prefer camping. We need professionals who can cater to all the sections of travellers,” Ulrika adds.