France was the world’s most visited nation earlier than the pandemic, for just a few apparent causes. It has world-class museums and widespread websites just like the Eiffel Tower and Versailles, its delicacies has earned a spot on UNESCO’s World Heritage Record, its iconic resorts vary from smaller boutique properties to opulent lodging. And Paris’s stellar Métro and infrastructure helped it nab the upcoming 2024 Summer time Olympic Video games.
However now, two and a half years after COVID-19 first struck France, the nation is making an attempt to revive its tourism sector, which accounted for 7.4 p.c of the nation’s gross home product in 2018. For the reason that pandemic hit, France has spent 30 billion euros propping up its tourism sector, in line with the New York Occasions.
All of those components assist clarify why the nation is the proper setting for BU College of Hospitality Administration college students to study the ideas of hospitality advertising and marketing, says Leora Lanz (COM’87), an SHA affiliate professor of the follow and assistant dean for tutorial affairs, who taught a course on the topic this summer time. It’s one among two programs—the opposite a meals and beverage administration class—that make up the hospitality curriculum for this summer time’s BU Paris Examine Overseas. (This system additionally affords a separate writing curriculum.)
The hospitality advertising and marketing course was designed to be a very immersive experiential studying session, says Lanz, with lower than 25 p.c of the courses held in an precise classroom. College students took subject journeys and met with reps from the Paris 2024 Olympics Organizing Committee, the upscale Royal Champagne Hôtel & Spa (whose mum or dad firm’s founder and managing accomplice is SHA Advisory Board member Denise Dupré), and the advertising and marketing company Pascal Venot. They traveled to widespread locations, together with Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s dwelling at Giverny and Disneyland Paris.
The six-week course fulfilled the BU HUB International Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy requirement, and “turned an opportunity to fulfill and community with of us within the business in Paris,” Lanz says, “whereas studying all about hospitality advertising and marketing, its theories and ideas, after which easy methods to apply them.” It took Lanz months to line up and coordinate the contacts, which she discovered because of her lengthy profession within the world hospitality business.
Renée Pontbriand (CAS’91), director of BU Examine Overseas Paris, says this system’s choices obtained a document quantity of curiosity this summer time, and so they needed to restrict the dimensions of sure packages to ensure the standard of the educational expertise. Additionally, extra juniors and seniors enrolled than regular, she says, since they have been unable to journey overseas on the peak of the pandemic.
College students noticed firsthand the consequences of COVID-19 on the hospitality business. It has pressured the closure of hospitality venues around the globe, France included, and a labor scarcity is wreaking havoc on companies. The clientele has additionally modified: “Individuals are making up in all probability 40 to 50 p.c of the touring client that’s coming to Paris proper now,” Lanz explains. The town “shouldn’t be seeing as many vacationers from Asian international locations as they usually would see this time of yr due to their lockdown state of affairs. And patterns have modified; there are lots of extra short-term bookings, and persons are reserving final minute. We don’t know if that is the brand new regular.”
A giant a part of Lanz’s course concerned introducing the scholars to hospitality manufacturers that they had probably by no means heard of. On one of many visits, the category traveled to the five-star resort Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris, which has a sister location opening in Boston’s Copley Sq. subsequent yr. On one other journey, college students visited Mama Shelter Paris East, a stylish three-star resort with three different places in Paris.
“The scholars have heard of Marriott and Hilton, and from a world perspective, they should find out about Raffles and Mama Shelter resorts, too, as they’re key gamers,” Lanz says. “It’s necessary to me to supply our college students with these alternatives to show them about new corporations they’ve by no means heard of earlier than, to show them concerning the corporations’ DNA, their model propositions. Is it a match for the scholars? Would they need to work for them? After which join them for potential internships and jobs.”
One other lesson targeted on Disneyland Paris. The principle park on the French model of the Home of Mouse attracted over 9.7 million guests in 2019, greater than the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, or the Palace of Versailles. The BU college students met with Eva Gutierrez, directrice of the Disney Paris resorts Sequoia Lodge and the Davy Crockett Ranch, and a longtime Disney solid member. Gutierrez supplied the scholars with some perception into the historical past of the park and mentioned what it’s wish to have a really American vacation spot in a really non-American setting and the way Disney shifted its tried-and-true strategy to higher serve European clients. For instance, the French model of the well-known House Mountain journey has particulars impressed by the science fiction novels of the French author Jules Verne. Afterward, the group visited the primary park and took within the fireworks present.
Kyle McMullin (SHA’24) had by no means traveled internationally previous to the journey to Paris. The expertise exceeded his expectations, and outdoors of sophistication, he and his buddies “discovered eating places, purchasing facilities, leisure venues, and historic websites to go to collectively,” he says. “One among my favourite group experiences was the Fête de la Musique [World Music Day] celebration. It had a number of singers, dancers, and lots of eating places enjoying music within the avenues of Paris, and it was our first time making an attempt many French meals, resembling escargot and French onion soup.”
Classmate Maggie Thompson (SHA’25) needed to take this introduction to advertising and marketing course for her main and selected to take action in Paris so she may immerse herself within the metropolis’s tradition, meals, and vacationer sights. She loved exploring Paris’ museums, parks, neighborhoods, and monuments by herself or with buddies after class, and took journeys to Versailles and Chantilly, amongst different locations.
“Experiencing completely different cultures was unbelievable and eye-opening and allowed me to create recollections I’ll always remember,” Thompson says. “For sure, I crossed quite a bit off my bucket record this journey.”