Swiss Hospitality Company CEO Salman Gasim explores why Switzerland has become synonymous with hospitality education.
People often associate Switzerland with the finest cheese, chocolate, watches, Swiss knife, and private banking. However, there’s another thing that Switzerland is known for and that’s hospitality education.
According to the latest QS World University Rankings by subject, 10 out of top 25 global institutions for hospitality and leisure management are in Switzerland. In fact, EHS (Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne) is at number one position. That’s a huge return for a country as small as Switzerland.
The home of hospitality
Switzerland’s reputation as the epitome of hospitality is not an overnight success. It all started back in the 18th century when palace-inspired hotels were constructed across the Montreux Riviera, presaging the birth of luxury tourism.
Royals, nobles, and tycoons travelled to Switzerland, enticed by its healthy climate and amazing landscapes. In fact, the most iconic superstar of his times, Charlie Chaplin, lived for 25 years in Corsiersur-Vevey during his exile. These world-class visitors obviously required a new level of service quality that necessitated a radical change in how the hotels operated in the country.
Hotel owners began innovating their services and operations to guarantee customer satisfaction and yield profits. From restructuring their organisations to modernising their operational processes, everything was revamped to fulfil guest expectations.
All this led to the birth of modern hospitality in Switzerland.
Above: Salman Gasim
During the late 19th century, the world’s preliminary hotel institutes began appearing in Switzerland. Back then, the usual curriculum concentrated on managing operations, educating students on restaurant management, reception, lodging, guest services, and basic bookkeeping.
The 1960s brought with them the next big wave of tourism (and hotel construction) in the country, thanks to the development of highways and commercial flights that offered a stress-free travel experience. That’s when Switzerland witnessed a huge demand for skilled hospitality professionals.
The Swiss hospitality education model creates a perfect match between the much-needed skill sets and the ever-increasing levels of customer expectations. In case you’re wondering how Swiss hospitality education nurtures these skills, experiential learning is the answer. Experiential learning is the core component of study programs offered at Swiss hospitality institutes. The students learn these skills via hands-on units on campus along with placements in hospitality industries all over the globe.
From conventional hospitality fields like hotel management, rooms division, and food and beverage services to non-conventional areas like event management, spa and wellness, and luxury retail, the Swiss hospitality education trains students in nearly all areas of hospitality management. The core values Swiss hospitality education inculcates in learners are: reverence for the customer; meticulousness; spick-and-span presentation; decision-making; honesty; professionalism and innovation.
World-famous hospitality schools like Swiss Hotel Management School and Cesar Ritz Colleges Switzerland use proven Swiss approaches to train good managers. They combine hands-on courses with management theory and practical business exercises. The secret formula that has garnered Switzerland’s status as the cauldron of hospitality education all over the world lies in its effective teaching model.
There are more than 100 years of history behind it and a tried-and-trusted methodology that many have tried to imitate, but only a few can deliver with the steady quality of Swiss hospitality institutes.