At Les Roches we talk a lot about Swiss hospitality education. Have you wondered what it actually means or where its reputation for excellence comes from?
By Sonia Tatar, CEO Les Roches Worldwide
Hospitality has a long and rich history in Switzerland. Around a hundred and fifty years ago, palace-style hotels were built across the Montreux Riviera, heralding the beginning of the golden age of luxury tourism in Switzerland.
Royalty, aristocrats and millionaires travelled in their thousands to the country, lured by its healthy climate and the promise of alpine adventure.
Such guests naturally pushed for a level high end of service and excellence that needed a drastic shift in the way hotel operations were conducted. Hoteliers had to innovate in their approach to secure customer satisfaction and return on investment. They began to structure and systematize the management and operational processes in order to meet guest expectations; Swiss hospitality management was born.
Where does its reputation for excellence come from?
What unique qualities did the Swiss bring to hospitality, tourism and hotel management?
The Swiss brought many skills into the hospitality approach including rigor, precision, attention to detail, timely service and discretion that were already characteristic of the culture of other sectors within Switzerland, such as watchmaking and banking.
In fact, so perfect is the match between these skill sets and high-demand customer expectation, that companies from the so-called experience economy sectors, are just as likely as hotels and restaurants to seek graduates of the Swiss hospitality education model.
The principles of Swiss hospitality education include:
• Respect for the customer
• Rigour and attention to detail
• Immaculate presentation
A unique pedagogy
How does Swiss hospitality education nurture these skills? This introduces another unique component of the hospitality educational model: experiential learning, also called hands-on learning. This is built into the fabric of the study programs that are offered. Students joining the top Swiss hospitality education institutions acquire these skills through practical modules not only in the purpose-built labs within the institutions but also in hospitality businesses. Such businesses include traditional hospitality fields such as hotel management, rooms division or F&B, but also non-traditional fields, such as event management, spa and health management and luxury retail.
Les Roches graduates apply these transferable skills in leadership or management functions, in any sector. Many of our alumni are leaders of some of the world’s most successful companies and remain dedicated ambassadors of both Les Roches and the Swiss hospitality education model.