Thursday, January 28, 2016

Session 2 of the Hospitality Innovation Lab - the deep dive

The bar is high. Very high. Not only from the perspective of building upon the highly successful legacy of the Gaming Institute's prowess in generating innovation to the casino industry but also the expectations of this supercharged group of students. So, what does one do? Go for it!

Through the extraordinary cooperation and support of Caesar's Entertainment Group, we took a deep dive into their millennial targeted integrated resort, The Linq, on the Vegas strip. We began the evening with a series of presentations designed around the three key themes in our applied innovation program:

  1. Mobile Platforms and Applications
  2. Big Data
  3. The Guest Room Experience
For Mobile and Big Data, we received a couple of outstanding presentations that allowed students to understand the "state" in the large integrated resorts and establish the baseline of one the largest brands in hospitality. Secondly it would facilitate a base understanding of the industry for my non-hospitality majors. Both presentations were outstanding leading to so many questions that we actually had to make that "only one more question" call. 

Following the two presentations the class went hands on, a tour. We started with a stop at the new check-in kiosk's at the Linq's front desk. Not simply to see the technology but to understand its impact upon the guest experience and satisfaction. And then into the elevators for a visit to a standard guest room and one of the Linq's very cool suites. Now visiting a hotel room with one of the leaders of the hotel has benefits in itself but when you also gain a keen understanding of the target market and how the decor and amenities of the rooms are designed with that target audience in mind, well you just elevated the knowledge x 10. As with the presentations a constant flow of questions from the students. 

They were thinking. The ideas were already beginning to take shape.

Over the next two class sessions we will build upon this foundation with a lineup of guest speakers who can elaborate on the themes.  We will be moving the students towards development of their ideas as solutions to problems within this immense industry. Problems that can be solved by innovative minds...more to follow.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hospitality Innovation Lab Debuts @UNLV

The first session of the International Gaming Institute's Hospitality Innovation Lab @UNLV debuted last night. The class which is the first of its kind will guide students in the development of applied innovations directed at the global hospitality industry. By having the Las Vegas Strip as an extended laboratory, we will have an unprecedented opportunity to transform an entire industry.

The class itself will be focused on three primary "theme" areas for ideation and innovation:

  1. Mobile platforms and applications
  2. Big data and predictive analytics
  3. The guest room experience of the future
I selected these theme areas to narrow the scope for the students and provide them with key insights to apply their innovations in the areas most likely to create economic value for the hotels. 

The class will run for the Spring semester and conclude with a "Shark Tank" like pitch presentation of their ideas to select senior hospitality industry professionals. Who knows maybe the next Uber for the front desk?

more to follow....