Global Sustainable Tourism Development: Challenges, Certification and Best Practices

The following post was written by Tisch Center social media assistant Kanupriya Bhargava.

Grossinger PanelOn Wednesday, March 5, Preston Robert Tisch Center students had the opportunity to hear from various panelists about Global Sustainable Tourism Development at an event held by the Ricelle “Bunny” Grossinger Distinguished Lecture Series in Tourism Management. The panel was moderated by Clinical Associate Professor Sharr Prohaska and Clinical Assistant Professor Lynn Minnaert, Ph.D.

Pegi VailPegi Vail, an anthropologist, documentary filmmaker, and Associate Director of the Center for Media, Culture, and History at NYU began the panel by showing a preview of her documentary Gringo Trails. Through before and after footage of backpacker destinations, Vail reveals how the ethnography of backpackers has opened doors to the tourism industry in low-income countries over the years. It was shocking to see the contrast in footage between Haadrin Beach in 1979 and 1989, depicting the aftermath of a Full Moon New Year’s Eve party.

James McGregorJames MacGregor, President of Ecoplannet, shared his message to students, whom he also referred to as the “future of sustainable tourism.” He provided an eye-opening outlook on the diminishing tourism environment and made a call to action to strengthen sustainable tourism education platforms and resources and to ultimately develop a culture of sustainability.

Louise Twining-WardDr. Louise Twining-Ward, President of Sustainable Travel International, explained how sustainability is not only beneficial for the environment, but how it can be a good business practice. I found her acronym ABCD to be useful to follow not only in sustainability practice but also in life:

A: Acknowledge the problem

B: Believe you can change it

C: Create the tools

D: Demonstrate the results

Anna ClarkAnna Clark, Communications Associate and Media Outreach for Rainforest Alliance, grabbed the audience’s attention with a highly entertaining video called “Follow the Frog”, which depicts a young man who discovers rainforests are in danger and decides to abandon his average and comfortable life to take an active part in saving the environment. The purpose of the film was to show that we don’t need to go to the ends of the world to save a rainforest, instead we can use Rainforest Alliance certified products and still make a difference. Additionally, the Alliance has certified over 190 million acres of land in support of the Rainforest Alliance, an impressive step to conserving our environment and social welfare.

Eric RicuarteThe final speaker Eric Ricaurte, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Greenview, and a Tisch Center alumnus, challenged the audience to think about mass tourism in a new way. He urged us to “stop thinking about mass tourism as a niche, and instead as mainstream.” Ricaurte categorized the three different types of impacts left on a destination by a visitor as:

1) Transportation

2) Energy and Water Consumption, and

3) Waste

Overall, the lecture was a terrific opportunity to discuss the important issues and developments in the global sustainable tourism industry. As a student, I was inspired to play a more active role in not only conserving the environment, but also in integrating these practices into my daily life.

February Guest Speaker Roundup

One of the biggest advantages of attending NYU is the exposure of students to an extraordinary range of industry professionals. These professionals speak and participate in our classes and share how we can apply our academics to the “real world.” Here are a few of the Tisch Center guest speakers during February.

Marketing of Sports and Events – Contributed by Professor Evan Dabby

Mary Beck

Mary Beck, MLB Network

On February 12, Mary Beck, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Promotions for MLB Network, visited Professor Dabby’s Marketing of Sports and Events class.  Beck effectively complemented the course content educating students about strategic marketing and the marketing mix while providing many practical references.  Such examples included the cultural impact of Black Heritage Month and Hispanic Heritage Month, the social media lifecycle (i.e. #FaceOfMLB), and managing relationships with MLB clubs and ownership.

Class concluded with Beck fielding questions from students about professional development and the challenges of succeeding in a competitive marketplace.

Demonstrating that sampling is an effective way to introduce consumers to a product, and perhaps showcasing one reason why she has succeeded improving viewership, Beck provided a complimentary MLB Network hat to each student.

Distribution & Channel Management - Contributed by Kanu Bhargava

Ron Castro and Debra Stock, Expedia

Ron Castro and Debra Stock, Expedia

On February 24, Ron Castro and Debra Stock from Expedia spoke to Dr. Quadri’s Distribution and Channel Management class about OTAs. Castro, an alumnus of the Tisch Center’s Graduate Hospitality Industry Studies program (’13), gave an engaging and informative presentation about Expedia’s role in the hospitality industry. He provided the class with statistics revealing the constantly evolving dynamic among OTAs and hotels. Castro and Stock also used their expertise to help brainstorm suggestions for Ace Hotel, the class’ case study property and students were able to see how this data could be used to argue the need for OTAs.

Business Development III - Contributed by Joyce Wong

Courtney Spitzer and Stephanie Abrams, SocialFly

Courtney Spitzer and Stephanie Abrams, SocialFly

SocialFly co-founders Courtney Spritzer and Stephanie Abrams were invited to Professor Laitamaki‘s Business Development III class to talk about their entrepreneurial experience. SocialFly is a relatively young company that provides full-service digital marketing and public relations services. They differentiate themselves by working intimately with clients, creating customized strategies to meet objectives. Some clients see an ROI when there is an increase in followers or likes, and other times it may be derived from creating brand awareness or user engagement.

Courtney and Stephanie both worked in corporate America for several years before deciding to fully invest their time and effort in SocialFly. It was inspiring to hear they had the courage to change their lives to work on what they were really passionate about. The main takeaway from the guest speakers was to not be afraid, and to strive for your entrepreneurial dreams.

Emerging Issues in International Tourism - Contributed by Professor Lynn Minnaert

Victor Calise

Victor Calise, Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

On February 26, Victor Calise joined Dr. Minnaert’s Emerging Issues in International Tourism class for an in-depth discussion on the needs of travelers with disabilities. Mr. Calise is the Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, which functions as a liaison between the disability community and City government. The office works collaboratively with other agencies to assure that the rights and needs of people with disabilities are included in all City initiatives by fostering greater cooperation, communication and coordination of functions and services in New York City.

Aging populations in many parts of the world mean that accessibility is becoming an increasingly pressing business concern – and tourism is no exception. Commissioner Calise highlighted the progress made in legislation, inclusive design requirements and information services. He also challenged the students to think of prejudices that may affect the quality of service a person with disabilities may receive, and offered ways in which these can be overcome.

How to Ace Your Interview: Advice from Dean Hanson

Bjorn HansonOn Wednesday, February 12, I facilitated an interviewing workshop for Tisch Center students. The goal was to experience the most difficult and challenging interview questions a graduating Tisch Center student might ever be asked during a placement interview. Almost 30 Tisch students attended this session.

The format was to ask very difficult questions, and then discuss the answers in search of the “perfect” answer – to convert a difficult question into something we want to be asked because our answer will be better than other candidates’ answers. It is the answers to difficult questions that distinguish the strongest candidates.

Beyond the 20 sample questions, there were a few conclusions that emerged:

1. Most candidates have some level of interview practice and preparation, so a “good” answer is not good enough – almost every candidate will have “good” answers. An exceptional answer is more interesting, conveys something special about the candidate and offers more insights for the employer than other good answers.

2. Have answers ready that are precise, brief and that offer something special about you – these are characteristics of a “great” answer.

3. If possible, avoid starting answers with what might sound like disclaimers such as, “I think…”

4. It is your interview, so decide what you want to convey.

5. For many questions, the interviewer is not necessarily interested in the answer (or maybe not interested at all), but how you answer the question.

6. Avoid any answer that might be interpreted as an exaggeration or overstatement because it may lead to an even more difficult follow up question.

7. In general, especially revealing, even personal questions are probably best answered with a business-like response. These questions are usually asked to observe how the candidate responds – not for the answer itself.

8. Use your education and degree to your advantage. As Tisch Center students, you have met more senior executives, been exposed to more venues (hotels, stadia, etc.) and have “mastered” New York; most of you have experienced internships in locations many interviewers would be thrilled just to visit.

I hope the attendees feel confident and are even looking forward to difficult and challenging interview questions.

Bjorn Hanson, Ph.D.
Divisional Dean

Preparing for the Job Search

Amanda GallocherDuring the spring semester many students who visit my office are searching for full-time opportunities after graduation. To be successful, applicants should be proactive and patient with the job search process. Below are some helpful tips to consider as you plan your search:

1. Make An Appointment with Career Services. This is probably the single most important piece of advice I could give any current student seeking full-time employment after graduation. Career Counselors can help with a variety of topics including: resume and cover letter development, job search strategies, tailoring applications to specific job postings, interview strategies, salary negotiations, LinkedIn Profile development, using social media in a job search and navigating challenging employer-related situations. To schedule an appointment with Jennifer Burns, Director of Industry Relations, email jennifer.burns@nyu.edu or contact me directly at ag112@nyu.edu.

2. Start Looking Now. It’s March. Even if you are not looking to start a new job until May, don’t wait to start looking and applying until April. Recruiters have been on campus as recently as last semester seeking to acquire talent to fill their entry-level openings for May and June 2014. Positions are already posting and you should be applying!

3. Apply! Apply! Apply! I often have students in my office who come in crushed because they have not heard back from employers on any of the applications they submitted. When I ask them how many applications they sent out, I usually get a response of “5” or “10”. My response? “That is not enough.” If you are actively and aggressively searching for employment, applying for between 15-20 jobs a week (if you can find enough jobs of interest) is a good goal.

A cliché often used, because it is so true, is “The early bird gets the worm.” Set up email alerts so you know the second a job posts and can apply right away. Don’t wait to apply until next week, or even a couple of days! You should apply immediately to help ensure your resume is even seen. Perfect example: I once sat on a search committee for a position that received almost 400 applications. Who has time to look through 400 resumes? We reviewed the first 200 that were submitted. The last 200 were not even opened.

4. Make Sure to Do a Little Housekeeping on Social Media Sites. Google yourself to know what employers will see when they enter your name. Check your privacy settings if you belong to Facebook to make sure no one is seeing anything you wouldn’t want them to. Ideally the first search result that should pop up is your LinkedIn Profile.

5. Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile. Everyone should have a LinkedIn Profile. If you have met with me, you know I am a fan of the one-page resume. The great thing about LinkedIn? There is no limit. You can include internships, full-time jobs, volunteer work, class projects, ask people for recommendations, give recommendations, find jobs and so much more! It is a wonderful way to display your experience, accomplishments and NETWORK.

6. Attend Workshops and Employer Information Sessions. The Tisch Center and the Wasserman Center host several workshops throughout the year that will assist you in your own professional and career development. There are also employers who come to campus to specifically recruit NYU students; they host information sessions, which is a great way to learn more about a company, what types of openings are available, and it may even provide a unique opportunity to interact with its recruiters.

7. Attend Career Fairs. The Tisch Center holds two Career Fairs each academic year. Our annual Spring Career Fair, which hosts organizations specific to the hospitality, tourism and sports industries, was held on February 20th at the Wasserman Center. Even if the organization you are interested in is not recruiting for full-time candidates, you can still network with recruiters representing an organization.

8. Network. This is a critical point in time where networking will play a very important part in your life. The jobs you see on job boards are only about 30 percent of what is out there. The other 70 percent of opportunities are found through networking. Mention “networking” and people start to sweat. The important thing to remember though is “networking” is just a fancy way of saying “building and maintaining relationships” and we all do that every day. So relax. Attend alumni and industry events whenever possible and walk in with a goal to connect to at least three new people and get their business cards.

9. Know Your Value. I remember when I got my first job offer after I graduated from college. I was so excited that someone wanted to hire me, I immediately accepted and did not even try to negotiate, despite the fact that I had years of prior work experience. Don’t make the same mistake. Many of you will have prior internship or work experience, which makes you a more desirable candidate. There is no reason why you should not try to negotiate a higher salary as it will have a great effect on your future earnings, even if you are an undergraduate student. Wasserman hosts Salary Negotiation workshops each semester, so sign up for one or make an appointment to see a Career Services Professional to help you through negotiations.

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Amanda Gallocher serves as the Tisch Center’s Assistant Director for Career Services. Her responsibilities include working with industry partners to facilitate career opportunities for Tisch Center students and helping students and alumni plan and execute successful internship and career search strategies.

Faculty Spotlight – Dr. Lynn Minnaert

The following interview was conducted by Tisch Center social media assistant Kanupriya Bhargava.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Lynn Minnaert, one of two new full time faculty members that joined the Tisch Center last semester. I took her course, Tourism Planning and Policy last fall and we learned how the tourism planning process impacts a destination. I thoroughly enjoyed the course since we were able to directly apply the concepts we were learning to current and relevant tourist destinations. We had many interesting discussions on controversial issues and were able to come to conclusions based on our own thoughts as well as our classmates’ unique perspectives.

Can you tell us about your professional background?

lynn minnaertI began working in Brussels for a health insurance operator. As you remember in your Tourism Planning and Policy course, we studied social tourism, and we were a social tourism provider. I was a specialist provider for people with low incomes and disabilities. I did that for about a year and a half and then decided to complete my Ph.D. in London and since then, I have been doing research and teaching as a full time faculty.

What brought you to New York, and more specifically, the Tisch Center?

The bright lights! Actually, I always wanted to work in the U.S., particularly in New York. This is probably going to sound a bit cheesy, but I had been watching the Tisch Center online and I knew it was a place I wanted to work. Then one day, a job opportunity came up and even though at the time I thought, never in a million years would they hire me, I applied and now I’m here!

How would you describe your approach to teaching?

What I love about teaching is when you can get a really great discussion going. Also, when you can take a tourism issue and discuss it from so many different perspectives; not just from the “we want to make money” perspective, but also from the “we want to function in the real world politically and environmentally” perspective. Ideally, the students come out with a much more rounded view. This is why I like to use actual case studies to generate discussion in the classroom.

How have you found your teaching experience at NYU to be different from at the University of Surrey?

It’s quite a bit different.  At NYU the classes are smaller, and I have a lot more contact with my students, which is great. Also, you can tell that the students are much more engaged in the industry. Many of you are working and interning and that creates a very different dynamic in the classroom.

How has your extensive research and experience been an asset to your courses?

The research has contributed quite a lot because from the research, you get to know things from the inside out. Rather than teaching from a textbook, (well in some cases I’ve written the textbook!), you know a lot more about what you are talking about and are able to bring in much more practical examples of how the material connects to the industry.

Where is your favorite destination you have visited?

My favorite destination was Japan. I loved their food, culture, and architecture. It was an amazing place to visit.

Which destinations are the most interesting or controversial to you at this time?

Controversial: there are two destinations that spring to mind. First, Myanmar, which is now opening up to tourists, despite the criticism it has had in the past about human rights. Then of course the cannabis tourism in the U.S., that will be an interesting one. It’s a unique selling point so it will be interesting to see how that develops.

What piece of advice would you like to give to your students?

As long as you are here, keep making use of all the opportunities available to you. Most of you are doing that anyway which is why I’m so impressed when I meet all of you.  As students, you are much more hungry for opportunities and you are go-getters. However, I think once you’re out in the industry the key thing is never to stop learning. Your job gets very dull if you think you know it all. Keep up to date, read, go to conferences.

Attend the Grossinger Lecture on March 5! We have a great panel lined up. There will be five panelists discussing tourism and sustainability, certifications, and the challenges. The panelists are specialists from a range of different backgrounds coming to discuss if and how we can make tourism sustainable.

Career Fair Tips for Success

The Tisch Center Career and Internship Fair will take place tomorrow, Thursday, February 20, from 10:30am to 1:30pm at the Wasserman Center for Career Development (133 East 13th Street, 2nd floor). Many exciting organizations representing the hospitality, tourism and sports industries will be participating.

If you have never been to a Career Fair before, the thought of attending and interacting with employers might be a little daunting. Here are some quick tips to help ensure a successful day at the event:

BEFORE THE FAIR:

Do Your Research. Tisch Center students are provided with a list of organizations that will be attending the fair, as well as the opportunities that recruiters will be seeking to fill. Visiting an employer’s website and social media accounts, as well as researching current events may provide helpful information about:

  • What the company does—its mission, clients and competitors
  • What opportunities interest you
  • Why you are interested in a particular organization

Being prepared with questions to ask the recruiter will reflect your interest in and knowledge of the organization.

Prepare Your Pitch. Students should be as prepared as possible when interacting with recruiters. Preparing your pitch in advance is important to make sure employers know who you are, what you do and what you can contribute to an organization.

Example: Hi! My name is Samantha. I am a Hospitality graduate student in my first semester and am pursuing a concentration in Revenue Management. I have experience working front office and have strong analytical and MS Excel skills. I am looking for a revenue management internship for the Spring 2014 semester. Could you tell me a little bit more about your internship program?

DAY OF THE FAIR:

Dress to Impress: Tisch Center students should be dressed professionally. Men should wear a dark color suit and knotted tie. Women should wear a dark-colored suit; if wearing a skirt, the length should be at or just above the knee.

What to Bring:

  • Your enthusiasm! Show a high level of energy, smile and be friendly
  • Copies of your (reviewed) resume (20 copies)
  • Business cards
  • Pen/pencil
  • Padfolio to organize materials

Helpful Hints: Below are some helpful hints that students have found useful in the past. Please remember that you are an ambassador for NYU and the Tisch Center. Be polite and thank recruiters for coming to the fair.

  • Network with other students who have arrived earlier to find out information on employers they have met with already.
  • Talk to less preferred employers first to build your confidence.
  • Become an active listener – when waiting in line to speak to an employer, listen to the questions the recruiter is asking the person in front of you. It may give you an indication of the types of questions you might be asked.
  • Ask for the business card for each employer you speak with and write notes on the back about your conversation for follow up after the fair.
  • Avoid uncomfortable shoes.

Be Considerate: There will be over 50 organizations represented at the Career Fair and the room will be crowded.

Please refrain from doing any of the following:

  • Interrupting conversations
  • Monopolizing a recruiter’s time
  • Approaching employers with a friend or group of friends
  • Asking if an internship is paid (there will be time to find that out later)
  • Carrying a backpack or large purse
  • Chewing gum

AFTER THE FAIR

After the Career Fair is what it is really all about. You were able to interact with potential employers, and hopefully received business cards. Now what?

  1. Follow up with a brief thank you note to the employer. Thank she/he for attending the fair, reiterate what position you are interested in and why you think you would make a great candidate for the job. Attach your resume for reference even if you provided it at the fair. Make sure to avoid spelling/grammatical errors. Have someone else proofread it before you hit ‘send’.
  2. Maintain contact. If you do not hear back, follow up in approximately 2 to 3 weeks.
  3. Be patient. While finding a job or internship might be your first priority, it is not necessarily the first priority of the recruiter. Give them time to respond and get back to you. There will be some organizations that will not respond as soon as you would like.

I hope all of the suggestions above are helpful. If you have any questions at the event, look for a faculty member or administrator who will be onsite and available to assist.

Good luck!

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Amanda Gallocher serves as the Tisch Center’s Assistant Director for Career Services. Her responsibilities include working with industry partners to facilitate career opportunities for Tisch Center students and helping students and alumni plan and execute successful internship and career search strategies.

Tisch Center Students Compete in NATHIC Shark Tank Competition

Chloe Hsia, Cindy Kim and Hanna Giem, all seniors in the New York University Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management majoring in Hospitality & Tourism, ventured to Chicago for the 2013 North America Hotel Investment Conference to compete in the first ever hotel Shark Tank competition.IMG_9435

Students from DePaul University, Michigan State University, and New York University pitched innovative hotel concepts to a panel of industry “sharks” that could potentially revolutionize the hospitality industry. The judging panel included David Buffam, CEO, New Castle Hotels & Resorts; Bill DeForrest, president and CEO, Spire Hospitality; Dave Johnson, president and CEO, Aimbridge Hospitality; David Kong, president and CEO, Best Western International; and Jordan Langlois, Vice President, brand management, Vantage Hospitality Group, Inc.

IMG_8762 editThe Tisch Center team presented TRIO Hotels, a product designed for millennials by millennials that emphasizes customized rooms, communal working spaces, and added amenities through add-on programs. Positioned in the upper midscale chain segment, TRIO Hotels targets younger, tech-savvy customers looking to experience local neighborhoods in large, metropolitan cities. Affordable luxury is redefined with TRIO+ packages, offering guests the option to experience more at reasonable prices, and TRIOlab and coworking spaces allowing guests and locals alike to work collaboratively in a social atmosphere.

Here are just a few comments from executive attendees:

CONGRATULATIONS to Chloe Hsia, Hanna Giem and Cindy Kim, the amazing NYU Shark Tank Team of the NATHIC conference held in Chicago last month.  From an audience perspective, I thought this presentation offered the most progressive new hotel concept with the customized rooms, communal spaces and repurposed structure.  I hope these students enjoyed the work and presentation—what a wonderful opportunity for each of them and the University.  Well done!

Jane Bethke
Senior Vice President, Business Development
Hotel Solutions Partnership

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I had the opportunity to attend NAHTIC and I saw the outstanding performance of [the] NYU team in the Shark Tank in Chicago. The plan presented was excellent and they covered all aspects of the business. I’m very proud of them as a Friend of NYU Tisch Center.

Jose Ernesto Marino Neto, Ph.D, ISHC
Founder & President, BSH INTERNATIONAL
HOSPITALITY ASSET MANAGERS

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I would like to say that your team was THE best by far. They had the only presentation with a valid theme and numbers too. And I loved the + packages, which I am definitely going to consider!

Brian M. Stolar
President and CEO
The Pinnacle Companies

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Overall, the conference was an incredible experience, from the hotel case competition to attending a variety of general sessions, breakout discussions, and networking receptions, the Tisch team was able to learn from and network with industry professionals. Applying classroom knowledge and presenting to a panel of industry judges was a great introduction to the world of hotel investment, development, and management, and the team encourages students to participate in industry events and competitions in upcoming semesters. They look forward to serving as mentors for interested students.IMG_8767

Additionally, the team would like to thank Dean Hanson, Dr. Laitamaki, Dr. Quadri, HVS, STR, and the Tisch Center faculty and staff for their continued guidance and support throughout the process.