Center for Hospitality Studies and Research

destination:  hinton, ab

Project start:  ETA

stakeholders:  Town of Hinton, hinton chamber of commerce, Yellowhead county

” As most hospitality programs are industry focused, teaching hotels can play an important role in better preparing students for the hotel industry. — Our Project Is a technology savvy teaching hotel specializing in hybrid hospitality management programs tailored to meet industry needs. “

The Problem

According to the Hotel Association of Canada, the Federal Government continues to have a real focus on getting Canada’s available workers out of unemployment and into meaningful jobs – and hotels will continue to have front-line positions open. The following points are current realities to the hospitality industry in Canada:

Two out of every three accommodation businesses see labour issues as a significant business impediment;

  • Rooms are going unsold, business is being turned away, and expansion plans are being curtailed;
  • Operations are being scaled back or doors are remaining open with insufficient staff;
  • An expected 33% growth in available full-time jobs supported through growing consumer demand for accommodation services by 2035;
  • If the labour shortage is not addressed, the accommodation industry could experience a labour shortfall of 10,000 by 2035


The shortfall will continue to further slow down the recovery in the post-COVID era. Industry is expecting the impact to remain visible for the next five years. The high cost of employee branding impacts the overall cost of operation per paid room (or served customer) – making employee retention as the most significant problem for the industry.


The Solution

To Inspire and cultivate leadership in hospitality.

As most hospitality programs are industry focused, teaching hotels can play an important role in better preparing students for the hotel industry.

Hospitality Education Evolution

Long considered to be the home of hospitality, Switzerland also has the distinction of starting the oldest hotel education program. École hôtelière de Lausanne, was founded in 1893 by the Society of Hoteliers in Geneva to support the growing tourism industry in Switzerland. This school and many others in Europe that followed in Austria, Germany and France, focused heavily on hotel operations, some housed in or adjacent to hotel buildings, and developed a very practical curriculum designed to support the industry.

In 1922, a similar model was brought to the United States with the founding of Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, once again endorsing practical hospitality education. With the funding of Ellsworth M. Statler (founder of Statler Hotels), the program was able to develop the first teaching hotel on campus in 1948.

Leading hospitality programs adapted to require internships, and industry advisory boards and schools such as the University of Houston, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University of Delaware, Metropolitan State University, University of Denver, Purdue University, Penn State University, Michigan State University, Hong Kong Polytechnic and Chinese University developed teaching hotels or culinary/restaurant labs to provide practical experiential learning opportunities for students.

" Canada has yet to explore the benefits of combining academia with the hotel industry. "

We are proposing a technology savvy teaching hotel specializing in hybrid hospitality management programs tailored to meet industry needs. Our solution is to develop human capital to dovetail with the industry demand.  The Teaching Hotel will be a franchise-able concept perfectly blending with secondary hub cities and destinations historically experiencing human resource shortfall. This would engage local businesses to support students transition into seasonal workforce.

Current teaching hotel models and integration with hospitality programs

There are primarily three operating models of teaching hotels and hospitality programs:

TYPE ONE: The idea that the teaching hotel/hospitality school lab facilities should be owned by the university and operated by the hospitality school. This model is administratively labor-intensive and requires an operational manager interface to oversee the business operations. However, it does provide more control over the curriculum and potential for revenue capture.

TYPE TWO: A contractual relationship with a third party to either own or operate the hotel. This model will require a good working relationship with the operating partner to ensure the appropriate experiential learning for the students enrolled in the program. Administratively, this model will require less operational oversight.

TYPE THREE: A hospitality school building with some lab facilities, such as a teaching kitchen, restaurant, beverage lab, banquet facility adjacent or attached to a teaching hotel. In this model, the school building would be operated by the hospitality program and the hotel operated by a third party.

Best case facility
  • 80 to 100 rooms with Food and Beverage (Restaurant + Bar), Event Space and Recreational/Lifestyle (Spa, Gym);
  • Rooms are grouped in focused service, full service and extended stay design categories;
  • Maintenance Workshop;
  • Admin Offices;
  • Swimming Pool;

Hotel internship:

While students have the option to work in a variety of hospitality sectors for a required internship, the teaching hotel becomes an excellent option for those students who are interested in hotel management. With a well-designed internship program, students can be rotated through various departments for both line-level and supervisory positions. If jointly created, this ensures a great learning experience for the student and a potential pipeline for the local industry.

Embedded operational and observation exposure:

Working closely with hotel operational managers, instructors can include non-intrusive operational and observational exposure for students enrolled in various core classes such as lodging, facilities management, food and beverage, and also support functions such as marketing, accounting and human resources.

Classroom enrichment:

Most hospitality classes are taught by research faculty with a supporting textbook. Programs affiliated with a teaching hotel can enrich the classroom experience in multiple ways: team teach with operating managers, guest speakers to supplement sessions, live cases and hiring faculty with operations experience. Affiliation with a teaching hotel allows a lot of room for pedagogical creativity to simulate a real environment.

Showcase for community outreach and continuing professional education:

If structured correctly, the teaching hotel and hospitality program could become an excellent resource for the community for ongoing professional development in the city or region. The facility could become a center for educational programs, seminars, workshops, training, informational forums and other outreach endeavors to showcase the hospitality program in the community.


Depending on the teaching hotel model and relationship with the industry, the facility could be used for operational research to support faculty need for data. If the research is structured with the idea of improving operational performance—such as service excellence, cost savings, customer perceptions, employee satisfaction and other themes related to operational research—it could be a win-win effort.

Network and Industry Outreach:

Amir Hassan has extensive networking in hospitality industry across Canada and particularly with mainstream global hotel brands, supplier network, and vendors.

Advisory Committee and Research on Best Practices:

Best practices require best minds – we aim to put together an Industry Advisory Committee to sponsor research on best practices at the hotel. This concept of incorporating data-mining and conducting sponsored research in a commercial hotel will be well received by the industry.

A project by PAR999 Holdings Inc.

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