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Hospitality in the making: lessons learned from "Teaching hotel Maastricht"

3 January 2024

Where will the future specialists in professional hospitality be formed?

Switzerland is known for its renowned schools, but let's look a little closer to home, in bustling Maastricht. The Teaching Hotel, located in a beautiful castle next to the hotel and tourism college, is an intriguing concept where students run the hotel as part of their studies.

It welcomes you to a real-life hotel. Students are involved in all aspects of hotel management, from reception to room maintenance, and providing breakfast to the bar. What is also unique about the concept is that both well-known and lesser-known artists have designed the rooms. That certainly makes the stay all the more interesting.

We stayed in a room with the bathroom as the centrepiece. An architectural masterpiece, but practically speaking, it did pose a challenge. It was not exactly comfortable to go to the toilet in the middle of the room while your roommate was also there. But let's get back to the concept itself.

We received a modern welcome, albeit with some unaccustomed touches here and there. There was definitely room for improvement in execution. Nevertheless, it is a laudable initiative, a practical environment where students can practice welcoming guests and creating a memorable experience.

However, the Teaching Hotel Maastricht still needs some streamlining and professionalisation to reach the level of Swiss Hospitality schools. The basics of customer experience are still missing. This is understandable given the learning environment, but there is room for improvement. Compared to the Student Hotel in Maastricht, run by students studying in the city, a professional environment with clear guidelines already makes a significant difference. At the Student Hotel, the story and the experience are absolutely right. It is worked out and thought out to perfection, and runs uniformly.

Nevertheless, we recommend combining both experiences: a night at "The Social Hub" Maastricht Hotel for a top-notch experience and a night at the "Teaching Hotel" for a more experimental, yet interesting experience.

Lesson Learned:

A clear structure and guidelines are crucial to create the experience you want to offer. This forms the foundation, the culture of an organisation. Without a clear understanding of "what experience do we want the guest to have" and the meticulous execution of that experience, everyone may work hard, but the memorable customer experience remains unattainable. Which is nevertheless much needed to recommend your hotel, and keep customers loyal. That way, you make sure they come and stay with you again the next time they visit Maastricht. A challenge you work on every day.

Just like the care required in proactively and meticulously catering to guests' needs, I hope that, with the necessary refinement, the Teaching Hotel in Maastricht will become a place where every guest not only enjoys staying, but also has an unforgettable experience.