It's now time for our Stenden students to host the HEP second session in Leeuwarden. The 2 day programme was full of excitement. Yes, it is about a project, but a fun party was also part of it :)
Stenden was HEPpening!
How do you feel when you are about to find out your test results? And how do you feel about a Maldives trip that you have booked last year is going to be tomorrow? Perhaps, you might be super excited, a little bit anxious or you cannot even sleep properly because you think too much. Well, that probably describes how I felt before that “moment of truth” finally came! Continuing on my previous writing, it was all about the second session of Hospitality Excellence Programme (HEP) 2015 where Stenden Leeuwarden was this time’s host! This year, we got the privilege of hosting a 2-day session instead on 13-14 March 2015. Indeed, it was a mixed feeling whether my colleagues would love the city, the stay, the food and many more.
|Hestia party with excellent people|
Spread over an intensive, 2-day session with an overnight stay at our lovely Stenden Hotel, I would proudly say that Stenden owned it! Together with the other Stenden representatives, we were given an honour to organise a night activity for our buddies from the other hotel schools. As part of the preparation, we even had a meeting to discuss, in which we decided to have a gathering at Hestia Student Lounge. For your information, as part of Stenden’s facilities of 1-2 minutes walk from the main building; Hestia (“a home away from home”) is a perfect place for students to have a group meeting, potluck dinner or house party! Overall, this small bonding night gave us the opportunity to get to know each other better as well as to refresh our overloaded brain from an intensive programme of the day.
Enough said about the small party and let’s get back to the real deal of the programme. Day 1 started with a gentle smile and cordial hug welcoming both students and professors to the capital of Friesland, Leeuwarden accompanied by morning coffee and tea. Carried out in Grand Hotel Post Plaza, Day 1 programme went smoothly with interviews with 2 of every team’s target groups as the highlights of the day. As we started with the implementation of design-thinking method, we put the first step of the method called “Empathise” into practice.
|Grand Hotel Post Plaza Leeuwarden|
For my team, I invited two of Stenden students who own hospitality-related businesses in Leeuwarden, one being the owner of a coffee bar (Barrevoets) and the other being the owner of a shisha/tapas bar (Leeuwarden Lounge). They are really nice places to chill and spend your spare time while you are in Leeuwarden by the way. Since my team’s target groups are young entrepreneurs, we gained a lot of insights into how they create and deliver value to their customers as part of the contributing factor towards hospitality in cities. By empathising with your interviewees, you touched their deepest personal dreams, aspirations, worries, thoughts and passions that can be related to the topic of how they manage their businesses to survive. Those aspects reflected the actions they took or the decisions they made to create value and experience for customers. All in all, it was really interesting to have a completely different approach of interview, which you can have a better understanding of people as well.
Even though Stenden representatives did not get an overnight stay as well at Stenden Hotel, we woke up with full enthusiasm to embrace Day 2 of the programme where this time it was fully conducted at Stenden. After a typical Friesland’s breakfast, Mr Albert Boswijk gave us an interactive lecture concerning “Economy of Experiences”, which again relevant to our project as well. Afterwards, we were split again into team sessions, where we discussed our findings based on the interviews.
These interviews were merely practice to create a framework for the project. Throughout the discussion, we were also exposed to the second step of the method called “Define” by creating personas and guest journeys of the target groups. These two were the representation of a typical person’s characteristics that belongs to a certain customer group. As suggested by the name of the method – design-thinking method – yes, I learnt how to draw and illustrate things as well. Besides the team’s professors, my team was also guided by a Master student from Delhi who already had experiences in using the method at Delft University of Technology. To wrap it up, we came into a consensus of the research plan that we could bring up in the next session. To sum up, Day 2 was filled by enriching, eye-opener sessions that were wrapped up with farewell snacks and drinks at the Bar of Stenden Hotel before everyone’s departure back to their home schools.
Everything might sound so heavy in terms of content and workload for you, but believe me; all the lectures, workshops and team sessions provided were very fun and interactive. I bet the professors also learnt a lot from them too! Speaking of next session, it will be held in NHTV University of Applied Sciences Breda. Besides another long journey from up north, I really hope that there will be another interesting, new thing to be obtained as well! To conclude, while Stenden was already HEPpening, Breda, you are next!