In a dynamic fusion of academia and industry, MSc in International Hospitality Management's students at emlyon business school and the Institut Lyfe (formerly Institut Paul Bocuse) have engaged in innovative concept development for the sector of hotel brand design. Under the guidance of professionals and in collaboration with the leading hospitality brand, Accor, these students embarked on an exciting journey of creativity, strategic thinking, and their usual pursuit of excellence. Among them, Chloé SCHWAB, Inès CHARAVEL, and Thomas BARBARAT, three students of the MSc in International Hospitality Management, have graciously shared their insights and experiences, shedding light on the innovative concepts that have emerged from this remarkable project.

Crafting tomorrow's hospitality brands: Inside the Hotel Brand Design project

The Hotel Brand Design project, as outlined by Inès, focuses on strategically creating new hotel brands within Accor Group hotels. Divided into four phases, Concept & Research, Concept Development, Refinement, and Presentation to the Jury, students evaluate existing brand offerings, formulate unique concepts, and design distinctive identities. The goal is to present engaging brand concepts to industry leaders. Split into 12 groups, students collaborate to craft innovative brand narratives aligned with market trends and customer needs, shaping the future of hospitality branding.

As Chloé and her team unveiled HYGO—a lifestyle hotel brand designed to redefine urban exploration—they embodied the program's ethos of blending theoretical knowledge with practical innovation. Similarly, Inès delved into the multifaceted nature of the project, emphasizing its role in developing essential skills in brand strategy and consumer engagement. Meanwhile, Thomas clarified the pivotal role of brand design in shaping consumer perceptions and driving competitive advantage within the dynamic hospitality industry. Through collaborative efforts and relentless dedication, students emerged from the project equipped with invaluable insights and competencies, ready to redefine the future of hospitality.

“The objective is to align seamlessly with Accor Hotels' portfolio, showcasing a deep understanding of market trends and customer needs within specific quality segments.”

Helen Spillane, Co-Director of the MSc in International Hospitality Management

Overcoming challenges in the Hotel Brand Design Project

During the Hotel Brand Design project, students from diverse backgrounds encountered different challenges while developing their innovative hotel brand concepts.

Chloé SCHWAB, student of the MSc in International Hospitality Management

Chloé described the initial difficulties in creating visuals with artificial intelligence, noting, "It was a bit complicated to get the AIs to understand what we actually wanted as visuals." However, she highlighted the instrumental role of their coaches, saying, "We were able to benefit from the help of our coaches to guide us on the tools to use and how to use them" which ultimately led to successful visual representations that captured their new brand's DNA.

Inès CHARAVEL, student of the MSc in International Hospitality Management

In the same vein, Inès faced challenges related to team dynamics and expertise gaps. As team leader, she highlighted the complexities of being part of an international team, explaining, "To overcome this challenge, we prioritized open and transparent communication and embraced diversity as a source of strength." Inès emphasized the importance of fostering a supportive team culture and leveraging collective strengths to promote cohesion and understanding.

Thomas BARBARAT, student of the MSc in International Hospitality Management

Thomas echoed these sentiments, addressing the difficulties of aligning different visions and feedback within his team. He found success through "regular team meetings and active listening," which allowed the team to merge individual perspectives into a unified and compelling hotel concept.

These accounts from Chloé, Inès, and Thomas illustrate the resilience and adaptability required to face the various challenges of the Hotel Brand Design project. Their experiences underscore the importance of collaboration, innovative problem-solving, and effective communication for success in the hospitality industry.

Paving pathways to success: lessons learnt from the Hotel Brand Design Project

Reflecting on their experiences with the Hotel Brand Design project, Chloé, Inès, and Thomas explained how this transformative initiative has prepared them for their future career aspirations and the challenges in the field of hospitality management.

For Chloé, the project served as a catalyst for creativity and innovation, offering insights into brand creation and strategic thinking. She affirms, "This experience has given me a solid base on which to embark on my future projects," highlighting the acquisition of essential skills in brand design, creative development, problem-solving, and teamwork.

In alignment with Chloé's insights, Inès underlined the learning experience gained through the project, from enhanced creativity to effective team management and networking opportunities. "Reflecting on my experience with the Hotel Brand Design project, I believe it has provided me with valuable skills and experiences," she shares, outlining the lessons in creativity, leadership, communication, and strategic thinking gained from the project.

Thomas highlighted the importance of innovation, strategic brand development, effective communication in understanding industry expectations. He shared, "Presenting a hotel brand concept without budget constraints allows for unbridled creativity, emphasizing the importance of innovative thinking in hospitality."

Collectively, their reflections showcase the impact of the Hotel Brand Design project, equipping them with a diverse set of skills, experiences, and perspectives essential for navigating the dynamic landscape of hospitality management.

A testament to our ambition in Hospitality Management education

In conclusion, the Hotel Brand Design project not only showcases the creativity and strategic mindset of students from the MSc in International Hospitality Management but also reflects their deep motivations.
Driven by a desire to excel in a globally recognized program and tackle various international challenges, Chloé, Inès, and Thomas exemplify the ambitious spirit that characterizes the next generation of leaders in hospitality management. Their journey through this challenging academic program is a testament to their commitment to achieving excellence in the dynamic field of hospitality. We wish them well!