PROMO CODE (Optional)

Book a TableBOOK A TABLE

PROMO CODE (Optional)

Book Direct to enjoy exclusive benefitsBOOK A ROOM
Book Direct to enjoy exclusive benefits BOOK A ROOM
Book a Table BOOK A TABLE

Real-world training? Hong Kong students are getting it


By Richard Hatter


Note: This blog was first published on 23 December 2019 on, where Richard has been invited to contribute a monthly blog.


HOTELS is the only global publication in the hotel industry. Serving more 99,000 readers in more than 150 countries through online and print communications, the publication provides a global perspective on news, finance, development, technology, design, food and beverage, trends and more. Free registration is required to access the online content.

Richard Hatter with student interns


The traditional education model in Hong Kong saw a one-size-fits-all approach where students were required to listen and not question, memorize and repeat in preparation for a vastly different workforce than the one we have today.


As times have changed, so too has the way we educate. Nurturing in-depth understanding and a passion for innovation, Hotel Icon, as a pioneering training hotel that exists with a purpose, we seek to maximize learning experiences so students can develop the skills needed to navigate a rapidly evolving world – especially with what we are currently going through in Hong Kong, which is something they are unlikely to experience in class.


The purpose of education and on-the-job training is to prepare students for life. Our knowledge-sharing economy is driven by the power of connectivity – changing the very nature of learning as education and technology go hand in hand, creating new opportunities for students to collaborate, network and spread ideas.


Incorporating real-world connections as part of their internships helps students understand why what they’re learning is useful beyond university. It’s an approach that works for every curriculum to increase engagement in the learning process as students gain valuable insights into real-life applications of the skills they’re being taught. It is essential for them to adapt to the constant changes and react quickly so as to maintain their competitiveness in this ever-changing business world.

The students who are currently doing their internships at Icon have witnessed the changes that we have been through during this challenging time in Hong Kong. I have been working very closely with my team to come up with new strategies to drive sales and occupancy, and at the same time cutting costs in all possible ways, as long as it is not affecting our service level. We then lead the students, get them involved and take part in the actual executions.


They also have the opportunity to be cross-trained at various departments, which allows more flexibility for them to switch to different departments. This not only helps students grow; at the same time they have become valuable assets to the hotel since they are highly motivated and more than happy to help in different business units even during the shortage of manpower during this time in Hong Kong.


To optimize the learning experience, on-the-job trainings should inspire creativity, imagination and the pursuit of knowledge. By connecting the students to the real world when they've come across real customers and guests, departmental trainers can demonstrate the relevance of subjects and give students a vision of what’s possible – providing a meaningful framework for both academic and personal development.


Elite Management Team