Students Experience the Hospitality Industry in Orlando

Posted on Monday, July 08, 2019

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Professor John Strouse, far left, and students pose with UNOH Flag at Magic Kingdom

Written by Contributing Columnist, Professor John Strouse

Recently, three traditional and two online students, all enrolled in the Travel and Hotel Management program at UNOH, explored one of the most popular destinations in the hospitality industry: Orlando, Florida. In the four-day experiential adventure, they visited SeaWorld, Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, and participated in the Titanic Gala.

While in Orlando, students took a behind the scenes tour at SeaWorld where they were able to get close to sharks and penguins and learn about what type of educational and training background is important for people considering a career at SeaWorld.

While at Disney World, the students learned about the design of Magic Kingdom and observed and experienced the marketing and customer service that exists in the most popular family vacation destination in the industry. They learned that each and every detail, including the placement of trash cans, is customer-service focused. For Robert Comstock, of Piqua, Ohio, this was his first time visiting Disney. “I was amazed by the size, the amount of cast members, and that it is basically its own city,” he said.  His favorite part was meeting and interacting with the online students and discussing their knowledge of Disney. While at Epcot Center, students traveled the country pavilions to learn about different cultures and learn how Disney produces its own food by the tons to supply the park and help the environment.

Chelsea Yates, from Lima, Ohio, says one thing she took away from the trip was the experience of flight reservations and air travel as she had never been on an airplane before.  Her favorite part of the trip to Orlando was Epcot, “the different countries at EPCOT was eye opening and learning about the different cultures from those countries was fascinating”.

Next on the agenda was the Titanic Gala, a dinner theater presentation of the Titanic hitting the iceberg and eventually sinking. Guests are given a boarding pass of a person that was actually on the ship on April 14, 1912. The location of the event was in the Titanic Museum. On the way to the dining room, the guests are given the history of the Titanic. Once dinner ends, guests participate in a simulated evacuation. Once the evacuation portion is done, everyone is led into a room with the entire list of passengers listed on a wall. Here, students found out if the boarding pass they were given was a survivor.  This component of the trip gives the student not only the opportunity to learn about how the Titanic tragedy occurred, but also how it impacted the way the cruise industry operates today. The Titanic Gala allowed students the chance to observe and experience a live event and learn all the logistics that go into executing a successful event.

Meredith Spolyar, from Quincy, Michigan, says she learned “differences in the customer services at the different resorts, parks, and gala events”. Her favorite part was the Titanic Gala experience, because it gave her a better visual of the history of its sinking.  Online students, Angela Schmal and Macie Butler, both from Ocala, Florida, agreed with Meredith that the Titanic Gala was their favorite part of the trip as well.

During the trip, Robert, Meredith, and Chelsea were able to observe Karen Kleman, of Northwestern Travel at UNOH, make some of the travel arrangements. They learned what clients will experience when flying to destinations and the process of renting and returning a vehicle. Students were also asked to keep a journal of their experience and answer questions throughout the trip. Upon their return, all students had course work that related to the experiential trip as part of their final grade for Spring Quarter.

Category: Business, Health, and Occupational Professions

Keywords: Travel, Hospitality, Florida

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Last updated: 07/08/2019