BMCC’s Travel and Tourism Club is known for its site visits to hotels and airports, providing students with a behind-the-scenes look at the travel industry.
This fall, Business Management Lecturer Sandra Blake-Neis took a group of about 25 Travel and Tourism Club members to the Grand Hyatt New York hotel.
“Travel and Tourism is a fabulous industry. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says travel is the number one industry in New York City,” said Blake-Neis.
Sharing a story
First the students and Professor Blake-Neis met Diana Beltran, the Grand Hyatt New York’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager.
Beltran impressed the BMCC visitors with a story about how she helped implement the hotel’s green initiative.
Beltran learned that every time a guest checked out of his or her hotel room, a new toilet paper roll went into the bathroom, ready for the next guest—even if the previously roll still had plenty of leftover tissue.
Surprised by this waste of paper, Beltran arranged for the leftover rolls to be donated to shelters throughout New York City.
“Hearing this story showed the students that there are plenty of ways to help your community while upholding the hotel standards your guests expect,” said Blake-Neis.
Meet and greet
Inside a large conference room, Beltran introduced some of her colleagues, who outlined their job responsibilities in banquet and event management, food operations, guest services, and more.
Dressed in business attire, the students asked the Grand Hyatt employees specific questions about the ins-and-outs of running a large, urban hotel.
“BMCC received special attention from our Meet Hyatt People session directors, who shared their person experiences,” said Beltran. “It was five hours of Hyatt and our industry.”
The students also toured the main lobby, guest rooms and suites, ballrooms, kitchen, and meeting facilities.
According to Blake-Neis, many students were impressed to learn the Grand Hyatt New York was the first ‘green’ hotel in New York City, giving it an edge in competition.
Travel and Tourism concentration
BMCC’s Business Management department offers an area of concentration in Travel and Tourism, which includes classes in finance and marketing.
“In Intro to Travel and Tourism, students learn about resorts, business hotels and accommodations. They also learn the difference between a first-rate hotel, such as the Grand Hyatt and a boutique hotel,” said Blake-Neis.
Travel and Tourism students are encouraged to take advantage of virtual tours offered on hotel Web sites. But physically touring a hotel and meeting its employees “makes my lectures come to life,” said Blake-Neis, who, in the classroom, assigns her students hotels to report about, analyzing everything from its amenities to décor to room fees.
Travel and Tourism Club president Yohan Garcia said the Grand Hyatt New York tour “exceeded my expectations. We left the site visit with a greater understanding of hospitality.”
Garcia is a Business Management major who is considering a career in politics.
“In so many industries, whether it’s in the political realm or business realm, oftentimes there’s lots of travel involved. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the ways a hotel operates, should you need space for an event, for example,” he said. “Tours like this one also stress the importance of being professional with others.”
Blake-Neis echoes his sentiments.
“The Grand Hyatt managers and staffers were so personable and treated the BMCC like equals, even giving them their email addresses for potential jobs,” she said. “In fact, after the hotel tour, a few students told me they want to change their concentration to Travel and Tourism.”
Editor’s Note: The Travel and Tourism Club thanks Grand Hyatt New York managers and staffers Thomas Beatty, Diana Beltran, Jim Dale, Marisa Galdi, Alexandra Maiman, Henning Nopper and Eamon O’Brien for their generous time.