Youth Generation in the Hotel Industry

Youth Generation in the Hotel Industry

The IHIDC Talk with Dr. Florian Aubke

The Modul Brand Award has been established in 2016 to distinguish the most innovative Hotel focusing on the fastest growing group of consumers: Millennials.

Already for the 4th time this year, students of the Modul University Vienna will present the findings and final results to the audience of the International Hotel Investment Conference on November 7th 2019, at the newly opened Andaz Hotel Vienna. The Award Presentation has become an integrated part of the conference and shows the capacity of the University to combine academic studies with current demands of the industry. The Project is supervised by a team of hospitality professionals and by the dean.

The leading question for the project is related to the travel habits and the requirements for the perfect luxury stay for this generation: What is the most attractive luxury hotel brand for Millennials?

The International Hotel Investment and Design Conference had the pleasure to interview Dr. Florian Aubke, Dean of the Undergraduate School in the Department of Tourism and Service Management at the MODUL University Vienna.

IHIDC: Why is the Modul University supporting this project?

Aubke: The reasons are manifold. First, the Brand Award and the IHIDCF provides a platform to highlight our activities and achievements as a University. Forging ties to the industry allows us to talk on eye level, which again helps our students to find meaningful jobs after graduation. The strong business focus of our program and specialization options in hotel development aligns well with the interests of the audience at this conference. Personally, I support the Brand Award to get a confirmation on what our students are capable of creating. Seeing the students grow over the few months of this project from a faint idea to a highly professional presentation in front of a large audience is what makes my job so rewarding.


IHIDC: How important and intensive is industry relation for your University in the tourism sector?

Aubke: As a University, we base our activities on two pillars, education and research. In an applied field such as tourism, industry relations are paramount for the strengths of both pillars. What is important is that the relationship works in both directions. The educational content should be a collage of research output, which tends to be future-oriented, and current best practice. We call upon our industry partners to validate the timeliness of our programs as this leads to employability of our graduates. Research needs to happen in collaboration, too. Hence, we need to listen carefully to the industry and jointly define research needs that assist the industry in the years to come. When played well, industry relations is a give and take.

IHIDC: Do you think students and young professionals get enough attention and support in the hotel industry?

Aubke: Generally yes. We should not ignore the challenges the industry currently faces, shortage of operational and line staff being only one of many. Yet at the same time, the industry experienced phenomenal growth over the last decade and has evolved into an industry with complex business structures. A new brand is born almost every day of the year, new markets see exponential growth, new owner-operator structures affect the way businesses are run. The effects of digitalization and automation on the hotel industry will keep hoteliers busy for the years to come, let alone new business models that quickly disrupt the status quo. Our challenge is that we need to educate young people for an unknown future. In turn, I would wish that more hoteliers accepted this unknown future and the sometimes blurry profiles of graduates. I see great potential for growing graduates within companies. A blunt proposal would be to revamp current management traineeship programs and create seamless pathways from University to the organization and back. We are wasting too much potential by focussing on traditional career pathways, on all sides, mind you.

IHIDC: Have there been already some success stories after the award presentations?

The connections our students are able to make at this event are priceless. It is not only the event itself, but all the connections the students make during the preparation and evaluation phase. I am certain that all evaluated brands in past editions of the brand award have fond memories of the students. Events like this create an enormous amount of social capital. Of course, it is up to our students to make use of this social capital, but there are good examples. Valerie Pretscher, Brand Award participant in the first edition is now working in the development team of Zoku. I am sure the Brand Award did play a role here.


About Modul University
Modul University Vienna is widely considered as Austria’s leading international private university and is owned by the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the largest provider of private education in Austria.  The university is located in beautiful Vienna, Austria, the world’s number one city for quality of living 2009-2019, and it was ranked in the world’s 25 top performing universities in top-cited publications  by 2018.
The Modul brand stands for more than 100 years of excellence in education. Founded in 1908, MODUL College is the tourism school with the longest tradition in tourism and hospitality education worldwide. Modul University Vienna offers cutting-edge education in the areas of international management, new media technology, public governance, sustainable development, and tourism and hospitality management.
It has also a global campus, the Modul School of Tourism and Hospitality Management in Nanjing, China.

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Impressions from the MODUL Brand Award at the IHIDC 2018: