This was the question that played on the minds of 561 international hospitality students for the past three months. From India to Australia, students went head-to-head in the Take Off! competition, the most forward-thinking hospitality competition of the year!
Born from an Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) student business project in 2012, Take Off! is a worldwide student competition organized by the leading French hospitality group, AccorHotels. For the past 6 years, the company has welcomed students from all over the globe to participate in a challenge which calls for both innovation and creativity. This year, 561 students from 76 teaching establishments in 37 countries were tasked to design the ultimate fantasy mobile hotel.
Why do huge companies set up student competitions?
After you’ve spent decades at the top of your industry, you need to find new ways to revolutionize your products and engage new users. So, the answer is to turn to the most junior people you can find. Why? Because, it’s the students and interns who are able to look at a business with a fresh pair of eyes. They see things the CEO can’t, they think differently to the marketing manager, and ask questions that are crucial for new users.
Students also gain solid practical experience, network with huge industry names, and even win fantastic prizes. This is why student competitions are worth their weight in gold for both students and companies. Take Off! 2018, wrapped up in Paris just last week and we’ve got the low down on its history, winners, and what the mobile hotel of the future will look like!
Innovation Lab raised the theme as this powerful internal structure of AccorHotels will develop such concept among other creative brands. They showed already it creating from scratch JO&JOE, the becoming successful brand of AccorHotels for millennials!
Take Off! 2018
Through the competition, students learn how to develop a real case group project on an international level. Not only this, but they also have the opportunity to network, and win the grand prize of a trip around Europe where they’ll stay in some of AccorHotels’ astonishing properties.
Each year, the group chooses a theme that, in some way, revolutionizes the hospitality industry. For this year’s TakeOff!, the group decided to challenge the status quo and have the hotel come to its guest and not the other way around. Competitors were challenged to design the perfect mobile hotel that could move around to fit the needs of travelers. These hotels could be brought to public events such as festivals, trade fairs, and cultural events; or private events such as weddings.
As you can imagine, this was no easy task. Following weeks of intense preparation, the competition drew to a close in Paris on June 20th. The 5 teams that made it to the final round presented their projects at Sequana International head office in front of a panel of judges that included AccorHotels executives, representatives from hotels, hospitality schools, and Hosco’s own CEO, Olivier Bracard.
What does it take to win the competition? In the words of Fabrice Tessier, VP School Relations and Partnerships of AccorHotels, “definitely team spirit and high creativity! Missing it is not an option in our industry.” Following exceptional pitches from all candidates, the jury was left with a tough decision to make. After some careful deliberation, Justine Boyer, Paul Malingre, and Pauline Cabanes, from French business school IESEG School of Management, were crowned as the Take Off! winners.
Their “Cocoon by AccorHotels” design won the judges over. They were complimented for their ingenious and well-researched project. The idea was to enhance private events for family and friends by flying in an airship that enabled guests to enjoy an unforgettable and thrilling journey while having the ultimate panoramic view. The airship consisted of 15 luxury rooms, an incredible 360° reception area for mingling, and the excellent service of AccorHotels in the sky. What did they have to say about their Take Off! experience? Luckily, we were able to sit down with the winners to find out:
Why did you participate in this challenge?
We’re very interested in the hospitality industry. The three of us were interns at AccorHotels and we truly love this brand so it made sense to come together and take on this challenge. It was also a great way to gain valuable experience that we can add to our CVs, meet international people, and build meaningful industry relationships that will help us in the future.
How did you come up with your concept? What was the inspiration behind it?
It all started with a brainstorming session that we did to find out what a mobile hotel was and what we could do to make ours unique. A lot of concepts already exist. Our research brought us to the conclusion that it’s possible to put a hotel in an airship. So, we decided to explore this idea and started the Cocoon project.
What have you learned during this competition?
It has been a very rewarding experience. There are multiple stages you have to go through to reach the final of Take Off! each one taught us a lot about how to come up with a concrete business idea. There were so many things we had to take into consideration so our abilities were really put to the test.
It goes without saying that the other finalists on the podium created plans for astonishing mobile hotels as well. In second place, the Indonesian team CAPSLOC, from Bandung Institute of Tourism who designed eco-friendly capsule rooms that can be transported by trucks and produced an amazing video. The Australian team Air Ambassador, from Blue Mountains Hotel Management School, came in third place with their proposal for inflatable multi use hotels. The Bandung Institute of Tourism had a second placement in the competition with the team Gamplers coming in fourth place with their idea of a transportable room powered by solar panels and dual solution between tiny house and tent. Lastly, Masakali Voyagers, from IHM Pusa in India, devised the very innovative idea of eco-pods that can be transported by air, water, or land. We’re sure that these young and talented individuals from around the world will become future hospitality stars!
The team at Hosco would like to congratulate all of the teams that participated this year, it was a great success. Moreover, we would like to say how proud we are to be part of these types of initiatives that motivate future champions of the hospitality industry. Check out all photos from the event here. Think you have what it takes to participate in the next Take Off! Challenge? Stay tuned, the 8th edition is coming in 2019!