Nowadays we can outsource almost all the functions in a hotel: housekeeping, maintenance and engineering, front office, reservations, etc. Restaurants are outsourced to different restaurant chains, spas are outsourced to wellness brands, and Online Travel Agents (OTA) have largely taken over the business from Hotel Reservation Systems (HRS).

If this is the case, do we still need hoteliers? What is their role today, and what will be their role tomorrow?

The CEOs of many of the most important hotel chains are not hoteliers; their background is in finance, law, marketing, or management in other business sectors. Many have never held a management position in hotel operations.

If this is true, is hospitality education still needed? It begs the question, what exactly do we mean by “hospitality”?

Complicating the picture is another trend. The majority of today’s students from the top two hotels schools in the world do not go into hotel operations when they graduate. Instead, they want to land attractive positions in national and multinational companies operating in various domains, such as luxury products, healthcare, consulting, and banking, among others.