Hilton College prepares to host virtual hospitality competition
The Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management is hosting its first-ever international Hospitality Hackathon – HC3 from June 1 to Aug. 8.
The hackathon is a virtual competition that is open to all student teams who can produce solutions to address the challenges of the post-pandemic hospitality industry; no computer programming skills are necessary.
“It’s not a traditional hackathon focused on computers, but it’s focused on finding workable hacks for the industry right now,” said the event’s executive director and an assistant professor at the Hilton College, Arlene Ramirez.
The competition was founded by two Hilton College faculty members, Ramirez and Scott Taylor, who was already planning to have an internal competition for Fall 2020. However, it transformed into an international competition with strong support from the dean and other faculties.
“Our top goal is not only to help the industry, but also to give students exposure to people they didn’t get because of their rescinded internships or jobs,” Ramirez said.
All student teams can have up to five members and have to register by June 30. Teams don’t have to state their ideas when they register, Ramirez said.
“However, UH students who want to participate must submit their application by June 25. We will pick two teams to represent UH and the Hilton college, one graduate and one undergraduate team, Ramirez said.
The challenge for the teams is to develop an original solution that is inexpensive, feasible and increases profitability, Taylor said, who is the event’s director and an assistant professor at the Hilton College.
“Somehow repurposing existing resources and use them more effectively than they were set for would be a good idea,” Ramirez said. “For example replacing menus with QR codes or using different forms of touchless digital payments.”
Teams will submit their ideas in a 90-second video, where a panel of 15 or more judges from various hospitality companies will rate them online, according to Taylor.
The winning team will receive a $3,000 scholarship from some industry partners and be recognized in the industry’s media.
“Right now we know we’re going to have two teams from UH and seven other schools have registered from around the world,” Ramirez said. “There is a school in Ireland, Dubai, India, Italy and three from the US.”