BMIHMS eagerly anticipates more triumphs in 2024

HM Awards 2023 presenters

2023 was marked by successes across industry, research, teaching, and community engagement for Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS) at Torrens University Australia.

A refreshed Hospitality undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum

Maintaining a current and relevant curriculum is crucial for our students and industry partners. In 2023, the school conducted a comprehensive audit with valuable input from esteemed industry partners. The outcome was a refreshed undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum that places a greater emphasis on emotional intelligence and essential soft skills, or how Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS) likes to refer to them as – smart skills.

New subjects, such as managing people and organisations, guest experience and service management, environmental sustainability for hotels and resorts, hoteliers and destination management, and entrepreneurship & innovations, were integrated to ensure students will be well-equipped for the ever-evolving demands of the hospitality industry.

Significant industry engagement at BMIHMS in 2023

Hands-on experience remained a critical component of BMIHMS’ programs, with students undergoing thorough preparation focusing on communication, service skills, and practical competencies in food & beverage and rooms division.

The school’s Work Integrated Learning continued to enhance students' employability skills, paving the way for successful careers in the hospitality industry with 537 students placed with hotel partners across Australia, Asia, and Europe for industry placement subjects throughout 2023.

Industry engagement reached new heights in 2023, with 40 industry guests and 15 alumni speakers participating in classrooms, hotel tours, recruitment days, Industry Connect careers expo and Leadership Speaker Series further strengthening close ties with hospitality leaders.

In May, it was a privilege to be one of the major sponsors of the AHICE conference and the Future Leaders Forum in Adelaide, and a wonderful opportunity to directly engage our future hotel leaders directly with industry over the three days.

Co-hosting the HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence, where BMIHMS had the largest number of alumni nominees, and Associate Professor Simon Pawson hosted, capped off the year in November.

21st HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence

BMIHMS colleagues celebrate at the 21st HM Awards (November 2023)

Left to Right: Senior Marketing Manager Allison Harris, Tamara Petric, Petra Eckerova, Assoc. Prof Pawson, Senior Lecturer and BMIHMS researcher Amanda Ting, BMIHMS Learning Facilitator Natalie Reid, Kimberley Roberts, Given Angel Marcial

As a first, the 21st HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence featured Sala Bai Hotel School during the awards ceremony as its principal charity. This provided BMIHMS an opportunity to share a video produced by James Wilkinson, HM Magazine Editor-In-Chief, HM Awards Founder and Chief Judge, and Simon Pawson, to an audience of over 1100 hoteliers showcasing the work BMIHMS does as a Certified B Corp organisation to support Sala Bai Hotel School in Cambodia. Incredibly pleasing that over $20,000 was raised at the event for Sala Bai Hotel School.

Inspiring stories of excellence from BMIHMS students and staff

Throughout the year, numerous success stories from our students, staff, and industry partners were celebrated. Notable achievements included Amelia Perez, Development Manager, Australasia at Hilton Hotels Worldwide, and BMIHMS alumnus winning the Rising Star of the Year 2023 for her support of sustainable hotel development and inspiring resilience amidst challenges and embracing the post-pandemic era.

Rising Star of the Year 2023

Amelia Perez - Rising Star of the Year 2023

Thought-provoking research shaping the future of tourism and hospitality

Bridging the gap between academic research and practical industry insights, our research and consultancy team continued to shape the future of the tourism and hospitality industry making remarkable strides in advancing theory and practice within the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Achievements included securing 4 book contracts, publishing 14 articles in top-tier Q1 journals, presenting 5 papers at numerous conferences and contributing 7 articles to prominent media outlets.

Research focused on vital areas, including covering luxury hospitality experiences, diversity, equity and inclusion in tourism; hospitality employees' thriving at work and wellbeing; and hospitality competencies of the future.

With many more projects on the horizon, researchers are excited to continue to collaborate with other institutions and industry partners in Australia and globally to reshape the future of the tourism and hospitality industry.

Senior Learning Facilitator and Luxury Accommodation Researcher, Dr Anita Manfreda's ground-breaking research redefining luxury accommodation in Australia asks the question - Can luxury and sustainability coexist in travel? The research encourages embracing a new definition of luxury, one that includes cultural immersion and respectful engagement.

Anita Manfreda

Anita Manfreda, Luxury Accommodation Researcher, Torrens University Australia. Credit: Anita Manfreda

Supporting the wider community through Be Good activities

BMIHMS’s commitment to its ‘Be Good’ activities significantly contributed to the local Blue Mountains community, and beyond globally, in 2023. Hosting events, like the Cancer Wellness Support dinner, Sala Bai Hotel School dinner, Leura Gardens festival, and Blue Mountains Health Trust charity gala, showcased our commitment to making a positive impact. The opening of the Sala Bai Lodge, a luxury accommodation cottage run as a social enterprise, exemplifies our dedication to supporting charities in both the Blue Mountains and Cambodia. Collective events accomplished a phenomenal $114,500 directly contributed to charity.

‘We were also delighted to welcome three of the Sala Bai Hotel School trainers for three weeks of intensive professional development in November, as well as the launch of our Sala Bai Lodge at our Leura Campus,” said Associate Professor Pawson.

BMIHMS founders, Friends of Sala Bai Australia (FOSBA) Consuls and BMIHMS staff and students united to develop and operate contemporary luxury accommodation next to the school’s grounds with students involved in the daily operations.

BMIHMS at the Sala Bai Dinner

BMIHMS students volunteering at the Sala Bai Dinner on Leura Campus

BMIHMS alumni success stories in 2023

BMIHMS’ global alumni network continued to shine and go from strength to strength fostering connections and support. In 2023 the prestigious network grew to 8000 active members from over 100 nationalities from at least 90 countries.

‘It is thanks to the work of the late Mr Val Cook, who started at BMIHMS in 1991 as Vice Principal, then Alumni Ambassador, that we have such a connected alumni network,” Petra Braat, BMIHMS Alumni Coordinator explained.

The importance of our alumni network and career advancement, as highlighted by our Alumni Coordinator Petra Braat, further emphasises BMIHMS's global reputation for excellence.

‘Hospitality is essentially a people-based industry,” Petra explained, “Connecting with people and providing exemplary customer service underpins all our teaching and is practised across all our campuses. Supporting graduates and staying in touch with them is a natural extension of this.’

Our alumni were featured on the cover of HM Magazine and featured to highlight their achievements in treading diverse new career paths. Alumni included Ben Salter, Director of Distribution for Accor Pacific, Amelia Perez, Development Manager at Hilton, Dimitri Karam, Area General Manager and Group Compliance Manager – Oscars Hotels, and Elise Dao, Senior Analyst at Salter Brothers.

HM Magazine

The unique three pillars approach to BMIHMS’ educational philosophy

The visionary Three Pillars Approach, which focuses on theoretical knowledge, practical abilities, and personal and professional growth, remains the bedrock of the school’s educational philosophy. This unique approach differentiates BMIHMS graduates as the industry's graduates of choice, sought after by global hotel brands.

BMIHMS has a strong plan to continue consistently ranking high

BMIHMS continues to shine in the QS World University Rankings as the number one hotel school in Australia for the past three years and the third in Oceania specialising in Hospitality and Leisure Management.

‘Our commitment to educating future hotel leaders remains unwavering, 2023 reaffirmed our position as leaders in Australian Hotel Management education” explained Associate Professor Pawson.

The school’s renewed vision ‘BMIHMS creates the world’s best hoteliers through a shared vision to provide world class, authentic and immersive learning and industry experiences to students’ will guide its purpose for the coming years.

‘As we step into 2024, we look forward to another year of growth, innovation, and excellence at BMIHMS, where together with industry by our side, we will continue to shape the future of hospitality management education with a renewed vision guiding our endeavours.’

About Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS)
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