Creating a training pathway from certificate training to post-graduate higher education for the Australian and Asian hotel and resort markets was the goal, but what course and delivery did the market want and how to address country differences?

Our client provided both VET and higher education courses and had successful run courses in the hospitality industry within Australia.  However, what courses were offered varied across their campuses and remote delivery.  Some initial discussions with large hotels and resorts indicated industry needed a different model.  Our client also wanted to expand its international offer.

Working with our client to understand their aspirations, limitations and what existing data was saying, we focussed the study on large hotels and resorts in countries with existing access:  China, Indonesia, India and the Australian markets.  Because of the significant differences in these country markets and client delivery capacity, the project specifically on major cities in these markets.  Our initial research of these markets indicated which cities had the largest opportunity for courses based on the number of large providers and the types of travellers visiting those markets.  The Australian research was conducted nationally.

An additional requirement of the project was to provide insights and strategies that our client could leverage for expansion to countries outside the initial group.  We needed to deliver against a global strategy, not just the targeted regions.

Once the key cities were selected, we worked with our local teams to define and refine the target market in terms of size, who to contact, and how to interview.  Within Australia and Hong Kong, the best approach was an online survey after initial contact with the training-decision maker, who was often the Human Resource Director.  We needed to speak with the C-level managers and Managing Directors in Indonesia, China and India.  For these markets, we needed the more personal approach of one-on-one interviews that were often done in person.

Insights from the research showed differences in the relationship of staff to management, use of non-local labour, and views on whether training was used to improve productivity, service quality or as a way to groom staff for senior roles.  While the focus changed as staff increased seniority, we also uncovered cultural differences and how these motivations impacted preferences for local, online or training involving travel.  Including which countries provided the best location for staff to travel to for training.

From the project, we were able to create a successful strategy that targeted the right countries to offer the training suit, the right mix of online and on-site training, and in which countries to provide physical locations for intensive training that reflected motivational needs.