New Delhi – They are not even 20 years old and their innovative projects are already shaking up accepted hotel industry codes. Last Wednesday, the Les Roches campus in Crans-Montana hosted the final pitch of the #NextDisruptor international competition for tourism and hospitality. The three projects nominated were presented to a jury composed of industry experts, faculty members, start-up founders, and executives.
Open to high school students from all over the world, The Next Disruptor is a concept developed by Les Roches, the Hospitality Management School with the aim of enabling tomorrow’s young talents to express ideas that will have a positive impact on the environment, culture, customer experience or employee satisfaction in the hospitality industry.
The second edition of the competition, launched last March, aroused passion on four continents. The entries were evaluated for their creativity, feasibility, disruptive potential, and ability to be implemented. Based on a two-round selection process, three projects were selected for the final presentation:
· L’Herbier – The Herbarium – A project by Thomas Powell, a 19-year-old French/British dual national, based in Singapore. His idea is for a friendly, ecologically responsible boutique hotel, incorporating a rainforest experience. The concept calls for a reconnection with nature in the heart of large urban centers, thereby generating less stress, more creativity, productivity, and well-being for the guest – “a balancing of the senses”.
· Asapholo, the hologram concierge, is a project by Ana Focsa, 17, from Romania. Through a fusion of artificial intelligence and augmented reality, the Asapholo solution changes the way customers interact with staff and equipment, responding to needs immediately and optimizing information. Most importantly, the system offers the instant holographic presence of human staff when needed.
· Fiona Juna MacLagan, 18, is a student from Nepal living in the UK. Named JYOTI, her project is based on a vision of “Change for the Future”, i.e. that customers are looking for a new way of life, including a new way of experiencing travel in a peaceful and sustainable way. Against this background, Fiona would like to develop a professional platform based in Nepal for the exchange of experiences, linking hospitality mentors with hospitality professionals.
Following the jury’s deliberations, the winning #NextDisruptor 2 project is The Herbarium by Thomas Powell.
The winner will receive a full scholarship for a Les Roches Bachelor’s degree in Global Hospitality Management at either the Crans-Montana campus in Switzerland or the Marbella campus in Spain. In addition, he will have the privilege of being coached by Chip Conley, a successful entrepreneur and pioneer in the boutique hotel industry, who notably accompanied the founders of Airbnb in transforming their fast-growing technology start-up into a global hotel brand.
Christine Demen-Meier, Managing Director Worldwide Les Roches
Carlos Diez de la Lastra, CEO Les Roches Marbella
Pablo Garcia Sanchez, Director of Spark Crans-Montana
Susana Garrido, Director of Spark Marbella
Frédéric Biousse, Chairman Experienced Capital, owner and co-founder les Domaines de Fontenille former co-founder & co-CEO of Sandro-Maje-Claudie Pierlot
James Lemon, founder, and CEO of The Growth Works and OTOLO, consulting agency for the hospitality industry.