Hotel ‘takeover’ gives travel and tourism students insight into industry

Students from Warrington & Vale Royal College gained valuable insight into the hotel industry after taking over the Holiday Inn in Woolston.

Travel and tourism students took responsibility for every aspect of the hotel, from checking in guests, to running the housekeeping and room service team.

The week-long event, organised as part of IHG’s National Hotel Takeover, saw students take part in real-life interviews for head of department roles, including general manager and head housekeeper. Successful students then recruited fellow students to form their team.

Aviation operations student Hollie Clayton – who will go on to work as part of’s cabin crew in April – secured the role of general manager.

The former Great Sankey High School student said: “This has been a fantastic experience. It has been really good to see first-hand what goes in to running a hotel – it is a lot harder than people think.”

Fellow student Natasha Byrne, who secured the role of hotel administrator during the takeover, added: “This is my first time taking part in a project and I really didn’t know what to expect. I have really enjoyed it and it is great experience to have on your CV.”

The initiative was part of IHG Academy, which sees its brands – Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza – collaborate with educational providers and community groups to help people build their hospitality skills and improve employability.

Laura Derricott, general manager of Holiday Inn Warrington – which was one of more than 30 IHG hotels across the UK to take part in the takeover event – said: “This is the 19th year this initiative has been running and it’s proven to be a hugely successful recruitment tool. Some of our best team members, even a former general manager, participated in the takeover as students.

“We will definitely be taking the programme on next year, developing and learning from this week, but also making it better for years to come.

“It is so important to put back into the community and young people need that experience to put themselves in the best position for any job, not just in hotels.”

Scott Grime, course leader and lecturer in aviation and travel & tourism, said: “Being involved in an event such as this is a great opportunity for our students. It goes hand-in-hand with what they learn during lessons at college and gives them the chance to put those practical skills to the test. Whether they are planning to go into the hotel industry, or work in a different part of the travel and tourism industry, this experience will put them one step ahead when it comes to applying for jobs in the future.”