/ 24 March 2021

A STUDENT from the College of Home Economics of the University of the Philippines Diliman claimed the top prize in the 2021 International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education Hotel Challenge.

Mark Francis Plaza, a 4th year BS HRIM student, bested 151 participants from renowned hospitality institutions all over the world after he garnered a score of 181.9. He bagged the cash prize of $1,000.

Launched in 2019 by American educational company Knowledge Matters, the competition aims to test participants’ skills in managing a simulated hotel.

Held completely online from March 1 to 12, it was open to college-level students from schools that are institutional members of the ICHRIE.

Plaza said he learned about the competition from Professor Raymund Gerard Guerrero of the DHRIM, who encouraged him to join.

He struggled during the competition because of his part-time job amid the Covid19 pandemic. But he said that he found “the task progressively enjoyable and a learning experience.”

“I want to thank God for good health and giving me strength to balance everything. I thank my family and friends who motivated me during the competition. I am grateful to the faculty of Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution for all the learnings through the years that I applied in the competition,” Plaza said.

“I am really grateful for the opportunity and the learnings that I gained. And I hope that more students would be able to experience this kind of hotel simulation, because it is a great avenue to apply the concepts learned about hospitality management,” he added.

UPD said the simulation was developed in partnership with the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation and Marriott International.

“Among the participants’ tasks were to set room rates, inventory management, schedule special events like banquets and meetings, and purchasing supplies,” the university said.

“The scores were ranked based on a balanced scorecard that included profitability, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction,” he added.

The ICHRIE is an international non-profit association working to promote global education, research, service and business in the hospitality and tourism industry.