Twenty students in hotel management at Cégep Limoilou take advantage of their spring break week to immerse themselves in the bath by running a hotel in their own way. The owners of the Maison Ste-Ursule hotel in Old Quebec have agreed to entrust them with the keys.
Opening only during the summer, during the Carnival and at Easter, the owners of Maison Ste-Ursule did not really believe that students would succeed in attracting customers during the dead period of March. They were the first to be surprised to find that their small 15-room hotel was busy this past weekend and that Saturday, March 18 is already almost full.
“They have a new approach […] Young people bring an enthusiasm that we have lost a little bit, must admit,” says Maurice Decker, owner of the hotel for 27 years. It was his partner Eric Rioux who launched the idea last fall to let students take possession of their hotel for a week. An idea that immediately aroused the enthusiasm of the first-year group, says teacher Claudia Larochelle.
Twenty volunteers, the youngest of whom are 17 years old, have been working on the project since December. They chose a general manager and divided the tasks. The group has relied heavily on social media to promote this friendly hotel. “We restarted the website, we promoted Facebook more intensively, we created an Instagram account and information capsules,” says Cedric Ciani, the student appointed director general of the ” Hotel for the week.
Eric Rioux argues that they need to “get up to date” and that this contribution comes as a breath of fresh air. “I am very satisfied so far, even surprised. It almost makes you want to sit on the school benches with them! “He laughs.
The young people decided to include breakfasts in the price of the room, and concocted packages with the Museum of Civilization, Cafe 47, chocolate maker Érico, Paillard and the carriages. They were also able to familiarize themselves with Booking.com, which they do not have the leisure to try at school.
The owners want the students’ initiative to help them find customers on the web by themselves, without always having to go through this online booking site, which they call “badly needed” because it Retains 15% of the room price. “Everyone will learn something from this experience,” says Decker.
Claudia Larochelle is happy to be able to “give the right time on the hotel” to the students from their second session. “It’s going to make sense to all our classes afterward because we’re going to be able to link the theory to that experience,” she explains.
On the first opening night, the students had to confront problems and adjust the shooting. They had not thought of providing ice cream to the customers, or lending a corkscrew. “But everyone is passionate and does its job well because we know that there is a customer behind to satisfy,” Cédric Ciani submits.
The owners of the hotel and the students agreed on a sharing of the week’s profits. The money raised by the youth will be used to finance another immersion in hotels of Las Vegas in the 3rd year.
The Cegep Limoilou, which offers techniques in tourism, hotel management and catering, offers its students a room, a restaurant and a pedagogical bar. But for Cedric Ciani, to manage a hotel “for real” is more trainer and allows to create a solidarity between the students.