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Minute on the Clock – Suzanne Parr

03 February 2012
Minute on the Clock – Suzanne Parr

Suzanne Parr and two fellow hospitality management students scooped a prestigious award from the Guild of Master Innholders for their training video on sustainable competitive advantage. She spoke to Janie Stamford

How did you get involved in the video?
I'm in my final year of a hospitality management degree and was representing Bournemouth University in the competition. On behalf of the Master Innholders and Springboard, the competition was to create a 10-minute video on the topic of "sustainable competitive advantage: how can hotels achieve this?". With my team members, Eleanor Moore and Julian Dombrowsky, we immediately set to work researching potential themes for our video.

What was the premise?
We looked at other industries to see what ideas could be used in the hospitality industry (eg, facilities like booking seats before a flight) and updated technology in hotels, social media and even a hotel that changed with the seasons. But we kept coming back to the question: is this sustainable? And it wasn't. Overall it is key staff that make a hotel sustainable - something that competitors cannot mimick.

What inspired you?
The idea for apprenticeships came from a Bournemouth University graduate, currently researching German apprenticeship schemes for the Savoy Educational Trust. In Germany apprenticeships are highly regarded with over 200 trades to pick from. With rising higher education fees, the idea it could work in the UK to cut youth unemployment and lessen the skills gap became our main topic.

How was your year as an intern with CH&Co?
It was the highlight of my degree. I had a structured year moving around the company to several B&I units and went on training courses that developed me as a person, but also helped me in my final year at university. The people there were very memorable and I look forward to returning to the company after I graduate.

Why did you choose hospitality as a career?
I'm an avid foodie and love the fast-paced industry. My passion is to one day run my own events company, which may be a little pie in the sky but I definitely have the motivation.

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