Kennesaw State University and AURO University Partner to Shape Global Hospitality Leaders

Kennesaw State University and AURO University Partner to Shape Global Hospitality Leaders

By Author

Published on October 5, 2023

The global hospitality industry is poised for significant growth by 2027, but it also faces a severe staffing shortage. To tackle this challenge head-on, Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia, has joined hands with India's AURO University. Together, they aim to equip students with the skills needed to meet the global demands of the hospitality sector.

Recently, Kennesaw State and AURO University formalized their partnership with an agreement. This collaboration will involve faculty and student exchanges between the hospitality management programs at both institutions throughout the year. These exchanges will offer students from India and the U.S. valuable international insights into the hospitality industry, fostering cross-cultural awareness.

Robin Cheramie, Dean of the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State, emphasized the global nature of the hospitality industry, stating, "Almost any organization our students work for will have international guests and clients or will operate in multiple countries. Partnering with AURO means our students will be better able to compete in the global marketplace."

Leaders from both universities gathered at Kennesaw State to formalize this partnership. Among them were H.P. Rama, Founder and President of AURO University, Suresh Mathur, AURO's Chief Operating Officer, and Leonard Jackson, Director of Kennesaw State's Hospitality Management program.

AURO University, established in 2011 by H.P. Rama, who is also the founding chairman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association and current chairman of Auro Hotels, has earned a global reputation for producing quality hospitality professionals. AURO students in the hospitality program already undertake a one-year internship in the U.S. as part of their studies. With this partnership, these students will spend part of their time at Kennesaw's campus, interacting with peers, faculty, and gaining insights into the Metro Atlanta hospitality industry.

H.P. Rama highlighted the significance of this partnership, emphasizing that it goes beyond academic knowledge. He stated that students and faculty from both institutions would gain a deep understanding of cross-cultural values and diverse experiences. He also mentioned that the collaboration extends to Auro Hotels in the United States and India.

This partnership is a two-way street, allowing Kennesaw State students to visit India. The hospitality management faculty is planning an education abroad experience to India for Spring 2024. During this program, students will visit AURO's campus in Gujarat, Surat, and explore the surrounding region.

In addition to student exchanges, the agreement includes faculty exchanges. Both institutions are developing virtual and in-person exchanges, where faculty will share ideas on incorporating global perspectives into their teaching. Furthermore, there is interest in expanding these exchanges to include students and faculty from other disciplines.

With the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India projecting a shortage of 150,000 skilled workers in the luxury hotel market alone by 2029, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association reporting that 81 percent of hotel owners struggle to fill open positions, there's a bright future for well-trained, globally-focused hospitality professionals. The partnership between Kennesaw State University and AURO University positions students from both institutions to excel as leaders in this thriving industry.

AURO University, Surat, is one of the fastest-growing universities in Gujarat, inspired by the vision and teachings of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh and The Divine Mother. It offers programs in Business, Hospitality Management, Law, Information Technology, Design, Journalism & Mass Communication, Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and Sri Aurobindo Integral Life Centre (SAILC). For more information, please visit AURO University's website.

McDreams Hotels Introduce AI-Powered Phone System "Lisa" for Enhanced Guest Service

McDreams Hotels Introduce AI-Powered Phone System "Lisa" for Enhanced Guest Service

By Nishang Narayan

Published on May 21, 2024

McDreams, a prominent hotel group in Germany, has taken a significant leap in enhancing guest services by implementing an AI-powered phone system named "Lisa." Developed by Onsei, a leader in AI software solutions, Lisa is designed to handle a variety of guest inquiries including room availability, booking details, and local area information.

This innovative system is currently managing half of all routine guest calls independently, which has resulted in halving the front desk call volume and reducing the group's overall operational workload by one-third. The implementation of Lisa has not only streamlined operations but also boosted employee satisfaction by allowing staff to focus on more complex guest needs.

The integration of Lisa with the hotel's property management system, Like Magic, has propelled a 50% increase in guests following a completely digital journey from booking to check-out. This seamless integration has proven effective in enhancing the overall guest experience.


Ralf Bonin, McDreams Operations Director, praised the system, stating, "Lisa is not just an automated phone service; she acts like a living, breathing member of the team, capable of providing reliable communication and services to our guests."

The deployment of Lisa has also led to significant financial benefits, with a reduction in personnel expenses for administrative tasks by 80%, translating to a projected annual savings of €600,000 ($650,570).

As McDreams continues to innovate within the hospitality industry, the introduction of AI technologies like Lisa sets a new standard for guest service efficiency and effectiveness, promising a brighter, more efficient future for hotel operations.

For more information about McDreams' innovative approach to guest services, visit their website at McDreams Hotels.

This strategic move by McDreams underscores their commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology to enhance guest satisfaction and operational efficiency, setting a benchmark in the hospitality industry.

Club Mahindra Partners with Megalodon for AI-Driven Marketing Initiatives

Club Mahindra Partners with Megalodon for AI-Driven Marketing Initiatives

By Nishang Narayan

Published on May 20, 2024

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited's flagship brand, Club Mahindra, has announced a new partnership with Megalodon, an India-based marketing communications company. This collaboration is set to infuse Club Mahindra’s marketing strategies with advanced AI technology, aiming to transform how the brand interacts with its members in the digital realm.

Club Mahindra, known for its extensive array of holiday experiences across over 125 resorts worldwide, is looking to leverage AI to create personalized experiences for its members. The focus will be on developing AI-based creative assets, including both static and video content, which are intended to strengthen consumer connections and enhance the digital presence of the brand.

Rashi Agarwal, founder of Megalodon, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, "Working with Club Mahindra presents a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the transformative impact of AI in the hospitality industry. We are thrilled to apply our innovative solutions to such a prestigious brand and anticipate significant achievements from this venture."


Sahid SK, co-founder and chief creative officer of Megalodon, highlighted the revolutionary role of AI in marketing, "AI is redefining how brands engage with their audiences. Through our collaboration, we aim to set new standards in customer interactions and satisfaction within the travel sector. Our AI-driven creatives are crafted to captivate and engage, ensuring memorable experiences for Club Mahindra’s members."

The initiative is part of Club Mahindra's broader strategy to expand its services and offerings. According to a recent report by the Press Trust of India, MHRIL plans to invest up to Rs 45 billion ($542.8 million) over the next three to four years to expand its room inventory to 10,000. This expansion will include new resorts, brownfield expansions, and strategic acquisitions, facilitated by partnerships with various state governments.

Currently, Club Mahindra serves over 281,000 members, offering them premium holiday experiences. This partnership with Megalodon is expected to enhance these offerings by tailoring interactions and content to meet the specific preferences and interests of its members.

For more information on Club Mahindra's new AI-driven initiatives and to explore their resort offerings, visit the Club Mahindra website.

This collaboration between Club Mahindra and Megalodon marks a significant step towards integrating cutting-edge technology in the hospitality industry, aiming to enrich the customer experience through personalized and innovative marketing strategies.

Choice Hotels Integrates Oracle’s AI Merchandising Technology Across Upscale Properties

Choice Hotels Integrates Oracle’s AI Merchandising Technology Across Upscale Properties

By Nishang Narayan

Published on May 17, 2024

Choice Hotels International, a leading global lodging franchisor, has announced a strategic partnership with Oracle Hospitality to implement the Oracle Nor1 AI-driven merchandising solution across its upscale hotel portfolio. This initiative will cover esteemed brands such as Radisson Blu, Radisson, Cambria, and the Ascend Collection.

Oracle Nor1 leverages advanced AI technology to provide personalized service offerings to guests, enhancing their overall experience. By integrating this system, Choice Hotels can tap into incremental revenue opportunities by targeting guests with personalized offers at various stages of their journey, from room upgrades at booking to additional services like daily breakfast or late checkout during their stay.

The implementation of the Nor1 eStandby Upgrade has already shown promising results in Radisson Americas properties, where it was initially rolled out. In 2023, more than 100 properties saw an average increase of 17% in upsell revenue over booked rates per transaction, indicating significant financial benefits, although results may vary between franchisees.


Indy Adenaw, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Choice Hotels Upscale, highlighted the strategic fit of the Nor1 system, noting, "Nor1 not only enhances revenue opportunities for our hotels but also significantly improves guest satisfaction and loyalty by providing a more tailored experience."

Alex Alt, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Oracle Hospitality and Retail, also commented on the deployment, stating, "The AI-driven insights from Nor1 empower hotels to offer customizable experiences to guests, thereby boosting property profitability and guest satisfaction."

The full integration of the Nor1 eStandby Upgrade is designed to work seamlessly with digital marketing tools to automate offers throughout the guest's pre-arrival phase, regardless of the underlying property management system used by the franchisee or owner.

This move by Choice Hotels to incorporate cutting-edge AI technology underscores their commitment to enhancing guest experiences and operational efficiency across their upscale properties globally. As the rollout continues, it is expected to set a new standard in how hotels personalize guest interactions and capitalize on revenue opportunities.

For more information on Choice Hotels’ innovations and Oracle’s technology solutions in the hospitality industry, visit their respective websites. This partnership marks a significant advancement in the integration of AI technologies within the hotel industry, promising a future where hotel stays are more personalized and profitable.

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