Hospitality Innovation Consultancy Project - Leading Hospitality Innovation

Hospitality Innovation Consultancy Project (HICP)

Why just imagine the future of hospitality? Let student consultants bring business solutions to your organisation with a client-centred approach.


The HICP Module

A unique feature of this programme is the Hospitality Innovation Consultancy Project. In this module students work as part of a consultancy team to develop innovative solutions to a strategic hospitality challenge provided by a client.

This module aims to teach students the skills they need to work with hospitality industry clients and how they can provide a solution or recommendations for problems in a systematic, methodologically consistent and justifiable way. The student teams use a design thinking approach, which puts an emphasis on designing solutions in close cooperation and co-creation with the client.

In the first semester in Maastricht, students draw up a design brief and design criteria for a solution. In the second semester in Dublin, students develop and evaluate solutions. The project is finalised in the third semester in Barcelona, where students validate the selected prototype(s) and work on developing a business and implementation plan. The consultancy teams are supported by academic advisers and relevant industry leaders from the three institutions. 

Students working on consultancy project

The Consultancy Project

Given the Master’s level of the programme, projects may address multiple aspects of a hospitality business challenge:
  • The problem/opportunity has to do with guests, employees or other stakeholders. You do not need to be active in the hospitality sector, as long as hospitality is strategically important (like hospitality in a health care setting).
  • The problem/opportunity is highly complex, i.e. it involves multiple stakeholders, developments at all levels, different relationship types etc. The project result should be a business case with a mid- to long-term strategic impact on your organisation and its stakeholders.
  • The project contributes to one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The problem/opportunity can be answered using a design thinking approach, academic resources and research.
The projects that students take on will typically feature some of the following
design thinking attributes:
  • The problem is human-centred: deep understanding of the people involved.
  • The problem needs framing: the students have a hunch about the problem/opportunity, but it needs to be explored, framed and agreed upon.
  • There are many unknowns and data from the past is unlikely to help solve the problem or create the opportunity.
  • There is little relevant available data to analyse.
  • The problem has many connected, interdependent facets, making it hard to know where to start.
  • The problem/opportunity is challenging and reflects current and emerging trends in the sector.
  • The solution requires creative and innovative thinking.

Benefits to Getting Involved

  • A dedicated team to address a current or a future business problem within your organisation
  • Access to the latest research and thinking within the broader hospitality industry
  • Research and prototype development through an iterative design thinking approach, leading to a solution in terms of a product/service
  • Opportunities to network with three leading international hospitality education institutions

Organisational Requirements

  • Time investment over 18 months (start September);
    - Provide project briefings and information about the project
    - Assign a point of contact from your business to the project
  • Meet the student consultancy team in person/virtually on milestone moments;
    - At the beginning of the programme to introduce your project
    - Towards the end of each semester
    - At the final presentation
    - And progress throughout the programme
  • Give feedback to academic supervisors on content and process
  • Permit use of (anonymised) data for educational purposes
  • Facilitate access to employees and/or guests as part of the research process

Examples of Student Consultancy Projects

  • Developing a ‘smart’ concept that utilises Internet of Things technology to enhance the guest experience and streamline operations
  • Creating a ‘green hospitality’ concept that emphasises environmentally friendly practices and sustainability
  • Developing a ‘wellness for guests’ concept that includes amenities such as fitness classes, spa services and healthy food options
  • Introducing a ‘co-living project’ concept, i.e. guests can book long-term stays in shared spaces with shared amenities
  • Developing a ‘flash get-together’ concept, i.e. guests can book last-minute, discounted rooms through a mobile app
  • Introducing a ‘home-sharing’ concept, i.e. guests can book entire apartments or homes for their stay instead of traditional hotel rooms

Examples of Suitable Business Types

Suitable business types include, but are not limited to:

  • Hotels and restaurants
  • Bars and gastropubs
  • Stadiums
  • Event operators
  • Event venues
  • Resorts and casinos
  • Hospitals
  • Retirement villages
  • Corporate catering
  • Visitor attractions
  • Theme/amusement parks
  • Cruise liners
  • Convention centres
  • Custodial institutions
  • Tourist destinations
  • Banks
  • Public libraries
  • City halls


Are you interested in a Hospitality Innovation Consultancy Project for your organisation? Please, let us know!

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