Professor Montané is currently Director of the International Master in Tourism and Hospitality Management. Last week I spoke with her about the International Master in Tourism and Hospitality Management.
What drew you to study hospitality management?
Well, I had worked within the hospitality industry in a number of different jobs and positions and liked it so much that I wanted to advance professionally. So that’s when I decided to study a Masters – and I travelled to the States to study Hospitality Management at the University of Nevada.
What attracted you to EADA?
I’ve always liked teaching and helping others learn – as Director of Human Resources in a number of companies it was a role I very much enjoyed taking on; training the executives, the managers and directors. So when I returned with my family to Barcelona, after living in the States for 11 years, I decided I wanted to do more teaching. I was attracted to EADA in particular because it is a school that has an open and intimate environment and also has a great mix of people.
Are there any particular challenges for Tourism and Hospitality managers nowadays, for example with the proliferation of social media?
I think it depends largely on where you are in the industry, or the position you have; for instance if you are a manager in operations, for example in a hotel as a food and beverage manager, a front office manager, a supervisor or director, then you need the same skills that have always been required in these positions – that is the ability to deal with people and to deal with conflict and stressful situations.
As you move up the ladder or go into more specialised functions, for instance into administration, then things have changed a great deal today, especially in the marketing or revenue management areas. If you want to be a manager in these areas, or even if you want to move out of direct operations, then you need different skills. You need to know about the new ways of getting to your market and of being attractive to it. You need to understand social media, the different platforms and applications, and to understand revenue management – all of this is of the utmost importance nowadays in the hospitality industry.
Are there any specific skills that you feel EADA offers students in tourism and hospitality management that helps graduates stand out from the crowd?
I think one of the aspects that places us in a totally different position compared to anywhere else is that we focus entirely on management rather than on operations. We feel that anyone who wants to be a manager needs management skills and this is where EADA stands out. And indeed those other, specific skills that have to do with the operational side of, for instance hotels, can be acquired through experience.
So in we prepare our students for the managerial positions. The Collbató modules in particular are extremely useful as they get to the heart of managerial ability – which is being able to lead other people; and if you understand what it takes for people to get together to become a team; and what it takes to be a better communicator and negotiator, then you can influence more widely and more effectively. These abilities are the essence of being a very good manager.
Another way in which EADA stands out is specifically through some of the subjects we teach. I met the director of one of the main consultancy firms in hospitality recently and he was really surprised to see how much our students get to learn about consulting and about strategy in particular.
Can you tell me a little about the exchange programme with the Conrad N. Hilton College?
Yes of course, this is a hugely exciting agreement that we’ve set up just recently. In fact the Dean of Hilton College, University of Houston, was my marketing professor at UNLV and so we were able to work on this together! I think it’s wonderful that we can exchange with such a world-renowned and important university in hospitality management. Our agreement means it’s now part of the exchange programme that we have for all our Master’s students after graduation, so two students can go to the Hilton College each university term and we will welcome exchange students from the Hilton College here.
What would be your best tips and sources for keeping up with industry news for prospective or current students on the Tourism and Hospitality management programme?
There are many, many academic journals that students can use, and the Harvard Business Review. But there is also the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly which has academic papers on management research and also includes a whole range of topics relevant to hospitality and tourism so it’s more like a magazine. In terms of newsletters, Hosteltur.es is well-known, online and in Spanish; and for English readers there is ehotelier.com; both are very popular. A particularly interesting source for students to check is the UN World Tourism Organisation site, UNWTO.org, which gives a very broad perspective of where tourism is going worldwide. Their Vision 2020 is outdated now and we need to look to the Vision 2050!
Do you have time for outside interests or hobbies?
I don’t have a lot of time – but I do love travelling! I went to Japan for the first time last summer, Peru as well; they are fantastic places! I’m hoping to go back to Japan and maybe Africa too next time!
Barcelona is a fantastic city; do you have a favourite place to recommend?
Yes, Barcelona is incredible. A place I like to go is the Carretera de les Aigües, a long path running from one side of Barcelona to the other, just underneath the Tibidabo Mountain. It’s wonderful for walking, running or cycling although maybe a bit busy at weekends. You can see the whole city; and there are places to stop, just to take in the incredible views. It’s beautiful!