“This was a chance for us to take a step back from learning about luxury and instead experience it ourselves,” said Micoley, of Greenville. “As a polytechnic university, this is a brilliant example of hands-on learning in the realm of hospitality and luxury.”
It was Martinez’s first time in a luxury hotel. “It was an extraordinary experience. After asking employees about the work environment, it was noticeable how much they loved their job. They explained how much the company takes care of them and it shows,” he said.
“Growing up, I came from a background where my family could only afford economic hotel lodging. Very few times was I exposed to fine dining,” added Martinez, a first-generation student from Reedsburg. “Experiencing this class was beneficial in establishing a foundation in what luxury means – it means discovering the next best thing. And with that, the sky is the limit. Taking these ideals going forward will allow me to create new ways to improve customer service.”
Building connections to interact on a higher level
Through FTG’s Leading Through Luxury video guides, students learned the elements of an effective service culture, as well as the foundations in food and beverage, spa settings, front office and housekeeping.
Students participated in activities to practice Forbes’ principles. They also met with guest speakers, including Robert Sereci, general manager of Medinah Country Club in Chicago; and UW-Stout alum Pete Hayda, managing director of sales and marketing at the Little Nell Hotel in Aspen, Colo., who shared about their backgrounds and personal work experiences.
“It was an eye-opener that most of the speakers were Stout alum. It showed us that even though we are a small school, we still can accomplish big dreams,” said Spoden, of St. Paul. “My favorite learning moment was realizing that hospitality will always be a big part of my life.”