ShiftIn’ Powered by Spark: a convergence of innovation and sustainability in hospitality at Les Roches, Crans-Montana

“ShiftIn’ powered by Spark”, a visionary event dedicated to exploring and testing cutting-edge innovations within the hospitality industry, has been hosted by Les Roches at its campus in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. 

The event, which took place from 15-17 May, served as a dynamic platform for industry leaders, innovators and students to collaborate on fostering a sustainable future in hospitality.

 A hub for sustainable innovation

ShiftIn’ is a forum designed to highlight and evaluate groundbreaking technologies and sustainable practices in hospitality. This year, participants had the opportunity to be the first to learn about the latest trends and advancements in sustainability and technology for hotels, directly from industry pioneers and talented students. 

The highlight of Innovation Day on 16th May, pioneering sustainable breakthroughs in hospitality, was the keynote presentations from three distinguished speakers: 

  • Sènami Aklé, Director, Head of Design for Sustainability at Logitech, delivered an insightful presentation on “Sustainability without Technological Compromise”. She emphasised the urgency of sustainable innovation, stating that “Shift is needed now, there’s no time to waste” and highlighted the company’s commitment to designing for a positive future through relentless innovation.
  • Javier Martin, Country Manager Italy at Keenon, shared his expertise on “Emerging Trends in Mobile Robotics for the Hospitality Industry”, in particular addressing the transformative role of robotics in hospitality.
  • Salva Ferri, Managing Partner at WeTangible, discussed “Navigating the Innovation Ecosystem: Crafting an Open Innovation Strategy for Entrepreneurs and Startups in the World of Venture Capital”, focusing on customer-centric innovation, and stressing the need to adapt to ever-changing market demands with agility and foresight.

Empowering the next generation

This year, ShiftIn’ also empowered students to showcase their talents through the SEYS Awards Position Paper and an industry-led challenge with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Oceanic Global. 

These academic challenges encouraged students to devise innovative, sustainable solutions to real-world problems while connecting with global industry experts. Specifically, students tackled operational challenges presented by three Fairmont hotels. The teams with the most feasible and innovative solutions had the opportunity to implement their ideas, receive mentoring and access specialised training. 

This experience culminated in an enriching visit and weekend stay at Les Roches in Crans-Montana. 

Inspiring the future of hospitality

ShiftIn’ powered by Spark continues to inspire entrepreneurs to dive into the world of innovation while providing a platform for technological advancement, sustainability and collaboration. 

The event underscores the importance of creating strong and lasting partnerships with brands that share a vision for a sustainable and innovative hospitality industry. 

Innovation is transforming hospitality at an unprecedented pace, driven by new technologies and digital advancements. To prepare students to embrace these opportunities, Les Roches also created Spark, a global initiative designed to ignite intellectual curiosity and critical thinking. Spark brings together technology companies, industry partners, innovation specialists, and expert faculty, offering students real-life business consultancy and academic projects. This collaboration enables students to assess and enhance innovative solutions, such as VR training for realistic customer service scenarios and eco-friendly alternatives like body dryers instead of traditional towels. Spark ensures that Les Roches graduates are ready to lead in a rapidly evolving industry.

 Joceline Favre-Bulle, Director of Integrated Services, Innovation & Institutional Relations at Les Roches, said: “Once again, this has been a highly successful event which provides the perfect platform for thought leadership and knowledge creation around groundbreaking technologies and sustainable practices in hospitality. A huge thank you to all our speakers who shared the latest industry insight and thinking with delegates, and to Fairmount Hotels & Resorts and Oceanic Global who set some amazing challenges for our talented students. Planning is already underway for next year’s Shiftin’ event, as we continue to build and further develop Les Roches’ position as a leader in hospitality entrepreneurship and innovation.” 

Les Roches is a bespoke experience to educate tomorrow’s leaders in hospitality. Founded in 1954 in Switzerland, Les Roches offers undergraduate, graduate degrees and executive programs in Luxury, Hospitality and Tourism Management. Les Roches has campuses across Switzerland, Spain, UAE and China, as well as partner campus in near New Delhi. 

Les Roches ranks in the top five in the world’s higher education institutions for hospitality and leisure management (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2024). Part of Sommet Education, worldwide leader in hospitality education, Les Roches is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).   

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