International Hospitality Management BA(Hons) student, Helena Cleary, writes about a recent guest lecture:
“Jennifer Parker, the Meaningful Innovation and Product Team Manager at Rickshaw Travel, visited University of Brighton third year hospitality, events, tourism, physical education and sport business management students as part of the Employability, Enterprise and Innovation module on the 17 October.
“Rickshaw Travel are a friendly UK based travel company who create unique and meaningful travelling experiences. Their trips are based in Asia, Central America and South America. They usually last 2-4 days, but can easily be combined with many other trips. Each one is distinct and personalised, but typically include accommodation in authentic destinations and excursions perfect for exploring the local culture, as well as safe transport to and from each location.
“Since joining Rickshaw Travel in 2008 as a Travel Specialist, Jennifer has worked her way through various departments and has gained excellent skills, knowledge and experience which she was able to share with us in an engaging workshop-style session.
“Not only did Jennifer illustrate the development and success of the company, she also highlighted various difficulties which they have faced over the years, and how they were able to overcome these issues. This was beneficial as it gave us a real insight into their challenges, as well as giving us an indication into the strategies used to resolve them.
“She also gave advice on what factors are important in creating an innovative idea and how to ensure it becomes a success. By setting long-term and short-term goals, and by implementing a structured plan, employees at Rickshaw Travel can keep track of their results and their progression.
“During the workshop, there were opportunities for us to work in groups to read the information on the Rickshaw Travel website about the different trips they have available. We then had to establish positive and negative aspects for each one. We presented our ideas to the rest of the class using posters and post-it notes. Jennifer used our feedback as part of her market research, and it was great to see that she took a real interest in our views.
“We also addressed ways in which to make their least popular destination, The Maldives, more appealing to the public. We had to distinguish first what would really discourage tourists to travel there, and by using ideas stemmed from this, we then worked backwards to create ideas to enhance tourism. This was an unusual method of brainstorming, but was a very engaging and interactive way in which everyone could communicate their ideas.
“Jennifer chatted to me afterwards and although she has done many other talks and events, this was her first visit to a university and she thoroughly enjoyed it! We hope that she will be able to come back each year, as the ideas and experience she shared with us will be truly valuable, not only to assist with our assessment and help us adapt our own innovative ideas, but will also help us and other students in the future!”