GV professors say the hospitality industry is growing


type="Seq" Annabelle R

GVL / Annabelle Robinson

Jamie Wilson, Staff Writer

Hotel management, state park preservation, city tour guidance and restaurant ownership are just a few of the career paths Grand Valley State University’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Team (HTM) highlighted in their newest promotional video. 

GVSU’s Dr. Kristen Jack and Dr. Patty Janes, alongside the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Detroit), used their experience in and passion for the industry to create a video they call “There’s No Better Time.” 

The two professors said the video is meant to entice students towards the hospitality industry by showing them the diverse possibilities it has to offer. 

In 2021 the industry sky-rocketed in interest and profits, but companies are still struggling to manage this influx with the limited resources and employees that COVID-19 left businesses with. 

“The big issue right now is the hiring of staff as a result of COVID-19,” Jack said. “This leads to service issues or an inability to use the space a venue or restaurant allows for because there aren’t enough people to manage or clean them. This is where the idea for the video took off. We want to recruit students to major in HTM, but we also want to help the demolished industry recoup.”

Janes and Jack wanted to find a way to combat this problem by drawing more students towards the field. 

“In January of 2021, we created a focus group with the staff of Visit Detroit over Zoom,” Janes said. “The difficult conversation of staffing came up. It was hard to see their faces. They had already been through the biggest struggle in their career, and they knew the traditional ways of recruiting people were no longer working.”

A traditional way of recruiting staff in past years had been to host a job fair, but in the current circumstances, the team knew this wasn’t going to hit the mark. 

Janes and Jack said they saw this as an opportunity to create something that could be used long term and have a lasting impact on viewers.

“With staff at GVSU and Visit Detroit, we went all over the state and captured 18 different aspects of our industry,” Janes said. “People either don’t know or forget how dynamic and diverse this industry really is.” 

The people in the video aren’t actors, but real working employees who chose what they wanted to say, creating an authentic display of their careers for viewers. 

“The demand is there, the jobs are there,” Janes said. “We call the video ‘There’s No Better Time’ because it’s true. There is no better time to be in our industry. There are so many exciting jobs, and everyone is looking to recruit.”

What began as a department of four faculty members at GVSU has tripled in recent years and expanded into a diverse pool of majors and emphases for students of many interests. Jack and Janes hoped to reflect this range in their video. 

“There’s No Better Time” can be accessed here

More information on the HTM program at GVSU can be found on their website.