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National Competition Allows Future Hospitality Leaders to Shine
By Elizabeth Johnson
Senior Marketing Manager, AH&LEI 

March 5, 2010 - Thirteen teams of high school hospitality students will compete for a national trophy and thousands of dollars in scholarship money at the seventh annual National Lodging Management Program Competition April 15-17 in Orlando, Florida. The students, representing schools in Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina, Wyoming, Washington DC, and Guam, will compete in a series of hospitality-focused events judged by veteran hoteliers, educators, and hospitality industry suppliers.  The competition is sponsored by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation, Best Western, Marriott, and HCareers. 

These 15- to 18-year-olds participate in high school career education programs that use the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute’s Lodging Management Program curriculum, which prepares students for hospitality careers or college study in the field of hospitality. The two-year program, geared to high school juniors and seniors, includes 360 instructional hours covering a broad spectrum of hospitality functional areas.  Students who complete both years of the program, plus an additional 160 hours of work experience, can earn the Certified Rooms Division Specialist (CRDS) certification from EI. 

Many of the schools that compete in the National LMP Competition receive support from their partner state associations and from local hotels that provide classroom space and opportunities for internships and hands-on experience rotating through each of the hotel’s departments.  Other LMP classes are not so fortunate, and students are unable to get the hands-on experience they need because of a shortage of internship and work opportunities at local hotels.

Some of this year’s LMP teams have won state-level competitions to earn the right to compete nationally; others make the trip on their own, to test their mettle on a national scale. 

During the national competition, the teams are judged in three events:

Hotel Operations: Students apply their knowledge in a three-part challenge:
  • room inspections, in which students have 10 minutes to find 10 housekeeping cleaning errors in a typical guestroom using an executive housekeeping checklist 
  • night audit, in which teams perform financial calculations and manually post front desk accounting information 
  • case studies in food and beverage and sales and marketing, in which students have 15 minutes to prepare and present solutions to case study scenarios. 
The Hospitality Project: Teams demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in event planning. They are given a scenario that includes budget parameters, invitation design, banquet event order, menu, and floor plan. 
The Knowledge Bowl: Teams demonstrate their knowledge through a multi-round, question-and-answer Jeopardy-style quiz. 

The words most commonly used by competition judges to describe the students include professional, polished, and passionate.  Roy Nassau, general manager of the Orlando Airport Marriott, which hosted last year’s event, knew that these kids weren’t typical teens.

“From the moment the students got here, I could see their passion and enthusiasm for their study, for their career path,” he said. “I was impressed and gratified that they want to be part of our profession.” 

Throughout the competition, the student teams have the opportunity to interact with the judges, who have included people like AH&LA president and CEO Joe McInerney, EI president Robert Steele, and Emily Ellis, long-time vice president of culture and brand training for Gaylord Entertainment. 

“We are providing the opportunity for students, teachers and guidance counselors to take a look at the viable careers in our industry,” said Ellis.  “So many people in our industry end up there by accident.  Creating awareness at the high school level is a huge first step toward getting more qualified employees. We need to reach students and let them know that there are jobs in the hotel industry that have a future for them.

“The industry has to make connections with schools,” she continued. “They will bring all the pieces together.  This is the future of our industry.” 

To learn more about how your property or association can support Lodging Management Program students, or to learn more about opportunities for sponsorship, judging, or bringing the LMP curriculum to high schools in your area, please contact Lee Ann Lonsdale at 407-999-8115 or

Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute’s mission is to support AH&LA by becoming the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries both domestically and internationally by developing and providing quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals.


Elizabeth Johnson
Senior Marketing Manager 
American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
2113 North High Street, Lansing MI 48906
Phone: 517-318-2359
Fax: 517-372-5141
Find EI on: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Also See: American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute Expands Into Qatar; Casabella Hospitality Management, Doha has been appointed Master License of Hospitality Education Programme (HEP) / March 2010
New Online Assessment Tool Prepares Candidates for CFBE Exam / February 2010
Educational Institute's Resort Textbook Has New Name, New Content / December 2009
255 Hospitality Students Receive $382,000 in Scholarships Via AH&LEF’s Core Scholarship Programs / October 2009
American Hotel & Lodging Association Fall Conference Offers Educational Programming, Networking Events, Specialized Committee Meetings / August 2009
American Hotel & Lodging Association Releases New Card Check Educational Video for Industry Employees / July 2009
Jon Simons Appointed to American Hotel & Lodging Association's Manager of Government Affairs / July 2009
10 Partner Lodging Associations Honored by American Hotel & Lodging Association at 2009 Summer Summit for Outstanding Leadership and Growth / July 2009
AH&LA Sets Agenda for Summer Summit June 23 - 24, 2009 in Chicago; Hospitality Leaders to Develop Economic Recovery Strategies, Future AH&LA Initiatives, and Recognize Outstanding Hotel Properties and Employees / May 2009
American Hotel & Lodging Association Sends Letter to President Obama Opposing Government Business Travel Cutbacks, Reductions Hurt Administration’s Goals of Saving Jobs and Revitalizing the Nation’s Economy / April 2009
American Hotel & Lodging Association Responds to Northern Trust Accusations by Members of Congress Jobs Are Not a Luxury / February 2009
Guidlines for Meetings and Events Held by Companies that have Received Emergency Government Lending Issued by U.S. Travel Association, AH&LA and Others; Policies Support Prudent Use of Taxpayer Dollars while Supporting Meetings and Events Industry / February 2009

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