Tourism contest finalists Paris-bound

Queenstown Resort College second-year diploma in hospitality management students (from left) Willow Lewis, Harry Greig, Jesse Raroa-Ward and William Clarke, who have been named as finalists in a global competition looking at how mobile technologies will transform the hospitality industry and customer experience. Photo supplied.
Queenstown Resort College second-year diploma in hospitality management students (from left) Willow Lewis, Harry Greig, Jesse Raroa-Ward and William Clarke, who have been named as finalists in a global competition looking at how mobile technologies will transform the hospitality industry and customer experience. Photo supplied.
Four Queenstown students will be flown all expenses paid to Paris next month after being announced as the only southern hemisphere finalists in a global Accor Hotels competition.

Queenstown Resort College second-year diploma in hospitality management students Harry Greig, William Clarke, Jesse Raroa-Ward and Willow Lewis will be judged against four other teams entered in the International Accor Hotels Take Off! Competition, which tasked entrants with looking at how mobile technologies will transform the hospitality industry and customer experience.

The students created a smartphone app concept to act as a ''virtual concierge'' for travellers and are the only finalists from the southern hemisphere.

The other teams in the final are from Switzerland, Thailand, Nigeria and Spain, chosen from 300 teams entered across the world.

The basis of the QRC students' app was a system in which users created a profile based on factors such as age and interests and fed that information into the app, which then gave them tailored options for accommodation, transport and activities.

The group created the concept and app design and made a video to demonstrate how it would work.

They were not allowed to ask for technical help from tutors and while they were able to use the QRC as a ''sounding board'', the work was done on their own.

Mr Grieg said the competition demonstrated how important technology was becoming in the hotel industry.

''We've grown up with this technology, but the implications for the industry are huge and really exciting.

''Hopefully, we can go to Paris and take out [the] top prize. It's a pretty amazing opportunity to represent Queenstown Resort College and New Zealand.''

QRC chief executive Charlie Phillips said the achievement was the result of ''Kiwi ingenuity, teamwork and forward thinking'' and served as further proof studying tourism could lead to ''huge opportunities'' within the industry.

''The tourism industry in New Zealand alone is worth $23.5 billion, and employs one in 10 New Zealanders.

''Tourism is a career of the future, particularly for those that have an appropriate qualification.''

The team flies to Paris on June 17 for the finals. While the competition will continue the theme of digital applications in hospitality, the exact details of the final are unknown.

The winning team will receive an all-inclusive trip to one of 15 destinations in Europe, staying in a four- or five-star Accor hotel.