PMI South Africa Chapter has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Stenden South Africa to support project management in Stenden’s new academic minor program in hotel opening management. The MOU was signed in a ceremony at the inauguration of the program on 3 October 2017, by PMI SA President, Dr. Lynn A. Keeys and Stenden SA’s Executive Dean, Dr. Wouter Hensens. Also in attendance at the ceremony were Jannes Haasbroek, Chapter Academic Outreach VP, Stenden SA Program Coordinator Kevin Aitchison and global hotel opening expert and programme collaborator Gert Noordzy of Northside Consulting. The collaboration will support the development of project management higher and professional education and practice at Stenden SA and in the hotel management profession in South Africa. According to Dr. Hensens, Stenden Africa is the first worldwide to introduce a curriculum in hotel opening management in its Hotel Management School and the first to include project management for the entire hotel opening project life cycle. Stenden South Africa is the local branch campus of Stenden University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.
A Booming Industry
According to Gert Noordzy, the global hotel industry is exploding. Today, the worldwide hotel pipeline stands at over 11,000 projects, comprising 1.9 million rooms. Of these, 427 projects which equates to 73,000 rooms, are in Africa. Noordzy believes project management is a new area for expertise in the hotel opening industry, and a critical one. Research shows that many new hotel openings in the region are experiencing delays, and both owners and operators are suffering the consequences, along with the general public as the hotel industry is an important source of employment and contributor to GDP as part of the tourism industry. As Noordzy suggested at his recent keynote presentation at the PE Branch meeting—a new hotel opening is in fact a project, and must be managed accordingly, using a holistic approach and standard methodology. See the hotel opening project management lifecycle below:
This MOU sets the scene for further collaboration between the PMI and Stenden University. Already under consideration are guest lectures at the university by PMI Chapter members and for the PMI the join in on presentations and discussions at various hospitality industry conferences in 2018 in South Africa.
According to Jannes Haasbroek, it must be emphasised that when we look at project management in the hospitality sector, it does not only involve the ‘building of a hotel’. The building project is but one project in a much bigger program or portfolio of projects, including the initial Feasibility Study, preparation of Impact and Environmental Assessments and final Operationalization and Hand-Over of the hotel. The program approach is also not only limited to the new build scenario, but just as applicable to facility upgrades and usage change. In managing programs of this scale all traditional project management knowledge areas are utilised, including Change Management, Stakeholder and Media Engagement. Due to the nature of the hospitality industry and the fast pace at which it is moving, the outcome and target of the hotel opening is also in constant change, necessitating Project as well as Organisational Agility project management skills and techniques.