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20 January 2022

Hotel business simulations will engage and inspire your learners

The benefits of using business simulations have been long recognised by business schools. Their use has been seen to encourage teamwork, improve understanding and offer the opportunity to make decisions in a risk free environment. Arena4finance is licensed to offer HOTS courses for universities and industry, but what is HOTS and what are the benefits of including it within your course or training programme?

What is HOTS?

HOTS stands for Hotel Operations, Tactics and Strategy and is a web-based business management simulation in which participants are responsible for the redevelopment and management of a large hotel over a simulated period of up to 2 – 5 years. This takes place over a period of 1 – 3 days in a classroom style session or can be delivered over a series of online sessions. The performance of the hotel is evaluated throughout using financial and non-financial factors in a balanced scorecard format, giving participants the opportunity to analyse the cause and effects of the decision-making process in a financially safe environment.

HOTS is a powerful tool which encourages experiential learning and has been designed so that participants have the opportunity to make decisions and develop skills in the following areas:

- Developing strategic planning
- Understanding your financial results and KPI’s
- Applying revenue management strategies to pricing
- Evaluating sales & marketing strategies
- Managing human resources
- Customer care
- Environmental management

The simulation is based on a hotel model and all teams start from the same position. Depending on the options chosen, the simulation can be set up so that teams compete interactively against each other (this option is available for up to 8 teams), or each team can play against the simulation model (in this mode there is no interaction between teams).

Our experience

At arena4finance, our HOTs seminars and workshops are delivered by experienced facilitators who have extensive knowledge of the hotel sector including the latest revenue management and financial management strategies. We support the simulation with the interjection of learning bites on core topics in the form of presentations and access to online content from our online study centre.

Our experience of facilitating the simulation with both students and managers from business indicates that the social interaction inherent in the simulation coupled with the engagement in the teams increases individual learning. It is widely accepted in the field of education that collaborative activity has the potential to enable students to achieve high levels of cognitive skills such as negotiation of meaning and reflective analysis. This approach compares favourably with learning techniques based solely on the transmission of knowledge via lectures and presentations. The immediacy of the feedback as teams compete with each other to improve the key performance indicators on the shared Balance Scorecard provides the opportunity to reflect in real time on the decisions made and make changes based on that evaluation.

Speaking about his experience with the HOTS simulation, Adrian Martin, Vice Principal Edge Hotel School at University of Essex, said:

We were so pleased to work alongside Debra Adams from arena4finance during lockdown to provide our students with a realistic hotel experience using the HOTS Simulation. Debra illustrated how the game can be used to provide an engaging and rewarding experience for the student teams who were tasked to run a virtual 120 bedroom hotel for two years and develop a sustainable and profitable business model

Arena4fiinance founder and experienced HOTS user, Debra Adams explains:

I just love using the HOTS simulation with groups of learners – the sophistication of the game means that the detailed financial reports available brings the decision making alive with participants being able to link their hotel management strategies to the incredibly realistic financial outcomes. This works equally well in face to face sessions and online.

To find out more about HOTS why not take a look at our course page or get in contact with us at [email protected].

Photo courtesy of Rhema Kallianpur - Unsplash

About arena4finance

arena4finance regularly provide training support for recognised industry bodies including the Institute of Hospitality, the MasterInnholders, TUCO and the European Clubs Association. Debra Adams, founder of arena4finance and a qualified accountant (CIMA) has been involved with the hospitality industry for almost 30 years and has delivered courses and training to numerous organisations in the hotel and restaurant sector including world renowned hotel schools such as Ecole Hotelier Lausanne and Glion Institute in Switzerland. She is the author of the highly acclaimed textbook 'Strategic Management Accounting for the Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Industries'. She is also a regular speaker at hotel conferences and business seminars. Debra leads the team at arena4finance, who have had many years of experience developing and delivering one day, online and more extensive courses in hospitality finance for both finance professionals and operational heads of department in hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities. Our courses are powered by our online learning community resources at For more information about arena4finance, email [email protected] or visit our website