September 12, 2022

Faculty Spotlight: Tisch Hospitality Pierre Gervois

Pierre Gervois brings a diverse background as a crypto-artist, documentary producer, and travel and art magazine publisher to his role as an adjunct instructor at the NYU SPS Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. In addition to teaching public relations, communications, and advertising this coming academic year, he will lead a design thinking and innovation course. The course will focus on applying creativity to develop novel and emerging technology solutions to tough business and industry challenges, including the creation and use of metaverse, NFT, and web3 applications in the hospitality industry.

Here, Gervois talks about trends in hospitality, his involvement in the new NYU SPS Metaverse Collaborative, and some intriguing topics he will cover in his fall classroom.

From your perspective, what technologies or innovations do you feel will impact the hospitality industry most in the coming years?
We must acknowledge that the hospitality and tourism industries are facing unprecedented challenges right now. COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the hospitality industry worldwide. To regain new guests, the hospitality industry must be creative and go beyond the traditional public relations and marketing campaigns used in the past.

I see three main trends that will shape how the hospitality industry will succeed at convincing new and returning guests to stay in hotels again:

  • Innovating on Guests’ Experience Strategies: Hotels must go beyond what they have done in the pre-COVID era. Relying too much on booking engines, web searches, and traditional social media advertising might not be enough to entice the new generation of post-Covid travelers who are now looking for a truly customized experience.
  • Rethinking Communication and Public Relations Strategies: Authenticity is now absolutely critical. Over-use of self-proclaimed lifestyle or travel “gurus” or “opinion leaders” seems inauthentic in 2022, when customers are looking for genuine human experiences in travel.
  • Embracing the Metaverse: Hospitality and tourism industries will find new opportunities in web3 technologies, using NFTs and cryptocurrencies.

What new and emerging technologies should students have a working knowledge of as they pursue hospitality, travel, and tourism careers, and why?
Mastering social media marketing is necessary. An excellent working knowledge of metaverse applications and tools will also be critical for the next generation of communication and PR executives in hospitality and tourism.

What are some of the industry challenges and opportunities you see?
Right now, the hospitality industry is facing a shortage of trained professionals following the COVID-19 period, and training and re-training professionals is a priority, particularly in an industry where the quality of service is paramount. This challenge is also an opportunity for the entire industry to re-think how to adjust hotels to the new guest’s expectations and the rapid arrival of new technologies that require highly skilled training.

What are you most excited about sharing or teaching your students this academic year?
I have been impressed by the engagement of my students this Fall 2022 semester. Since the first class, they have been engaged and actively participated in discussions. This year, I’ll introduce two new classroom topics:

  • The use of the metaverse to promote and advertise travel and tourism services and destinations.
  • Promoting space travel: With the arrival of space travel and future orbital hotels, I’ll work with my students on how to best promote the burgeoning out-of-this-world hospitality and tourism industry.

What are some of the research initiatives you are working on?
I’m researching with my students the role of arts and cultural assets’ integration in hospitality and destination marketing.

Hotels are not an isolated island in their community but fully part of it and, as such, should reflect the history, culture, and values of their surroundings. The presence of art in hotels creates a better customer experience and can bring new guests who genuinely enjoy the presence of original artworks. As a crypto-artist myself, I’m naturally pleased to share my appreciation for the arts with my friends and colleagues in the hospitality industry and encourage hotels to start a dialogue with their local art communities to create a more meaningful guest experience and become fully part of the cultural scene of their neighborhoods.

I’m also researching the future applications of the metaverse for tourism and travel industries, and I’m proud to be part of Dr. Elizabeth Hass’ team on the NYU SPS Metaverse Collaborative, where a group of faculty members and metaverse experts are working together to put SPS at the forefront of metaverse research at NYU and beyond.

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