NEWARK, UNITED STATES - It’s not every day that a company welcomes over 30 interns, but hospitality start-up RoomOrders has just done that, opening its doors to 33 ambitious students who want to experience the inner workings of a global organization this semester.
“It is unconventional and perhaps a bit audacious,” said CEO Eugene B. Jones about the decision to accept so many interns, particularly in the middle of a crippling pandemic. “RoomOrders does not want to be an ordinary company and this move reflects our different way of doing things too.”
“Boldness is not a natural reflex for most people, particularly young people starting their professional careers. We hope our confident attitude and readiness to take on risks will rub off on them as well.”
RoomOrders is a mobile ordering platform that allows guests contactless self-service of food and beverages in hotels, restaurants, bars, and cafes - whether they are in lobbies, poolside deckchairs or rooftops. They just scan or tap a QR code with their smartphones.
The company is a global leader in its niche and is used in leading chains like Hilton, Marriott and Accor, from as far as Brisbane to Boston and Belgrade to Barcelona.
RoomOrders was doing really well before COVID-19 hit the industry, suspending business in hotels and laying off thousands of workers. It forced the company to adapt and invent new revenue streams.
“Business is always tough but nowadays it is even more fluid and requires quicker decisions to be made. New technologies are unrelenting, so you need to be informed and ready to change direction fast. You can be wrong, but you can’t be scared. You have to move, experiment, adapt, find solutions, learn and re-learn..."
Most of the students were from the Economics Faculty at the Rijeka University in Croatia. The Kvarner region on the northern Adriatic Sea is a great location for us as there are lots of hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes for the interns to get a real coal-face experience of working in the hospitality sector. There is no perfect time to start, so one of the first things is to get used to the volatility of free markets.”
DavorinBalaz, a deputy researcher at the University of Rijeka, identified RoomOrders as a promising partner during summer and initiated cooperation.
“We struck a good instant contact. RoomOrders is an ideal fit for students to get their feet wet and develop practical, Western type-work ethics,” he said.
The students will be divided into three rotating streams during the semester: 1. Marketing and design; 2. PR, digital communications and social media; and 3. Sales.
“It’s a very hands-on experience,” said MrBalaz. “The students will be writing strategies and plans then implementing and managing them with real clients and customers. They will be given responsibility to design and create collateral for campaigns, including video commercials and press releases. They will also generate leads and try to convert them into sales.”
“We want these kids to understand they have an extremely unique opportunity today. Never has there been a chance to climb the corporate ladder so fast, to become successful at a very young age. The generational gap between senior staff and junior staff has been bridged by technology. Modern companies need senior people with experience to work together with young people who understand modern customer behavior, particularly toward digital technology,” said Mr. Jones.
Jones said that RoomOrders hopes to keep at least three interns on a full-time roster after the program ends next semester.
Despite the coronavirus, RoomOrders continues to sign new hotels and resorts. It recently signed Swiss chain Hapimag AG, which operates more than 50 holiday properties all over Europe and the US. RoomOrders is currently being used in almost 100 hospitality venues around the world, on every