Students enrolled in the Hospitality Marketing and Sales 450 class this semester at the University of South Carolina Beaufort have been given a unique opportunity to achieve hands-on experience in the tourism industry. USCB and the Beaufort, Port Royal & Sea Islands Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) have taken advantage of this rare potential to offer students an enhanced classroom experience. USCB and the VCB have previously worked on tourism initiatives together, however, this is the first program brought into the classroom. With tourism in Beaufort County alone bringing in more than $1 billion in annual revenue, this partnership strengthens their mutually beneficial relationship.
Students were given the task of creating a comprehensive marketing communications plan for the VCB for the upcoming year. Target market research, industry insight and competitor information were all shared with the students to get them started on the project. They were then divided into five teams of seven students per team. They have until the end of April to finalize their plans and present them to members of USCB and the VCB staff. While an overall winning team will be determined based on evaluations, the VCB shared that it will indeed implement as many strong ideas as possible – no matter what team they came from.
Bob Moquin, Executive Director of the VCB, met with students earlier in the year to discuss the assignment and the goals and objectives the VCB has to market the Beaufort area to increase tourism. “This partnership gives us a chance to hear new ideas and recommendations on how we can maximize our marketing and advertising efforts to continue to bring visitors to Beaufort. Knowing that these students are the future leaders of the tourism industry, being able to hear their perspective about how they would approach a communications plan, is a tremendous opportunity for us,” Moquin said.
Challenging creative thinking not only in the classroom but utilizing actual application in the real world, is the primary reason USCB feels this partnership is beneficial to students and the university. According to Dr. John Salazar, professor of the Hospitality Marketing and Sales 450 class, “this project provides the opportunity for students to apply the classroom theory to current and real hospitality and tourism market conditions, and at the same time provides an important service to the tourism industry.”
ABOUT the VCB:
The Beaufort Regional Visitor & Convention Bureau is the Designated Marketing Organization (DMO) for the city of Beaufort, the town of Port Royal and the Sea Island regions of northern Beaufort County. The VCB partners with a wide variety of private and public organizations, businesses and government to market the lodging and hospitality industries to increase the area’s economic development and improve the quality of life for its residents. For more information, please visit www.beaufortsc.org.
ABOUT THE USCB HOSPITALITY PROGRAM:
With world-class golf, tennis, boating and accommodation facilities, beaches, creeks and marshes, excellent dining and nightlife, arts and cultural centers, and environmental and historical educational sites and programs, this region offers the perfect learning laboratory for hospitality studies while pursuing a bachelor of science degree. The curriculum focuses on preparing students for managerial positions in the hospitality industry with the option of choosing courses that focus on a particular segment of the hospitality industry. Careers include management and entrepreneurial positions in time-share organizations, private clubs, lodging and food service operations, and the private and public tourism sectors. For more information, please visit http://www.uscb.edu/_sites/hrm/about.html.
Nestled in the South Carolina Sea Islands, the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) is a senior institution of the University of South Carolina system serving the southeast coast of Georgia and South Carolina. USCB has been the fastest growing baccalaureate institution in the USC system since becoming a four year university in 2002. The university has two campuses which serve a diverse student body of more than 1750 students. The Historic Beaufort campus, located on Beaufort’s downtown waterfront, houses an innovative baccalaureate studio arts program in close proximity to the Beaufort’s many art galleries. The Hilton Head Gateway campus in Bluffton, S.C., offers cutting-edge Computational Science and Nursing laboratories and is the home to Sand Shark athletics. USCB offers students an exceptional place to learn and live in an environment focused on growth, preservation and opportunity. For more information about the University of South Carolina Beaufort, please visit www.uscb.edu online or call the university’s Office of Public Information at 843-208-8030.
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