Auburn HRMT students achieve perfect pass rate in hotel industry certification exam

Published: April 08, 2015
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AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Faculty in Auburn's Hotel and Restaurant Management program are optimistic the recent achievement of 57 undergraduate and graduate students will help raise the program's prominence.

As part of the Strategic Hospitality Management course, 51 undergraduate and six interested graduate students recently took and passed the exam for Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics. Industry experts and faculty are calling it an "unprecedented" feat for such a large group.

"This achievement speaks to the quality of the differential learning experience that Auburn has developed a national and international reputation for," said Martin O'Neill, head of the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality Management in Auburn's College of Human Sciences. "It will undoubtedly serve to attract high-caliber students to our program."

Auburn students not only achieved a perfect pass rate, but also surpassed the performance of every other university who sat for the exam. Results from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute show Auburn scored higher in each of the four competency areas of the exam: hotel industry foundations, hotel math fundamentals, property level benchmarking, and hotel industry performance reports.

The professional designation is a result of a partnership between the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, International Council on Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Education and Smith Travel Research.

O'Neill said the certification is intended for revenue managers, general managers, corporate staff, students and research professionals. It is the only hotel-related certification for industry professionals focused on analytics. Earning the designation means the holder is able to analyze various types of hotel industry data and make strategic inferences based upon that analysis.

"It is one example of how the Auburn Hotel and Restaurant Management program equips its students with relatively different experiences and tools that make them very competitive upon graduation," said Associate Professor Baker Ayoun.

Smith Travel Research, an independent research company that tracks data for the hotel industry, claims, "achieving this distinction announces that these students have a place among the best graduates in their profession and opens the doors to future career opportunities."

Auburn HRMT students only became eligible to take the exam after Ayoun completed the training and obtained the certification himself. He was among the first group of faculty from across the country to take the training at Smith Travel Research headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee.

"This is an industry-based standardized certification, with a very strong acceptance by the hotel industry around the world," said Ayoun. "Our program is very proud of its students. They continue to demonstrate their competitiveness and distinction nationally and internationally."

"I feel immensely proud of the students and Dr. Ayoun's efforts in preparing them," added O'Neill. "It's just one more example of how our folks turn up each day to make a difference for our students."