Auburn University is opening a concierge-level teaching hotel with the support of Ithaka Hospitality Partners, the property’s operating manager, and Oracle Hospitality OPERA Cloud Service. The Laurel Hotel & Spa is part of Auburn’s Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center (RCSC). The destination will not only provide guests a place to stay but also act as the home of the university’s hospitality management program. Students will first learn OPERA Cloud in their coursework and apply this knowledge with hands-on training in the hotel when it opens later this year.
“The Laurel Hotel & Spa will offer groundbreaking technical advantages for students, staff, and visitors alike,” said Hans van der Reijden, founder and CEO, Ithaka Hospitality Partners. “OPERA Cloud will provide the property with industry-leading technology to run efficiently, but even more importantly, will deliver an immersive educational experience that blends hands-on learning with cross-functional coursework to prepare students to be leaders in the hospitality industry.”
The Laurel environment will be designed and built for student learning. Using OPERA Cloud, undergraduates will gain hands-on, practical experience in all aspects of hotel operations. The experience will further position Auburn’s hospitality management students to become future leaders in the industry.
“With OPERA Cloud integrated throughout lodging and IT-related courses in the curriculum, hospitality management students not only gain a competitive learning advantage over their peers at other institutions but also have the distinction of studying the platform across functional, operational, and strategic goals of The Laurel Hotel & Spa,” said Alecia Douglas, associate professor of hospitality management, Auburn University College of Human Sciences. “Such an experience is above and beyond the passive learning from the current mode of instruction and gives students first-hand knowledge of the technology thereby making abstract concepts much more relatable.”
The Laurel Hotel & Spa will feature 16 guestrooms, 10 suites, six residences, a spa, a fitness studio, a rooftop pool, and a yoga pavilion giving Auburn University students the ability to provide hospitality services to guests. In addition, guests have access to 1856, a culinary residence; a microbrewery; a rooftop terrace and garden; culinary laboratories; coffee bar and roaster; and Hey Day Market Food Hall.
The university’s on-campus hospitality facility, The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center, has used OPERA 5 since 2014, now making the upgrade to OPERA Cloud. OPERA Cloud will help to integrate hotel operations, reduce on-site equipment and IT management needs, and enrich students’ learning opportunities with exposure to a modern, cloud-based system.
“Staffing is one of the largest obstacles facing hospitality today, making what Auburn University and Ithaka Hospitality Partners are doing not only invaluable for students, but essential for our industry,” said Alex Alt, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Hospitality. “OPERA Cloud will provide The Laurel Hotel & Spa with leading-edge industry innovations to help deliver concierge-level service and offer students a strong educational foundation that will prepare them for a long and rewarding career in hospitality.”