KAIT BEDELL & PAYTON HEBERT
Mobar: Hospitality’s unique offerings merit more hype
The university’s hospitality program is frustrated with the lack of advertising for their various program opportunities.
The marketing and admissions teams are what bring prospective students into the community, but the curriculum and opportunities are what make them stay.
When students are brought in to learn more about the school, the first thing they are given is a lot of generalized information regarding the different interests they have. Those who are looking to pursue specific majors will be given some background on that particular school, and will later be sent further information about the major.
This information consists of conversations between professors, deans, the marketing team, and admissions, according to Dean of Enrollment Chris Gray.
Gray said twice a year, the faculty in each program, as well as the dean and other associates, discuss any changes that have taken place within the school.
Gray said giving prospective students a lot of information right off the bat allows them to get ahead by knowing they are going into the right field.
“We want you to see what this major means for you and the connections that you can build in it,” Gray said. “And so we want to expose you right off the bat [and get] you in those courses…”
Assistant Hospitality and Event Management Professor Siddharth Mobar said the hospitality program has a lot to offer prospective students, which he would like to see advertised more.
“One of the things that our program, and I’ve mentioned this previously to admissions before, our program is the only program in the United States which offers a lot of certifications, professional industry certifications,” Mobar said. “Which are actually not being advertised or marketed [as] they’re supposed to.”
When it comes to advertising, analytics make it difficult for programs to receive equal attention, according to Christopher Lynett, Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications.
“The marketing departments aren't the ones that create demand. We're the ones that fulfill it,” Lynett said. “So if people aren't looking for it, we can't jump up and down and say look over here.”
Since the pandemic, interest in hospitality nationwide has decreased, which is something Program Chair and Associate Professor Dina Tanvuia is aware of.
“There is definitely a decline in the number of students registering for the program. But this trend goes along with the national trend, you know, less and less students,” said Tanvuia.
Mobar said Lasell has a unique hospitality program compared to other schools nationwide which allows students to graduate with eight industry certifications.
“Graduates are well placed because they have these credentials which give them some specialized knowledge which their so-called competition means other students who are graduating even from [Boston University] or other places which offer hospitality programs do not have these credentials,” Mobar said.
Mobar believes in order for prospective students to know about the strength of Lasell’s program, they should be given more information upon their interest.
One way Mobar hopes to spread awareness about what the major has to offer is by including more of the certifications that are being offered in pamphlets and information packets, as well as showcasing student success stories more post-graduation.
Tanvuia also has some ambitious goals for the future of the program, including reaching out to high school hospitality programs and trying to bring in students internationally.
“So it is normal to have less students in the colleges. So my strategic point of view was that if we cannot have students here, nationally, we can bring them from abroad,” said Tanvuia.
Tanvuia has made connections with local high schools in the past that have led to applications and set up programs to establish relations with institutions abroad. Both are initiatives she plans to expand on in order to market the program and hopefully restore enrollment numbers.
Gray said the admissions team always encourages members within the community to reach out with any ideas they’d like to bring forward for prospective students.
“[I would] welcome any conversation, not just from professors but from any member of the community,” Gray said. “We want to be able to not only communicate what goes on here at Lasell, but also sort of tell everything that you’re not going to see in a book or even read just by looking at our website.”