The Marketing in Action Challenge is a hands-on initiative that gives students the opportunity to work as real consultants in a prestigious company. Students from the Bachelor in Business Administration are challenged to find solutions to the actual problems these organizations face on their day to day.

For the 2022 challenge, students collaborated with The Room Mate Group, a global boutique hotel chain. Challenge participants were split into teams of ten and asked to work toward four main goals: 

  • Create new a brand that pursues market opportunities in the hospitality industry
  • Come up with a strategy to drive the company’s website traffic upward
  • Create a comprehensive social media strategy for the new brand
  • Acquire one million customers through the strategies created for The Room Mate Group

Applying theory to real-world situations

Participating students are thrilled about the unique opportunity to use their newly learned skills in real situations in today’s fast-paced environment. In this year’s challenge, second year student Manuel Alvarez described his experience as “great,” noting, “You could feel the pressure of having an actual professional challenge to work on. And I think the combination of teamwork with a real-world challenge was great all around.”

Applying the concepts they learned in the classroom—such as marketing tools, social media tactics, and presentation and storytelling skills—students gain a firsthand understanding of the challenges found in their future career. This immersive experience is a glimpse into how fast, and sometimes intense, the world of work can be. And with student success at the core of the challenge, professors and expert consultants are readily available to help students navigate the unchartered territory.

Living up to its name, the Marketing in Action Challenge pushes students to work together to find innovative solutions. Second year student Samuel Boehm said, “The biggest challenge within the team was assigning responsibilities in the initial phases. There were so many different opinions and colliding arguments that it was difficult to come to a conclusion. In the end, we were able to collaborate and make decisions together. And now, we are still friends and we have gotten closer because of this project.”

Although the learning curve is steep, students gain valuable insights and are able to create a product that can be applied in these leading organizations’ processes. Pankaj Condell, a second year Dual Degree in Business Administration and Laws student, offered his takeaways, “The mindset that we learned was to keep on learning new skills so you can improve your ideas because there are always ways to improve.”

A mutually beneficial initiative

President and founder of Room Mate Group, Kike Sarasola was the main client for this year’s Marketing in Action Challenge. At the conclusion of the challenge, he only had wonderful words for the student participants, “I have to say I was really amazed and impressed. Many of the ideas were exactly what we’ve been working on for two years and the students came up with them in two months.”

During the project, students implement the hospitality and tourism sector concepts they’ve been learning throughout their program—and Kike was satisfied how client-based the projects were. He came up with the term “happitality,” which is a play on the word hospitality. The client should be happy and Kike was elated that the students applied the concept of “happitality” so well, proving their understanding that “if the happy client, the client will come back.”

And the winner is…

Leading up to the selection of the winner, the three finalist teams—HubMate, BunkMate and Sense-ationals—presented their projects to the executives of the Room Mate Group. 

Targeting Gen Z and millennials, HubMate aimed to fulfill the needs and wants for the ideal accommodation. Their ideas included implementing technology like a digital room key or a social chat hub, and embedding a travel manager during their stay in order for guests to book activities to gain the full experience.

BunkMate wanted to create a hostel community where guests get more than just the everyday, common hostel experience. The social media strategy was to create very specific campaigns and focus on user-generated and influencer-created content by targeting guests and the ideal hostel community.

Sensorial marketing was at the core of the Sense-ationals’ strategy. The main goal was to have smells that would create sensational feelings for customers in the hotel. They aligned that with the metaverse and ensured that customers had a different experience in each hotel in the metaverse, as well.

The future is bright for participants

Students ended this project with a multitude of possibilities. After applying to multiple internships, Samuel came out of the project happy to announce that he received one.

The Marketing in Action Challenge project truly prepares students for the intense world of work. Students have to pay close attention to customer insights and marketing strategies to complete comprehensive business plans for executives in leading companies—concepts and tasks that will likely be part of their future careers. Students complete the challenge with the skills needed to work confidently in the real world, all while receiving a glimpse into the fast-paced environment of their future careers.