The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge announces finalists at the Hotel Sofitel Legend the Grand in Amsterdam

Reimagining the future of ‘sustainable’ hospitality with a 2050 mindset

The finalists of the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge (SHC) have been announced after a jury of C-level industry decision-makers reviewed 17 innovative concepts submitted by the world’s leading hospitality schools. The winner of this year’s challenge will present their innovative sustainability project at the flagship industry forum FHS in Dubai, from September 19-21, 2022.

The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge is a Hotelschool The Hague initiative that aims to enhance the evolution of sustainable hospitality, foster innovation driven by the leaders of tomorrow and nurture talent on a global scale by bringing it close to industry organizations who want to reimagine the future of hospitality. Established as a platform that challenges innovative hospitality approaches for the last seven years, SHC has evolved into a global knowledge-based initiative supported by the world’s best-known hospitality brands, global hospitality project developers, and smart cities.

The students were tasked with developing solutions under the theme ‘Remote’, which was inspired by the principal sponsor NEOM, a region in northwest Saudi Arabia being built from the ground up and a development that will be a new model for sustainable living.

“What we started seven years ago as a platform for knowledge-sharing has transformed into a vehicle for further innovation, industry changemaking concepts and a community of hospitality supporters and investors who vest trust and interest into the young generation. We cannot be prouder to be part of the journey to lead the young minds of tomorrow to create their greener and cleaner sustainable future focused around well-being.”

Paul Griep, Founder SHC, Director of Alumni & Industry Relations Hotelschool The Hague

Our mission is to drive innovation to preserve the sustainability of our world and industry. This can be accomplished through empowering the next generation of hospitality leaders to further push the boundaries of innovation in combination with sustainability and create future mindsets that will change the world.

NEOM made it possible for all students to attend the event, which was also supported by our partners Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and Bench.

"Responsible for creating and operating hotels of the future, NEOM Hotel Development is building a hospitality ecosystem to support the bold ambitions of NEOM. Our properties will be powered by renewable energy, work in harmony with nature and enshrine the principles of environmental responsibility. Fundamental to NEOM’s growth are fresh thinking and new solutions and the ideas on display have left us inspired and excited for the future of our industry.”

Chris Newman, Executive Director, NEOM Hotel Development

After the qualifications rounds in April, with more than forty top-tier global hospitality institutions competing, 17 successful entrants went through to the semi-finals. Five winners have been chosen to compete in this year’s finals, they are:

1) Hotel Management School Maastricht-Zuyd Hogeschool

2) Cornell University

3) Hotel Institute Montreux

4) Swiss Hotel Management School

5) Hotelschool The Hague

This year’s concepts are truly sensational and are in fact a perfect example of the impact we are having on creating a sustainable hospitality future.

Paul Griep, added, “We are currently already seeing actual concrete business plans and ideas that come to life. We are taking this to the next level by means of including technology, engineering, and design universities whereby the deliverables and solutions presented will be very complete and ready for incubation in order to have a permanent sustainable impact on our industry.”

What the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge team always remembers is that this challenge is not only meant to make great sustainable contributions to the future of the hospitality industry, but also be an enriching experience and a positive contribution to a student’s personal journey.

“I feel so honored and excited to be here in Amsterdam representing my school by taking part in this great challenge. We were given the opportunity to show our revolutionary concept for hospitality and have a great impact on its sustainable future.”

Alan Eduardo ‘Eddy’ Kohlmann, member of Cornell University’s competing team

In closing, ambassador and jury member, Marloes Knippenberg, CEO Kerten Hospitality said, “It is the next generations who lead and push for change, as it is their future we are talking about. The ideas we are presented with round after round are mind-blowing, yet so practical and do-able. The world is transforming towards a more sustainable, inclusive and a well-being-focused Community, and so is our industry. Stakeholders - guests, team, developers, owners, operators and (semi-)government entities – are all working on being part of an Ecosystem that is driven by collaboration and a sense of belonging and community. Values change over generations, and this generation is not any different than the ones before, however it does have one greater challenge than we did: It needs to reset the globe, bring people together, and find REMOTE locations to spread to, cherish, nurture and ease the negative impact we are having on the globe and on the future every day. I am honored to be part of this, and after every round I have the greater belief that by collaborating cross-generational, we can make that difference!”