Dipra Jha: International Man of Hospitality
What happens behind the scenes at a luxury Las Vegas hotel? Hospitality, Tourism and Management Professor Dipra Jha works with some of the biggest hotel brands in the business. And he brings industry information back to the classroom to benefit students. Today on Faculty 101, a conversation with the professor about hotels, artificial intelligence and
how to handle jet lag.
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[00:00:04.330]Welcome to Future Hotel, Ms. Bruce.
[00:00:07.350]I am Hal, your robot concierge.
[00:00:10.650]I'm so exhausted, how soon can I check into my room?
[00:00:13.170]Rosie the maid finished cleaning your room this morning
[00:00:15.990]and Wally already delivered your bags to your suite.
[00:00:19.080]Based on your history with our hotel properties,
[00:00:21.850]I have ordered a thin crust, gluten free margarita pizza
[00:00:26.990]and sparkling water no ice, to be delivered
[00:00:30.830]in seven and one half minutes.
[00:00:33.350]That sounds great.
[00:00:34.780]I might need a massage after that long flight,
[00:00:37.170]any chance I can?
[00:00:38.850]Done, C3P0, our masseuse droid arrives at your suite
[00:00:42.840]at 10:00 am tomorrow.
[00:00:45.750]Anything else we can do for you?
[00:00:47.550]Well, now that you mention it, can you please
[00:00:50.670]make this hotel a reality?
[00:00:53.040]It's true, my dream hotel is just a figment
[00:00:56.130]of my imagination, or is it?
[00:00:59.420]The hotel industry is undergoing a dramatic change
[00:01:02.840]with automation and artificial intelligence.
[00:01:05.840]That's Dipra Jha, world traveler
[00:01:08.270]and expert in all things hospitality.
[00:01:11.110]He studies and advises some of the biggest brands
[00:01:14.270]in the business and he brings his industry knowledge
[00:01:17.220]to the University of Nebraska Lincoln classroom.
[00:01:20.320]Okay, you should switch partners now.
[00:01:21.820]To be able to inspire young people.
[00:01:24.990]Ace your finals.
[00:01:26.070]It's really rewarding.
[00:01:27.120]I love the students.
[00:01:29.090]Welcome to Faculty 101, life hacks and success stories
[00:01:33.230]from Nebraska faculty.
[00:01:37.100]First up, orientation, who is Dipra Jha?
[00:01:42.800]When I meet Professor Jha at his office he's just back
[00:01:45.990]from India and a summer stint as a professor in residence
[00:01:49.190]with Oberoi Hotels and Resorts.
[00:01:51.440]Oberoi Hotels is one of what we call the jewel boxes
[00:01:55.850]of the industry.
[00:01:56.860]They run some of the most luxurious and uber luxuries
[00:02:00.460]properties anywhere in the world
[00:02:02.380]and they are one of the masters
[00:02:04.600]of the highly personalized service.
[00:02:06.700]So, what I did is they invited me to come in
[00:02:10.100]and basically do workshops with their managers in six cities
[00:02:14.130]and as part of that I got to stay in some of
[00:02:16.620]their most amazing hotels and I was blown away
[00:02:20.770]by the level of creativity, talent and hospitality
[00:02:23.860]because when I do this stuff not only I am teaching
[00:02:26.580]but I am also learning
[00:02:28.070]from this absolutely world class professionals.
[00:02:31.120]Another professor in residence experience took place
[00:02:33.940]at the Venetian Palazzo in Las Vegas.
[00:02:36.712](slot machine dinging)
[00:02:38.780]At the Venetian Palazzo is the largest five diamond resort
[00:02:42.270]in the world.
[00:02:43.150]It has 7066 suites and 2.25 million square feet
[00:02:47.960]of event or meeting space.
[00:02:50.180]On an average 50,000 people visit that hotel every day.
[00:02:54.070]They are doing 600 check ins an hour.
[00:02:56.913]They have almost 10,000 employees working on the campus.
[00:03:00.900]How does such a complex machine even run
[00:03:04.490]and what does it entail?
[00:03:05.900]How much energy is it consuming?
[00:03:09.310]How much trash is it generating?
[00:03:11.290]How does the housekeepers, 800 housekeepers
[00:03:13.880]in any given shift clean the rooms and the parent company
[00:03:18.130]of the Venetian Palazzo owns similar very large resorts
[00:03:21.780]in Macao, in Singapore and so on and so forth
[00:03:25.200]and I have studied some of those as well
[00:03:29.000]because of the work I did initially
[00:03:31.090]with the Venetian Palazzo and so once again
[00:03:33.060]it's a win-win both in terms of my own
[00:03:35.610]professional development and bringing all of that knowledge
[00:03:38.400]back into the classroom to benefit students
[00:03:40.300]here in Nebraska.
[00:03:41.630]In Nebraska, Professor Jha shares his knowledge
[00:03:44.480]with communities and organizations.
[00:03:46.700]For example I helped Nebraska City develop tourism
[00:03:51.250]based community vitality plan, I have just started working
[00:03:55.220]with the community of Columbus, Nebraska to once again
[00:03:58.630]create a tourism plan, so as much as I enjoy doing
[00:04:02.790]work internationally, I'm also very active within the state
[00:04:07.230]and once again taking UNL's land grand mission
[00:04:10.310]to actually positively impact communities
[00:04:12.420]within our state.
[00:04:14.070]Through his collaboration with industry, Professor Jha
[00:04:16.550]develops contacts that lead to internships
[00:04:19.210]and jobs for students.
[00:04:21.210]Hospitality tourism is a very very vast field.
[00:04:25.100]People who graduate from this program,
[00:04:28.560]they can go into become event planners,
[00:04:30.500]they can work in the hotel industry,
[00:04:31.960]they can work with tourism bodies such as
[00:04:34.900]a convention visitor's bureau, a state tourism commission,
[00:04:38.401]so the possibilities are endless.
[00:04:41.011](upbeat jazz music)
[00:04:42.690]It's time for a teachable moment.
[00:04:45.030]A look inside the Dipra Jha classroom.
[00:04:48.180]The whole nightstand would be a charging dock essentially
[00:04:50.370]and you would just put--
[00:04:51.797]Students in Professor Jha's class brainstorm ideas
[00:04:54.120]on how to use technology in the hotel room of the future.
[00:04:58.300]That's a phenomenal idea, the whole nightstand
[00:05:00.270]becomes a wireless charger.
[00:05:01.940]A balance of information and experience provide students
[00:05:05.510]with the foundation for success when they graduate.
[00:05:08.760]I teach in a discipline which is
[00:05:10.480]highly practice orientated.
[00:05:12.760]That means employers will hire our students
[00:05:15.740]not only because of what they know but more importantly
[00:05:19.140]what they can do.
[00:05:20.470]So, I always try to teach with an equal emphasis
[00:05:25.440]on both content and context.
[00:05:28.140]That means okay, we are learning this theory
[00:05:30.840]or this construct but why is this important and how can we
[00:05:35.080]apply this in the real world
[00:05:37.060]because that's what they will be asked to do
[00:05:40.310]when they are performing for an employer.
[00:05:44.570]Professor Jha is also involved in creating
[00:05:47.250]a global vision.
[00:05:48.700]He shepherds groups of students overseas
[00:05:51.330]for education abroad experiences.
[00:05:53.775](plane engine roaring)
[00:05:56.640]And he's teaching a class that's part of UNL's
[00:05:59.580]global virtual project.
[00:06:01.720]The project is funded by the Steven's Initiative,
[00:06:04.460]an international effort to build career
[00:06:06.780]and global competencies through collaborative learning.
[00:06:10.110]In Professor Jha's video conferencing class,
[00:06:12.810]Nebraska students learn about the lodging industry
[00:06:15.660]alongside their peers in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
[00:06:19.810]Three countries, one classroom.
[00:06:22.500]More and more employers are demanding
[00:06:24.740]a global understanding and a global competence
[00:06:27.810]from students and not every student have the means
[00:06:31.390]or the wherewithal or the time to travel overseas
[00:06:35.220]and do that, so we are now bringing in
[00:06:37.960]that globally relevant content
[00:06:41.140]and the connection with their global
[00:06:42.840]peers as right into the classroom within Nebraska
[00:06:45.590]by using this program.
[00:06:47.280]Opening doors to another country or culture
[00:06:49.770]helps students feel at home in a world
[00:06:52.010]where boundaries are blurring.
[00:06:53.970]Somebody may choose to work right here in Lincoln
[00:06:57.300]or within Nebraska but they are dealing with people
[00:07:00.190]and guests and clients from all over the world,
[00:07:02.760]do they have this situational awareness,
[00:07:04.690]the emotional intelligence to actually deal
[00:07:07.560]with this wide variety of people and essentially,
[00:07:10.190]ultimately it's about that global leadership
[00:07:12.680]in a sense that do they understand what it means
[00:07:16.050]to work in a globally relevant world and a workplace.
[00:07:20.110]I am very passionate about global education
[00:07:22.860]and study abroad and once again that ties right
[00:07:26.890]into developing global competence amongst our students.
[00:07:34.680]Next up, lab work.
[00:07:36.410]A deeper look at Professor Jha's industry knowledge.
[00:07:41.840]When it comes to hospitality, personalization is one
[00:07:45.070]of the hottest trends in the industry.
[00:07:47.570]Professor Jha has experienced it all,
[00:07:50.120]right down to the tiniest detail.
[00:07:52.640]Less formal yet much more personalized.
[00:07:55.620]On his shelf in his office you'll find Pierre,
[00:07:58.130]a stuffed animal that greeted the Professor
[00:08:00.320]when he checked into the Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong.
[00:08:03.240]The toy's bow tie was chosen with care.
[00:08:06.670]Representing me because I wear bow ties a lot
[00:08:09.560]and if you notice that Pierre's jacket also has
[00:08:13.600]the J monogrammed, which is my last name.
[00:08:17.069]Premium hotels use software to tailor amenities
[00:08:20.540]based on guest history, providing Darjeeling tea
[00:08:23.610]or a specific brand of soda for example.
[00:08:26.810]Technology has made it possible because
[00:08:29.220]with very very premium brands they have really mastered
[00:08:33.740]the art of personalization and so what was once
[00:08:38.370]only the prerogative of celebrities is now
[00:08:42.860]can be done using technology for the average guests.
[00:08:46.530]Another trend is spurred by the trend of Air BNB
[00:08:49.570]and other vacation property rental platforms.
[00:08:52.520]Instead of fighting it traditional hotels
[00:08:54.910]are jumping onboard.
[00:08:56.450]Ten years ago when Air BNB came into being,
[00:08:59.160]the traditional hotel or lodging brands were not very happy
[00:09:04.050]about it but now that Air BNB has established itself
[00:09:07.680]as a model and as an option for lots and lots of travelers
[00:09:12.120]we are now seeing the traditional hotel companies
[00:09:14.640]also launching Air BNB type brands within their portfolios
[00:09:20.400]because they understand that there is a section
[00:09:23.910]of the traveling public who are looking for something
[00:09:26.890]other than the traditional hotel stay.
[00:09:30.030]And in the future, how about that robot concierge?
[00:09:33.930]Very soon, technology such as Google Duplex
[00:09:37.080]where artificial intelligence can talk with human beings
[00:09:40.430]seamlessly is going to dramatically change the way
[00:09:44.330]the industry operates.
[00:09:45.780]My prediction is in the very near future,
[00:09:48.400]I am talking about within five to seven years
[00:09:51.020]the industry is going to undergo a tectonic shift
[00:09:54.560]or a paradigm shift in terms of how we integrate
[00:09:58.188]more of the technology with the human element
[00:10:02.115]and the human element is still going to be important
[00:10:05.270]but technology, especially artificial intelligence
[00:10:08.110]is going to play a larger role in the way the industry
[00:10:12.420]is going to move forward.
[00:10:13.700]By staying active in the industry,
[00:10:15.660]Professor Jha is able to bring the latest information
[00:10:18.640]to his students.
[00:10:19.950]I get to work with some very cutting edge
[00:10:23.090]and ahead of the curve projects with the industry
[00:10:26.550]and I bring all of that knowledge right back
[00:10:29.200]into the classroom to show students where the industry
[00:10:32.070]is going and what they can expect as future professionals.
[00:10:38.640]Now it's time for a pop quiz.
[00:10:40.770]Random questions, life hacks, and wisdom for all of us.
[00:10:46.630]Do you have a habit that makes you happier
[00:10:48.740]or more productive?
[00:10:50.740]I try to associate myself with positive
[00:10:53.220]and curious people.
[00:10:54.730]I can learn from them and then I can also emulate
[00:10:58.440]some of their better habits and make myself more productive.
[00:11:02.780]Morning or night person?
[00:11:04.490]I'm a big morning person.
[00:11:05.870]I like getting up early and getting a start of my day
[00:11:09.620]before the emails and the business of the office comes in.
[00:11:13.000]What's a life hack for travel?
[00:11:15.150]First of all, keep an open mind and number two is that
[00:11:20.720]do a little bit of reading up before wherever you are going.
[00:11:24.830]What do you do about jet lag?
[00:11:26.390]Water is my very good friend.
[00:11:29.010]I keep drinking lots and lots of water,
[00:11:31.410]also since I do very long distance flying, intercontinental,
[00:11:37.320]I try to sleep and rest as much as possible,
[00:11:41.360]even on the plane.
[00:11:42.940]So, I try to actually maintain
[00:11:45.340]as normal as possible routine.
[00:11:47.800]So, if I am flying somewhere overseas, I would still
[00:11:50.950]have dinner on the plane and then try and sleep,
[00:11:54.340]six, seven, eight hours to have my body rested
[00:11:58.060]rather than people who stay up and watch five movies.
[00:12:02.600]And finally, graduation day.
[00:12:04.920]Reflections on what it means to be a professor.
[00:12:10.700]Professor Jha launched his career in India
[00:12:13.240]with an internship at a luxury hotel
[00:12:15.680]his sophomore year in college.
[00:12:17.680]And I suddenly found that I really really enjoyed
[00:12:21.660]not only the industry but the working with people
[00:12:24.540]and that part of the industry.
[00:12:26.910]So, that basically helped me develop my love
[00:12:30.210]and my passion for the hospitality industry
[00:12:33.080]and of course after I graduated I worked for several years
[00:12:37.640]within the industry, decided to go back to grad school
[00:12:41.010]and then of course fell in love with learning and education
[00:12:43.700]and here I am, teaching what I love about.
[00:12:47.300]He says his greatest pleasure comes
[00:12:49.450]from sending his students out to embark
[00:12:51.530]on their next adventure.
[00:12:53.350]Oh, I love the ability to actually shape and influence
[00:12:58.390]young minds and see the students actually go
[00:13:01.370]from being a freshman to a senior and then become successful
[00:13:05.257]in the industry and I love playing a small part
[00:13:09.820]in their professional journey.
[00:13:12.060]That is it for Faculty 101.
[00:13:15.240]Thanks to Dipra Jha for sharing his experiences.
[00:13:19.410]Next week on the podcast
[00:13:21.200]Like any type of resource we need to take good care
[00:13:25.960]of it and we need to invest in it.
[00:13:27.960]Why it's important to maintain heritage language.
[00:13:32.060]Faculty 101 is produced
[00:13:33.810]by the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
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