Amidst record-breaking participation from over 70 universities worldwide, the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge (SHC) by Hotelschool The Hague launches its 10th edition, signaling a new era of sustainable hospitality.

Recognized as the biggest student challenge in the hospitality industry, the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge champions sustainable impact through collaboration in a ‘Shark Tank ’-style competition.

Each year, students from diverse disciplines present investible products ready for market integration, with the platform striving to promote, create, and stimulate investments in sustainable solutions that push boundaries and positively impact the hospitality industry.

NEOM returns to the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge this year as the event’s Principal Sponsor.

A region under development in northwest Saudi Arabia, NEOM is being built from the ground up to comprise future industries, such as sustainable tourism and immersive hospitality. Other returning supporters of this year’s event include The Bench, the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, and the World Travel & Tourism Council.

This year also welcomes the United Nations World Tourism Organization as part of Sustainable Hospitality Challenge’s continued effort to foster greater inclusion in the industry.

Chris Newman, Executive Director, NEOM Hotel Division, said: “The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge offers a crucial platform that brings to life disruptive thinking. Over the years, we have had a front-row seat to watch young talents showcase groundbreaking hospitality ideas that that also respect our planet. In 2024, we expect them to push the boundaries even further, emphasizing the significance of scalability in redefining the way we travel, stay and live.”

Sandeep Walia, COO of Marriott International and a longstanding jury member and supporter of the challenge expressed his fascination with the fresh and forward-thinking ideas presented by the students in Sustainable Hospitality Challenge’s 2023 edition. He noted their ability to approach challenges with a novel perspective, unencumbered by conventional operational constraints.

Walia underscored the uniqueness of the challenge, attributing its strength to the amalgamation of various disciplines, fostering ideas that go beyond theory and have the potential to genuinely enhance sustainability in existing hotel properties, creating a tangible impact.

Sustainable Hospitality Challenge 2024
In the pursuit of global leadership in sustainable hospitality, the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge 2024 positions itself as a proponent for innovative solutions driving fundamental sustainable practices in the industry. Recognizing the need for transformative ideas, this year’s focus centres on product development, addressing the evolving landscape of hospitality.

Paul Griep, Director of Industry & Alumni Relations Hotelschool The Hague and founder of Sustainable Hospitality Challenge, shares his vision:
“In recent years, our focus has been on pioneering groundbreaking hospitality concepts for a future in and beyond 2050. This year, we shift gears to create an immediate impact within existing hospitality concepts. Our aim is to bring about real, significant global change. By simplifying the case, we open doors to diverse ideas and solutions, fostering an environment where multiple innovations can come to life. This aligns with our vision to initiate an incubator program, supporting students and their ideas beyond the challenge. Preliminary trials for this program will debut this year. Whether simple and cost-effective or a multi-million-dollar investment, a great product can leave a lasting impact while reinforcing sustainable practices.”

In an exciting move, the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge is expanding its semi-finals to three global events, collaborating with local institutions with a longstanding presence in the challenge.

The semi-finals, held from late April to the end of May, will take place in Montreux, Switzerland, in collaboration with the Swiss Hotel Management School; in Bangkok, Thailand, in conjunction with DUSIT Thani College; and in Miami, Florida, USA, in partnership with Florida International University.

The expansion provides more student teams the opportunity to showcase their ideas globally and connect with peers and jury members from around the world.

The online Qualification Round submission took place at the beginning of March 2024, with qualifying teams invited to participate in the Regional Semi-Finals in May 2024, where they will pitch their products live.

The top-performing teams will advance to the Finals in October 2024 in Dubai, UAE, which form part of the Future Hospitality Summit, marking a pivotal moment in shaping the future of sustainable hospitality.

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