Project in the spotlight: Postillion rolls out campaign developed by Hotel School students

“This was a once in a lifetime experience – working as a student with a real company with a real budget.”
Alissa, Jaro, Ettje and Cas
1st year Hospitality Management students

In a 3-day hackathon, students from NHL Stenden Hotel School were set the task of creating a contemporary employer branding campaign. The aim was to help Postillion Hotels better position itself in the market so as to attract new employees and interns. The group formed by first year students Alissa Niittylä, Jaro Klamer, Ettje Dittmann and Cas van Ijssel won the challenge – and convinced Postillion Hotels to invest in rolling out the campaign for real.

Learning by doing

AT NHL Stenden, students are encouraged to explore how things really work in their chosen fields, to find out what the reality is and not just rely on theory. In this task set by Postillion Hotels, students worked on THE NXT CAMPAIGN challenge, developing a campaign for the company that would attract the right kind of employees and interns for the hotel chain. In a three-day hackathon, students worked in groups of six to develop a prototype for the campaign and presented and substantiated their work.

The hackathon was a design-based education project for hotel school students. Aimed to get students out of their textbooks and into a real work situation where business insights, target group knowledge, employer branding, teamwork and deadlines all play a role. With just three days to develop a campaign, the students needed to focus on making full use of each other’s skills and ensuring they fully understand the client.

Recruiting talent

Recruiting talent is no easy task, but especially not when the industry has been so affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. “In these challenging times, it’s quite difficult to find the right people,” says Mark Struik, HR manager at Postillion Hotels.  “The outbreak of Covid-19 has made a career, and a career start, in the hotel industry uncertain and therefore less attractive even though there are still plenty of opportunities. And we all now know the great value of hospitality and meeting each other physically. Postillion is looking for energetic, ambitious hotel employees with an eye for detail and who will help us make a difference in the field of hospitality.”

The hotel school students were challenged to develop a campaign that captured the Postillion Hotel’s brand and character: its sense of entrepreneurship and its drive to create opportunities, both in the market and for its employees. The campaigns were then assessed in terms of applicability, relevance to the target group, appeal and how realistic the budget estimate was. THE NXT CAMPAIGN should result in the recruitment of employees and interns who are just as driven and bold as the hotel.

The winning team

Students Alissa Niittylä, Jaro Klamer, Ettje Dittmann and Cas van Ijssel not only won the challenge but also convinced Postillion Hotels to invest 10,000 euros to put their idea into practice The students are understandably proud of this achievement. “This was a once in a lifetime experience,” says Ettje Dittman. “Not many hotel schools offer students the opportunity to work with real companies and with a real budget, especially in the first year. I learned a lot from this and am extremely grateful to Postillion for this opportunity.”

The campaign was launched in May 2021 and can be seen online and on Postillion Hotels’ social media channels.


Design-Based Education

Read more about how an NHL Stenden degree really works and about how the way you learn helps you turn ideas into practical solutions.