Why Simulation eLearning is Vital in the Hospitality Industry

lady working in cafe
Simulation training is vital for hospitality

The hospitality industry is highly competitive. Organizations and their staff must be motivated continually to do their best and improve their performance. Simulation eLearning and scenario based training will ensure that staff are highly competent.

Consumers expect excellent service. Service delivery is dependent on the competence of people working in the establishment. Thus, continuous staff training is essential for economic survival in this competitive environment. It is business critical.

Lack of training or poor training brings out high employee turnover and the delivery of substandard products and services.” 1

Ongoing industry training is a challenge when employees are busy with the daily operations. They must be working to keep the establishment running smoothly. Staff can’t be “out of service” while attending training sessions for too long!

So for training to benefit the establishment, you need:

  1. staff to be motivated to do the training and
  2. training that builds competence and ultimately increases profits
  3. training to be as fast and effective as possible. You need to minimize staff ‘down time’ due to training during work hours.


Organizations are increasingly using new technologies which allow faster and more convenient training methods as a solution. Methods such as simulation and scenario-based eLearning are making training more powerful, enjoyable and cost-effective.


How Simulation Based Training Improves Competence in the Hospitality Industry


Internships and placements traditionally focus on the development of vocational and operational skills. “In contrast, simulations provide an opportunity for students to practice and develop strategic analysis, decision making, and problem-solving skills.” 2

Simulation based training is an experiential learning tool that bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to develop competence.

 An overview of abundant research3 in the following areas shows that online simulations are an effective tool for developing many of the capabilities required in the hospitality industry workplace:

  • The development of decision-making skills

In a simulated model of reality, participants can make difficult decisions without the risk of failure that could harm the business. This allows them to learn from their mistakes.

  • Marketing knowledge and skills develop significantly through business simulation games 


  • Applied computing skills, such as the use of spreadsheets and skills to deal with numeric data and variables improve by analyzing simulations


  • Simulations enable a “better understanding of financial reports such as profit-and-loss statements and balance sheets, because participants can see the clear relationship between their decisions and the financial results.” 4


  • Competence and confidence with practical accounting skills improved through simulation activities.


  • Teamwork improves when learners had to play a role in a real working group in a simulation activity.


  • Communication skills such as conflict resolution skills, coping with diverse personalities and changing one’s own behavior to interact successfully develop and improve, by working closely together with others in simulation training.


Simulations of comprehensive management can help learners integrate a wide range of knowledge, skills and experience.


Why Simulation Based Training Delivers Effective Hospitality Industry Training


Why does simulation based training work?


According to Kolb’s experiential learning model5, experiential learning goes through a cycle that consists of four steps:

  1. The experimentation stage - participants analyze the situation, plan for the next action, individually or in a group and make a decision
  2. The experience stage - the action stage where the decision is implemented
  3. The observation stage – the cause and effect of the action or decision is observed
  4.  The conceptualization stage – understanding the results of the cause and effect. In a digital simulation this feedback is almost instantaneous.  It provides opportunities to achieve better results and to enhance decision-making skills at each chance. “This quick, almost simultaneous feedback is one of the advantages of simulations over other experiential learning tools, such as case studies and consultancy projects.” 6


Kolb's experiential learning modelImage: Kolb's experiential learning model


It’s a powerful attribute of simulation based training that makes learning more engaging and fun and makes learners active participants in the learning process, rather than passive. Research confirms that simulations also encourage enthusiasm, motivation and productive teamwork and increase the variety in learning activities. 7

It achieves desired outcomes faster and more time- and cost-effectively than other learning methods.

Overall, simulation based training develops intellectual skills that empower trainees with tools for processing information, problem solving, and making decisions effectively. It builds staff competence, which is essential in a service industry.


Why Simulation eLearning is Popular in the Hospitality Industry


Simulations are expected eLearning tools in today’s workforce education.  They can be hosted in online cloud-based environments. This has improved student access to training, on any device with Internet connectivity.

The increasing costs and opportunity costs of training, the increased pressure to stay competitive in a service industry and advances in technology all highlight the benefits of using online simulation training.

Research shows that “barriers to using simulations include preparation time, lack of information about simulations, funding and administrative issues.” 8

SimuLearn helps you overcome most of these barriers. Our innovative content authoring and planning tools enable instructional designers to create customized simulations and scenario-based eLearning in much less time and with less cost than traditional tools.

Simulation eLearning reduces training risk, promotes competence and optimizes training time and costs. Our goal is to help you to build competence.




1. Kerry, L. Sommerville 2007. Hospitality Employee Management and Supervision, Concepts and Practical Applications. New Jersey. John Wiley & Sons

2. Strickland, Paul & Benckendorff, Pierre & Whitelaw, Paul & Pratt, Marlene & Lohmann, Gui. (2015). Creating Educator Resources for Online Simulation-Based Pedagogies in Tourism and Hospitality.

3. Edelheim, Johan & Daisuke, Ueda. (2007). Effective Use of Simulations in Hospitality Management Education - A Case Study. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sports and Tourism Education. 6. 10.3794/johlste.61.104.

4. Ibid

5. Kolb, D. A. (1984) Experiential Learning - Experience as The Source of Learning and Development. New Jersey: Prentice Hall

6. Edelheim, Johan & Daisuke, Ueda. (2007). Effective Use of Simulations in Hospitality Management Education - A Case Study. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sports and Tourism Education. 6. 10.3794/johlste.61.104

7. Strickland, Paul & Benckendorff, Pierre & Whitelaw, Paul & Pratt, Marlene & Lohmann, Gui. (2015). Creating Educator Resources for Online Simulation-Based Pedagogies in Tourism and Hospitality

8. Ibid

About the author


SimTutor is a global leader in simulation-based learning.

SimTutor Author is an authoring tool designed to help you build interactive procedural simulations for healthcare, medical education and other industries where immersive training is critical.