The Business Simulations Blog

Running a Hospitality Course with a Hotel and Restaurant Simulation

Posted by Zsuzsa Jakab

Cesim Business Simulations Cesim Hospitality Hotel and Restaurant SimulationRunning such a multifaceted business as a hotel requires a great deal of cross departmental know-how of its leadership. To really understand the nuances of customer satisfaction and how it relates to bottom line performance, hotel managers must deal with a variety of decisions that span the entire chain of the organization. Teaching hospitality management is thus a complex endeavor that can benefit greatly from a risk free practical learning environment to consolidate what the students have learned in the class.

The Cesim Hospitality hotel and restaurant simulation is one such learning tool, as it connects the dots between hotel management related functions, revenue management, sales promotion, menu engineering, housekeeping, staff management and procurement. 

In Cesim's restaurant and hotel management simulation game, participants run their hotel and restaurant operations in competition with other teams. They can try and practice with different scenarios as well as analyze the outcomes of their decisions and projections. For each round, the hotel and restaurant management simulation game generates a range of detailed reports that help teams to analyze and benchmark their performance against their competitors. Financial results are reported according to the Uniform System of Accounts for Restaurants and for the Lodging Industry.

But how exactly should you be using a hospitality simulation game in your class? What are some of the best practices and pro tips when it comes to adding a practical element like this to your course?

1. Prepare well

As an instructor, you'll be able to create and manage your simulation based course straight from the Cesim business simulations platform. Preparation is key in ensuring your simulation will run smoothly and your students get the most out of this part of the course. Luckily, the platform is simple and easy to use, so there are just a few things you need to do before the Cesim hospitality game starts, namely:

Set the simulation schedule

Depending on the intensity of the simulation you'd like to have, you can set the round deadlines to be anything from a few hours to days or a week (or more). Shorter round deadlines are best suited for courses run over a couple of days, while longer ones are typically used in half a semester or semester long courses. Regardless of the intensity of the course, it's worthwhile having at least one practice round at the beginning of the game, so as to help participants get acquainted with the decision making process. Practice rounds' results are not taken into account in the final results, therefore students can experiment freely.

Assign students to teams

Once you've set the simulation schedule, you can assign your students into teams of max. 8 players per team, up to any number of teams per course. This flexibility accommodates both large and small class sizes equally, even across different time zones.

Upload materials

Every Cesim simulation software comes with a default set of introductory materials (decision-making guide and case description), but you are also encouraged to upload your own documents as you see fit. These might be anything from a peer review sheet to a strategy guide or a video.

Introduce students to the simulation

If this is your students' first experience with a simulation, it's worth making sure they run through the tutorial page which contains a helpful video tutorial and a step by step guide to the decision-making process, and they read the simulation specific reading materials. Doing this, and playing at least one practice round will ensure that students have the chance to clarify any remaining questions they may have before the start of the first real simulation round.

2. Make use of the case manager

Although Cesim Hospitality comes with a default case, the Cesim case manager (accessible via the Cesim Instructor interface) allows you to either modify the case or even create a new one from scratch. If you are using the hospitality simulation in successive courses, this is a great way to keep the content fresh and challenging for new students. Have you created a great new case that you'd like to share with our instructor community? Simply check the Shared box in the "Settings" of the case, and it'll be available for other instructors in our network to use.

In addition to case management, you can also modify which modules are available in your hospitality simulation. You can do this by editing the case parameters and accessing the modules tab. Cesim Hospitality currently has five different modules; breakfast, procurement report, hotel/restaurant on/off, theater case, and show GOP conversion. 

3. Remind students of useful features

There are a number of helpful features in Cesim Hospitality that are worth reminding your students of:


Even after thorough preparation, students might need to refresh their memory about the decisions to be made in the simulation. For a quick reminder, students can consult the "Helpers" (small icons found on the top right corner of certain decisions) to bring up a quick help window with information about a particular area.


Depending on which modules are enabled, there are a maximum of three projection sections found on the bottom of the Cesim Hospitality game screen. These are "Hotel Projections", "Restaurant Projections", and "Projected Income Statement". 

Projections are dynamically changing estimated results based on current numbers. They do not account for the competition, therefore are not a true indication of coming results, but can nonetheless be a useful guide for students in spotting mistakes and whether their decisions will likely put them or a growth trajectory or not.

Decision checklist 

The "Checklist" is the final step in a simulation round, and it is where students will consolidate the decisions they have made during the game. It's worth remembering that only the decisions saved in the team decision column will be calculated in the results.

Therefore during the simulation round, students can safely try out different strategies in their own play areas, and compare projected results side by side. Once they've chosen and set their team member's decision to be their team's decision, submitting it is as easy as pressing "Copy" on the decision checklist page.

4. Encourage communication

Whether you run an in-person, hybrid or completely online course, communication is key. Cesim Hospitality incorporates two different forums to enable easy communication between everyone in the course, as well as within teams.

You can also send an email directly to all participants from the Cesim Instructor interface by navigating to your course and pressing the "Send email" button in the course details. 

Using the integrated messaging system will help you and your students keep track of all communications about the course on the platform itself.

5. Analyze key metrics

The teams’ success is measured with a number of different financial ratios, including operating profit, net profit, return on assets, and cash flows. Within the hotel operations, revenue management and customer satisfaction are key. Success factors for the restaurant side include menu engineering, staff management and overall customer experience. In addition, the simulation contains all relevant industry specific ratios including (but not limited to) ADR, GOPPAR, RevPAR, occupancy-%, and revenue per customer.


Cesim Hospitality has been used by NYU Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts NAIT, Estoril Tourism and Hospitality School, Copenhagen Business School, Reims Management School, SKEMA Business School and the ESG Management School amongst others.

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Tags: Educator 2.0, Integration, How to use business simulations