During the TUCO Competitions in March 2018, while chefs were sweating over the stove, four senior managers were sweating it out in a quiet room upstairs over a computer.

They were taking part in the first HOTS Business Challenge, working together over two days to run a simulated hotel business.

HOTSIt was tough going but the team made up of delegates from Cardiff University, University of Huddersfield and University of Cambridge – beat the computer and took away a TUCO Competition medal.

The team’s trial run with HOTS – which stands for Hotel, Operations, Tactics and Strategy, and is a web-based business management simulation that challenges participants to redevelop and manage a large hotel – has led the TUCO Academy to offer it to other members for a thrilling day course, in partnership with arena4finance.

HOTS Strategic Management Business Simulation is ideal for those at head of department or senior management level seeking to gain a better understanding of strategic decision making in a hotel environment and the subsequent impact of those decisions on financial performance.

The benefits of using business simulations have been long recognised by business schools. Their use has been seen to encourage teamwork, improve understanding and offer the advantage of taking place in a risk-free environment.

The HOTS Business Game can develop skills in the following areas: Developing strategic planning, understanding financial results and KPIs, applying revenue management strategies to pricing, evaluating sales and marketing strategies, and managing human resources.

The simulation is ideal for teams of managers working in universities where you are currently operating hotels or exploring opportunities for operating residential premises commercially during holidays. Working in teams of three, you have the opportunity to run a virtual hotel and make decisions regarding how to increase revenues and control costs while keeping an eye on the cash flow.

The HOTS business game is used globally on many university courses to help students learning about accommodation and catering management to understand the key issues and interpret the business results based on their decisions. Many commercial hospitality businesses use the simulation for internal professional development courses to develop their managers.

The one-day course is run by Debra Adams, head of professional development at area4finance. She is a leading practitioner in delivering courses to develop financial skills for non-financial managers and it’s the author of the highly acclaimed text book Management Accounting for the Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Industries.

Debra says: “I love working with learners and the HOTS simulation – the game brings out the competitive side of the teams taking part and it is a great way to learn more about what the business results actually mean. Participants can see the direct link between their decision making and the impact on revenues, profits and return on capital.”


"It was absolutely brilliant, I couldn't recommend it highly enough. This is a great tool for financial management"

– Delegate from Cardiff University

"Not very often do you get a chance to see immediate figures as a result of your monthly decisions. Excellent trainer who made the 2 days extremely exciting. Can't wait to be involved in the challenge again."

– Delegate from University of Huddersfield