Students Secure Third Place in International ACCOR Challenge

Three first year undergraduate students from BMIHMS at Torrens University have recently taken out third place in AccorHotels’ Take Off! Challenge, a global student competition that celebrates innovation and creativity.


For the past 6 years, students from all over the world have been invited to take part in a challenge. This year, teams were asked to design the mobile hotel of their dreams which could move around to fit in with the needs of travellers. Teams had to compete in two heats, during which they were assessed by by AccorHotels experts as well as teaching staff from graduate schools.

Amelia Perez Catalan, Manasi Nirbhavane and Olivia Wilson from BMIHMS were one of five teams selected from 300 entrants to head to Paris and compete in the final which was held in Paris in June, where they placed third.

The BMIHMS team was selected for its ‘Air Hotels’ concept – a hotel based on inflatable items. The group said of the concept:

“We believe in unforgettable experiences. We wanted to come up with a solution for hotel convenience, accessibility and comfortability. Our goal is to reach simplicity in the pop up hotel experience.

“Air Hotels is a hotel based mainly on inflatable things, with the purpose of bringing a whole hotel to the customers at a cheap price. Its flexible material makes it possible to transport easily and reach customers everywhere. Our target market are millennials interested in festivals or any other major event requiring accommodation (allowing the hotels to remain profitable in the low seasons). Air Hotels aims to make the ordinary experience of staying in a hotel extraordinary.”

Amelia Catalan said she and her teammates had been amazed by the opportunities afforded to them in their first year at BMIHMS.

“My experience at BMIHMS started 8 months ago when I landed from Guatemala. I wasn’t totally sure about leaving my home, friends and family, however my parents encouraged me to take the risk. Since I first came to Australia, staff from the school were there to make me feel welcome in a totally different country. This allowed me to focus on my studies and motivated me to get involved in extracurricular activities, including the Take Off Challenge.

“I consider this educational experience a challenge that every student should dare to live at least once in their life, as it allows you to get out of your comfort zone and prove the exceptional things you can achieve with with a little bit of determination,” she said.

Jerome Casteigt, General Manager – Hospitality at Laureate Australia and New Zealand, said the team at BMIHMS was thrilled with the results.

“Amelia, Manasi and Olivia have done an incredible job in coming up with an innovative and creative idea that would benefit the hospitality industry immensely. They are a wonderful representation of the calibre of students we have studying with us at BMIHMS.

“The majority of our graduates are either progressing rapidly up the ranks of major hotel and resort chains and international event companies, or starting their own successful businesses, such as restaurants. There are endless opportunities for students interested in a diverse and rewarding career path in tourism and hospitality. We look forward to watching what these similarly talented students will do as they move towards their own exciting careers in the industry,” he said.

Congratulations again Amelia, Manasi and Olivia!

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