This semester, a group of Rosen College students have been hard at work on an attraction set to change the face of Orlando’s famed International Drive – I-Drive 360.
Eight teams of hospitality management and event majors in their first Marketing for Hospitality & Tourism course spent the last several months developing 10-point marketing plans for the new entertainment complex, slated to open in Spring 2015. In addition to the highly anticipated Orlando Eye observation wheel, I-Drive 360 will feature Madame Tussauds Orlando wax museum and SEA LIFE Orlando aquarium, as well as a variety of shops and restaurants, some of which will be the first in the region.
John Stine, director of marketing and sales for I-Drive 360, partnered with Rosen College to bring this student project to life in a way that no classroom case study ever could. Course instructor Gary Swanson and Stine previously worked for Universal Orlando Resort and are both members of Skål International, the preeminent organization for travel and tourism leaders worldwide. Skål also offers Rosen College students the opportunity to benefit from membership through Young Skål, specifically targeted to students and young professionals.
Swanson and Stine devised a hands-on learning experience that literally brought students into the developing world of I-Drive 360. On September 4, Stine delivered a comprehensive presentation to get the students up to speed on the attraction’s progress. On September 18, he led the group on an exclusive early morning hard hat tour of the construction site. In addition, students were able to conduct individual interviews with Stine and his colleagues for research purposes as well as visit local hotel concierge desks to discover how attractions like I-Drive 360 can best partner for mutual benefit.
Starting this week, each team will present their I-Drive 360 marketing plan to Stine and his key associates, who will choose the winners. The first, second and third place teams will receive complimentary admission to the attractions. The students’ ideas may also be implemented in future I-Drive 360 marketing initiatives.
Although he’s focused on providing a rewarding learning experience for the class, Stine believes this project will be as educational for him as for the students.
“I’m looking forward to new objectives, strategies and tactics the class may identify to help with the launch and sustainment of I-Drive 360,” said Stine. “Through this project, I hope the students gain an appreciation and understanding for what’s involved in launching and positioning a new attraction in the most popular and competitive destination on the world.”
For more information about hospitality management education at Rosen College, please visit hospitality.ucf.edu.
For more information about Skål International or Young Skål, please visit www.skal.org.