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Life Stories

Smart Hospitality: A Case Study on Effective Hotel Vacation Packages

This lesson is designed to build your critical-thinking skills in English as you read, listen, and answer different types of comprehension and discussion questions.

Pre-Listening Activities for Teachers

Although these questions are related to classroom instruction, independent learners can reflect on the ideas and topic to prepare for the listening portion of the lesson.

  1. Brainstorming California Landmarks: Before introducing the topic of the story, engage the students in a brainstorming session about famous landmarks and attractions in California. They may need to do some online research to help them generate ideas. Write down their responses on the board or use a virtual collaboration tool. This activity will help activate their prior knowledge and build anticipation for the story’s content.

  2. Discussion on Tourism Trends: Initiate a discussion about current tourism trends in California. Ask the students questions like:

    • What makes California a popular tourist destination?
    • What types of activities do tourists typically engage in when visiting California?
    • How can hotels and tourism companies attract more visitors?
  3. Vocabulary Preview: Introduce key vocabulary words from the story related to tourism, hotel packages, and discounts. Provide definitions and use them in example sentences to help students familiarize themselves with the terminology. Some key vocabulary are highlighted in bold in the story.

  4. Prediction Game: Divide the class into small groups and ask each group to predict the types of hotel packages and discounts that might be offered in the story. Have them discuss their ideas and reasons for their predictions. Encourage creativity and imagination.


Listen and read the story and answer the questions. Key vocabulary words are marked in bold.


A listening activity from Randall’s E-S-L Cyber Listening Lab.

In the heart of California, a dedicated and intelligent business manager named Matt led a team of professionals working for a prestigious hotel chain. Matt was known for his keen negotiating skills and deep understanding of the tourism industry.

His goal was to create outstanding packaged tours for the hotel patrons, providing a comprehensive experience that included bus tours, hiking expeditions, thrilling rafting adventures, and visits to iconic landmarks.

Gathering his team one morning, Matt approached the task with a sense of determination and professionalism. “Let’s strategize and create enticing tour packages for our esteemed guests,” he said, his voice steady and composed. “We must offer unique and valuable discounts to stand out from the competition.”

They worked diligently, analyzing data and conducting market research to identify target audiences and their preferences. Matt insisted on providing special discounts for seniors, recognizing their desire to experience California’s wonders at their own pace. Matt then proposed, “Let’s offer a 20 percent discount for seniors.” He simply wanted to stress the need to be inclusive and accommodating to this special group. 

Moving on to weekdays, Matt saw an opportunity to draw in more visitors during quieter periods. “Weekdays can be just as memorable as weekends,” he stated. “We’ll design exclusive weekday specials that highlight the serene beauty and lesser-known attractions of California. A 15 percent discount for weekday travelers might encourage them to explore when the crowds are thinner.”

His team appreciated Matt’s serious yet compassionate approach. They understood that providing valuable experiences for their guests was at the core of their mission. Matt believed in offering genuine value without compromising the integrity of the hotel’s brand.

As they brainstormed further, Matt considered a partnership with a reputable bus tour company. He envisioned seamless experiences for guests, where they could explore multiple destinations without the stress of driving. “Let’s ensure safety and comfort for our guests,” he emphasized, “and in return, we can offer a cumulative discount based on the number of destinations covered during the trip.”

Matt diligently analyzed each discount and package to ensure they offered real value to the guests. He steered clear of frivolous gimmicks, like providing guests with a plastic souvenir key chain in the shape of the hotel’s logo or organizing a contest to see who could fold the most origami cranes. Instead, his primary focus remained on delivering exceptional service and creating memorable experiences for all guests.

He crafted well-structured packages, like the “Grand California Expedition,” where guests can savor the state’s diverse landscapes and cultural treasures. Such visits may include Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, and Redwood National Park.

Matt recognized that the value of these experiences extended beyond mere discounts; it was about fostering a deep connection with California’s natural beauty and rich heritage.

Thanks to Matt’s strategic vision and commitment to excellence, the hotel chain’s packaged tours flourished. Tourists were drawn not only to the picturesque locations but also to the reputation of the hotel’s thoughtful and immersive experiences. 

As Matt’s dedication and passion inspired the team, they continued to refine and enhance the tours, elevating the hotel chain’s reputation to new heights. With a serious yet customer-centric approach, they created a legacy of excellence that attracted travelers from all corners of the globe, all seeking the genuine beauty and wonder of California.

So, to summarize business success in the case of this company, one could say that businesses can achieve great things when they put the interests and needs of the customers first. Wouldn’t you agree?

Comprehension Questions: Self-Grading Quiz

Comprehension Questions in Text Format

1. What type of discounts did Mark propose for the hotel’s packaged tours?
a) weekend specials and senior discounts
b) weekday specials and student discounts
c) weekday specials and senior discounts
d) weekend specials and family discounts

2. Mark decided to partner with a local bus tour company to offer a package that includes:
a) rafting and sightseeing
b) hiking and bus tours
c) wildlife spotting and guided tours
d) concerts and musical performances

3. Why did Mark offer discounts for seniors on the “Roaring Rafting Adventure” package?
a) Seniors are more likely to enjoy rafting adventures.
b) Seniors tend to visit the hotel during quieter periods.
c) Seniors would feel rejuvenated and youthful during the experience.
d) Seniors often travel in large groups.

4. What was the purpose of the “Wildlife Wednesday”  special?
a) To offer a discount for guests spotting wildlife during the tour
b) To encourage guests to solve puzzles and challenges during the tour
c) To attract guests to the hotel on Wednesdays
d) To provide a guided hiking tour through national parks

5. Mark’s approach to creating the hotel’s packaged tours was characterized by ____.
a) humor and playful surprises
b) seriousness and professionalism
c) a mix of humor and seriousness
d) ambiguity and unpredictability

Answers and Explanations

1. Answer: c) Weekday specials and senior discounts

Explanation: Mark proposed ‘Weekday specials’ to attract guests during quieter periods and ‘senior discounts’ to accommodate older patrons who might prefer a more leisurely pace.

2. Answer: b) Hiking and bus tours

Explanation: Mark decided to partner with a local bus tour company to offer a package that included both hiking and bus tours, allowing guests to explore various destinations without worrying about driving.

3. Answer: c) Seniors would feel rejuvenated and youthful during the experience

Explanation: Mark offered discounts for seniors on the ‘Roaring Rafting Adventure’ package, recognizing that such an exhilarating experience could make them feel rejuvenated and youthful.

4. Answer: a) To offer a discount for guests spotting wildlife during the tour

Explanation: The ‘Wildlife Wednesday’ special aimed to provide a discount to guests who could spot wildlife during the tour, adding excitement and an extra incentive to participate.

5. Answer: b) Seriousness and professionalism

Explanation: In contrast to the humorous and playful approach in the initial version of the story, the more serious tone emphasizes Mark’s determination, professionalism, and commitment to delivering exceptional experiences for the hotel’s patrons.

Discussion Questions

Intermediate (Analyze and Interpret):

  1. What types of tours and activities did Mark, the business manager, offer to the hotel patrons in California?
  2. Explain the purpose of offering discounts for seniors on the “Roaring Rafting Adventure” package.
  3. Why did Bob decide to create ‘Weekday specials’ for the hotel’s packaged tours?
  4. How did Mark ensure the safety and convenience of guests in the “Grand California Expedition” package?

Difficult (Analyze and Interpret):

  1. Analyze Mark’s approach to negotiating discounts for the hotel’s packaged tours. What strategies did he employ to appeal to different target audiences, such as seniors and weekday travelers?
  2. Evaluate the impact of the partnership with the local bus tour company on the hotel’s tourism offerings. How did it enhance the overall guest experience and attract more visitors?
  3. Compare and contrast Mark ‘s initial humorous approach to creating tour packages with his later, more serious and customer-centric approach. How did the shift in tone affect the hotel’s reputation and guest satisfaction?
  4. Discuss the significance of the ‘Wildlife Wednesday’ special and its potential effects on guest engagement and satisfaction during the hiking tours. How did this unique offering contribute to the hotel’s overall marketing strategy?

Class Activities

These post-listening activities add visual (seeing), auditory (listening), kinesthetic (moving), and tactile (touching) elements to engage students in meaningful ways based on their learning styles.

  1. Role-Play and Skit (Verbal and Kinesthetic Learning): Divide the class into small groups and assign each group a specific tour package mentioned in the story (e.g., ‘Roaring Rafting Adventure,’ ‘Wildlife Wednesday,’ etc.). Instruct the groups to create a short skit where they act out the experiences of the guests participating in their assigned tour. This activity allows students to use verbal communication skills and engage in kinesthetic learning by physically enacting the scenes.

  2. Brochure Design (Visual and Written Learning): Ask the students to work individually or in pairs to design a visually appealing brochure for one of the hotel’s tour packages. They should include key details such as the activities offered, the discounts available, and captivating images representing California’s landmarks. Students can practice written communication skills while crafting persuasive and descriptive content for their brochures.

  3. Interactive Map Exploration (Spatial Learning): Prepare an interactive map of California with pins marking the locations of the hotel and various tour destinations mentioned in the story. Students can use the map to plan their own dream vacation itinerary, selecting the tours they would like to participate in based on their interests and preferences. This activity allows students to develop spatial awareness and navigation skills.

  4. Journaling and Reflection (Intrapersonal Learning): Ask students to write a journal entry reflecting on their favorite part of the story or a specific tour package that intrigued them the most. They should express their thoughts, emotions, and personal connections to the content. This introspective activity promotes intrapersonal learning and self-awareness.

  5. Group Discussion and Debate (Interpersonal Learning): Organize a group discussion or debate on the topic of whether humorous or serious marketing approaches are more effective for attracting tourists to hotels and tourist destinations. Students can take on different roles and present arguments based on their own opinions and the information from the story. This activity encourages interpersonal communication and collaboration.

Different AI technologies, including ChatGPT and an AI voice generator, were used in a collaborative way to prepare the content for this lesson.
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