If there’s one gold thread that runs through the hotel industry, it’s a love of people and strong service orientation. Looking after people is a busy business. It is certainly not the easy career some might think.
Things have to be cleaned, food ordered, planned and on time, and information must be readily to hand. People are always wanting something – from a plug to an extra blanket to how to find the button on the aircon, etc. So patience is not simply a virtue, it is fundamentally everything. Probably the best thing about hotels or accommodation of any kind, is that no two days are the same. Certainly there are surprises, and any hotelier can confidently say with a fair amount of satisfaction that no two surprises are the same.
A fast-changing set of options
Change has been an awe-inspiring leap of development and progress. The industry has grown from the simple gesture of handing a key across a desk to the complex beating heart of managing hundreds of rooms and thousands of guests coming and going, all with different needs and complaints. If you want to join this glittery merry-go-round – whether in 5-star luxury or boutique personalised catering – you will need the very best of human attributes: calmness, intelligence, an eye for detail, tenacity, resilience, an understanding of people, and a desire to please that just never dies.
While technical and practical studies in this sphere – such as a hospitality management degree, will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the structure and operation of the sector, along with related industries such as conferencing and event planning – you will need to hone your skills in people management, service delivery, leadership, finance and marketing. Abilities to identify, analyse and respond in good effect to clients’ needs, are paramount.
In fact, training in the hospitality industry provides skills valued everywhere: strong analytical problem-solving abilities; well-developed communication capabilities; report writing; negotiating talents; staff management; teamwork and delegation. And then the necessary know-how in finance, IT, spreadsheets, databases and human resources.
A career for life!
Hospitality is the career training that trains you for life; it’s the one career that fits all sizes. Here are a few that will inspire and excite – and offer the kind of broad look at life that many people wish they had thought about when career options were first up for scrutiny.
Sales and Marketing Manager
You may not need a qualification in hospitality for this position, but it would be helpful. Understanding the industry is key to successfully marketing a top hotel for instance. So a proven record in sales and a qualification in business or marketing will be essential. Every international hotel chain requires a charismatic sales and marketing manager to bring in new clients and partnerships and to showcase what their hotel has to offer. Day-to-day duties can vary from giving presentations, creating advertising and hosting marketing events.
Probably the single best position from which to launch a career in the hotel industry. As receptionist you present the frontline face of the hotel – the first person the guests meet and the person to whom they will turn for assistance. Not only that, but you will need comprehensive, personal experience of activities and things to do (and not do) within the area. So a solid understanding of the local sights, restaurants, entertainments and tours – and what would be suitable for different types of guests such as the elderly or families, is vital. You need to be a problem-solver supreme and a fount of knowledge.
From Head Chef to Sous Chef to Line Cooks, workers in the food industry are part and parcel of hospitality. The keepers of the pots are responsible for operations in the kitchen, as well as the menu and quality of food and service. Whether kitchen, culinary or food manager, you are the eyes and ears of the kitchen, the overseer who makes sure everything runs smoothly! Any chaos in the kitchen should never be noticed by the guests!
Food & Beverage Supervisor
Working with the Culinary Manager, you would plan, organise and manage the food and beverage supply for a hospitality venue such as a hotel or restaurant. You would assess types and quantities of food and drinks needed during a particular timeframe, make sure the goods are ordered, delivered, and paid for – and that the hotel or restaurant makes a profit from its food and beverage services.
Whether you work within a large hotel with this vocation, or a dedicated company – or as your own business, this is an attractive choice within the hospitality industry. Planning and overseeing large or small events requires creativity, an eye for detail, and an understanding of your client’s brief. From balls and charity dinners, to meetings and conferences, birthday parties and weddings, you need to work magic around a budget to ensure that every guest has an enjoyable and memorable experience, while at the same time keeping an eye on arrangements regarding décor, food, flowers, music, lighting, etc.
Front of House Manager
Usually found in a stylish restaurant, the Front-of-House Manager will be in charge of bookings, meeting and greeting guests, overseeing the daily operations of catering, and ensuring the highest level of service is always maintained.
Keeping the place clean. Probably one of the most important jobs of all, encompassing: all linen, pillowslips, sheets, bedding and carpets, and including cupboards to light bulbs to bathroom accessories such as clean towels, soap, shower gels, shampoo and other little luxuries to please guests. Freshness, orderliness, and accessibility are the watchwords of good housekeeping.
The list doesn’t end here. You could still find yourself in any one of the following roles: bartending; tour guide; training & development; spa management; security; finance and accounting. Truly, the broadest options await any individual who begins their career with training in the hospitality industry where good relations are the order of the day.