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Careers in the Hospitality Industry

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The hospitality industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation for non-technical people. Individuals with good people skills can have excellent careers in hospitality — at all levels.

At the entry level, there are always plenty of opportunities. For a person seeking a career in hospitality, it is critical to understand and appreciate as many facets of the operation in question as possible. If you start out at a hotel’s front desk, for example, you’ll quickly understand how each department interacts with the others since they are all in daily contact. Knowledge is power, so learn and be powerful.

Those employees who truly care about people, are outwardly friendly, and have a positive ''can-do'' attitude will typically move to the front of the line. A big smile goes a long way in the hospitality business. On the management side, people who demonstrate problem-solving capabilities and are team players/builders emerge as leaders. When they also possess customer service skills, they lead by example and the business flourishes.



Hotels are 24/7, and when it comes to ''crunch time,'' everyone needs to pitch in, often by performing duties outside their typical job descriptions. If people are needed to deliver gift baskets, carry luggage, park cars, hose off the patio, or pick up cigarette butts, everyone needs to work together as a team to accomplish the overall goal of superior customer service. By modeling this guest-centric philosophy on a daily basis, our resort received the highly coveted AAA Four Diamond rating a mere six months after we opened, and also received the Radisson President’s Award in our first year of operation.

Fifteen years ago, there were three categories of hotels: economy, midscale, and upscale/luxury. Now those categories have subcategories, which means that more and more hotels in all categories are being built throughout the United States. This translates into greater employment opportunities. Naturally, a job at a limited-service hotel will pay less than one at a luxury resort, so one employment trend is to start out somewhere small, learn the vocabulary of the business (you can only think within your vocabulary), and then move upwards.

Internships are frequently available for college students who are majoring in hospitality, as well as for hourly employees who display great potential. An individual will typically be ''developed'' over an 18- to 24-month period by spending several months in each of the key functional areas within a hotel (engineering, housekeeping, rooms, food and beverage, etc.). After each "tour of duty," the student is tested before advancing to the next department. This provides students with a comprehensive view of hotel operations, and also enables them to discover which particular hospitality niche is right for them.

Opportunities for advancement are always there, but they are not necessarily advertised on the bulletin board. Do your job. Do it well. Be a team player. Be supportive. Be positive. Be reliable. And finally, work your tail off, and the opportunities will come.
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