A Career in the Hotel Industry

Overview

There are numerous job opportunities available within the hotel industry due to the many different departments that contribute to the smooth running of an establishment.  These include both front and back of house operations such as housekeeping, maintenance, reception, and food and beverage.  Additionally, all hotels need a manager and some have individual department managers reporting to a general manager, thus providing opportunities for promotion.  Also, the larger chains will often employ area managers who are responsible for the management of a network of hotels.

No matter what position you undertake within a hotel, the primary focus of the role will be to ensure that optimum service standards are delivered to guests and visitors to the premises.  On the reception desk, you are the first point of contact for guests checking in and out of the hotel, and will therefore have to deal with enquiries and complaints on a daily basis.  In the restaurant and bar areas, you are responsible for the quality of food and beverages served to the guests.  As a housekeeper, you are accountable for the condition of the bedrooms and the public areas of the hotel.  Hotel managers are accountable for all hotel functions as well as the administrative and accounting duties associated with the management of the premises.  Additionally, hotels with bars must be compliant with statutory licensing regulations and it is the responsibility of the manager to ensure that this is maintained.

Due to the nature of the business, working in a hotel involves unsociable hours with many hotels often busier at weekends and on public holidays.  It is essential to be passionate about customer service and all customer-facing roles require excellent communication and interpersonal skills.  Hotel managers need to have strong business acumen and the ability to implement effective marketing strategies to enable the hotel to remain profitable in what is a highly competitive industry sector.  There will always be complaints received from guests and customers so a professional approach is important as is the ability to deal diplomatically and tactfully with any incidents that occur.

Entry requirements

The hotel industry is one that benefits more from the personality traits of its staff rather than their standard of education, although for progression to management level it is possible to undertake HNC, HND and degree qualifications in Hotel and Hospitality Management.  Most of the larger hotel chains, including Marriott, Travelodge, Ramada and Best Western, offer training courses leading to the achievement of NVQs or SVQs in Hospitality Service, Hospitality Supervision and Hospitality Management.

Progression opportunities

At entry level, the hotel industry is not necessarily one that pays particularly well although this does improve with progression to management level.  Some of the larger hotel chains also have establishments in other countries so if you have a desire to work overseas, the hotel industry can offer excellent opportunities to those willing to learn a foreign language.

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