Today we have a guest post from Marton Villanyi, currently on the Hilton Worldwide graduate trainee programme. Marton is passionate about the advantages of a career in the hospitality industry and waxes very lyrical on the subject! Over to Marton:
“Hospitality isn’t necessarily the career of choice for most graduates. It lacks the kudos of more obvious options like consulting, corporate finance, sales or law. Most people associate the sector with hotels and restaurants, but in reality it’s much broader. It involves lodging, the airline industry, cruising, event planning and tourism generally. If you’re looking for a career with immense variety then you might just have found it! Ten per cent of the UK workforce (according to the British Hospitality Association) work in the industry. They can’t all be wrong!
Now I’ve been a fan of hotels since the age of seven and can list endless reasons for choosing a career in the industry, but I’m just going to give you three major reasons why you should seriously consider it.
1.Hospitality offers great career opportunities.
This is the big one. No matter what you are specialised in, you’ll find your place here. Let’s take a hotel as an example. If you’re “into” operations, then you’ll want to engage in front office, restaurant and banqueting. Do well and you might find yourself fast tracked to senior management. However, the very same hotel couldn’t exist without back-of-house activities. And this is where it gets diverse. You might want to work your way up through sales and marketing to become Director of Business Development. Perhaps you’re a master of numbers and you want to pursue a career in finance. No problem. Hospitality can offer this as well! In addition, international hotel chains have multiple regional headquarters offering countless support positions: revenue management, legal support, Health and Safety, risk management, strategy and planning.
Now think about the global aspect of this industry. For example, airlines take you all over the world when you’re working for them. If you really want to work in a specific part of the world, you’ll be able to find a way to pursue your career there. Senior leaders in the hotel industry tend to switch locations on a bi-annual basis. How exciting is that?
2.You get to work with people.
This job is about people. You’ll be interacting with both colleagues and customers constantly. It’s the perfect way to develop your social skills early on in your career. These skills will make you a sought-after leader later on. You’ll really learn about customer service and get to develop your own professional network, all at the same time. You’ll learn to be a really good manager; your first-hand experience will demonstrate to you that management is more about how you interact with people working for you than your technical skills.
So what does a working day look like? How about this for a recent example? I started one day last week by discussing the “things-to-know” with the previous shift leader. Then I drafted and sent out weekly targets to my team. I waved off forty guests, caught up with emails, delivered a presentation about my business-driven project to the regional management and attended a meeting with my mentor.
3.Hospitality is rewarding.
Now, I’m not necessarily thinking financial rewards! As you probably know, hospitality is not well-paid in the entry level positions. However, there is good news too! If you are passionate and driven, you soon find yourself managing million-pound departments. The responsibility can be awesome!
This industry is emotionally rewarding too. You get to see the outcome of your efforts straight away. You might have to implement an up-selling initiative? If you do it right, you’ll see numbers grow from the first day. Perhaps you have to greet some newlyweds. If you’re truly hospitable, you’ll see their grateful smiles and know you added to their joy.
I hope I’ve given you some insight into the industry. If you plan to enter, I can highly recommend the graduate schemes of large airlines, hotels, restaurants or car rental companies. By participating in one of them, you’ll gain a thorough understanding of the business (even if you have no previous experience). If you’re “into” the hotel industry, then Hilton Worldwide, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Marriott International or Starwood US Hotels & Resorts offer the most recognised fast-track schemes. If you prefer airlines, then look no further then British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates or KLM – Royal Dutch Airlines.
What about the skills you need? I hope I’ve covered this , but generally employers are looking for customer-focus, initiative, communication, willingness to relocate and numerical skills. The most important thing of all is passion!”