I have a lot of acquaintances asking me what motivated me to pursue a career in the hotel and tourism industry. They would be better off asking me to define the purpose of life or explain astrophysics, because there is no clear and certain answer to that question. It all depends on what a person seeks from choosing to work in hotels.
Hospitality has history…
The reasons are just about as vast as the industry and as deep as its roots in history. Historically, people traveled around and just as today the basic needs such as a warm bed and healthy meals had to be met. However, unlike ancient times ( which were limited to small inns or chambers for rent in private residences), the industry has continuously evolved to its highest extents – and with future technologies and resources, promises to innovate more and more with each single client.
Whether your corporation needs a 100 person conference room, you decide to go on an exotic honey-moon, or finally take time off with your family at a summer resort, working in hotels requires you – professionally – to insure that your clients’ wants and needs are met and even exceeded; and unlike past times, they are not limited to just a warm bed or healthy meals. Whoever is involved with this industry needs to understand that keeping up with its current trends is a key success factor.
…And a fast-growing future
Did you know that the travel and tourism industry is the 21st century’s fastest growing industry?
As mentioned before, the lodging industry can be traced way back in history, and will surely be present in the far future to come. If nearly 2’000 years ago, nomads and travelers used to “check-in ” at inns and huts, by the time you will finish reading this article the world will be just that much closer to establishing hotels in space (think of the International Space Station). So not only is this industry evolving, but with vacant rooms it brings vacant job posts as well.
Luckily, there are learning institutions that focus on recruiting, educating, training and informing the future hotelier leaders of tomorrow on what “keys” can unlock the success of tomorrow, today.
Another reason is that hospitality requires you to work in a multi-cultural environment.
Working in a hotel does not mean that internationalism within the establishment stops at your clients; for the people behind the reception, in the kitchen and at the offices come from all corners of the world and they bring along with them their own language, cultural background and ideas on how to efficiently work within the industry.
In my first internship, although I was working in France, I had the honor to work with colleagues from Germany, the United States, Algeria, Morocco, Switzerland, Canada, Cuba and Russia. All these people had taught me how to maximize my working capabilities based on their own personal experience within their home-countries; which at the end of the day not only enriched my practical skills – but my knowledge on other countries as well.
A key factor in this “job description” is to be able to communicate and work with different people from different backgrounds – as one big team.
It Gives You Room to Grow
The hospitality industry allows you to develop yourself – professionally and as a person. Not only do you improve on the professional skills you already possess, but with time and commitment you learn others due to the variety of colleagues, clients and situations that will put you to the test.
Various characteristics are required for working in a hotel. These range from soft-skills such as organization, communicating or working in a team; to more technical competences such as serving, revenue management, accounting and facilities management.
Also, probably the most important matter is that you – literally – take care of people. This is debatable, but my experience tells me it takes empathy and commitment to put another person’s needs and desires ahead of your own – while keeping a smile on your face.
Customers come to hotels for various reasons, but in short, they want an experience. They want hotel employees and representatives to accord their time, care and attention. And just as people differ greatly, so does the care and commitment each hotelier exhibits to his/her clients. Some may settle for meeting the basics, such as checking-in a family or serving beverages at the hotels bar, but others will take an extra step and not just meet their client’s demands, but also exceed them.
With today’s fast-growing businesses, more and more focus is channeled towards making a profit, which is the main purpose of business in the first place; however, in hotels the products are not limited to events, meals, rooms or drinks – they extend to service and there is always a way to improve services and our service-industry skills.
It’s just awesome!
Finally, the reason why I love hospitality so much is simple: it’s fun – as in enjoyable. All the dynamics, all the shifting with different responsibilities and the feeling you have when you start training and end up in a managing position, it’s more than satisfactory at the end of the day. And it does not stop with the customer-facing part of the hotel, you have the opportunity to meet and socialize with people representing a wide range of nationalities, in an even wider range of places all around the world.
In conclusion, the hotel industry is a pretty interesting and pleasant domain to get involved in. As any other job, it has its ups and downs, and that’s the great part of it: there is always place for innovation and there will always be innovators.