Why Choose Hospitality Management?
"I’m intrigued by the hospitality industry, because I have always loved going on trips and staying in hotels. When I was a kid, I looked forward to the hotel as much as the destination. Weird maybe, but there was something to how comfortable they made me feel. I’d like to do that for other people who are on vacation, but I’m not sure if this is a useful industry to work in. Are there any special advantages of going into hospitality? Will it pay me enough? How do I get started? Also, can this get me the heck out of Buffalo?"
asked by Jim from Buffalo, NY
There are a number of benefits to going into hospitality, but there are some drawbacks as well. It’s a very competitive industry, since there are a lot of people who are qualified to work in this sector. This is in part because educational barriers are so low. That’s a good thing, but it does pose a challenge as far as a competitive workforce goes. You don’t even need any higher education to get started in hospitality, even if you’re aiming for management, though a degree in business, marketing or PR could help you out. Most hotel managers start out as hotel staff members working in other departments.
For example, you might move from hotel auditing, desk management, or another department to management if you have been around for a while.
Another benefit to working in hospitality is mobility. The optimum situation is to get a job working with a hospitality company which has hotels in a number of different locations. If you’re into traveling, or you want to move every few years and experience a new location. If you got a job working for a Marriot or Hilton in Buffalo, for example, you might find that they are able to transfer you after a couple of years to a Hilton or Marriot in another city or even in a small town.
People who work for large hotel chains regularly put in for transfers to different locations. There aren’t many industries which offer that kind of mobility and flexibility.
Many hospitality jobs also offer flexible hours. You may be able to select from morning, afternoon, or even overnight hours. Flex schedules with changing hours may be a possibility, and you might also be able to work split shifts. For some people this is a good thing, while others may find it annoying. It applies more to some jobs in the hotel than others.
As a manager, you would work pretty standard hours. But if you work at the front desk, restaurant, or in housekeeping, you may have more unusual hours.
There are a lot of appealing aspects to hotel work. Low educational barriers, mobility within the hotel’s departments as well as mobility in geographic space, and unusual hours and shifts can all be advantageous. But there is a lot of competition for hotel jobs, which can make it difficult to break into the industry if you don’t already have a hospitality job—even if you have previous experience and take a break.