As of course you know, hospitality is a rapidly growing field. You must know, because you had the foresight to major in it. On one Internet job search site there were 103 jobs listed in Los Angeles, 101 in Chicago and in New York 154 for a single month. Compare with business administrator (Los Angeles 11, Chicago 4, New York 12) for the same period of time. So you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a job. But what job?
MySpace or Yours?
Let’s get to the most ambitious one first – owning your own restaurant or bed and breakfast. Frankly, not a good idea. Most fail in the first year. But if you are determined, interview the owner or manager of your favorite hot spot to see what’s involved. Better yet, interview the owner of last year’s favorite hot spot and learn from his or her mistakes. Ask questions. How long they have been around? Which one appeals to you most? Some sites sell books on the subject. Much depends on the size, target clientele and especially location, location, location of your proposed business.
Small Potatoes, Plentiful work
Smaller establishments are generally geared to their own location and job descriptions and services are quite individual. Versatility is a big plus here. The fewer the employees, the more each one has to do. You might have to serve help breakfast one minute, choose which picture to hang in upstairs room the next and add up the day’s receipts after that.
Working for the Big Guys
Still, jobs are also quite plentiful in hotel chains such as Hyatt, Marriott and others. By contrast, the work here is very specific. Most have a number of marketing planners, finance managers and others that seldom deal with customers at all.
But in the day-to-day running of a hotel, restaurant or resort, the most important skill is in dealing with people. A character in the movie Gosford Park, speaking of her upper-class employers said, “I know what they want before they do.” Every hotel employee from those who clean the rooms to those who plan events must know the needs of the customers. How an establishment meets those needs and for most, doing it at a reasonable price determines whether it sinks or swims. If the entire staff is working toward the same goal, pleasing the customers and each other is made easier.
Every aspect of the business needs managing. The dining room, recreational facilities, maintenance, travel arrangements, event planning and, of course, finances all need at least one manager on site and another two or three to keep track of all the locations at once. Except for service personnel, management probably employs the largest number people. Entry level management positions might include night manager or assistant manager, or the person who counts the money at the end of the shift. But if you show yourself to be an eager, hard-working employee (NO “It’s not my job”) the chances of rising to an upper level position are good.
This is Hospitality? New Jobs
Conventions and meetings are a separate and expanding field. Most business executives have enough to do and once they have decided on their location are glad to turn over the run of the show to a trained professional. An internship or assistant’s job in this area is highly recommended since even the best course work cannot possibly cover all the bases in the complex world of meeting rooms, dining rooms, hospitality suites, supervision of employees and the unpredictability of people.
Technophiles can find their niche in the industry as well. The cash register is dead. Food service, billing, payroll, credit checks, event planning and scheduling, payments to outside agencies such as the company that provides the napkins and sugar packets, all are computerized. Large chains have systems that connect up, combine and analyze information from every unit in any configuration. Most hotels now provide a “business room” where guests can use a computer for an hourly fee. A combined knowledge of technology and hospitality can result in well-paid position.
The pace of hospitality work is hectic and the jobs are demanding. But hopefully, you majored in hospitality because you love people. If this is the case, the rewards in store for you just might make the whole thing worthwhile.