Hospitality industry: Unlimited opportunities
Where would you like to go? On a safari to Africa? Where would you like to be working? Pub in Ireland? Hotel in Bangkok? Or do you see yourself running your own cafe or restaurant? If yes, then venturing into the hospitality industry would be the right career option for you.
The opportunities for employment in the hospitality industry are broad in scope, and graduates are actively recruited each year by numerous hospitality firms. But mind it; interest alone will not suffice to make it big in this sector. There are other qualities necessary for success among which are an interest in management, enjoyment in working with people, and the drive to meet the challenges of this dynamic industry. The hospitality sector is not for those seeking a nine to five, Monday to Friday work pattern.
However, it may be appropriate for those who want to work in a customer-focused business environment where there are a wide range of specialist opportunities and, for those who are flexible; there is the opportunity for rapid career progression.Management positions are available with hotels, motels, restaurants, contract food service companies, convention bureaus, private clubs, travel and tourism organizations, resorts, theme parks, corporations and even luxury ships.
Hotels: They range from small to luxury five-star hotels. There are a number of large recruiters in the mid-range and budget hotels to luxury hotels like Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, Hyatt, Radisson, BestWestern, Days Inn, Hilton, Quality Inn, Ramada Inn, Meridien, Kempenski, Four Seasons Regent, Accor, and Marriott International. Positions in hotels range from front office to behind-the-scene jobs. Some of the positions in the hotel industry include front office managers, convention service mangers and executive housekeepers.
Restaurants: This sub-sector includes take-away food outlets, fine dining, ethnic restaurants and coffee bars. This is quite a diverse sector with many small, independent businesses alongside the burgeoning branded sector like McDonald's, Pepsico's Kentucky Fried Chicken, Domino's and Pizza Hut. It is an area where self-employment is a possibility, especially if you have flair and initiative.
Pubs, Clubs and Bars: They range from small pubs located in small towns to large, city nightclubs and bars. However, the distinction between this sub-sector and restaurants is blurring with many of these establishments now offering food.
Contract Catering: It means any catering business unit that is separately operated and managed. Some of the outlets supplied by contract caterers are schools, hospitals, local authority and in-company catering and food services.
Hospitality Services: It incorporates all those working in establishments where hospitality is not the main function and is not contracted out. Areas include medical, educational, industrial, retail, culture/sport, transport and public administration. Hospitality-related careers are also available on cruise ships.
Training and Qualification
Degrees in a hospitality-related discipline are preferred but many employers accept candidates from other disciplines so long as they have experience in a hospitality environment. Most hospitality degrees develop experience through industrial placements and many students can gain relevant experience through part-time and vacation work. While not essential, language skills can be a bonus when applying.
Of course, degree classification is important but it is the work experience and understanding of the sector alongside key skills that employers seek most. It is unlikely that high emphasis is given to A-level grades when recruiting.
However, as the hospitality industry takes on an increasingly international focus, it is necessary for students to develop the requisite skills to grab the opportunities available around the world.
There are a lot many specialized and short-term courses such as Certificate/Diploma in Front Office Management/ House keeping/ Food and Services Management. But the degrees that are generally taken up to enter this sector are either Bachelor’s/Master’s in Hospitality Management or Travel and Tourism Management. Generally these courses cover all the areas ranging from food selection and preparation to lodging management to hospitality sales.
The hospitality sector has undergone significant change in the last 20 years or so. Quite simply, an increasing number of us are eating out more often and more of us are using hotel facilities, be it for a weekend break or to use leisure facilities or conference facilities (both business and private function). Hospitality industry is the world’s fastest-growing, job-creating profession, employing one in ten people worldwide. Hence, there cannot be an iota of doubt that a bright future awaits those who are considering taking up a course in hospitality/hotel or travel and tourism management and building up a career in this rapidly burgeoning industry.