Millennials tout hotel industry’s opportunities

Hotel Management's Thirty Under 30 class cited the hospitality industry's service focus, room for opportunity and diversity of experiences as some reasons they would recommend starting a career in hotels. Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images (female woman Millennial office employee)

Employees have opinions about the industries they are involved in as well as their specific jobs—it’s human nature. Those opinions can vary based on how any given day goes, but the true test of how an employee really feels is if he or she would recommend the career to someone else. We asked Hotel Management’s current Thirty Under 30 class what advice they would offer to someone considering making a career in the hotel industry and their responses were overwhelmingly positive.

Service Focus

Marco Roca Jr., director of business development and corporate strategy, Trust Hospitality: Oxford dictionary defines hospitality as ‘The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.’ Thus, it should come as no surprise that hospitality professionals have a reputation for being among the friendliest, most attentive and most fun of any industry. To join our industry, you must have a genuine love for others. Only through this open-mindedness and warmth for all from different cultures, viewpoints, etc., may you be inspired to provide guests with the best service possible. If you are truly driven to serve all, then you may have found the ideal industry for you.

Endless Possibilities

Becky Voress, regional director of sales & marketing, Chesapeake Hospitality: The best advice I would give anyone looking to join the hotel industry is to be flexible, open to new experiences, and expect the unexpected. Once in the industry, you will quickly learn that there are positions that fit every type of personality. You will be presented with a new challenge or experience daily; embrace it, learn from it and grow from it. By doing so, you may find that the career path you mapped out has changed and you will set new goals and expectations for yourself. I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that allows all employees to ‘Experience What’s Possible,’ which has a positive and meaningful impact on our culture and work experience. I’ve found that with this career path, the sky is the limit and the possibilities truly are endless.

Ready for Anything

Owen Barber, manager of residential services, The Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences, Vail (Colo.): Any person of any age looking to work in the hotel industry should be coming into the business with an open mind. The ladies and gentlemen you work with as well as the clientele you will be working with are ever changing. Different strengths, weaknesses and mentalities will make you tailor how you work with individuals and guests. More importantly, you will handle new, different and unexpected scenarios on a daily basis. That is what makes coming to work every day so exciting because you know that you will be in for a surprise in one way or another. The ladies and gentlemen you will work with will come from all different types of experiences, work history, backgrounds and will all have a wealth of knowledge but all share one thing in common: a genuine care for the guest and their experience. Gathering at the end of a long day knowing that you all achieved a common goal is truly a special thing.

Career Development

Juan Corvinos, VP of development, Caribbean and Latin America, Hilton: Today, travel and tourism represent 10 percent of the world’s [gross domestic product], so there is an incredible opportunity for the hospitality industry. Not only is the hospitality industry one of the most dynamic, it is also one of the most exciting times to be a part of the industry. With companies like Hilton celebrating 100 years of hospitality, the industry is a key player in tourism and economic growth and an ideal choice for someone looking to be part of something with longevity. The hospitality industry provides an opening for anyone to truly develop a career, where you can start as an intern, commit to working hard and grow to become a senior leader in the industry. And while experiencing this growth, you have access to the world and can contribute to improving lives through travel.

Well-Rounded Opportunities

Duncan Chiu, director, development, Coast Hotels: Go into the industry with an open mind and look at the business as a whole. Often times, people think working in the hotel industry means only working in hotel operations. That is simply not true. The hotel industry offers opportunities in all facets of the business, from hotel operations, to sales and marketing, to finance, to asset management and real estate development, etc. The key, however, is to ensure that one has experience and a fundamental understanding of hotel operations prior to stepping into administrative or corporate roles. For those looking for a fun, dynamic and ever-changing industry that demands hard work but also provides satisfaction and reward, I would encourage them to join. It’s an industry that has a place and purpose for all walks of life.

Something for Everyone

Barry D. Allen, GM, DoubleTree by Hilton Atlanta Airport: To those considering joining the hotel industry … Do it! Under the one condition you have a true passion for making a difference through creating experiences. The hotel industry is not the business of selling rooms, it’s the business of selling experiences through service. Personally, I was unsure of what my plan was when I joined the industry, and like many people [I] was unsure of the career path I wanted. The hotel industry offers something for everybody, including an opportunity to be a part of something great through outstanding service.

No time like the present to start down hotel path

Kyle Davies’ advice to anyone who has interest in the hospitality industry: Jump right in.

“There is no better time to get started than the present,” according to the director of sales at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Blacksburg (Va.). “The industry can be daunting when you think of its massive scope, as one may think how do I ever make my mark? That is actually the benefit of working for hotels—there are limitless opportunities to make your impact on the industry. Jobs are continually being created as guests’ demands change and roles are expanding as well.”

This flexibility allows employees to truly find what position suits them best.

“Building off this experience allows you to take on roles that encompass all the knowledge you have gained in previous roles by rounding it off with a position that touches all these areas, such as a general manager at the property level or regional positions with management companies or franchise brands,” he said. “Experience is key in the hotel industry and one can only further their career through their efforts. Get your foot in the door and run with it!”