15 Things to Know at the Beginning of Your Hotel Career

Career Advice / July 8, 2024

So, you’re a new hire at the hotel with no or minimal experience. What do you need to know? Want some advice? Fortunately, some veterans of the industry have these tips to get you off to a great start.

This first set of tips comes from an experienced HR Hotel Director and what she’s experienced over the years with new grads/new hires:

1. The hotel industry is unique in that you have a variety of departments all housed in one hotel. Get to know all sectors and be willing to be hands-on. Offer to pitch in with housekeeping and clean a number of rooms/day, stripping beds and helping out. Be a hostess/host, see what a server does and understand how the kitchen works. You need to know what all areas do and what it’s like to work there so you can gain an overall understanding of the hotel as a business.

2. Be willing to work any shift and don’t get committed to just one shift option.

3. Work as a team with those around you. Be willing to help out a team member when needed. Being a leader means making the team successful, encouraging others and doing what needs to be done.

4. Learn to upsell. Encourage guests to eat in the restaurant, upgrade their room or use the hotel’s amenities, such as the spa, conference rooms, business center, etc.

5. Learn the lingo. Learn the terms commonly used in the different hotel sectors. As you work in different areas, you’ll pick up the jargon and learn to communicate effectively with those teams.

6. Learn another language if you can. Being bilingual is always helpful early on in your career and can set you apart from the pack, making you more valuable when it’s time for promotions.

7. Earn professional certifications. Not only will you expand your knowledge, but you’ll be viewed as someone who is serious about his/her career and committed to moving up in the ranks.

8. “Without integrity, you have nothing.” Always be 100% honest and forthcoming. Being dishonest is a big character flaw and this is his BEST advice to students entering the job market.

9. Be humble and genuine. Among a large candidate pool, you will stand out as an attractive addition to the company by showing your desire to work and your passion for the job.

10. Build a strong professional network. Relationships matter! Many people are talented, but what really separates them from others when the going gets tough is their relationships.

11. Make good choices. A lot of companies will not hire you with a criminal record, DUI or tax lien. Good life choices make you more likely to make good work choices and vice versa.

12. “Don’t burn bridges.” In most towns, the top people in the industry all know each other. Don’t make enemies and don’t burn bridges.

13. Have “an attitude of gratitude.” Show your appreciation for opportunities and treat all your co-workers with respect, no matter what position they hold. Always treat people kindly and remember the golden rule.

14. Make sure you have a future goal in mind: it makes it much easier to do what has to be done today. Make decisions that are based on your long-term goals. 

15. Remember that you have a life. Work is important, of course, but family and friends are your support system and truly care about you. Don’t be married to your job.