7 Tips for a Smooth Transition into Hotel Management

Career Advice / September 6, 2018

The possibility of career advancement is just one of the many opportunities that the hospitality industry affords its employees. While those who come to the industry with a degree in hospitality management or business certainly have a leg up, the hospitality industry also recognizes employees who have demonstrated commitment and an aptitude to learn quickly. So, promotions into managerial roles are not necessarily limited to those who meet certain educational criteria.

Nevertheless, hospitality employers do look for certain characteristics among staff with the potential to move up the proverbial ladder.

These are seven attributes that should be top of mind for anyone interested in one day joining the management ranks, and you should find a way to demonstrate these skills or characteristics on your job application materials and in the interview:

1. Ask

You need to clearly vocalize your projected career path to your employer and ideally, that should begin during the interview process when you should not only make your intended career trajectory known, but you should also ask what programs the business has in place to cultivate talent. Reviews are also a good opportunity to again make your intentions known and ask if you’re on track to eventually move up the chain of command or if there are any aspects of your work that you could improve as you strive to one day become management material.

2. Dedication

Before anything else, you need to demonstrate that you are reliable and that you can be depended upon to come to work and to arrive on time. Your appearance should always be neat and appropriate, your work consistent and your coworkers, too, should feel that you are trustworthy in your job.

3. A Proven Track Record

A measure of your dedication will be your history of promotions. To reach a supervisory position and eventually, management, you’ll need a resume that exemplifies how you’ve excelled in past roles in order to achieve increasing levels of responsibilities, going from the bellman to front desk agent at the same hotel or perhaps laterally from a front desk agent role at one hotel to the same position at a larger hotel.

4. Diplomacy

Whether it’s working as part of a team or interacting directly with hotel guests, you’ll need to be an effective communicator, capable of tact and sensitivity even in the face of an irate guest or when disagreeing with a coworker over how best to execute a task. Speaking and acting with thoughtfulness, courtesy, and consideration of others is essential in an industry that attracts people from all walks of life as its guests, its partners, and its employees.

5. Long Hours

The hotel industry operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Employees in entry-level jobs may find themselves working unorthodox hours such as night shifts or Sundays. But typically, once you leave work, your time is your own. However, that is not the case as you move up the chain of command. With greater responsibility comes a greater need to be on call and to work even more unconventional hours such as holidays or entire weekend shifts. If you’re willing to embrace that lifestyle then best to accept the hours that you’re assigned in your entry-level positions without balking.

6. Volunteer

If you truly want a long-term career in hospitality, then consider donating your time to a local community organization that provides a service that has some personal meaning to you and will also give you a chance to demonstrate some leadership skills outside of work. Or if you work for a hotel company that has a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program that employees can get involved with, make it a priority to engage in at least one corporately sponsored activity. Additionally, volunteer to assist fellow staff members with tasks that are not part of your job description. If you work at the front desk and housekeeping needs extra hands to ready rooms in time for the arrival of a large group, show that you’re a team player and ask how you can help.

7. Patience

Be realistic about your aspirations because they won’t be realized overnight. Whether you start as a valet, a housekeeper, or at the front desk, there are increasing levels of responsibility that can be gained from those entry-level positions. But it will take time, hard work, and commitment. Remember that a career isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon.