7 Common Myths About Working in the Hotel Industry
So you want to work in the hotel industry. But why? Do you consider yourself to be service-oriented? A team player? Adaptable and a hard worker? If so, you’ve definitely selected the right industry in which to forge your future career.
But if you’re looking to build a career in the hotel business for the wrong reasons, it’s going to be a steep and rocky road ahead. Here are seven misconceptions about the hotel business debunked.
If you like staying in a hotel, you'll like working in a hotel
Hotels are definitely warm and inviting workplaces and in many cases are architectural or interior design treasures. But it’s hotel guests who may have glamorous lives, especially if they’re VIPs. But you won’t be a hotel guest. You’ll work hard to serve them and many of them will be demanding and prone to making requests that are near impossible or borderline absurd. Keeping these people happy will be your job.
You'll be able to travel all the time
Sure you’ll travel if you hold certain positions such as general manager or director of sales and marketing, or if you're a seasonal worker who only stays in one position for a few months at a time. But even traveling hotel executives are road warriors who work hard to find a balance between their professional and personal life. They see the inside of airports, meeting rooms and convention centers and they “tour” cities from the back of taxis during the rides between the airport and the hotel where they’re staying.
You'll eat like a king!
While kitchen staff in the hotel restaurant may have the opportunity to sample dishes so that they can better advise guests on what they’re ordering, hotel restaurants maintain strict operating budgets in the interest of revenue. Also, hotel executives may entertain clients over restaurant meals and executive chefs and general managers may try other restaurants as they look for inspiration for new menus, but it’s a rare occasion that other hotel staffers are invited to join for these occasions. So you’d better like cooking for yourself if you’re expecting great food all the time.
You'll always enjoy meeting new people
This is true and it’s the opportunity to meet new people that candidates often cite in job interviews as a reason they want to work in the hospitality industry. But what no one tells you is that, sometimes, you will meet people who you’ll wish you’d never encountered. When you work in a hotel, you'll need to have a few strategies in your back pocket for dealing with difficult guests.
The holiday season always fun, festive
Yes, hotels are beautifully decorated and festive during the holiday period, and it can be a wonderful workplace environment. But “the festive season,” or the several weeks between Thanksgiving to just after New Year’s is also a peak period in the hotel industry. In other words, hotels are extremely busy at the end of the year when guests come in droves to celebrate and hotel employees shift into high gear to deliver and often have to be flexible in the shifts that they work. So don’t expect to seriously make merry until after things slow down in January.
Working in meetings and events services is just like party planning
If you’re a whiz at putting together a party for friends and think that working in a hotel’s events services department will be the same thing, think again. These hotel professionals achieve success in their field if they’re highly organized and recognize the fact that they are working closely with clients to match the hotel’s amenities and services to the client’s needs. They certainly make recommendations, but ultimately it’s their clients who make the final decisions and budgets are a major consideration for everyone involved. So unlike organizing a personal event or throwing a party at home, the main objective of these hotel employees is to serve their clients.
The hours are always long and irregular
Because hotels are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, hotel staff are usually required to have some degree of flexibility with their work schedules. But is to ensure that no one is working excessive hours or every holiday on the calendar, hotels will often try to work with staff so no one is overworked or unable to spend any time with loved ones during holidays.