Hospitality. It sounds like just one industry, but is really the source of an overwhelming range of jobs all around the globe.
Thanks to its size, the USA offers work abroad opportunities for almost any kind of hospitality job you can imagine. From earning money as a Bellman at a ski resort in the Rockies to working in guest services at a beachside water park in Florida, America has it all.
So, what exactly is a job in hospitality? The number of roles available is huge, but here is a summary of the most common ones:
Front Office – This is typically Front Desk (reception) work in hotels, but also includes positions such as Bellman, Concierge or guest services representative.
Housekeeping – Put simply, cleaning! However, do not think that clearing up hotel rooms after guests is all there is to it; hotels and resorts also need runners to deliver amenities to rooms and people to keep public spaces clean and tidy. Watch out for this one: you may think a PA job will involve filing and office work, but in reality you could be applying for a job as a Public Attendant – emptying garbage cans and cleaning hallways!
Food and Beverage – The vast majority of hotels and resorts will run some form of restaurant, which requires hostesses, servers and bartenders, as well as chefs and even dishwashers to keep things running smoothly behind the scenes.
Retail – This could include anything from working in a gift shop at a rustic hotel to selling brand-named items at a Disney Store. Ticket sales are also a huge element of large resorts, whether for pool passes, ski lift tickets or amusement park entrance fares.
Other jobs available will greatly depend upon whereabouts you have chosen to work: a sunny beach hotel is much more likely to need lifeguards than a ski resort, where jobs in Lift Operations and Ski School are commonly found. For many family resorts, entertainment roles are a core part of their hospitality services.
Once you have your foot in the door, it is easier to work in a variety of roles at the same time, or transfer between departments. Lorette Dunn from South Africa spent the last two years doing this at Big Sky Resort in Montana. During her first summer she worked as a server in a coffee shop whilst also helping at the Front Desk of one of the hotels. Since then she has been a supervisor at the Health Club, worked as an evening manager at a restaurant, and used her degree in Interior Design to help with furnishing the resort’s newest condominiums. Oh, and in the meantime, Lorette has also done a little housekeeping, just to keep from getting too bored!
Another great thing about working in hospitality is the fact that it truly is an international industry. Not only will you be dealing with guests from all over the country and indeed the world, but hotels, restaurants and resorts of any kind are well known for their large number of international employees.
So, what are recruiters looking for in an employee within the hospitality industry? Jamie Hamp, the HR Director at Big Sky Resort, one of the top ski resorts in the USA, said that the most important skills are communication and the ability to build relationships. You have to be willing to get to know the guest: “People talk about unskilled positions, but to be good in this business truly is a skill in itself.”
He said that both job commitment and a passion to serve are crucial to be successful: “If you are more interested in yourself than doing a good job, you won’t succeed. One of the most rewarding things about working in hospitality is being able to make others happy; giving guests the quality vacation experience they are looking for through your hard work can be a huge confidence boost and makes all your efforts worthwhile.”