The Hospitality Industry: Choices, Options, and Opportunities for the 21st Century

Article excerpt

Hospitality Careers present the most energizing, inspiring, and challenging options and opportunities today. Technology, intense competition, shrinking world borders, economic growth, and an increased level of guest expectations are some reasons hospitality careers are considered "hot" careers now and for the emerging 21st century. Hospitality careers include a broad spectrum of career choices found in restaurants (fine dining, theme, casual, family, sports bars), hotels and motels (all economy-brands, mid-size, extended stays, luxury brands), resorts, recreation, clubs (private, sports, military), cruise ships, gaming, culinary, vending, and gourmet groceries/food services.

Within each category are a multitude of jobs. Some specific job titles include the following: Manager/director/supervisor/coordinator of food services, rooms division, housekeeping, laundry, guest services, beverage services, room services, engineering, purchasing, human resources, accounting, health and fitness services, convention services, banquet and special functions, valet parking and bellmen services, business and reservations services. These are but a few of the titles found in the choices of hospitality careers used by hospitality industry leaders such as Marriott, Renaissance Hotel Group, Hyatt, Hilton, Ritz-Carlton, Holiday International, and Hampton Inn.

At the 81st Annual International Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Show in New York City during November 9-11, 1996, key sessions focused on the unlimited opportunities in the food service and lodging Industry. The speakers announced that options and opportunities are unlimited for people preparing for careers in hospitality. For success, pursuing a career requires a special level of preparation. This preparation includes enrolling in a hospitality management/administration program at an accredited college or university. It is important to enroll in a program that requires work experience through an internship or co-op-class. Without work experiences, your chances of getting a managerial position will be minimal.

What are additional requirements expected of the hospitality graduate? The requirements include the following:

Service Attitude

Service attitude means that you must be inspired to provide service that exceeds the expectations of guests. Going the extra mile to make a guest comfortable may mean that you must bend the corporate rules. For example, if a guest comes to the hotel, checks in, and complains that there is no place to purchase food, how can you assist? You know that the kitchen is closed, but that there may be some food you could offer the guest that takes a little time to prepare. Prepare and take the food to the guest. He will always remember the hotel because of its accommodation.


You must be flexible and open-minded. Flexibility means that you accept the fact that "changes" are rapid and constant. In the hospitality industry, rapid change is the norm. Traditional methods of providing guest services are constantly being replaced with empowered employees who are solving problems at the level on which they occur. The creative use of technology to enhance the guest experience is also an expected feature of providing service.

Enjoying Serving People

You must enjoy, and care about people of diverse cultures, backgrounds, and social agendas. Hospitality is a "people serving people business" (SPB) in an atmosphere of ambience, care, and excited employees who "smile" and are genuinely interested in serving guests. Guests expect positive experiences when they pay for a room, food, beverages or some other product/service.

Management and Leadership Qualities

You must know and practice the business functions of planning, directing, controlling, staffing, coordinating and evaluating hospitality operations. Leadership qualities include being able to develop vision that when implemented adds value to an operation. …