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Careers in Hospitality: Where Can I Work?
A career in hospitality encompasses a wide variety of exciting opportunities.
Hotels and resorts
The size and standard of hotels varies enormously. Some are no larger than guesthouses whereas others are on the scale of small cities. Big international hotels offer career opportunities around the world. They combine the excitement of travel with structured training programmes that equip you to work almost anywhere.
As well as those working on the front desk or in bars and restaurants, a small army is dedicated to running the hotel behind the scenes. As a trainee you may be given early responsibility for housekeeping or functions management. Managers are responsible for staffing, business strategy and promotions as well as daily duties. Staff work round the clock to make sure clientele enjoy their stay.
Conferences and events
A variety of projects are involved – from drinks receptions or formal dinners to trade exhibitions or business conventions. You must understand your clients' needs and promote the event so that it attracts the right visitors in the right numbers. Your role could involve booking and preparing the venue, recruiting staff, supervising teams, equipment hire, and marketing.
You will need to be well organised, flexible and efficient to meet deadlines. Good financial management is essential to keep costs under control. Many functions happen on weekends, which may impact on your social life – but you will find fulfilment in an event well planned.
Entertainment and leisure
This area of work has been one of the fastest growing sectors in recent years. It's all about helping people enjoy themselves. Games, cinemas, theme parks, nightclubs, ten-pin bowling, concerts, theatre... there are loads of fun things for people to do in their spare time.
Front-of-house work includes ticket booking, selling refreshments, or acting as a guide or steward. Behind the scenes people monitor how well things are running. People take responsibility for health and safety, and equipment and machines must be maintained. The trick to making entertainment experiences like this enjoyable is creativity and hard work.
Tourism relies on attracting as many people to an area as possible. To do this, a destination has to be marketed well, with information made available and the tourist facilities, such as accommodation, maintained to a good standard. This is done by tourist boards, local authorities, information centres and national training organisations, all of which employ tourism managers of some kind. There are many other alternative options, including working for a foreign tourist board.
A tour operator buys accommodation, travel and leisure activities and puts them together to sell as a package holiday or schedule. Some tour operators cater for certain groups, specialise in activity-specific holidays or focus on particular locations.
The jobs available include the customer service side like holiday reps, or you could work in reservations, liaising with travel agents and the public. Behind-the-scenes management can involve planning new packages and negotiating rates for services that the company buys. PR and marketing for the company is also a major role.