What is this career about?
A job at a hotel is more than making sure that people have a place to stay for the night. It’s about elevating their lifestyle so that they not only have a safe and comfortable place to stay, they feel like they are being pampered. There are several different levels of this, ranging from five star Vegas resorts to smaller regional chains, but the idea is the same: when someone goes to a hotel, they are going for improved lifestyle, not to feel like they need to work harder than they would at home. If you have a passion for helping others and love being hospitable, then a career in the hotel industry may be the right move for you.
What growth is likely?
In the past, the airline industry has really struggled. Many companies have operated at a loss, or have even folded over the years. In 2008, this began to turnaround. A lot has changed since 2008, and profits stand at just over $5 billion a year for the industry as a whole right now. On average, over 1.5 million people fly every single day in the U.S., and this is a huge number that must lead to profits eventually. As planes become more efficient, fuel costs will be made up for with more ease, and this means even higher profitability. Getting in with the right company is correct, so looking and seeing which airlines are under the best management and which have been posting the best numbers most consistently could be to your advantage if you are worried about job stability. This is data that changes every quarter, but is publicly available and easy to find on the web.
Baggage handlers start out with the lowest pay rate in the industry, they can expect to see about $9 an hour to start out with, but experienced people in this position can make as much as $18 an hour. Attendants make $12 to $14 an hour starting out, with a median salary of as high as $40,000 a year. Some positions can go as high as $60,000 a year, depending on your location and the airline you work with. Ticket and reservation agents make between $9 and $12 an hour, although experienced professionals in this area can make as much as $24 per hour. Things like 401(k)s, health and life insurance, and in some cases, company stock purchase plans, are available to employees. Some may even give free or discounted travel.
This industry has had a history of ups and downs, but as air travel becomes safer and more popular, the industry is poised for another big leap forward. There will need to be many more jobs in this expanding sector, and taking advantage of this early could get you in a good position later on in your career, especially if you have a good work ethic. As the industry expands, more attendants, agents, baggage handlers, mechanics, custodians, pilots, and managers will need to be hired, and that is to the job seeker’s benefit.
How to succeed?
If you want a career in hotel management, you should at least have a two-year degree, preferably in something like hospitality or business. Also, you should have a firm grasp on how to work with others, you should be friendly, hardworking, and most of all, you should be able to handle complex situations. Hotels are busy places, and the behind the scenes activities are always far more chaotic than visitors would expect. Multiple guests mean multiple needs, and sometimes, these things happen all at once. Even if you are not pursuing a career in management, there will be plenty of times where you feel that you are being asked to do too many things all at once. Being able to multitask, remember and follow directions, and keep a friendly disposition the whole time will take you a long way in this career.
Many hotel jobs require experience, but if you are just starting out, you will likely have no experience. Housekeeping and cleaning jobs are the easiest places to get started in this field, and little to no experience is required. These are low paying jobs, but they get you a foot in the door, and this in itself is a valuable start.
Your appearance is important when applying for a position. Look and act professional no matter which position you are applying for. This is a job where you reflect heavily upon the company regardless of your role, so hiring managers want people that will represent them well. Dress nicely, speak politely, and ask appropriate follow up questions that indicate you are truly curious about learning more within the field and the position in particular. Many companies still require you to apply for positions in person, so make sure that you are dressed nicely even when you go in to grab an application. First impressions are very important.
What growth is likely?
Right now, about 15 million people hold careers in the hospitality and leisure industry, with about 100,000 new jobs added on a yearly basis. It is an area that will always have demand regardless of what happens with the economy, and that’s good news for those that want a career in this field. There are many differences in quality when it comes to hotels, but the basic premise holds true: this is an industry that is going to keep growing.
On average, room cleaners can expect to start out at minimum wage, but there are sometimes opportunities for tips, and if extra responsibilities are added, hourly wages will be increased. Desk clerks can expect to make about $14 an hour after some experience, although this will be much higher at the more luxurious locations. Managers can expect about $45,000 per year, but again, this depends upon the location. These are rough numbers across the industry as a whole, and do not take into account the extremes. The bigger the hotel, and the more heavily it is used, the higher the pay, and also the greater the number of career advancement opportunities. Some hotels have pools, spas, restaurants, bars, and so on. If these are in the picture, you can expect that your location will be far busier and sustain more growth not only for their own economic gain, but for your career, too.