You may have heard that a career in hospitality and tourism is like constantly being on holiday. You hang out in hotels, bars and restaurants all day, doing a bit of work here and there, or you jet off around the world and help other people have a good time whilst topping up your suntan. Alternatively, you may have heard that a job in hospitality and tourism is always a stopgap. It’s just something you do in the holidays to earn a bit of extra cash.
Well, if that’s what you think, then we’re here to tell you that you’re wrong. Many people pursue lifelong careers in hospitality and tourism. These careers can be exciting, challenging and varied; however, they also require a lot of hard work and dedication.
So before you make the decision to get into hospitality and tourism, you should firstly discover what it’s really all about.
Hospitality & tourism realities
It’s all about food, accommodation and drinks. It’s all about tourists, travelling, attractions and customer service. Basically, hospitality and tourism is all about helping people enjoy themselves when they’re out and about.
We encounter the people who work in hospitality and tourism all the time: when we go out for a drink, when we grab a bite to eat, or when we go on a luxurious round-the-world trip, staying in five-star hotels and flying business class (just for the record: we never do this, but you get the point!). Our social lives and free time just wouldn’t be the same without the hard-working people who dedicate their careers to this sector.
The main thing to know about careers in hospitality and tourism is that it’s never going to be your typical nine-to-five job. The people who work in this sector really take one for the team and work when other people are having fun. For instance, people who work in pubs and clubs tend to work mainly in the evenings, and people who work in tourism are especially busy when everyone is jetting off on their summer holidays.
Jobs in hospitality and tourism are all about providing friendly, efficient and attentive customer service. Consequently, excellent communication skills, patience and a friendly nature are essential for you to thrive in these industries. You really have to want to work in this sector to do it well. It’s a lot more difficult to be friendly and helpful if you’re not enjoying yourself.
Hospitality & tourism options
Careers within hotels and accommodation can vary greatly depending on the kind of establishment you work in. For instance, if you work in a youth hostel, your working life will be very different to that of someone working in a five star resort. Depending on the size of the organisation and what services they provide, you will be able to explore many different career paths.
Every establishment requires managerial staff to oversee the general operations. Larger hotel chains are also likely to employ financial staff, marketing departments, human resources and administrative staff. Understandably, there are also many opportunities in the hotel and accommodation industry for:
- Restaurant staff
- Bar staff
- Kitchen assistants
- Customer service staff
- Entertainment organisers.
Careers in restaurants, catering and eateries are hugely dependent on the people doing the cooking, slicing and dicing. Chefs, sous chefs, cooks, and kitchen staff are much sought after individuals for their specialist skills. Eateries also require managerial staff to make the important decisions and to ensure that the front-of-house team is working efficiently.
Understandably, waiters, bar staff and sometimes professional sommeliers are also required. Larger restaurant chains also employ business managers and financial, human resources and marketing staff.
Careers in bars, pubs and clubs require staff to do the active bar work, but many managerial positions are also available around the UK. People in management positions are likely to be trained in ‘licensed retailing’ (employees with the responsibility of selling and authorising the sale of alcohol are required to hold a licence to do so). Larger chains are also likely to provide various options for careers in promotions and events organisation.
It seems like coffee houses, juice bars and other similar joints are springing up all over the place. Evidently, these establishments are big business and many job opportunities are starting to become available within these outfits, including baristas, juice operators and managerial positions.
Conferences and cultural events require hospitality staff to ensure they run smoothly, from customer service representatives to promotional teams and bar staff. Catering and hospitality staff are also especially important within public service institutions, such as hospitals, schools and universities.
The tourism industry incorporates many of the same careers as the hospitality industry. However, many other careers impact on people’s tourist activity. People who work in travel agencies and tourist information centres provide valuable services, which facilitates people’s holiday experiences.
Their specialist knowledge of certain areas is greatly important in helping people to make the most of their free time in new places. Admittedly, the internet and travel literature are becoming increasingly popular alternatives to dealing with people face-to-face in these kinds of establishments. However, if people want a slightly more personal touch when planning their adventures, these guys are there to help.
Similarly, tour operators, tour guides, holiday reps and staff who work at tourist attractions help people to make the most of their experiences. These kinds of roles are also especially important within slightly more extreme areas of tourism, such as adventure sport holidays, where people with specialist skills, and safety and technical knowledge are required.
Careers in passenger services are another important part of the tourism industry. Air cabin crews and customer service staff on trains, ferries, cruise ships and coaches are essential for helping people’s trips be as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
So careers in hospitality and tourism aren’t all about catching the rays and having a good time while on the job, but they definitely aren’t always your average nine-to-five office job either! If what you’ve read has caught your attention then travel towards the numerous career path links related to this sector and find out if hospitality and tourism could be the industry for you.