|By Jill Phillips, The Indianapolis
StarMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 21, 2007 - Carrie Sprague planned to go to medical school -- until she took a job at Coca-Cola Co., helping with hospitality events at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
The job piqued Sprague's interest in the hospitality industry. Now she is catering sales manager at the Downtown Omni Severin Hotel.
Hotels rely on many employees to keep their day-to-day operations going and guests coming back. From mom-and-pop locations to five-star luxury hotels, many jobs vital to the industry include front-desk clerk, night auditor, general manager, dining and catering manager, and executive housekeeper.
Sprague said part of her attraction to the industry is its accessibility to people from different backgrounds.
The key to success in the hotel industry is wanting to serve and help others, according to Phil Ray, general manager of the Omni. "If you enjoy that, the business is fun and enjoyable," he said.
Description: Verifies and records a hotel's daily financial transactions, including revenue, valet and mini-bar charges that were posted after checkout. Also processes reports for accounting department or corporate office. Also may serve as front-desk clerk. Auditors should have a good work ethic and enjoy customer service. "I was interested in the hotel industry in general, so this job was perfect as a starting position," said Shannon Schwier, front office manager at the Omni.
Training: Night audit or night front desk experience preferred. Accounting experience a plus.
Average pay: $38,403.Night auditor
--Front Desk Clerk
Description: Checking guests in and out of the hotel, issuing room keys, coordinating room changes and charges, giving room directions and providing general customer service. Clerks should be patient, confident, personable and able to solve problems. "Guest services is a team effort -- from doorman to concierge to housekeeping -- we work with every department, so patience helps with dealing with miscommunication situations," said Craig Pavitt, a guest service agent at the Conrad Indianapolis.
Training: Experience in customer service a plus.
Average pay: $17,179.
Description: Oversees day-to-day cleaning of guest rooms, as well as making sure public areas are cleaned; hires and trains housekeeping, laundry and maintenance staff; takes care of guest requests in terms of room needs and amenities. "The key to success in this position is knowing how to talk and deal with people," said Burnell L. Goldman, director of rooms at the Omni. Should be friendly, confident and have the ability to lead others.
Training: Housekeeping experience in a supervisory position.
Average pay: $67,401.
Description: Coordinates and plans events from weddings and reunions to large meetings and conferences. Duties include arranging for food and beverage service, audio- visual needs and room setup. Should be outgoing, confident, organized and flexible. "Overall, you need to have the skills to be able to work with clients to give them a successful event," said Brooke Del Gallo, events manager at the Conrad.
Training: Bachelor's degree preferred in tourism or hospitality.
Average pay: $67,073.
--Hotel General Manager
Description: Oversees all hotel functions, hiring and retaining of employees, specifically for managerial positions; coordinates with department heads to set annual budgets; may determine room rates and local advertising. May inspect public areas for cleanliness and appearance, and negotiate contracts with on-site vendors. Should be friendly, able to lead and coach employees, and enjoy serving and taking care of guests.
Training: Bachelor's degree; experience at managerial level.
Average pay: $112,763.
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