By Larry Mogelonsky, MBA, P. Eng. (www.hotelmogel.com)
Have you ever sat back for a moment to reflect on the hotel business and what first drew you to it? With all its ups and downs, could you think of any other business you would rather be in? These are important questions to ask because nowadays it would seem as though our industry is collectively having a harder time engaging young students to pursue a career in hospitality.
As someone who admittedly has never been at the helm of a property with the exception of short term MOD responsibilities, I feel as close as anyone can be to hotel management. Yet I recognize that it is not the same as the burden of being general manager, where day-to-day decisions can make or break the budget as well as destroy hard-earned asset values. I am humbled by many of the GMs I’ve met and in awe of their ability to stay calm in the midst of multiple mayhem constantly surrounding them.
Perhaps this is why hotel management is such an adrenaline rush – the landscape changes hourly and there is no time to get bored. It’s perfect for those with a touch of ADHD or a very curious mind. To reflect on this chosen career path and to offer you an extra dose of incentive to remain ever-passionate about this line of work, here are ten reasons why I love being a hotelier so much.
1. You get to see the fruits of your labor. Make any decision and you typically don’t have to wait very long to see the outcome. Compare this to any product-based business where you have to wait a full season or more to realize whether or not your ideas delivered on their promise. Immediate gratification has its rewards!
2. You work with great people. Hotel teams employ a wide range of characters from chefs and accountants to engineers and housekeepers. Being involved with so many different silos, often also from many diverse cultures, adds to the overall enrichment of the workplace and presents an opportunity to build a truly multinational team. Altogether, this makes for a fantastic, lifelong learning experience.
3. You never know who is going to show up. Guests can include real and cultural royalty, business leaders, foreigners who will test your language skills or just some great ‘average’ folk. Where else can you meet so many new people and give them an opportunity to experience your locale as well as your gracious hospitality? Talk about bragging rights!
4. You get to play with amazing technology. Very few professions have access to as much technology as hoteliers. In fact, we have an annual trade show (HITEC) dedicated exclusively to the advancements in our industry. With so many toys, it’s often hard to choose!
5. You get to eat and drink ‘professionally’. Sure, you could have gone into finance and spent your time taking clients out to fancy dinners or ‘business’ lunches. But where else, other than a hotel’s restaurant, can you talk to the chef and immerse yourself in a discussion about each dish, its processes and its ingredients? Good luck trying to get 30 minutes with an executive chef when you’re simply the diner!
6. You can be innovative without approval from multiple layers of senior management. Even within a branded product, there is room for creating thumbprints that are unique to your property. Moreover, there is always the encouragement to do so!
7. The scenery changes everyday. No two days in the hotel business are the same. The marketplace is dynamic with new groups and guests arriving daily. You never know what you will be dealing with. It can be stressful, but you will look back on these hectic times, and your ability to juggle so many tasks, with pride.
8. The job has excellent mobility. For those who are interested in expanding their careers globally, nothing beats being a hotel general manager. It is not unusual to see GMs transfer from one property to another across international boundaries. The skills you learn in one location are instantly transferrable. My suggestion is to learn as many languages as you can.
9. You can feed the inner fashionista and never worry about dry-cleaning costs. What an opportunity to not have to worry about selecting the blue or grey suit. Get both; you’ll need them. And chances are that you’ll have a budget for this, too!
10. Friends visiting? You’ve got the answer. Most of the time you’ll have a room for them and will not have to worry about cleaning up after them. This will make you quite popular.
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Editor’s note: To discuss business challenges or speaking engagements please contact Larry directly.