Become a Successful Hospitality Employee

Photo of a hotel customer ringing a bell for service.

What does it take to succeed in the world of hospitality? To put yourself on the fast track from entry level, to management, to upper management, consider these tips. Simple guidelines like these will also help if you plan to open your own hospitality establishment someday.

Climb the Ladder of Hospitality Management

  1. Know your customers. The people who are likely to stay at a large four star hotel in downtown Chicago probably have a few expectations in common with those who frequent a large four star hotel in downtown LA. But not always. And the needs of these clients will differ in many ways from those who stay at a small country bed and breakfast in upstate New York…but for every difference, you’ll also find a long list of similarities. Understand the kinds of travelers who patronize your business. Research your market carefully, and open your ears when your customers offer both praise and complaints. 


  2. Anticipate your manager’s needs. Do what you’re told, especially at the entry level– but don’t stop there. Take care of the tasks in front of you, and then learn to anticipate these tasks and show additional initiative. For example, if a customer needs something, don’t wait for your manger or supervisor to point you toward the problem. Learn how to take action on your own. 

  3. Pay attention to detail. Detail is everything in this field. If there’s one visible stain in the middle of the carpet, it won’t matter that the rest of the room has been cleaned to the point of sterility. The stain is visible. The immaculate corners are not. This is a metaphor for much of the hospitality business. Don’t do any job or complete any task halfway, no matter how small the task may seem. 
  4. Take personal pride in your company’s brand. If the company succeeds, you succeed. That means every satisfied customer reflects well on you, and every dissatisfied customer can undermine your future in this business. Take the quality of each visit as seriously as if your career depends on it. Because in many ways, it does. 

  5. Demonstrate high levels of social energy. Recognize that your smile is an amazing thing. It’s beautiful, and it has the power to make people relax, to make them feel safe, and to restore their energy after a long and tiring day on the road. It isn’t just a smile, it’s your greatest personal asset and your company’s most valuable form of capital. Use it often, and while you’re at it, polish your conversation skills. Master the art of warm, personal, competent, and friendly interaction. 

  6. Find a mentor. Success in the hospitality business is largely a matter of nuance, and it’s easier to show you the path up the ladder than it is to tell you. Once you settle on a mentor or role model, watch this person closely. Pay attention to how she follows through on her promises, how he learns from his mistakes and sets things right, how he goes the extra mile to make visitors feel welcome, or how she pays close attention to changes in her target market. 

Let LiveCareer Help Out

Get your hospitality career off to brilliant start by visiting LiveCareer and taking advantage of our career development resources. First, take a career interest test to make sure hospitality is the place for you. Then check out our resume writing tools and resume builder to make sure your application is beautifully written ad formatted according to industry standards. When you’re called in for an interview, use LiveCareer’s practice interview sessions to gain the confidence you need.

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