How to fast-track your way to a hotel management position
There are so many career options in the hotel business and once you’ve decided this industry is a good fit, you can fast-track yourself to a management position with some helpful advice. There is some stiff competition for jobs at the upper levels, but there are certainly some things you can do to get noticed and promoted when an opening becomes available. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Hotels employ a wide variety of workers with different backgrounds and levels of experience. You have to be able to work effectively in a team to rise through the ranks. According to Al W. Rodriguez, director of personnel services for J.W. Marriott (as reported in the Washington Post), “There is no room for personality conflicts to interfere with the team's ability to serve guests. Know the other staff and your associates, and make sure they understand you're not willing to compromise your standards," says Rodriguez. "Sometimes you're dealing with 32 different personalities. You need to have respect for each other as professionals."
2. You also have to be willing to be open and flexible. There is no saying “that’s not my job.” It’s all about serving your guests and understanding what it means to provide superior customer service in any area of the hotel. And, in order to rise quickly through the ranks, you’ll need experience in a many aspects of operations: that means understanding the business side, such as scheduling, accounting and personnel management in addition to service positions.
3. Of course, you should dress for the next position you want to have. Cover up any piercings or tattoos and keep your hair tidy and neat. It also makes sense to keep your make-up and/or cologne tasteful and your uniform pressed and clean.
4. Successful leaders know how to communicate effectively. Always speak respectfully to everyone and use the proper grammar and industry terms. If possible, it really pays to learn a second language to increase your marketability.
5. Show your commitment to the industry by learning new skills and earning valuable certificates, such as Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) or Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS). There are plenty of other certifications in different aspects of operations such as Certified Hospitality Trainer and Certified Hospitality Technology Professional and Certified Hotel Asset Manager. Find more information about how these certificates can be earned through organizations like the AHLEI. These certificates add to your credibility and help you build skills more quickly.
6. Asking for extra duties in another department is a good way to get additional training on the job and demonstrate that you are serious about your career advancement. You’ll be helping the company at the same time as taking on more responsibility and gaining visibility with your superiors.
7. Watch and learn from your upper management and others on your team. According to John Ely, VP of Marketing for Signature Worldwide, “the best managers in my life have been a lot like my best teachers and professors. They were not only proficient in their respective fields and well educated, but they took a direct, personal interest in me as a person.” You can learn from your peers, subordinates and superiors about how to delegate duties and take care of your team members. That includes knowing when to step back and let others shine and listening to their ideas and points of view.
8. Successful management candidates exhibit a positive attitude. Never complain to your boss about minor incidents and always be aware that you represent your hotel to the public. Rise above the drama and don’t participate in gossip among the staff. Focusing on what you love about your job and treating challenges as “opportunities to learn” helps you to grow and will also help you stand out to your manager when the time comes for promotion.
9. Immerse yourself in your job and show a genuine passion for service. Always ask questions if you don’t know something and always be aware of your hotel’s goals and revenues. Once you establish yourself as someone who has a strong understanding of all aspects of the business and are focused on your hotel’s success, you’ll find you’re in demand for more responsibility and advancement.