6 min reading

Progress, Passion and Perks - Why People Choose Hospitality

Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism

From perfecting your Mango Daiquiri in a beach front bar, to marketing the latest white-knuckle ride in Alton Towers, the hospitality, leisure and travel industry is a place of infinite variety. A place for chefs and waiters, wedding planners and sommeliers, tour guides, travel agents, pub landlords and cruise ship entertainers. It’s hard to get your head around the dizzying opportunities. Especially when you realise it’s also a place for finance directors and late night cleaners and everything in between. In the UK alone, the sector is estimated to employ 3.2 million people, globally it’s over 300m.

Which is why it’s worth thinking, is there something in this industry for me? In this article, we explore 10 of the most commonly expressed reasons why people choose to work in this exciting, experience-rich industry.

1. The passion and variety

We hear it all of the time. The pleasure of creating something that forges memories and makes people smile. It might sound corny but this most people-centred of sectors is fun. No two days are the same, they always say. We get to work in the most incredible places. We meet all kinds of people and try different things. We’re constantly challenged. And it’s true. Of course not every job in hospitality is on the front-line and not everyone has to be an extrovert to work in it. But the desire to be of service and to work where people can let their hair down and be themselves seems a driver for many.

2. The doors of the industry are open to new entrants

The scale of hospitality, the variety of roles, the fact that you can start at the beginning and work your way up shows that this is the most democratic of sectors. While hospitality qualifications can be important, the tendency of the industry to value attitude, work ethic and a willingness to learn above all else means the barriers to entry are low. Especially now. Post pandemic and post Brexit, hospitality is returning to health as people reclaim their social lives and the industry is actively on the lookout for talented people of all ages. They’ll want to talk to you.

3. Progress your career fast

Hospitality, tourism and leisure are famous for offering rapid progression opportunities. This is because, unlike some sectors such as say, medicine or teaching, there is no structured linear path to the top. Creativity, hard work and achievement trump the need to serve time as do commitment and new ideas in an industry that requires constant evolution. Many larger employers actively encourage staff to move around their businesses to broaden skills And if for some reason, you find your path blocked, the mind-boggling range of businesses means there’s always enticing opportunities elsewhere.

4. The flexibility

Maybe you have other dreams to be the latest Broadway star or some rock god and need time off for rehearsals? Perhaps you’re studying for that undergraduate degree or need to juggle your work life with your family commitments. Few industries can accommodate your personal needs as well as hospitality, which is renowned for its flexibility. After all, an industry structured around 24-hour leisure is never going to be 9 to 5, especially on the front line. Changing shift patterns, hours or weekend working can be perfect way for people to earn valuable income without having to make some of the compromises a more regular commitment would demand.

5. Increase your employment value by learning new skills

Today, many recruiters look for evidence of effective soft-skills when trying to distinguish between closely matched candidates because personality is a key determinant of cultural fit. Public-facing industries look for and train skills such as active listening, communication, teamwork and empathy and the skills you’ll learn in hospitality will stay with you for life. Valued by many other industries these abilities can set you up for long-term success.

6. Travel and see the world

If you have itchy feet and a desire to experience more of the world, this industry is a perfect fit. Join a cruise ship and glide across the oceans. Work for an international hotel chain and move from city to city or continent to continent. Perhaps you could become a destination specialist for a tour operator constructing holiday packages, or take your culinary skills to the world’s top restaurants. If meeting new people or sampling a different culture is something that appeals, few industries offer more enticing career pathways than hospitality.

7. The Perks

If you pick the right path, working in hospitality and travel offers perks that few can match. As well as competitive pay, you can likely benefit from discounts and cheap stays, great food, fabulous parties, access to incredible destinations and leisure opportunities, meeting the famous. After all, this industry is supposed to be about fun.

8. Training

Hospitality is an industry that really believes in training. As one local business told us, they ‘recruit for personality and train for skill.’ Look for organisations with a strong track record of training staff in both technical and soft skills which can help to jump-start or progress your career to previously unforeseen heights. Consider college or university courses too.

9. The chance to play a leadership role on sustainability

There’s no question that the travel industry has been in the cross hairs regarding its environmental impact. The industry knows it and increasingly so do its customers. And that’s a stunning opportunity for the next generation – to play a lead role in reshaping the sector in ways that better contribute to the communities they intersect with.

10. Staying power – a career for life

Let’s be honest. The world is changing fast. Many professions are being impacted by automation and artificial intelligence but the robots will never take our leisure. They may enhance it but they won’t replace it. Sure the industry gets hit by occasional economic downturns (or pandemics). But it always bounces back. It’s not going anywhere.

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