Professor Reaction: ‘Why Hospitality Should Hire Candidates with No Previous Hotel Experience’

Professor Reaction: ‘Why Hospitality Should Hire Candidates with No Previous Hotel Experience’

Professor Reaction: ‘Why Hospitality Should Hire Candidates with No Previous Hotel Experience’ banner

Who: Debbie Howarth, Ed.D., is a professor in the College of Hospitality Management’s International Hotel School on the Providence Campus, as well as an online instructor.

Article: Skift’s “Why Hospitality Should Hire Candidates with No Previous Hotel Experience” by Colin Nagy, head of strategy at Fred & Farid, a global advertising agency

Agree or Disagree with the Article: Agree

The hotel industry is a multidimensional microcosm that needs employees who desire to serve others, create memorable experiences, and excel in their chosen disciplines—from housekeeping to sales and accounting, to name a few. On top of this, the hotel industry is still an industry that welcomes new immigrants, limited skill workers, and those interested in changing career paths—which, in my opinion, is a great thing because the hotel industry thrives on diversity. Travelers like to see hotel professionals that reflect themselves. To Nagy’s point, hotels thrive on “individuals with a variety of backgrounds, life experiences, and contexts [who] are more likely to provide something of value and depth.” Unfortunately, that excitement and passion are not always enough, as a person needs to be molded into a hotel professional. To make this happen, job-training programs are offered to employees so they can develop the skills they need to do the job they have today. However, what about future careers?

Job vs. Career

The hotel industry embraces those who aspire to achieve the American dream through hard work and determination, including those seeking supervisory and management positions. However, today’s hotel industry is highly technical and analytical. Modern hotels are run by large corporations who need employees to be at the top of their game and leaders in their fields. Hoteliers are less likely to hire untrained managers and take the time to provide in-depth instruction in areas such as hotel revenue management, digital marketing analytics, or sustainability practices. More often than not, managers expect employees to “hit the ground running.” Because of this, it is more difficult for entry-level employees to work their way up. Ultimately, they may lose opportunities to credentialed colleagues who have more knowledge, skills, and abilities afforded to them from their hotel education.

Therefore, those without a hotel education will need to obtain their credentials if they wish to advance to higher levels of hotel management. Through certificate programs or bachelor’s and master’s degree programs—offered either online or on-campus—hotel professionals could obtain necessary industry credentials. For these credentials, traditional hotel schools are at the forefront of hotel recruiting because they develop and deliver curriculum based on industry demand. Because of this, their graduates are prepared for careers in the hotel industry.

In the coming years, to fill staffing needs incurred by the retirement of the Baby Boomers and low birth rates from Gens X and Z, the industry will need to look at other sources for employees. Traditional hotel schools will continue to serve all hotel professionals and be a viable source of education and credentialing for hotel professionals. For managers who are looking for excited, passionate staff members though, a fresh candidate who has the perfect personality—but might be missing the technical skills—could be the best bet. Hiring managers should keep in mind that skills can be taught but personality cannot.

Learn more about the online Hotel & Lodging Management bachelor’s degree at Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education. For more information, complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881.

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