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An incredible ride for recruits

Published on Thursday, 14 Apr 2011

The hotel industry is one of the fastest-growing job sectors, and Hong Kong is consistently counted among the strongest hotel markets in the world. According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), visitor arrivals in the city hit historic highs last year - up 21.8 per cent from 2009 figures.

The number of hotel rooms has grown by over 30 per cent in the past five years to more than 60,000 at 176 hotels, excluding guesthouses. The strong demand has also contributed to rising room rates and a need for hotels to increase their head count.

As more and more hotels open, it is becoming increasingly important for them to have a true brand differentiator. While magnificent interiors and claims of being the tallest hotel can provide an initial interest among guests, what truly distinguishes a world-class hotel from an ordinary one is its people.

Hospitality graduates in Hong Kong are spoiled for choice as the local hotel industry continues its expansion not only in the city, but also in Macau and the mainland.

For anyone seeking a career in hotels, they should understand as many aspects of hotel operations as possible. One of the best entry-level jobs is working as a guest relations executive, front desk agent or concierge. These positions provide a unique opportunity to quickly grasp how the various hotel departments interact with each other. It won't take long for any new hotel employee to recognise that the key to extraordinary guest service is seamless operations.

The hotel industry quickly recognises extraordinary talent. However, it isn't for everyone. Gruelling work hours, demanding guests and low compensation can prove to be a deterrent to even the most enthusiastic applicant.

However, there are countless advantages to working in this industry, including a beautiful work environment, glamorous guests and the possibility of working overseas that all make the hotel industry a rewarding option for new graduates. If you have the commitment it takes to thrive in this industry, then welcome to the most incredible ride of your life.

Debbie Ma, Asia-Pacific head of HVS Career Network, a division of HVS Executive Search

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