The sales and marketing department is generally composed of a director of marketing and a director of sales (or one person with both titles) who, in turn, manage a team of sales managers. In many hotels, entry-level sales positions are titled account executives or sales associates. Another entry point may be as a sales and marketing assistant or researcher.
The task of this department is quite simple-they must sell the hotel facilities, hopefully well into the future. There is generally not a great deal of career cross-over from sales to marketing, though the converse may be true. After gaining a couple of years experience in one of the above entry-level positions, the next step would be to sales manager (this may or may not have a specific geographic or market segment attached to it). From sales manager, one would aspire to director of sales, or if with a chain, to a regional sales position, which would involve selling a number of hotels as opposed to one.
Career paths from a hotel's top sales and marketing position may be either through operations as an executive assistant manager or resident manager or as a sales and marketing professional within a large chain's corporate structure. Sales and marketing tends to hold a "glitz and glamour" image and, therefore, competition for entry-level positions is keen.
The accounting department is commanded by a controller who is generally responsible for all hotel accounting and financial reports. Ample opportunities exist for someone seeking a career in the accounting and finance field, and your career would be greatly enhanced by education in this area. Some titles or positions to look for include:
oCost Accountant-responsible for overall cost accounting reporting and rele-vant record keeping.
oFinancial Accountant-responsible for a variety of accounting and financial analysis (perhaps obtained after entry-level position).
oCredit Manager-responsible for monitoring day-to-day credit practices, enforcing established credit policies and properly setting up account billing for groups and other credit related items.
Other positions which may provide entry into the department are income auditor, accounts receivable, or accounts payable supervisor. Career advancement would tend to follow a path from one or more of these positions to assistant controller and then to controller.
Travel and Hospitality Directory
A typical human resources department is composed of a director (sometimes known as personnel director or manager), training manager, employee benefits administrator, employee relations manager (or assistant human resources manager, depending on the size of the hotel), and, possibly, a recruiter. Your career here depends greatly on your previous experience, due to the small size of the department The position of benefits administrator often serves as an entry point for someone with little or no experience. In organizations where a management training program exists, it may be possible to enter a program designed to prepare the trainee for an assistant personnel or training coordinator position, titles generally found in the smaller hotels.
Given the labor intensity of the hotel business, the human resources department is as busy as any other operating department The director is charged with managing a function with hundreds of internal customers-the employees. A well-managed department can contribute significantly to the profitability of the hotel-especially when you consider that a large hotel's annual payroll may be in the millions.
Education and Training
While it is not an absolute requirement, I would strongly urge anyone serious about a career in the hotel industry to attend one of the many available hotel schools. Most hotel chains offer structured management training programs, varying from yearlong rotational assignments in all departments to specialized programs lasting up to six months in a specific department Many of the candidates for these programs are uncovered by the chains' recruitment efforts at the major hotel schools.
Which training program you choose will greatly depend on your having made (or not made) a decision to concentrate in a particular department There is no right or wrong choice in this regard; it's really simply what you want to do.
If you're fresh out of school with little or no industry experience, such training programs offer the fastest career path into management A number of these schools also have graduate programs which provide the same advantages and enhance your marketability.
Which hotel school should you attend? Simply keep in mind that those with the best reputation will draw the most recruiters and, therefore, enhance your career opportunities. An additional benefit is the strong alumni network of the well-known hotel schools.
If you have gone through the required course of study at a school offering a major in hotel/restaurant management, you would be ready to enter a hotel's manager training program and spend approximately six to eight months "getting down and learning the business." After this training period is over, you may obtain an entry-level position in a major hotel chain with a salary in the low $20,000 range.
As the proverb says, "Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches." There is no substitute for experience, and the reward for this would be a starting salary in the mid- to upper-twenties (depending on the amount of experience you have acquired).
Be Ready to Be Flexible
Have I convinced you to consider a career in the hotel industry? Are you ready to work unusual hours? Spend some extremely long days? Work during your favorite holidays?
You'd better be. Mr. Manley has been working for InterContinental since July, 1981, beginning as a manager in the corporate training department and moving to director of manpower planning and selection. In 1988, he was appointed to his current position. In addition to the daily job responsibilities, Mr. Manley has conducted training programs all over the world and has also provided human resources support to 35 hotels in his area.