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In hospitality sector, good not good enough

12:02 AM March 07, 2016

Hospitality is the largest industry in the world. Its chief function is to serve people, to provide assistance and attend to people’s needs while they are in the halls of our establishments.

It is a very important industry, for the economy, the guests, and the world in general.

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The industry has been notably growing and growing each year as the number of hotel rooms that open [their] doors continues to increase each year.

The awareness of the industry is also growing, with environmental protection and social progress in mind.

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There are new players joining the market, most notably Airbnb, which I believe has great potential in the Philippines, with its naturally welcoming people and beautiful natural spots.

Some of the notable differences between hotels and Airbnb are consistent quality, reliable reservation process, faster research time, loyalty programs and safety and security.

Hospitality has, indeed, become a competitive business.

Together with its continuous expansion, the number of students who take a degree specializing in this field is expanding as well. More and more students would like to be a part of this industry more than ever.

While the majority will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management and Tourism and will be able to get better chances in the hospitality industry, research shows that about 60 percent will stay in the mainstream hotel and tourism industry while the others are recruited in the health and medical field, private banking, insurance, food and beverage industry, in customer service industries and quite few will be their own boss and become entrepreneurs.

Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow, as the saying goes. Value your education and internship, and absorb all lessons so you can apply them in the future. Having all of these, coupled with the right mind and attitude, will definitely help you advance in the competitive industry we are in. One of my credos is, there is a better way for everything, find it.

It is highly important that when you step in the real world, you start at the right place. Recruitment is just the start. Folding sheets, polishing glasses, peeling carrots are still part of our industry and all are there to contribute in giving our guests a one-of-a-kind experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

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The industry suffers from a poor image and a perception of little prestige, where career progression is sometimes slow, remuneration in comparison with other industries and the 24/7 work schedules are something you must love to embark on.

There is a gap between graduates and the reality of the market, and this gap between graduates’ expectations and the industry is something management and schools continue to manage to ensure a smoother start and lasting journey in hospitality.

Indeed, this new generation has little patience waiting to achieve higher promotions, but it is up to industry leaders to keep you motivated to the opportunities given by the industry, which has excellent growth and career opportunities given the huge development.

It is also up to management to ensure that the development of our associates is focused on cultivating work ethic, attitude, motivation, willingness, and passion for the job. Career path combined with nurturing realistic expectations and job rotation is key.

Always remember that commitment is the most important factor to one’s success, personality is the most important attribute. Set your goals high and don’t stop until you get there. While you must look for mentors along the way, you must also follow your own plan and dream.

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Some of the main skills in hotel management, in my view, are proactive oral communication skills and networking on all levels is a big factor when it comes to our industry.

Being in customer service, you need to address and attend to the needs of the customer properly.

Second is written communication skills. One of the important things in written communication is how you present yourself, as well as promote the hotel online.

Third is supervising skills. You need to be able to motivate your staff and encourage them for the better.

Lastly, and most importantly, the ability to engender customer satisfaction and service skills.

Every single person affects how guests react to their experience in the hotel. It is very important that your training is as extensive as it can be so you can deliver and serve well with confidence.

Your passion should be your driving force for all the things that you are doing.

In Marco Polo, we have a distinct set of values that we call the Marco Polo Way. We want to create value at every encounter and exceed expectations through these different values. We excel with passion, we serve with exceptional service, and we work together with teamwork. We grow through continuous improvements. We interact with people with respect. Most importantly, we work with integrity. Working from the heart is the most important attribute for a person’s growth and success.

It is important that you get to be trained in these ways. With these values, together with your great passion, and sincere, efficient, and genuine smile and using your common sense is a sure way to a successful career in our industry.

I will close with another credo I like to follow.

Average is dead, good is not good enough and rather than doing complicated things in an average way, do the basic ordinary things in an extraordinary way, it will be remembered.

(The author gave this speech during the first Hotels & Resorts Careers Conference organized by Enderun Colleges)

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