The desires of a new generation of hoteliers

21 Feb, 2018

In recent years, YHS has become quite the expert in knowing what young hoteliers want as a result of its annually published ranking report. In 2017, YHS would like to shed light on a different angle of this question and reveal what major companies in the industry are doing about accommodating young graduates’ expectations.

Student Ranking Report

The YHS rankings report is published every year by the Young Hoteliers Summit’s Rankings Department. This report aims to catch young hoteliers desires, rewarding the leading employer each year for its success amongst young professionals. Four Seasons was ranked number 1 for two consecutive years, an award that Mia Andersson, Corporate Human Resources Manager EMEA, feels honored to have received. The aim of the report, however, is not only to name the best employer of the year but to grasp the expectations of this generation’s hoteliers. The report published in 2017 revealed that only 47% of students were “extremely motivated” to stay in the hospitality industry, leaving room for other industries on the rise. While it is no secret that other industries are becoming more appealing to graduates, employers in the hospitality industry are continuously exploring the ways in which other industries attract talent.

Making the hospitality industry more attractive

How can the hospitality industry improve its image to attract and keep this pool of talent within their industry? Two world-leading luxury hotel companies and the winners of the 2017 ranking report have illustrated their path to a successful career in their companies. Four Seasons offers an MIT (Manager in Training) program in order to develop talented graduates to become managers in less than 18 months. Similarly, Marriott has introduced its “Voyage Graduate Program”, a fast-track opportunity to build a great career within the multi-faceted Marriott group. Both companies emphasize the importance of providing young graduates with the latest teaching methods and technological advancements in order to prepare them for a successful career.

Sales & Marketing

In 2017, the ranking report revealed a strong desire amongst graduates to embark on a Sales & Marketing department career, despite the department’s rather small size in a hotel environment. Satya Anand, Chief Operation Officer for Marriott Luxury brands Europe, sees this tendency as an opportunity to satisfy today’s consumer needs, the sales discipline branching out into new facets, such as brand management or digital marketing. Sales & Marketing is therefore not only in high demand for employees but also for employers, adapting to ever-changing consumer desires. Four Seasons develops on this differently by talking about the many other potential paths before becoming a Sales & Marketing Director. Many of their successful Sales & Marketing leaders once started their careers in operations, such as the Reservations Department or Front Desk, getting to know the product and the company before making the transition to Sales & Marketing. This clearly shows that a young graduate has endless opportunities to join a company in different areas, getting a foot in the door, while always keeping in mind the ultimate goal. Hotels incorporate so many disciplines that there are many prospects for personal development and growth across functions and ultimately allows young hoteliers to be able to achieve their long-term goals.

The bloom of new industries

 There are many other industries that have become attractive for graduates, as opposed to taking the traditional hospitality career path. Despite the high demand for Sales & Marketing positions in luxury chains, many graduates prefer acquiring experience in different industries upon graduating. Satya Anand highlights that hoteliers possess many transferable skills and are therefore sought after, making hospitality graduates very attractive for other industries, due to their experience in local cultures and the mastery of multiple languages. He nevertheless stresses the beauty of the hospitality industry, which is evolving fast due to the ever-changing consumer behavior. For him, other industries are not necessarily seen as competitors but as an opportunity to undergo a fundamental change which allows merging with other industries. Four Seasons is responding to this by looking to provide clearer career paths and faster advancement in order to become more attractive to young hoteliers

What are companies really looking for in young graduates?

By knowing what companies such as Marriott and Four Seasons invest to attract talent, the ultimate question is what needs to be done in order to join one of these companies. To be successful in joining one of the leaders in hospitality, graduates need to be aware of what attributes they companies are looking for. It is not only academic excellence that is sought after but a combination of knowledge and well-adapted soft skills. Attributes such as passion, agility and interpersonal skills, commitment, and a curiosity are good qualities for graduates to possess to become successful in the industry. Once onboard, it is important for young hoteliers to stay humble and to learn to understand the people around them as well as build good relationships. These attributes, along with a good foundation of experience are the guide to become a successful manager in our industry.

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