One of the significant trends of recent times is the emergence of the global village. There is a tremendous growth in tourism in recent times at the global level, thanks to various factors such as the impact of globalisation, emergence of the global village, preference for overseas jobs, and awareness of the gifts of travel in general.
India with her vastness and unique diversity has emerged as an important destination for millions of tourists. Beach resorts and hill stations do require the services of quality hotels. Airport hotels are a class by themselves, since they may have to accommodate large number of transit passengers at short notice, and provide quality service. Palace hotels form another category.Heritage locations near pilgrim centres or in temple towns should cater to the needs of guests with an altogether different approach and attitude.
Hotels, near wild life sanctuaries, would be patronised by yet another type of visitors. There may be foreign guests who hail from big cities in developed countries, looking for calm and serene atmosphere ‘far from the madding crowd’ in a rural background. Highway hotels and motels are more of a functional nature, focusing little on frills.
It may be seen that all these are types totally different from that demanded by business class callers who need quick, efficient, and down-to-earth service with no flaunting show. Rapid industrialisation has led to the need of travelling executives who have to look for decent accommodation during their official travel. Most people are carried away by the charms of the star category hotels whenever the potential of the hospitality industry is mentioned. They forget that the vast majority of the travellers look for clean food and accommodation, and basic services at reasonable prices. This points to the immense potential for developing hotels of moderate standards.
Those who have secured qualifications in hotel management and catering technology have professional opportunities not only in hotels, but in airline catering, shipping and cruise lines, industrial catering, restaurants, motels, fast food chains, railways, tourism development corporations, canteens, hospitals, guest houses, rest houses, holiday resorts, bars, etc.
The industry needs large numbers of properly trained professionals. For young men and women with the right temperament for this service industry, there is excellent scope for professional growth. The demand for trained personnel in the hotel industry shows a steady rise. Big hotels look for people who are specialised for work in the individual departments, such as front office, house keeping, food and beverages, or marketing. Though you may be emerging as a generalist kind of hotel management graduate from the institutes, it is advisable that you try to gain in-depth knowledge and skills in a department of your choice. These would prove to be your USP (unique selling proposition) at a crucial moment in your professional career. The jobs are diverse, and so are the personal attributes required. Whatever might be the nature of work or the position occupied, the hospitality industry demands a desire to help and please people, and willingness for hard work. You may have to work while others enjoy a holiday. Confidence and a pleasant personality are decided assets. A word of caution. In many hotels of the star variety, there may be circumstances which may tempt young vulnerable minds. A strong will to resist such temptations and keep yourself away from such alluring hazards is essential for achieving professional success.
Let us have a quick look at the areas of operation.
Front office: It is essential that a favourable first impression is created the moment a guest arrives in the hotel. Receiving guests with courtesy and warmth, and assigning rooms without delay can be achieved only if there is proper p lanning and fully coordinated effort. The reservation staff, counter personnel, and bell captain have their own roles to play.
Food and beverages: Preparation of wholesome food ensuring quality and cleanliness, to suit the guests’ tastes is an art and science that needs proper training and experience. A competent chef with his assistants will be able to carry out the preparation part; but there has to be inventory control to meet the day-to-day requirements in tune with the number,composition and tastes of the guests. A Food and Beverages Manager usually takes charge of essential work in this area. Charge of restaurants, and arrangement of banquets also come under this department.
Housekeeping: All parts of the hotel including the rooms, dining halls, restaurants, and lounges have to be maintained clean at all times. Attention should be paid to aesthetics. Making beds, changing linen, maintenance of laundry, and attending to room service are some of the functions of housekeeping. Scheduling of staff on shift duty, so as to prevent interruption of work is important.
Sales and Marketing: Proper supervision of the various departments, and essenti al coordination of efforts demand managerial talent. Remember the saying, “A hotel is assessed based on the last meal you had from there.” This may be read with our age-old dictum Athithhi Devo Bhava which reminds us that a guest is to be treated.