A hotel job is no longer a dead end

October 27, 2002|By Carol Kleiman.

The hospitality industry–one of the largest employers in the United States–is changing:

Through a combination of more job opportunities and new management techniques, career advancement now is possible for all workers.

The “hospitality industry” is a big tent–or high rise–that covers eating and drinking places, hotels, resorts and other lodging facilities. And it’s a good place to look for a job.

According to Paul LaPorte of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2001 eating and drinking places had 8,256,000 workers. Hotels and other lodging places employed 1,870,000 people.

Hotels, LaPorte says, are projected to add 250,000 new jobs from 2000 to 2010. And eating and drinking places are expected to create some 1,486,000 new jobs.

“The hospitality industry is becoming more of a career than just a job–and that means everyone from entry level employees on up,” said Robert J. Habeeb, president of the First Hospitality Group, a hotel management company based in Chicago. The company manages hotels and staff on behalf of investors and has 1,700 employees in 24 hotels throughout the Midwest.

“Today, at our hotels, 60 percent of our management people were promoted from within,” said Habeeb, who is an adjunct professor at Roosevelt University, where he has taught a course on hospitality management since 1999. “The beauty of this industry is that it’s like no other because you’re judged by your performance and the content of your character, rather than by your [educational] degrees. So you can really rise through the ranks.”

Habeeb, who has a bachelor’s degree in hotel management and is on the board of the Illinois Hotel Association, has risen through the ranks himself: In 1980, he started out working in a rock club, moved to restaurants, then to hotel food and beverage departments before advancing to corporate management in 1988. He joined his current firm in 1997.

And the changes in the industry are dramatic. “I teach organizational development as part of my hospitality course at Roosevelt, and I have to go out every year before the semester begins to update my material–that’s how fast it moves,” the executive said.

Among the changes: “The industry is becoming more inclusive of people of all races and ethnic backgrounds at all levels, including senior management,” Habeeb said. “Today, our business is global and that creates terrific opportunities. And, the way organizations manage has changed to inspiring employees to do a good job from insisting on it or being dictatorial.”

An example he cites is his company’s efforts to improve attendance through positive techniques, instead instilling fear of job loss. “In 2000, we purchased a cherry red Ford Mustang convertible and instituted a lottery for it,” Habeeb said. “Perfect attendance each quarter earns you one lottery ticket. If you win, the car is yours for one year. This year’s winner was a housekeeper in Bloomington, Ind. And the number of employees with perfect attendance has quadrupled.”

I asked Habeeb for the secret to success in the hospitality industry.

“If you are passionate about it, you will succeed,” he said.

Source: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2002-10-27/business/0210270474_1_hospitality-industry-new-jobs-hotel-management

Filed Under: Hotels

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.

Read previous post:
Wellness Tourism: In Search of the Self

By AccorHotels Group's communications Wednesday, 9th March 2016 Is wellness tourism a pleonasm? Few people go on holiday to suffer,...