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Dec 14, 2018
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“Ask The Experts” is written and provided by Scholarship Media. It does not reflect the views of The Collegian or its advertisers.

I’ve spent most of my college career trying to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. I’ve had three different majors, a couple of minors, and maybe a half-dozen mental freakouts as I’ve worked through all of this. And now, finally, I think I know what I want to do–but I’m not sure how to do it.

After a trip last summer, I really fell in love with the idea of working at a hotel. I know that the best jobs in hotels require training and education, but as an English major (yeah, that’s what I decided on), I’m not sure I have the resume. What should I do?

The hospitality industry is certainly a very exciting place to work–and a popular one, too. The hotel industry is worth $494 billion worldwide and $199 billion in the United States alone, so it’s very much a thriving business. It’s also a business that could use your youthful perspective: experts say that big changes in data and customer bases are pushing hotels into the future fast. For instance, by 2025, millennials will account for 50% of all visitors to the United States, making it more important than ever for hotels to cater to the younger set.

You’re right, of course, to note that not everyone in the hospitality industry deals with high-level decisions like these. The hospitality industry employs plenty of people who work more closely with the day-to-day needs of each hotel or motel, including cleaning staff, cooks, and front desk staff. Different levels of training will help you access different levels of hospitality industry employment–but this doesn’t mean that you have to go back to college to study up. Technical schools offer hospitality operations programs and other training programs that can help you make the jump to the industry. Of course, there are also respected undergraduate programs and even graduate degrees.

Your best bet may be to narrow down things a bit. Experts divide the hospitality industry into segments, and your path forward will depend a lot on which area you want to specialize in. Keep in mind that, in many cases, there are other places besides hotel to ply these trades. The corporate apartment professionals at HomeLinkCincinnati told us that the business of renting and managing corporate apartments has a lot in common with hotel management–in fact, extended-stay hotels can compete directly with managed corporate apartments.

Once you know which area of the hospitality industry calls to you most, consider reaching out to someone who already has the job that you aspire to get. Ask them what kind of training they needed, as well as what sorts of skills and backgrounds their co-workers have. By asking questions like these, you’ll be able to determine what sorts of decisions you need to make about your education and your career in a way that’s more specific than anything the experts could lay out for you here.

“I like to escape to hotels.” — David Boreanaz

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