At some point, planners decide to join the hotel side, or, more frequently it seems, a supplier wants to become the buyer. Or, if you’re a spectator looking in, maybe you’re interested in tips on how to start a career in the hospitality field. Either way, you want to make a move into the hospitality industry, so now what? Successfully break into the hotel or meeting planning industry with these hospitality marketing strategies:
Strategic meetings will lead to an introduction of “the right person.”
Formally called an informational interview, professionals interested in learning more about a company or career will schedule time with credible thought leaders in the meetings industry. Thought leaders are able to distinguish themselves as credible, influential and most of all resourceful professionals. Consider approaching companies you have an interest in and senior leaders working there who have extended their hospitality marketing mix beyond the normal efforts. Explain your intentions, suggest meeting for coffee and also develop your questions beforehand. The secret to an informational interview is that neither professional calls it an “informational interview,” although both parties have a general understanding that it is one. Questions to consider include, if there are any steps to take in order to obtain a position, such as a required MBA and who else they recommend you speak with. You should never ask for a job. Instead, focus on absorbing as much information and expanding your network within the industry.
When you stop talking about yourself, they’ll start listening.
When you’re making a transition to a different job or industry, it can be a difficult sell. Rather than just explaining how you’re qualified, you also need to be of relevance. Similar to social media, no one wants to hear “me, me, me.” The best advice I’ve received for job interviews is to stop talking about what you do and have done. Rather, look at the job posting and talk about how you can perform those tasks for them and how you exemplify the qualities listed. Spend some time reviewing the position’s biggest projects and main responsibilities – ask yourself, “How can I accomplish these projects for them?” Unless a General Manager is interested in a Sales Manager who does hotel online marketing, focus on how your previous job is applicable and what you plan to do to get the job done. Speak as if the job is already yours. Try to relate current job experience to what you want to do even if it’s not the same; for instance, relate experience selling mobile apps to event planners to selling a meeting venue to meeting planners and increasing group business.
Go the extra mile to prove that you’re qualified.
Set yourself apart from other job candidates by sharing a portfolio with customer testimonials or results of larger projects. Hone in on your customer service skills which is a must for the hospitality and group travel industry. Talk about your passions and any related books and magazines you’re reading. If you have a blog or freelanced articles, discuss these as well. You’re always the better candidate when you have more passion and can demonstrate it in person.
You can enjoy a rewarding career within the hospitality industry, but if you’re entering for the first time, you should be okay with the possibility of starting at the bottom. If you’re successful at selling yourself and proving your qualifications, you can feel confident about receiving an offer. Best of luck, whether you’re interested in becoming a buyer or supplier.
Written by Sarah Vining.