Hospitality, leisure and travel
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Choosing the right employer for your graduate career in hotel management

Not all hotel management graduate jobs are the same. Be sure to maximise your chances of securing a position by thinking in advance about the work you'd like to do and the kind of hotel you'd like to work for.
Think about whether you want a 'fast-track' route into your hotel management career or would prefer to gain more experience first.

Graduate roles in hotel management vary by the nature of the work, training and salary. At interview, you’ll almost certainly be asked what it is about the particular company that appeals to you; in order to answer confidently, it’s vital that you do the essential research before applying.

How is the graduate scheme structured?

The duration and structure of graduate programmes differ significantly between firms – think about whether you want a ‘fast-track’ route into your hotel management career or would prefer to gain more experience and training through a longer graduate scheme before taking your next steps. Some employers such as Quarter, which is based in Bristol, offer rotational programmes to allow graduates to experience different areas of the business and develop a broad range of skills; others provide more direct or specialised routes, where graduates can choose to concentrate on the parts of hotel management that most interest them, such as finance or HR. PH Hotels offers graduates the choice between a generalist operations management scheme and a specialist option.

What sort of work will be involved?

Have you set your sights on a career with a well-known international hotel chain, or would you prefer to work for a smaller regional chain or independent hotel? Graduate hotel management roles with large corporations such as Hilton may be primarily office-based, whereas working for smaller chains and independent or boutique hotels can involve more customer contact and a high level of responsibility at an earlier stage.

Work experience in the industry is a good way to find out what kind of hotel management work you enjoy and the type of graduate hotel management role that would match your skills. You could try spending the university holidays working at a local hotel or guest house; alternatively, some of the major companies offer internships and sandwich placements. There are pros and cons to large, medium and small hotel businesses so it’s important to weigh them up and decide on the graduate employer that’s right for you.

What training will I receive?

Think about the graduate training and development opportunities you’d like from your graduate hotel management job. Are you the kind of person who would prefer a clear training schedule from the outset or a more flexible and tailored approach to career development? Some graduate schemes will include days of structured training workshops and group training exercises whereas others, such as the Accelerate management development programme with Daniel Thwaites, owner of Shire Hotels, incorporate ‘on-the-job’ training and development. If you like the idea of gaining a relevant management qualification, you could also look into employers that offer such opportunities as part of the training process. Other training and development aspects to consider when choosing an employer include mentoring and coaching opportunities and career progression.

What salary can I expect from my graduate job in hotel management?

Management roles vary across the sector and this is reflected in differences in salary, depending on the type of hotel and level of responsibility. You might be employed as a manager for a particular hotel service or function, or you could be a general manager overseeing all aspects of the business. As a guide, though, you could start your career in an assistant hotel manager role on up to around £20,000 in London and about £18,000 in other locations. There are prospects for salary raises and promotion in this area of work as you progress.

Some employers to consider for your graduate career in hotel management

  • Clifton Hotels (owned by Quarter)
  • Firmdale Hotels
  • Hilton Worldwide
  • Hyatt Hotels Corporation
  • InterContinental Hotels
  • Marriott Hotels
  • PH Hotels
  • QHotels
  • Red Carnation Hotels
  • Shire Hotels (owned by Daniel Thwaites)
  • Starwood Hotels
  • Whitbread
  • deVere Group
  • Mandarin Oriental
  • Jurys Inn