The eighth edition of Passion4Hospitality, the Institute of Hospitality’s annual student and industry networking event, benefited from an extensive Careers Fair featuring nearly 40 companies looking for new talent.
Around 300 hospitality management students attended the all-day event which took place at Novotel London West on Monday (12 March). Students came from UK universities and colleges and from Stenden University in the Netherlands. They gained a wealth of advice on landing the right job during the interactive conference programme. They also had time to take full advantage of the excellent Careers Fair to make contact with the high-quality employers who are actively recruiting.
Represented at The Careers Fair were Royal Automobile Club, Victory Services Club, Shangri-La at the Shard, Georgian House, The Ritz, Dorchester Collection, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, Doyle Collection/The Bloomsbury, BaxterStorey, Evolve Hospitality, Novotel London West, Sarova Hotels, Foxhills, Gravetye Manor, Bespoke Hotels, Edition Hotels, Nadler Hotels, Hyatt, Waldorf Hilton, Iconic Luxury Hotels Group, The Savoy, Harbour Hotels Group, CH&Co, Splendid Hospitality, Exclusive Hotels and Venues, Catapult, Jurys Inn, Dorsett Hotels, Mandarin Oriental, Como Hotels and Resorts, SpaYse International, The Principal London, National Careers Service, Hospitality Assured, Dukes Collection, and Firmdale.
Teams from six universities competed in the HOTS Business Game competition to run a virtual resort hotel. The winning team (above) was from Glion Institute of Higher Education, London. The runners-up came from Stenden University in the Netherlands. The University of Brighton came in third place. The competition was administered by Peter Russell MIH of the Russell Partnership.
Peter Ducker FIH, chief executive, Institute of Hospitality, introduced the event by telling students: “No one will ever care about your career as much as you do, so the sooner you start planning and setting yourself goals, the better.”
Get that job!
During a panel discussion, students were advised on how to stand out. Match the tone and message of your covering letter to the vacancy, said Shona Rye, director, Your Invisible Partner. Use social media as a research tool and go into the interview armed with information about the company, so that you are well-prepared when asked to contribute questions at the end of your interview, said Martin Smith, Collins King & Associates. Do not simply send in your CV and wait for a reply, said Neil Graham, managing director, SpaYse International. A follow-up phone call will help, and during the interview itself, recruiters are interested in personality.
Asked whether she was in favour of quotas for female managers in hospitality, Debrah Dhugga FIH MI, managing director, Dukes Collection, replied: “I would never want to be given a job just because I was a woman.”
She added she would like to see more women at executive level: “A diverse board room generates a richness, a wider viewpoint in a world where women are increasingly a powerful force as consumers and business leaders.”
Diverse workplaces in general have advantages in terms of attaining customer loyalty, she said: “Value everyone in your organisation. Diversity refers to age, disability, religion, gender and more, and goes beyond just legal compliance. International work experience is of value and managers must be ready to harness the diversity of the workforce.”
Spotlight on the sectors
This panel discussion highlighted some of the lesser-known areas of employment in hospitality such as foodservice and private members clubs. Mark Field FIH, operations director, The Victory Services Club said that he found working in members clubs to be “a tremendous working environment where I can use my skills as a hotelier.” Jessica Berry, talent manager for The Doyle Collection, highlighted the similarities between her current role in human resources and her previous experience in event management. Delphine Delacroix AIH, MICE office manager at Novotel London West, added that working in events means that no two days are ever the same.
Adam Rowledge FIH, general manager, Georgian House, provided an extremely well-devised and useful A-Z of personal brand promotion. Using video well will give you a huge advantage on social media, he said, and concluded his presentation with a quote from Charles Buxton: “Experience shows that success is due less to ability than to zeal.”
Breaking the ice
Rory Kelly-Naughton, hotels business manager, Evolve, provided expert advice on networking. “Make contacts and then maintain them. I got my job with Evolve because I know the owner, even after six years. ”
Peter Ducker FIH concluded: “Passion4Hospitality is a highlight in our calendar and I always come away feeling inspired and energised. The speakers gave their time freely to help make today possible. My thanks to them; to all our sponsors; to the exhibitors at the Careers Fair; and also to Michael Sloan FIH and his team at the Novotel London West for their generosity as venue sponsors.”
The headline sponsor of Passion4Hospitality 2018 was Planday. The other sponsors were arena4finance, aslotel, the Council for Hospitality Management Education (CHME), Critiquie, Fresh Montgomery, Glion, HOTS, Novotel, Savoy Educational Trust, Stenden, SpaYse International.