The Most Enticing Benefits of Working in the Hospitality Industry

Ever considered a career in hospitality because of the perks you've heard about from friends and relatives? Great tips, the ability to travel, living in a cultural hotspot, and interacting with the elite - or, in some cases, even celebrities - are just a few motivators. The non-traditional hours can be a great incentive, too, especially when you want to balance other commitments (such as freelancing or completing a degree). We came up with some of the most enticing, unique benefits to working in hospitality today. Curious? Keep reading.

Steak served on table

1. Free meals

Depending on the specific sector of the industry, you may find that you can receive free or discounted meals when working in hospitality. In most cases, this food will be exceptionally high quality (even up to Michelin-starred cuisine). If you work in a restaurant or bar, a free meal is almost a guarantee if you work a longer shift. Many restaurants hold a team meal either before or after a meal service. If you work on a yacht or at a hotel, you may also be able to garner several complimentary meals throughout each day. If meals are important to you, make sure to ask ahead of time before accepting a job offer, since policies can vary from one business to another.

2. Discounts on travel

If you choose to work in the hotel industry or for a tourism agency, you're more than likely to have some travel discounts available to choose from. These kinds of perks can range from discounted hotel rooms and time shares to deals on flights, rental cars, guided tours, and much more. In many cases, these discounts can also be applied to a friend or family member who travels with you. Of course, the types of discounts available will depend on the business you work for and their partners, and may change from month to month.

3. Work and travel at the same time

Sure, you can get discounts on travel opportunities in many hospitality jobs. But don't forget that you can also make a vacation spot your home. If you're still young and have the flexibility to move from place to place, the hospitality industry might be perfect for you - especially if you want to go somewhere new. For example, as an experienced hotel manager, you can easily find opportunities to transfer from one city to another, whether or not you stick with the same corporate chain. The same goes for the restaurant industry - a server, bartender, or chef can easily hop from city to city just by virtue of mutual connections and recommendations. And if you want to literally travel for a living (and don't get sea sick), why not look for a job as a crew member or stewardess on a private yacht or cruise line? Regardless of the specific path you choose, hospitality professionals are far more likely to travel as a part of their career, and are constantly exposed to new cultures and trends around the globe.

4. Network with interesting people

The word boring does not apply in the hospitality industry. If you work in a busy city such as New York or Los Angeles, or even in a smaller vacation town, you're bound to encounter hundreds of interesting, culturally diverse people (both customers and coworkers). Many of the customer-facing roles in hospitality allow you to interact with some of these people on a personal level, listening to stories and learning from their unique career paths. If you're a naturally outgoing person, you'll find it easy to make friends or at least connect professionally with some of these people - and don't be afraid to follow up. Personal connections are a huge advantage when, someday, you're on the hunt for a new opportunity. At the very least, you'll hear some wild stories that you can share with family and friends.

5. Tips and bonuses

A huge portion of your earnings in the food and beverage industry is typically generated by tips. Sure, you'll hear about the occasional "bad tipper" but, on average, most customers stick to at least 15-20% within the United States. Tipping standards can vary in other countries, so make sure to do your research before you take a job overseas. And don't forget that your tips are going to be directly impacted by your behavior and your ability to provide an excellent experience for your customers. Of course, this depends on how well you can sell the experience to a customer. Tips are also applicable within the hotel industry, and hospitality staff receive generous rewards when customers are impressed by their efforts.

If you work in management or administration, you will also likely be eligible to receive bonus either on an annual or biannual basis. Some hotel managers can earn as much as 25% of their annual salary in bonus alone, usually awarded when annual goals such as revenue and customer satisfaction are met or exceeded.

6. Experience the luxury

People who work in hospitality often have exclusive access to the very best food, fine wines, and luxury accommodations. Restaurants and hotels that value customer experience over profit won't hesitate to invest in their employees, training them thoroughly and allowing them to experience what they're selling from the customer's point of view. This might involve learning to shuck and prepare oysters (and eating them, too!) in order to develop a palate for the delicacy. You may also be allowed to sample different courses from a menu in order to better consult with diners when serving, or take part in a wine tasting for the same reason.

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