Who we are

The hotel and pub industry is as diverse as the people who work in it.

We are made up of inner city, metropolitan and regional luxury and lifestyle hotels, holiday resorts, boutique accommodation and everything in between. We are gaming hotels with huge bars and bistros, the local on the corner, or the quaint country pub. We are located near iconic beaches, in inner city laneways and in every suburb and town across Australia. We are often the heart of the local communities we serve, a place for family and friends to gather, are welcoming to all, and for many, a place to call home.

Photo courtesy of Visit Victoria; Photographer: Ain Raadik
Photo courtesy of Visit Victoria; Photographer: Jesse Hisco

Mythbusters

A widely held misconception of the hotel and pub industry is that it is not a place to build a long and fulfilling career.  We are here to bust that myth, once and for all! 

Far from being a job you do while you study or look for a ‘real job’, a career in hotels may start with an entry level role, however the opportunities to carve out a path to success are unlimited. 

Hear stories from some of our own mythbusters:

Lara

Far from just being ‘a job on the way to getting a real job,’ hear Lara’s story about how memorable service received on a holiday to Hawaii sparked her interest in building a long-term career in the hotel industry.

Pauline

Hear Pauline’s story about how flexible working hours allow her to spend quality time with her family.

Greg

Hear Greg’s story about how he leveraged transferable skills he learned while working in the retail sector to set up a rewarding career working in pubs.

Find your place

Our industry is built by people from diverse cultures, experiences and backgrounds, with a range of skills and abilities. Many are at different stages of their career journey with unique motivations that fuel their passion to work in hotels and pubs.

When you ask employees, ‘What is the best thing about a career in hotels?’, the answer is often ‘the people!’  Whether it is the customers they serve or the people they work alongside, a job in hotels and pubs offers a unique sense of community that is hard to replicate in other workplaces.

Whether customer facing or working behind the scenes, you’re sure to find your place in our community!

Photo courtesy of Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway
Photo courtesy of GOA Group; Photographer: Alison Mayfield

A day in their lives

Trying to picture what a career in hotels and pubs is really like?  Take a walk in the shoes of these real-life hotel legends.  You may be surprised at how diverse and exciting their roles can be!

Carly Crossman

Manager – Heritage Hotel, Balnarring

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Walk in my shoes!
Name:
Carly Crossman
Current role:
Manager – Heritage Hotel, Balnarring
What inspired you to work in the industry?
My Mum has run pubs her whole life – she recently bought her own pub. I love watching people enjoy something you create, not only the food and drink! You create the mood of the room with how you serve and present your venue. It’s a small reason why my sister and I work with her and love the industry.
Years in industry:
10+
Training – formal and ‘on the job:’
Hands on! I have the basic (industry) training, but you can’t learn it all from a book! Watching over the years – how to deal with complaints, pour a beer etc, you can’t learn that from paper!
Achievements and rewards:
I don’t count personal achievements – it’s all about the business, as it’s a team effort to win anything! Our pub won the Best Outdoor Experience and Best Casual Dining (Regional) at the 2021 AHA (Vic) State Awards for Excellence. Both amazing awards to win – I’m so proud of our team!
Describe a ‘typical day:’
My typical day is opening the pub in the morning, responding to emails and messages, creating a job list for staff, seating and serving customers and ordering stock.
Key tasks:
To ensure all our staff and customers leave our pub happy. This includes ensuring we receive good customer feedback, keeping our venue clean and ‘on track’ daily.
Main responsibilities:
Stock for our cellar – maintaining our drinks inventory and kegs. Ordering and rotating our menu items and outsourcing new drinks. My love of a good wine may help this job!
What skills and abilities have you developed while working in hotels?
Management and leadership skills – delegation, people skills, social skills, including how to deal with negative and positive feedback. How to work effectively in a team and, of course, responsibility!
How have these skills helped you deal with any work challenges you might face?
Every day brings a new challenge – perhaps a staff member ‘no show’ or an unhappy customer. The skills I have developed will lead me on the correct path – my social and management skills help me stay calm and get the job done!
Tell us about your career journey, so far:
Working in the hospitality industry now for over 10 years – I used to manage a café/florist for three years, before moving into my current role. Moving from a small coffee shop to a 300-person capacity pub was a real jump, for me!
What are your future goals and career aspirations?
To own a pub or restaurant with my sister, within the next five years.
What have you enjoyed most about working in hotels?
The people you meet, like the regular customers and staff – knowing one person, always leads to another.
Any old beliefs you had about the industry that have now been proven ‘myths?’
Yes, you need to do the ‘hard yards,’ but, if you really want to, you always get to do the things you want to do and the rewards will come.
Advice for anyone interested considering a career in the hotel industry:
Do what makes you happy. If this job fulfills you, work hard and make your way to the top!
Carly Crossman

Nicholas Smeed

Assistant Manager – Human Resources, Grand Hyatt Melbourne

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Walk in my shoes!
Name:
Nicholas Smeed
Current role:
Assistant Manager – Human Resources, Grand Hyatt Melbourne
What inspired you to work in the industry?
I’ve always had an interest in working in the hotel industry
Years in industry:
8 Years
Training – formal and ‘on the job:’
Outside of core skills such as communication and teamwork, the training I have received for my current role has very much been on-the-job and hands-on.
Achievements and rewards:
I was recognised as ‘Star of the Year’ for 2017 for my work as Front Office
Describe a ‘typical day:’
A typical day in my role will generally start with a morning departmental briefing followed by some combination of the following: managing recruitment and interviews, meeting with other managers to discuss manning and rostering, assisting with payroll queries, responding to email and walk-in enquiries, helping to plan and prepare learning sessions (including new starter orientation) and plenty of general administration and reporting.
Key tasks:
My key tasks include conducting phone screening and interviews, answering email and calls, and attending meetings as needed.
Main responsibilities:
My main responsibilities cover recruitment and payroll processes, as well as any areas of generalist HR that require my attention.
What skills and abilities have you developed while working in hotels?
Working in hotels has given me countless opportunities to develop and refine my communication ability, as well as my skills in team management and leadership.
How have these skills helped you deal with any work challenges you might face?
Refining these skills has provided me with the means to have a more positive influence on the people around me.
Tell us about your career journey, so far:
Much of my career journey has involved working in various areas of the Front Office department in a range of roles. This exposure gave me a great understanding of so many different aspects of hotel operations, even extending into other departments. Working as a Team Leader also gave me some fantastic introductory skills around rostering and recruiting, which helped better prepare me when I transitioned into my current role in HR.
What are your future goals and career aspirations?
Short-term, I am looking to build my generalist knowledge in Human Resources and refine my understanding and application of HR practices. Long-term, I am hoping to progress to a Director or Partner level position within Human Resources.
What have you enjoyed most about working in hotels?
The sheer amount of diversity in the workplace, both in the tasks I perform and the people I get to interact with.
Any old beliefs you had about the industry that have now been proven ‘myths?’
The hotel industry may have a lot of glitz and glamour to it, but below the surface there is a lot of hard work that goes into keeping everything running. It’s easy to mistake the elegant and relaxed exterior as being a reflection of the challenges presented when working in the industry.
Advice for anyone interested considering a career in the hotel industry:
You do not need to have an exact career plan when starting in hotels! Many colleagues find what they love and are passionate about as they grow in the industry, and it is important to keep an open mind when opportunities come your way.
Nicholas Smeed

André Jacques

Director of Sales & Marketing The Langham, Melbourne

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Walk in my shoes!
Name:
André Jacques
Current role:
Director of Sales & Marketing The Langham, Melbourne
What inspired you to work in the industry?
Ever since I was a young child, I was absolutely fascinated by hotels and knew that was the industry I wanted to get into.
How did your career start?
Casual work as a porter whilst still at high school following work experience in Year 10
Years in industry:
33 Years
Training – formal and ‘on the job:’
Diploma of Hospitality Management at COTAH Brisbane. Commenced my hotel career as a porter whilst at high-school, then in Food and Beverage as a bar attendant and waiter followed by reservations at Ayers Rock Resort. I then commenced my first full time sales role as a sales executive for Thistle Hotels in London in 1996.
Achievements and rewards:
My hotel career has taken me around the world working in a number of different cultures. The key achievement to date in my career would be opening The St. Regis Washington, D.C. after a two-year transformation to be the city’s finest luxury hotel two blocks from the White House. This resulted in receiving a prestigious industry accolade of ‘’Hotel Partner of the Year’’ Award in 2008 for the hotel from American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts in competition with all the luxury hotels in North America and New York.
Describe a ‘typical day:’
I like to get to the office early to digest performance and booking reports and prepare for the day ahead prior to meetings starting at 8.30am. My day can comprise of a slew of items from strategy meetings, welcoming guests and clients to the hotel, daily forecast updates to marketing WIP’s, zoom calls with our corporate office and global sales offices, discussing revenue drivers for our Chuan Spa, mentoring colleagues, preparations for the next photo shoot, EDM’s, social media campaigns, gift voucher sales, sales mission planning to talking about the next character for our children themed afternoon teas. I thrive on the variety of what my role entails.
Key Tasks & Main responsibilities:
Responsible for all sales and marketing channels including total revenue development within the hotel through sourcing, securing and maximising the performance of all channels including rooms, food & beverage incorporating meeting and events, spa, retail shop and gift voucher sales. Overseeing the Chuan Spa operations.
What skills and abilities have you developed while working in hotels?
In addition to the core skills of fine-tuning sales/revenue/marketing and communication skills, a vital component of any leadership role is the people aspect. Without dedicating to continually learn and develop your leadership skills, you cannot perform at your highest level. The way we work in hotels (and across all industries) continues to evolve and your leadership skills need to keep evolving as well.
How have these skills helped you deal with any work challenges you might face?
Yes, absolutely. It sounds contrite but you need to make mistakes in order to grow and develop (as long as you do not make them twice!). Like many fellow hoteliers I have worked through a number of significant challenges in my career including the world economic decline in the US, product challenges, challenging ownership relations but all-in-all these have helped me become a stronger all-rounded leader which assists me in being better prepared for new challenges I face.
Tell us about your career journey, so far:
My hotel journey commenced in 1988 working as casual porter at The Gateway Hotel in Brisbane during World Expo 88 following a work experience assignment, whilst at college I then commenced working as a ‘’glassie’’ and then bar attendant at the Mayfair Crest International Hotel in Brisbane which had an extensive F&B operation with four bars and a nightclub. After college I wanted to spread my wings and went to Ayers Rock Resorts working as a reservations consultant in their newly set-up central reservations office at the resort whilst also doing F&B work in the fine-dining room at Sails in the Desert Hotel. After two years in central Australia I was yearning to experience life in another country and went to live in London for 4 years first working for a company called CRS (Central Reservations Service) which was a hotel booking agency for many of London’s top corporate accounts and then entered my first hotel sales role as a Sales Executive for Thistle Hotels at the Selfridge Thistle. Following this, I returned to Australia and worked at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre in corporate sales for 3 years. I then re-entered the hotel industry in 2000 with Starwood Hotels & Resorts working at Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas as DOSM for 5 years, then transferred to the St Regis brand for 8 years opening the St Regis, Washington, D,C. where I was for 6 years and then transferred to Doha, Qatar to open the first St. Regis in the Middle East. I then returned to Australia with Starwood to open the Sheraton Melbourne and then commenced my journey with Langham in January 2015. General Manager. One day return to the USA and be a general manager in New York City. The diversity of the work, the many challenges that I thrive on, working internationally where the cultures can be different which certainly can test your leadership skills. The people I have worked with and guests you meet.
What are your future goals and career aspirations?
General Manager. One day return to the USA and be a general manager in New York City.
What have you enjoyed most about working in hotels?
The diversity of the work, the many challenges that I thrive on, working internationally where the cultures can be different which certainly can test your leadership skills. The people I have worked with and guests you meet.
Any old beliefs you had about the industry that have now been proven ‘myths?’
Not so much a myth but always believe in yourself and surround yourself by people who want to support your growth and development. Separate yourself from people who are not aligned with your career goals.
Advice for anyone interested considering a career in the hotel industry:
Whilst entry levels roles remuneration might not be comparable to other industries, you will be rewarded in other ways and experiences working in this fascinating and diverse industry. You need to be passionate about it; you need to love it and you need to immerse yourself in all the experiences it can provide you for a very rewarding and satisfying career.
André Jacques

Elizabeth Austin

Pacific Ambassador and Guest Relations Supervisor

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Walk in my shoes!
Name:
Elizabeth Austin
Current role:
Pacific Ambassador and Guest Relations Supervisor, Pan Pacific Hotel Melbourne
What inspired you to work in the industry?
From a young age I was always very interested in the hospitality industry. When given the opportunity to work in hotels I was inspired by the way each and every department needed to work together to ensure a smooth operation. Having my eyes opened to this environment was incredible and I knew this was where I belonged
How did your career start?
I found my passion for the service industry when working as a waiter at the age of 15. I started working in my first hotel at the age of 19.
Years in industry:
Hospitality: 14 years. Hotels: 9 years
Training – formal and ‘on the job:’
Certificate III in Commercial Cookery; Advanced Diploma of Hospitality; Certificate IV in Tourism; Certificate IV in Hospitality, and Certificate III in Events. I have undergone a large amount of on-the-job training, from learning venue procedures, understanding customer needs, disability and cultural awareness and handling customer problems just to name a few. More formal training includes first aid and CPR.
Achievements and rewards:
Pan Pacific Melbourne Associate of the month –2019 and 2020 Novotel Geelong Associate of the Year – 2014 Four Points by Sheraton Geelong Associate of the 2nd quarter –– 2014 Associate of the 3rd quarter – 2013 The Gordon Institute – Geelong Working in Industry Award – 2012 Best Food and Beverage Service Student – 2011
Describe a ‘typical day:’
My role is primarily focused on customer satisfaction, my typical day is all about our guests and includes: • Being present during check in and check out, • Maintaining a professional image for the hotel, • Dealing with any guest requests, special requirements or feedback, • Identifying VIP’s, ensure that they have all their requests met in a timely manner, ensure that the rooms are ready for their arrival, with all required room amenities, • Assisting with Duty Manager and front office tasks when required • Creating ways to celebrate occasions and festivals (i.e. red apples and mandarins available on check in for Chinese New Year) • Assisting with responding to guests’ online reviews and feedback • Actively listening and assisting to resolve guest complaints • Assisting to monitor team performance and coaching • Ensuring all guests are met on arrival and have a sincere farewell at the end of their stay. • Providing feedback to team members and give praise. • Providing feedback to management.
What skills and abilities have you developed while working in hotels?
Communication, adaptability, flexibility, team work, reliability and being able to keep a positive mindset.
How have these skills helped you deal with any work challenges you might face?
When I’ve faced challenges during my career, I always think back to what I have learnt and observed from my management team. The best way I find to deal with these challenges is to communicate, listen and adapt to each situation.
Tell us about your career journey, so far:
2012 – my hotel journey started - Food and Beverage Attendant, The Four Points Geelong. After four months I was promoted to a supervisor role (casual). When I finished my studies, I was promoted to a fulltime Banquet Supervisor and stayed at the hotel for 3.5 years. 2015 - Restaurant Supervisor at the Werribee Mansion Hotel & Spa (3 years). 2018 – Pan Pacific Hotel, Melbourne – Early 2018 - Pacific Club Lounge Team Leader Mid-2018 - Front Office Supervisor Mid-2019 - Pacific Ambassador and Guest Relations Supervisor.
What are your future goals and career aspirations?
Short term goal - Hotel Duty Manager. Long term goal - Front Office Manager.
What have you enjoyed most about working in hotels?
The people I have met - work colleagues and guests. Their stories and journeys are always interesting and create a great way to bond. I have also made some amazing lifelong friends.
Any old beliefs you had about the industry that have now been proven ‘myths?’
• You will be required to work long unreasonable hours. • The pay isn’t good in hotels. • Guests will always complain no matter what you do. • You won’t receive support from your managers.
Advice for anyone interested considering a career in the hotel industry:
The hotel industry is a great industry if you love interacting with people. Every day is different and you never know who your next guest will be. Getting in the door is the first step - grow from there. Be honest with your leaders and they will guide you to success.
Elizabeth Austin

Josh Windus

Duty Manager – Torquay Hotel

Edit
Walk in my shoes!
Name:
Josh Windus
Current role:
Duty Manager – Torquay Hotel
What inspired you to work in the industry?
My first job – a holiday job to make some money and a start in my career.
How did your career start?
A mate at my cricket club introduced me to the pub. I started as a ‘glassie’ – picking up glasses, in the bar.
Years in industry:
3 years
Training – formal and ‘on the job:’
Formal – compliance training, Responsible Service of Alcohol, Responsible Service of Gaming and TAB operator’s certificate. On the job – cocktail and mixed drink training, table service, plate and tray carrying, menu and wine knowledge and matching.
Achievements and rewards:
I started as a ‘glassie’ at 17, a bartender at 18, a bar supervisor at 19 and now a Duty Manager at 20.
Describe a ‘typical day:’
Weekdays and weekends differ. During the week I undertake stocktaking and cleaning jobs that can’t be completed during the weekend, because we’re too busy. Weekdays are also a really good time to chat with locals and hear their stories. Weekends are non-stop – we’re busy with a DJ on a Friday and Saturday night, there’s a lot of event coordination, to make sure they run as planned, and interactions with patrons, to make sure they’re enjoying themselves!
Key tasks:
Overseeing the operation of a large hotel, that includes a kitchen, bar, restaurant, bottleshop and gaming room.
Main responsibilities:
• Ensure all hotel departments are running smoothly. • Lending a hand to manage busy service periods in each of the hotel’s departments. • Cash drops. • Handling patron requests for assistance and/or complaints. • Doing my bit to ensure the hotel remains clean – e.g. clearing plates from restaurant tables and removing empty glasses in the bar.
What skills and abilities have you developed while working in hotels?
• Learning how to effectively deal with customers and improve my customer service. • People skills – becoming more comfortable dealing with challenging situations. • Team management – managing the work of our hotel team. • Time management – getting things done!
How have these skills helped you deal with any work challenges you might face?
They have helped me effectively coordinate the activities of our team to make sure we provide patrons a great venue experience. They have also helped me to ensure situations don’t escalate, if patrons are unhappy, for any reason.
What are your future goals and career aspirations?
I plan to work in the hospitality industry, until I stop enjoying it! I’m open to different opportunities as they arise and plan to enjoy the journey!
What have you enjoyed most about working in hotels?
I’ve really enjoyed being part of coordinating large events that we’ve delivered at the hotel. I’ve worked at and seen live acts, working with our team, who have the same passion I do, to deliver great experiences.
Any old beliefs you had about the industry that have now been proven ‘myths?’
• Working in a bar won’t be social – wrong, it’s the most social job you can have, when interacting with co-workers and customers. • After playing sport during the day (in the weekend) I won’t have the energy to work in the hotel that night. Wrong – I love the fast paced environment of the hotel on a busy night. Working in a social environment and still having fun as your mates and customers enjoy the hotel experience.
Advice for anyone interested considering a career in the hotel industry:
• You must be prepared to learn every day! If you have that attitude your co-workers, customers and managers will enjoy interacting with you more. • Keep your personal standards high, this will help you create an environment that others enjoy too! • Give it a go! You really don’t know what a job is like until you do it!
Josh Windus

Ask an expert

Leverage our network of experienced hoteliers and ask them any ‘burning questions’ you may have about working in our industry.

Before you do so, you might want to check whether we’ve already answered it, by reviewing the list of responses these experienced individuals have already provided to questions they’ve been asked.

Hotels

Most jobs in hotels require a qualification of some sort. The qualification could range from a Certificate III in Hospitality through to a Bachelor’s Degree in a relevant discipline.

Many certificate courses may well be offered as part of your employment so just because you don’t have a formal qualification, please don’t let that stop you from applying for roles to work in hotels.

Formal qualifications are very valuable because you will get a better understanding of overall hotel operations, which will help you to understand how your role impacts the hotel. You will also be taught skills to assist you in future job opportunities such as leadership and people management techniques.

There are some roles that have a minimum age of 18 either because of the service of alcohol or for safety reasons (working alone overnight for example).

There are also some restrictions on age based on employment law requirements – primarily around whether you are still in secondary school.

There is no maximum age limit. Many mature aged workers play key hotel operational roles, for example, Head Doorperson, and very effectively use their ‘life experiences’ and knowledge to enhance a guest’s stay.

Hotels operate 24/7. There are different roles that work at different times of the day and night. For example, most housekeeping roles only work during the day. Some hotels where airline crews stay, may have a skeleton housekeeping staff working overnight because the airline crews arrive and leave at any hour and their rooms need to be serviced. If you choose a guest services type role, then it is likely that you will work at different times depending on your roster. You may start early and work until mid-afternoon, or perhaps start mid-afternoon and work until late evening. You may be rostered to work on weekends too. In any case, rosters will be discussed and agreed with you depending on the requirements of the job and your availability for work (which may include caring for children).

If you decide that planning or working to deliver guest events is your future, then your hours will vary considerably depending on the organising and timing of each event. Working across different shifts provides you flexibility to complete other tasks outside of work, spend time with your kids or enjoy your hobbies. A day off during the week, for example, can result in a far quicker and more enjoyable round of golf, minus all the ‘weekend warriors.’ While ensuring you don’t miss a special occasion at your child’s school can often be accommodated by managers, when completing rosters.

Once you have experience in hotels, then there definitely are opportunities to work interstate and overseas. Many hotel groups have hotels located interstate and internationally and if you have been a superstar in your current role, then a great reference from your boss will go a long way to helping you to get work in another state or country. The skills you learn are easily transferred and the possibilities are endless. How does living and working in Dubai, London or perhaps Singapore sound to you? You can make it happen if you work hard and make the most of every opportunity you’re given.

Pubs

There are a few roles in hospitality that do not require a formal qualification and a huge amount of skills and knowledge training happens on the job. To progress through your career however it is always encouraged to undertake some type of formal education. This can be in the form of an entry level Traineeship or Apprenticeship, or Certificate and Diploma studies in Hospitality Management. The great thing about this kind of study is that a large portion of it is delivered in the workplace.

It is no secret that working in pubs is a good way to fund your way through university or higher education in other fields. The little known secret however, is that many people who graduate as an accountant, lawyer, psychologist, engineer, marketer, (or pick any other discipline), end up making a career in pubs. If your ultimate goal is to one day become a publican, to run a successful business, you will need to become an expert across many fields. Why be an expert in just one?

There are some roles that have a minimum age of 18 either because of the service of alcohol or for safety reasons (working alone overnight for example).

There are also some restrictions on age based on employment law requirements – primarily around whether you are still in secondary school.

There is no maximum age limit. Many mature aged workers play key pub operational roles, for example, Gaming Manager, and very effectively use their ‘life experiences’ and knowledge to
enhance a patron’s experience.

On the contrary, pubs are the most social workplaces going around! Sure, there are times when you will be working and your friends might be partying, but pub owners and managers are always cognisant of ensuring their team maintain a great work / life balance.

There are ways to work around sporting, social and family commitments, as long as you are flexible and willing to find a solution that suits the business needs.

Every job has it’s routine procedures and can feel repetitive from time to time. The difference with working in a pub is that every day you are serving new and interesting people, and no two days are ever the same. Working in a pub means you are being paid to ensure people have an enjoyable experience, and to make their day a little brighter - is there a better purpose in life?

Photo courtesy of Visit Victoria; Photographer: Ain Raadik

Got a question we haven’t yet answered?

E-mail it to us. We’ll do our best to answer it and repost in on the site, once we’ve consulted with our industry experts.