Given that Hotel Equities Chief Development Officer Joe Reardon wasn’t even aware that there was such thing as “the hotel business” when he became part of it, he advises those seeking to enter the field or advance a hotel career once they’ve happened into it, to keep an open mind and be aware of the many directions they can go. “You don’t have to be a specialist, although there are plenty of opportunities for that. Just as always, you can jump in and learn about areas like food and beverage, operations, and revenue management.”
However, he says he would be remiss if he didn’t point out first what is obvious to him. “People tend to forget that it all starts with real estate—a piece of dirt—and it’s good to learn what real estate means from a hotel perspective.” For that reason, he says, he encourages ambitious newbies to open their eyes to this reality and perhaps do as he himself eventually did—learn about real estate development. “This means understanding how to purchase land, find the right location, and how to look at a deal.”
Here are three other thoughts he shares on advancing a hotel career:
1For the long term, choose a company with a healthy culture.
“For ‘cradle to grave’ longevity, go with a management company or hotel company with a reputation for providing great training, education, and advancement opportunities.”
2Take the opportunities to move, literally.
“Don’t think in terms of staying with a single property long term. Hotel companies move employees—often, every year—where they’ll see different markets, different people, different brands, and how that asset reacts to that market.”
3Be able to pivot.
“Learn to figure things out for yourself; build a team—working with different teams and markets really strengthens your background.”