When you think of hospitality, you picture helping guests and ensuring they have positive experiences. However, there’s more to this industry than just taking care of others. Working in hospitality lets you meet new people, experience different cultures, and form meaningful, long-lasting relationships that define a good work family.
The Evolving Hospitality Workplace
While hospitality centers on the guest experience, its cheerful, friendly atmosphere stems from the industry’s commitment to providing diverse, inclusive workplaces. By embracing people for who they are, the hospitality industry cultivates a supportive environment that blends personal and work lives into exciting and rewarding careers.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Whether an entry-level employee or a salaried manager, you are part of a thriving hospitality culture built on respect. Women like Celia Cennett, Legener Cormier, and Catina Homes, who work as security guards on Bourbon Street, credit the hotel industry for its appreciation and empowerment of women. Celia was the first woman hired to the security staff, and Catina says she felt like a part of the team on her very first shift. Legener appreciates the hotel’s cultural diversity, which she says makes her work enjoyable and rewarding.
The AHLA and AHLA Foundation’s ForWard Ambassador Program further advances women’s career development and promotes diversity in the industry by providing a platform to share ideas, network, and learn from other successful women in the industry.
The merging of eclectic backgrounds, interests, and voices enhances the family-like atmosphere and keeps employees engaged as they pursue their dreams. The Three Martins, otherwise known as Jefferson Martin, Malcolm Martin, and Zachary Martin, attest to the industry’s efforts to support people of color and help them thrive in the workplace. Malcolm worked his way up from valet to assistant director, and Zachary is an assistant general manager. Jefferson is a director of rooms and uses his role to advise younger employees on developing their careers.
Ana Karla Benitez Ibarra knows first-hand the challenges of adapting to a new culture. She moved from Mexico to the United States to finish high school and was not prepared for the language barriers and culture shock that awaited. However, she turned this experience into an opportunity to empathize with others and now seeks to help others in the industry.
“Diversity is a fact,” Ana says, “but inclusion is a choice.”
Like Ana, Maria Anzola was born outside the United States and moved from Venezuela after receiving her college degree to pursue a career in hospitality. “I have built a family at this property,” she says, noting she cannot imagine pursuing any other profession, especially when this family showed up for her as her daughter’s health issues arose. By participating in the AHLAF apprenticeship program, Maria gained the tools to continue her upward trajectory and become a GM at her current hotel.
Acceptance is not just limited to employees of differing origins. While John Paul Delamide credits the industry for embracing him as a Filipino student in America with an exchange program, he also feels accepted as a gay man, noting his hotel is a place where he can fully be himself.
A Place for Everyone
No matter your age, background, or educational level, there is a place for you in the world of hospitality. Omari Head started as a front desk worker before founding a nonprofit to educate people from traditionally underrepresented groups about opportunities in the hotel industry. In the same way, Nora Herrera worked her way up the career ladder through a series of roles, progressing from engineering clerk & locksmith to corporate director of engineering for a major hotel brand. She considers hospitality an incredible workplace, with the opportunity to develop meaningful friendships at every turn. “You meet some pretty incredible people,” she says.
This sense of community extends beyond the corporate workplace. Divna Mirolovic currently is a barista and echoes the industry’s family feel. “I feel like this is my second home,” she says, raving about the many benefits of forming connections with her team members.
Along with its welcoming atmosphere, the hospitality industry brings people together in new and enjoyable ways. Peter Ricci loves that his work as director of hospitality and tourism helps him form friendships throughout the industry. “It’s such a fun business!” he says.
The industry also offers a place for you to grow personally. Shawn Goodwin sees his coworkers as extended family and appreciates the compassion they show whenever he needs support.
Build Your Own Story
The hotel industry offers an opportunity to learn and grow while forming strong bonds with your colleagues. For many existing employees, this is why they chose it as a career and they intend to stay.
Whether you work in the engineering department, guest service, or a supervisory role, these testimonials are just the start of great experiences that await you.
Discover the many positions and benefits of working in the hospitality industry.