How to Get a Hotel Job: Everything You Need to Know

Amy Culver |
Amy is our Lead Copywriter at Snagajob, where she loves to use her word nerd powers to help workers and employers connect. Her first hourly job was as a cashier at Chick-fil-a.

What do hotel and resort employees do?

Bartender, restaurant worker, lifeguard, hotel concierge, sports instructor, housekeeping, tour bus driver and even snowmaking supervisor are some of the jobs available at resorts and hotels around the country.

Bartenders and restaurant workers tend to guests staying at the resort or hotel by taking and delivering orders, receiving and processing payment, and keeping their work areas neat and clean. Hotel and front desk concierges perform administrative duties such as answering the phones, booking reservations, filing paperwork, helping guests check in and out of the facility, and fulfilling special requests.

Are you a mover and a shaker? If you hate staying in a stuffy office all day, consider one of the more active positions in this industry. Apply to be a lifeguard and splash around the pool while making sure all swimmers are safe and looked after. Lifeguards usually rotate posts during shifts and enforce water safety rules to prevent injuries. They are also responsible for checking the pH level of the water, cleaning filters and performing first aid when necessary.

Another job where you never stop moving is tour bus guide. Many resorts and hotels, especially in vacation destinations, offer the services of a tour bus to take guests around town to see the sights and showcase what the city has to offer. You'll explain safety procedures to passengers while on the bus and point out hotspots like restaurants and shopping, so you'll need to know your way around. Sports instructors are also always on the go, leading classes by combining lectures and demonstrations to help guests perfect their game.

What are the working conditions?

Working conditions for resort and hotel employees differ depending on their jobs--for example, front desk employees and housekeepers usually stay inside in well-lit, clean and climate-controlled areas while sports instructors and lifeguards should be comfortable working in the great outdoors. Similarly, employees of a ski resort work in a very different environment than employees of a beachfront hotel.

Workers are often required to be on their feet all day and should be prepared for any type of weather. Work hours vary depending on the job, but the front desk usually operates 24 hours a day, so a flexible schedule is important. Holidays and weekends are a very busy time for hotels and resorts, so don't make any Spring Break plans just yet. Risks include sun or wind burn, slips and falls in greasy kitchens, and overexposure to heat or cold can result in heat stroke or frostbite.

What skills do I need and how can I get promoted?

Requirements are dependent upon the specific position, but certain restrictions apply to some of these jobs. Bartenders or restaurant workers who serve alcohol must be at least 21 years of age in many states, and understand the policies and procedures according to the law. Lifeguards usually have to be at least 15 years old, and they must be trained in first aid and CPR. Employers prefer to hire sports instructors with at least a bachelor's degree and sufficient experience in their athletic field. Tour bus drivers must have a clean driving record and be familiar with the area in which they will be giving tours. Concierge employees should be able to work a multi-lined phone system to transfer calls or put callers on hold, and have great customer service skills. Most resorts and hotels require all of their employees to undergo a criminal background check and a drug test, so stay on your best behavior.

All employees must have great communication skills because interaction with guests occurs every day. Sometimes tourists can be a tad bit demanding if, for instance, their mini-bar isn't fully stocked or housekeeping failed to leave a chocolate with their turndown service. When these little fires arise, keep your calm and always remain pleasant, even if what you want to do would get you fired.

Experience and proper training in this field can lead to promotions to management positions such as hotel manager, entertainment director, restaurant manager or front desk administrator.

Show me the money!

Wages vary greatly depending upon the type of work, but many employers offer medical benefits after 90 days of employment. The on-the-job perks are the most fun part of working at a hotel or resort because employees typically receive free or discounted stay, access to all events and entertainments, and free or discounted meals. If you are hired for seasonal employment and do not live in the area, some resorts will cover the costs of your housing and meals, as well as pay you a weekly or monthly stipend. So whether you need to practice your backstroke, your golf swing or your phone demeanor, resort and hotel jobs are a vacation from the ordinary. For more specific information, check out our wage calculator to help you determine pay for this job in your neck of the woods.