Latest Thinking

Advice For Hospitality Grads

As a hospitality grad, you’re on the cusp of a career that won’t look like it has in the past.


As a hospitality grad, you’re on the cusp of a career that won’t look like it has in the past. Sure, some skills will always be hallmarks of a great GM - the hunger to build and nurture relationships, the ability inspire the staff - but there’s a new set of skills future GM’s need to bring to the table to find success in the club industry from now on.

The great news is that as some of the first ‘digital natives’ hoping to carve a leadership path in the club industry, you’re well equipped to adapt to the role, and you likely bring many of these skills to the table quite naturally. Our point? Don’t be shy about your skillset - this industry needs you right now.

Here’s some advice on how to turn your natural strengths into career building moves if you’re graduating from hospitality school and headed to the club industry:

1) Think like a marketer. I’ll give you three compelling reasons to pretend you’re graduating with a marketing degree: member expectations, social reach, and attention span.

Consumer expectations have changed - which means member expectations have changed. Think about what YOU expect from brands? Which ones meet your expectations? Chances are, you gravitate to the brands that tell authentic stories, from a perspective that you trust.

So how can you help share the benefits of membership and the values of the club with stories people can relate to? Hint: through the eyes of your members - because increasingly we trust people ‘like ourselves’ more than any other institution or thought leader. You can read about our trust issues here.

Reaching people has changed - think about the brands who connect with you? When and where do you appreciate their messages? When is it annoying? You’re likely fine with native ads within a social feed, but completely annoyed with pop up ads that distract you from the content you’re interested in. Bottom line, we’re free to block, skip and ignore ads. Your club will look to you for advice on the content that’s worth a look or possibly a share.

Attention span is waning - you’ve grown up with the internet, and the latest grads don’t remember life before smartphones. Multitasking on several screens feels normal for you, so ask yourself this - what do you have more patience for, a one minute video or a 1000 word article?

2) Embrace tech.

We all know tech is here to stay (and take over). Think about how often you use your smartphone everyday - now imagine leaving it at home for the entire day. (Now try to stay calm). Your current (and definitely your future) members feel the same, yet many clubs STILL discourage technology in member areas. So how can we shake the stigma and infuse tech into the club experience in a way that enhances it, but doesn’t distract from the relaxing atmosphere? Think about the possibilities. It’s exciting. If you could do anything with a smartphone in the club experience, what would it be?

·       VR?

·       Live Video?

·       Increasing the speed of service?

3) Don't be afraid to buck the status quo. Just because something worked before DOES NOT mean it will work (or even be relevant) now.

Family structures are changing. Marriage rates are down and multi-generational and blended families are up. The membership structures of the past need an overhaul. How do you like to join or subscribe to products or services?

Transparency and inclusivity are more important to members than ever before. Gen Y and Gen Z are the most racially diverse, open-minded and socially conscious generations in our country. You’re some of the first to demand transparency from corporations, and that requirement for the truth will follow you into membership. Clubs have been traditionally private with both membership and information. Clubs will need to show how they plan become or stay inclusive and make a positive impact on the community. Smartphones are how we communicate. If your club is still drafting and mailing paper newsletters (which is totally gross), you’ve got to take control…immediately.

Final words of advice:

Don’t be the bull in a china shop… be the honey bee. If you present your ideas from the perspective of the business and the member, they will be heard. Remember, you are still working alongside other (older) generations…have patience for them - they are trying to have it for you.

Look outside the echo chamber! Other industries are gold mines for ideas and inspiration. Technology in the consumer world will always be bleeding edge, but there is no reason it can’t help you leap forward if you can adapt it creatively. Take the opportunity to learn from other’s life lessons - most of them will be applicable forever. Click here to see Gregg Patterson’s video on what it takes to be successful in clubs today.

If all else fails, hit ‘em with some Jack Welsh (Google him first):  “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, then the end is near.”

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