St. Regis Bahía Beach Resort

One of the most successful advertising campaigns of the 20th century was for the U.S. Navy, and at its core was this tagline:

It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.

It’s a sentiment that I believe applies to the hospitality industry today. Whether working for a Marriott property – like our lovely The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort on the beautiful east coast of Puerto Rico – or in one of the amazing restaurants in Old San Juan, jobs are plentiful in the hospitality field as tourists and business travelers flock back to the Island.

The problem is that many people in the labor market only see openings at our hotels as a “job,” and not the career adventure it can become. While some may consider working as a dishwasher in a café or a front desk clerk as low entry level jobs, I see nothing but opportunity. So did many of my colleagues and bosses.

Last year, one of my bosses retired from Marriott after a 35-year career; and while I have just recently celebrated six years with the company, it is stories like this that inspire me and help me lead my team. My boss rose to the level of President of our Caribbean & Latin America division, after many jobs at our Global Headquarters, but do you know what his first job was in the industry? As a bus boy and server in a hotel restaurant. Through hard work, dedication and a sense of adventure, he took advantage of the opportunities that came his way and rose to higher and higher positions of responsibility.

And – if you want it – so can you.

Based on my own experience, and those of many of my colleagues, hospitality jobs are plentiful and many can lead to exciting career-long journeys that can transform your life. A member of my Caribbean & Latin America team here at Marriott, Kerstin Sachl, did just that. After several years working in communications for the automotive industry, she made the move to hospitality communications – and loves it.

During a recent conversation, she said she had developed many skills in other jobs that were easily transferable to hospitality, which made the transition easier and fruitful for her. The point is: you don’t necessarily have to have a background in hospitality to forge a rewarding career in the industry.

For those of you who may be considering launching a career in hospitality, let me encourage you with some advice I’ve learned in my 15 years in this industry (after a few years working for dot-coms):

1. Embrace variety. The beauty of the hospitality industry, especially in the global hotel segment, is the vast array of job possibilities. I’ve had the privilege of opening hotels or launching brands in China, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Americas. Even though I didn’t have a sales background, that’s now one of my responsibilities. The variety of jobs, and locations, is endless.

2. Dream big … and follow your dreams. If you have your eye on a position outside of your current set of responsibilities, fear not. If you display eagerness, talent and willingness to pursue your dreams, there’s a good chance you’ll achieve them. Also, be open to stretch opportunities into other areas of the business.

3. Pursue infinite opportunities. Whether you work for a large hospitality company or a boutique brand, you’ll have the chance to work in properties around the globe or in corporate positions at headquarters or regional offices. If you get weary of one assignment, raise your hand when another emerges. You don’t have to stay put for long, unless you want to.

Thanks to the resiliency of the Puerto Rican people, and the non-stop promotional efforts of Discover Puerto Rico and others who work to promote the Island, tourists are returning in unprecedented numbers. In fact, according to third party data reported by Discover Puerto Rico, room nights sold in recent months have surpassed 2019, which had been the Island’s best year to date; and meetings and convention leads have generally outpaced 2019, as well.

Hospitality job openings are on the rise. And so can the careers of those who choose to take them. What may seem like just a job today can turn into the adventure of a lifetime.

Come and join us. It can be quite an exciting ride!

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