More than 450 people took part in Passion4Hospitality this week, making it the largest ever edition of the Institute of Hospitality’s annual free student and industry networking event.
The ninth P4H included a careers fair, conference, student debating competition and the HOTS Hotel Simulation Business Game competition in which teams compete to manage a virtual hotel.
A prestigious array of high-quality employers took stands within the careers fair. All of the companies were actively recruiting, providing hundreds of students with a wealth of contacts and information.
The Jurys Inn stand was manned by graduate managers Georgiana Risco AIH and Michelle Chirwa-Goacher AIH (pictured above), who had both attended last year’s event as students.
Peter Ducker FIH, chief executive, Institute of Hospitality, said: “Our event is all about showcasing the fabulous and varied careers available and making real connections. Every year, more companies come forward and exhibit at Passion4Hospitality representing the many facets of our great industry. And more students come away with interviews, leads and contacts.”
The careers fair included contract caterers BaxterStorey, Vacherin, and Bartlett Mitchell.
Students learned of opportunities in retail catering as Harrods showcased its major F&B expansion.
An array of opportunities in hotels were available with companies such as Preferred Hotels, Rosewood Hotels, The Dorchester Collection, The Doyle Collection, Firmdale Hotels, Hotel du Vin & Malmaison, Apex Hotels, Duked Hotel Group, The Landmark London, Georgian House, The Vineyard, Hand Picked Hotels, Savora Hotels, The Savoy, IHG, Harbour Hotels, Amaris Hospitality, Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels, The Hari, Royal Lancaster, and GLH Hotels.
Other exhibitors included flexible jobs platform Coople, Springboard, Evolve Hospitality, Angel Human Resources, Umbrella Training, HIT Training and the Oxford & Cambridge Club.
The full-day conference programme provided a wealth of careers and job-seeking advice. For HR personnel, going through hundreds of black and white CVs is a monotonous task, said hotelier and marketing expert Adam Hamadache MIH, so using a coloured design template such as those provided free by canva.com will help your CV stand out. Even better, create your own CV website using the free templates provided by Wix, Squarespace or resume.io.
Hamadache said: “This will put you in the top 10% immediately. It’s an opportunity to show your ambition and is a couple of hours’ work that will save you months of applying for jobs.”
To stand out at an interview, candidates should experience the product ahead of time, go for a drink or dinner, and leave a TripAdvisor review. Prepare questions about the business, not just the vacancy. Hamadache said: “This will show that you are abreast of industry trends. Remember it’s okay not to know everything and much better to be humble and nervous than arrogant.”
How to succeed
James McComas MIH, general manager, Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells, highlighted the ancient nature of hospitality. 18,000 year-old cave paintings discovered in France show clear evidence of one tribe offering food and shelter
to another tribe and the two of them living in the same cave harmoniously.
“If someone is at your door and in need, there is a basic human expectation. We need to remember that. It’s still all about taking care of people. You do not succeed in hospitality without holding onto this fact,” he said. “You have to live and breathe hospitality. Everything else is a process. You may be able to do it well, but it’s not hospitality.”
The right employer for you
Beth Aarons FIH, global director, Dorchester Collection Academy provided students with a series of tips on how to choose the right employer. Prospective employees need to thoroughly research a company and analyse how it presents itself both online and offline. Is it truly a people brand? Are people visible in images on the website? Is there an employee journey roadmap or evidence of career progression? What is its vision statement and values? Look at social media but also speak to people who work or have worked there, she advised.
Paula Rogers FIH, CEO, Admiral Recruitment, chaired a panel discussion highlighting a huge variety of career paths and opportunities. Thomas Kilroy FIH described his career starting as a chef, moving into restaurant and pub management, then contract catering, and specialising in social media, healthcare and casinos.
Tomas Kubart AIH, winner of Restaurant Manager of the Year 2019, described his journey from starting at the Mandarin Oriental in Prague at the age of 15 to now working with Tom Kerridge on his latest London opening.
Also on the panel was Gabrielle Le Roux MIH a recent graduate manager with BaxterStorey who now runs their training programme. She told students not to be impatient and not to rush their careers: “I did not want to go
into management until I was 100% ready because I did not want to be bad at my job.”
Kieran McLoughlin MIH, general manager, Ground Restaurant HIDE, described his rise from washing pots at the age of 13 and how focusing on the world of Michelin-starred restaurants had shaped his enormously fulfilling career. “They tried to put me off [hospitality] but I didn’t care. I knew there had to another side and I found it. My five years at Le Manoir shaped my life with such a big focus on training and mentoring.”
His advice to students and graduates was to be realistic and be willing: “Hard work will get you where you want to go quickly.”
Robin Sheppard FIH, the Institute’s chairman and co-founder of Bespoke Hotels, advised attendees to zig zag in their early careers, not staying in the same job for too long, and aim to work for people who are famous. If you are entrepreneurial don’t wait, he said. Aim to start your own business before you are 30 or before you start a family.
AI and robots debate
Teams from the University of Surrey, UEL, UCB, UCLan, and Hong Kong Polytechnic competed in the student debating competition for and against the following motion: “This house believes that AI and robots are a serious threat to the hospitality industry.”
With standards so high, judges Howard Field FIH, Monica Or FIH and Robert Richardson FIH had a tough time choosing the two finalists but it had to be done. University College Birmingham and Hong Kong who went head-to-head. An audience vote declared Hong Kong’s team of Tanika Rai Gambhir, Thibault Druesne and Amanda Putri Wantono the winners.
HOTS Hotel Simulation Business Game
Teams from Stenden, Glion, Manchester Met, Cardiff Met, WCG, Bournemouth, Surrey, UCB and The Grand Brighton Management Academy competed to run a virtual hotel. HOTS stands for hotel operations, tactics and strategy and teams must make revenue and marketing decisions based upon one year of real data. Teams from Birmingham came in first and second places and the team from Glion came in third place.
Passion4Hospitality 2019 took place on Monday 11 March. The event was generously supported by the venue sponsor Novotel London West, Glion Institute of
Higher Education, critiQue, Angel Human Resources, Quality in Tourism,
Arena4Finance, Savoy Educational Trust, HOTS, Genilogic, Fresh Montgomery, CHME.
If you attended the event, share your photos and experience on social media using #P4H2019.