Tips on Marketing Hospitality Careers to Recent College Grads

By Jason Ferrara Vice President, Corporate Marketing, CareerBuilder | March 06, 2010

In the hotel industry, your employees truly are your brand and as the labor market continues to tighten, understanding and appealing to the next generation will be critical to your organization's long-term success. Beyond salary and benefits, what are you doing to attract recent or prospective college graduates? How are you distinguishing your employment opportunities? What are you doing to dispel some of the myths about hospitality jobs and raise awareness about the lucrative career paths the industry offers?

It's About the Connection

As you think about marketing your employment opportunities to new graduates, it's important to understand what motivates them. For members of this new class who have grown up on the Internet and regularly share the details of their days on Facebook, it's all about connection - and employment is no exception. Building a company culture that helps employees grow and feel like they are part of something bigger, will help you attract this new generation of workers.

The company that has arguably achieved this better than most is Google. According Fortune's Best Places to Work list, Google added just over 3,000 jobs in the U.S. this past year, but had more than 760,000 applications. What makes job seekers flock to this company? Is it the on-site dry cleaning, free lunches or the ability to spend 20 percent of their time working on their own projects? Perhaps... but it might be something else. "Googlers," as they call themselves, feel that working for the company somehow makes them special.

Not every employer can offer these kinds of perks or provide so much freedom, but there are similarities in the companies that are regularly identified as employers of choice: they have a deep understanding of what motivates the employees they would like to attract, they place great emphasis on empowering their workforces and they build environments that make employees feel like their jobs set them apart.

Qualities College Grads Look for in an Employer

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.