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Hospitality Co-ordinator


Description

Try to imagine a music festival, a three-day extravaganza of music and art, all brought together for culture and entertainment. How about a conference? Or imagine being on vacation and seeing 100 paleontologists all gather at a hotel for a week of lectures, arguments, and socializing. Now think about what those musicians were eating and where those paleontologists were sleeping. Chances are, if the musicians looked well fed and the paleontologists seemed well rested, a hospitality coordinator was involved.

Hospitality coordinators work for hotels, festivals, government agencies, conference halls, and travel agencies. They are responsible for looking after all the people who are coming to writers' festivals, tournaments, competitions, and parties. Hospitality coordinators are kind of like professional hosts: they just want to make sure everyone eats, sleeps, and has a good time while they're there.

Hospitality coordinators are important because without them, things would be very disorganized. They are in contact with the visitors months before arrival, determining which family members are coming, who has allergies, who needs to leave early, who is arriving late. They keep records of everything, and are responsible for everything that goes into making visitors comfortable and happy. They spend time behind the scenes, setting everything up, helping the event go off smoothly every time.
 
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  Interests and Skills  
In order to work as a hospitality coordinator, one needs excellent customer service skills. That means they need to be pleasant, courteous, and respectful, even when they are stressed or upset. They need to be open, friendly, and trustworthy, with good communication skills. They should be good at math, feel comfortable with computers, and have a good memory. They should be detail-oriented, able to work well under pressure, and enjoy a busy working atmosphere. An interest in other languages and cultures is also important.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Contact visitors, guests, performers, or delegates
  • Describe services, accommodation, and food available to them upon arrival
  • Access information about costs, routes, and schedules, using the phone, computer, and print sources
  • Use the phone, fax, computer and Internet to make and confirm reservations for visitors
  • Secure and distribute tickets, travel insurance policies and itineraries
  • Notify visitors about changes in travel plans, accommodations, or food
  • Complete any other administrative duties
  • The typical day for a hospitality coordinator involves contacting visitors before their arrival, assessing their needs and looking for economical and efficient ways for them to travel, eat, and places for them to sleep. Hospitality coordinators meet and interact with many types of people.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Hospitality coordinators can be found hard at work with festivals; assisting event coordinators; corporations; travel agencies; airlines; tour companies; hotels; tourism boards run by state and federal governments; government agencies; or on their own, working independently. Hospitality coordinators work mostly in an office, and spend much of their time on the phone or working with a computer. They generally work alone, but with a small staff with whom they can consult and talk when necessary. Hospitality coordinators work regular hours; however, they may work weekends or evenings, depending on the agency, or if an event or festival is coming up.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Hospitality coordinators can become travel agents or open up their own travel agency. They can use their knowledge and experience and become travel writers, open a hotel or touring company, lead international or adventure tours, or find work as festival coordinators or event planners.
 

  Educational Paths  
Technically, hospitality coordinators can get started right out of high school, but employers generally hire people with some postsecondary education. Obtaining a diploma in travel and tourism or hospitality from a college or business school is a good idea. These programs can last anywhere from three months to three years. Other courses to consider are history, geography, and languages, art history, literature, and management.

Some religious groups, smaller cultural festivals, or social clubs have volunteer hospitality coordinators or hospitality commitees. See about volunteering for one of these organizations to get some experience entering the workforce.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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