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Applied Research Impact Case 1

Fascinating Careers in Hotels

Mr Johnny Leung, Faculty of Management and Hospitality




THEi interns in the Front Office



The hotel industry in Hong Kong has been prosperous since the 1990s owing to an increasing number of global travellers and the expanding tourism market.  Currently, there are over 250 hotels in town and more renowned hotels are in the pipeline. 



Cocktail training 


Despite the business opportunity, senior management in the hotel industry are facing problems of staff shortage, in particular the junior level.  The hotel industry is less appealing to the potential workforce as it is often associated with shift duties, long working hours, and unattractive salary packages.  This leads to a severe impact on the industry which demands a large workforce for its fast-paced development.  Although efforts have been made by the hotels to attract new staff, a considerable number of hotel graduates from various institutes are still opting out of the industry.


To link students majoring in Hotel Management with the industry requires the cooperation of several stakeholders, such as the industry itself, the institutes, students, and their peers.  Therefore, a project entitled “Career Strategies of Hotel Senior Managers in Hong Kong” was initiated and supported by the Research Grants Council of the HKSAR.  The project aimed to provide veterans’ advice to help novices build up their careers in the industry.  Through investigating the career profiles and strategies adopted by hotel managers, successful stories were captured to encourage Generation Z to strive for the mobility of their careers.  One of the stories was about a telephone operator who became Manager of the department and finally took up the challenge to be Training Manager in less than 10 years. 



THEi students in a networking event 

Based on the feedback of hotel managers, 6 major areas were identified to develop one’s career in the hotel industry, including i) positive working attitudes, ii) relevant overseas exposure, iii) proficiency in hospitality languages, iv) diversified job hunting approaches, v) tailored staff training programmes, and vi) work experience in larger group/chained hotels.


THEi is connecting with the industry to negotiate tailor-made internship and graduate programmes in Hong Kong as well as nearby countries.  Some participating hotels include The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, Intercontinental Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, etc.  THEi has also provided various learning arenas such as overseas exchange trips, experiential based hotel visits, hospitality languages, resume and interview workshops for students to explore their potential and build up their industrial calibre.



An exchange student in Germany


Fig 5

A 5-day cultural tour of Singapore



The effort on students’ career development paid off as feedback from the industry partners on the students’ performance was encouraging.  Among the first batch of graduates in Hotel Operations Management, more than half are now working in the Front Office, Food and Beverage, Event Management, Finance, and Human Resources departments.


Fig 6

Students working in Kerry Hotel