Undergraduate and graduate students interested in a career in the hotel industry can often find internship opportunities at large and small hotels. Internships range from working at a hotel to working in a hotel’s corporate headquarters. You can usually find information about internship opportunities through your college’s career services department.
By interning at a hotel, you can get hands-on experience performing most, if not all, of the duties you’d have if you worked at a hotel. You’ll interact with guests and other employees and learn what life behind the reservation desk is like. Because it's a critical part of most hotel jobs, you’ll also get a crash course in customer service. Even if the hotel chain’s base of operations is in a different country, you can find internship opportunities at hotels in the United States.
Administrative and Management Internships
Students hoping to work in the hotel industry don’t have to intern at an actual hotel in order to get hotel industry experience. Hilton, for example, offers a 10-week summer internship program for undergraduate and graduate students. Interns fill positions in several departments, such as human resources, finance, accounting and marketing, at its Virginia headquarters and at its Memphis and Dallas corporate offices. Hershey Entertainment & Resorts has a similar internship program. It offers internships in eight key areas, including housekeeping and retail.
Job Shadowing and Buddies
Some hotels pair interns with a full-time or otherwise experienced employee. Other hotels include a job-shadowing component in internship opportunities. The job-shadowing portion of Hyatt’s internship program gives interns the chance to attend hotel meetings and participate in projects. Four Seasons Hotels and Resort pairs its interns with a buddy. These buddies help interns navigate the company’s training program. Four Seasons interns also get to attend operational and management meetings and work on individual and group projects.
Most hotel industry internships require interns be undergraduate or graduate students. While enrolled in such programs, you’ll study most facets of working in the hotel industry. The University of Central Florida requires students enrolled in its Rosen College of Hospitality Management to take classes like resort management and hospitality facilities management and an introductory course on the hospitality and tourism industry. Most colleges tout the benefits of interning in the hotel industry before students begin looking for full- or part-time employment. The College of Southern Nevada, for example, helps its students find internships at a number of well-known hotels, such as the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.