The magazine of Glion Institute
of Higher Education

Hospitality and Tourism Internships

How to secure a hospitality and tourism internship

In this article, we examine how to secure a hospitality and tourism internship that will help you advance your career. Whether you’re a student eager to gain real-world experience or a career changer looking to transition into the industry, the right internship can kickstart your journey towards a fulfilling career in hospitality and tourism.

The hospitality and tourism industries can be competitive, especially if you aim for high-level roles in hospitality management, food & beverage management, tourism operations, and event planning.

Internships serve as invaluable stepping stones for aspiring professionals, giving hands-on experience, networking connections, and a deeper understanding of the intricacies of these fields.

Why is an internship important?

Doing an internship within the hospitality and tourism industry offers many invaluable benefits that can shape your professional growth and career trajectory. Here are some of the top reasons why securing an internship is crucial:

  • Practical experience: Internships provide hands-on experience that goes beyond theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom. By working in real-world placements, interns have the opportunity to apply academic concepts to practical situations, gaining valuable insights into industry operations and best practices.
  • Skill development: Placements offer a platform for honing essential skills required in the hospitality and tourism sector, such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and customer service. Through daily interactions with colleagues, supervisors, and clients, interns can refine their skills and develop a well-rounded skill set that is highly sought after by employers.
  • Networking opportunities: Doing an internship will give you unparalleled networking opportunities within the industry. By building relationships with industry professionals, interns can expand their professional network, gain mentorship, and access potential job opportunities in the future. In fact, 66% of paid interns get offered a full-time role where they do their internship.
  • Resume boost: Having internship experience on your resume can significantly increase your appeal to potential employers. It demonstrates your commitment to the industry, plus it shows you have relevant skills and practical experience, making you a more competitive candidate for future job openings.
  • Exploration of roles: Get the chance to explore various roles and career paths within the hospitality and tourism sector. It allows interns to gain exposure to different departments and job functions, helping them clarify their career goals and aspirations.
  • Industry insights: Working in an active hospitality company gives a firsthand look into the inner workings of the industry. Interns gain insights into industry trends, challenges, and opportunities, empowering them with knowledge that can inform their future career decisions.
  • Salary boost: Doing an internship can boost your salary, on average by $15,000 per year when compared to people who do not do internships.

Finding the best internship for you

Finding the best internship for you

When exploring internship opportunities in the hospitality and tourism industry, it’s essential to consider your career goals, interests, and desired learning outcomes. Here are some factors to consider when determining the type of internship to pursue:

  • Industry sector: The hospitality and tourism industry covers various sectors, including hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, event planning, tourism boards, and more. Consider which sector aligns best with your interests and career aspirations.
  • Job function: Internships offer opportunities to explore a wide range of job functions within the industry, such as front desk operations, food and beverage management, event coordination, marketing, sales, and guest services. Identify the specific job functions that appeal to you and align with your skills and strengths.
  • Company size and type: Internship experiences can vary greatly depending on the size and type of company. Larger companies may offer structured internship programs with opportunities for mentorship and professional development, while smaller companies may provide more hands-on experience and exposure to various aspects of the business. Consider which company size and type best suit your learning style and career goals.
  • Location: Consider the location of the internship opportunity and its potential impact on your overall experience. Internships in tourist destinations or major cities may offer unique opportunities for networking, cultural immersion, and exposure to a diverse clientele.
  • Duration and commitment: Internships may vary in duration, ranging from short-term placements to semester-long programs or even year-round opportunities. Consider your availability, academic schedule, and personal commitments when evaluating internship options.
  • Learning objectives: Define your learning objectives and goals for the internship experience. Whether you aim to gain hands-on experience in a specific job function, expand your professional network, or explore different career paths within the industry, having clear objectives will guide your internship search and ensure a rewarding experience.
  • Company reputation: When considering internship opportunities in the hospitality and tourism industry, the reputation of the company you choose can significantly impact your internship experience. Having a well-respected company on your resume can improve your job prospects
  • Levels of support: The level of support you receive during your internship can vary depending on the company’s resources, culture, and commitment to mentorship. Try asking previous interns or employees about how much support they received. More support will help you thrive.

How to apply for an internship

Securing an internship in the hospitality and tourism industry requires careful preparation, strategic planning, and effective communication. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for an internship:

  • Research internship opportunities: Begin by researching internship opportunities in the hospitality and tourism industry. Explore job boards, company websites, career fairs, and industry events to identify potential internship openings. Pay attention to application deadlines, eligibility criteria, and specific requirements for each internship opportunity.
  • Review application requirements: Thoroughly review the application requirements for each internship opportunity. This may include submitting a resume, cover letter, portfolio, and any additional documents requested by the employer. Tailor your application materials to highlight relevant skills, experiences, and qualifications that align with the internship position.
  • Craft a compelling resume: Prepare a well-crafted resume that showcases your academic achievements, relevant coursework, extracurricular activities, work experience, and skills. Highlight any previous internships, volunteer work, or leadership roles that demonstrate your commitment to the hospitality industry and your suitability for the internship position.
  • Write a persuasive cover letter: Draft a personalized cover letter that introduces yourself, expresses your interest in the internship position, and highlights why you are a strong candidate. Customize your cover letter for each internship opportunity, addressing specific qualifications, skills, and experiences that align with the job requirements.
  • Submit your application: Submit your application materials according to the instructions provided by the employer. Pay attention to formatting guidelines, file formats, and any additional instructions for submitting your application. Double-check your application for any errors or typos before submitting it.
  • Follow up: After submitting your application, consider following up with the employer to express your continued interest in the internship position. Send a brief email or make a phone call to inquire about the status of your application and to reiterate your enthusiasm for the opportunity.
  • Prepare for interviews: If selected for an interview, prepare thoroughly by researching the company, practicing common interview questions, and developing thoughtful responses that demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm for the hospitality industry. Dress professionally, arrive on time, and be prepared to articulate your skills, experiences, and career goals during the interview.

If you are doing an internship as part of a hospitality degree program, your course leaders, tutors or student support staff will be able to help you find and apply for the right kind of internship for you. This gives you the added benefit of their experience and industry connections, which can help you get a better internship than you might otherwise.

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How to make the most of your internship

An internship in the hospitality and tourism industry presents a valuable opportunity to gain practical experience, expand your professional network, and boost your skills. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your internship experience:

  • Set clear goals: Before starting your internship, take the time to define specific learning goals and objectives. Whether you aim to gain experience in a particular department, develop new skills or network with industry professionals, having clear goals will guide your efforts and ensure a meaningful internship experience.
  • Be proactive: Take initiative and seek out opportunities to learn and contribute during your internship. Volunteer for projects, ask questions and offer to assist colleagues whenever possible. By demonstrating initiative and enthusiasm, you’ll make a positive impression and maximize your learning opportunities.
  • Seek feedback: Actively seek feedback from your supervisor and colleagues throughout your internship. Invite constructive criticism on your work performance, seek guidance on areas for improvement and incorporate feedback to improve your skills and capabilities.
  • Network: Take advantage of networking opportunities during your internship to build relationships with industry professionals. Attend company events, participate in team meetings, and connect with colleagues on professional networking platforms like LinkedIn. Building a strong professional network can open doors to future job opportunities and career advancement.
  • Learn from others: Take the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals in the hospitality industry. Observe their work habits, communication styles and problem-solving approaches.
  • Document your accomplishments: Keep a record of your accomplishments, projects, and contributions during your internship. This will not only serve as a valuable reference for future job interviews but also help you track your progress and growth throughout the internship.
  • Reflect on your experience: Take time to reflect on your internship experience and identify key takeaways, lessons learned and areas for further development.

Internships as part of a hospitality degree

Placements have a crucial role in shaping the educational experience of students pursuing a degree in hospitality management or related fields. As an integral component of many hospitality programs, internships offer students the opportunity to apply classroom learning to real-world settings, gain practical experience, and develop valuable skills that are essential for success in the industry. By taking internships as part of their educational journey, students can gain a competitive edge in the hospitality job market and embark on fulfilling careers in this dynamic and diverse industry. Plus, even while working as an intern, studying for a degree can help boost your income.

Hospitality degree programs often have strong connections with industry partners, employers, and alumni networks, which can help students find excellent internship opportunities. These connections also provide students with access to networking events and mentorship opportunities that can improve their internship experiences and open doors to future career opportunities in the industry.

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Doing an internship in the hospitality and tourism industry is an important experience that can set the stage for a successful career. Knowing how to secure a hospitality and tourism internship is a good first step to planning out your future career. Internships offer invaluable opportunities to gain practical experience, expand your professional network, and practice your skills in a real-world setting. By setting clear goals, being proactive, seeking feedback, and networking strategically, you can make the most of your internship experience and lay the foundation for a successful career in hospitality and tourism.

A hospitality degree serves as a solid foundation for your route into high-level hospitality roles, providing you with theoretical knowledge, practical skills, industry exposure, professional development and valuable connections that prepare you for internship roles and future career opportunities in the industry. If you’re looking at studying and interning in hospitality, consider enrolling for a hospitality degree in a renowned school like Glion to give you the best head start possible.

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