The Art Of Networking In Hospitality

The Art Of Networking In Hospitality

“It’s always better when we’re together.” – Jack Johnson

He’s completely right. We’re social creatures, aren’t we?! And no more than those of us who are in the hospitality industry. To work in such a fast-paced, people-focused environment, hospitality staff must have an aptitude for connecting with people. 

But, for all the character, charm, wit, and enthusiasm for connecting with people, there is one thing that hospitality has always found quite challenging – networking. To some, it can be a bit of a dirty word, an instant turn-off that some people would never consider attending. There are plenty of clichés about networking, ones that conjure up ideas of meeting up with completely irrelevant people in a dusty old room, but it does not have to be like that. 

Done properly, networking is a hugely valuable use of time. Not just for managers, supervisors, and owners but for everybody looking to expand their career and learn new skills. Networking with the right people in the right environment will provide new opportunities, develop new ideas and help overcome challenges. Here are my top 5 specific benefits for networking with hospitality peers: 

1. Raise your profile 

Often new job vacancies won’t make it to job boards because an employer already has somebody within their network who they have identified as a good fit for the role. To be considered for these roles, you will have to be connected to the employer, they will need to understand your skills and experience before the job goes live. 

2. Gain new skills 

One of the best ways to boost your own skillset is to speak with people who are already skilled in that area. By connecting with these people, they can either help you improve through coaching/mentoring or can guide you in the best direction for upskilling yourself. 

3. Build confidence 

No matter who we are or what our job role is, sometimes our confidence levels can drop. Whatever the reason, networking with others can be a great way to overcome this and provide a boost of confidence again. Yes, it can be a challenge to get up and go to networking when our confidence is low, but we’ll never regret it. 

4. Gain a unique perspective 

Sometimes we are all guilty of getting a bit stuck in our ways. We have found a way of doing things and it works – well enough. But it is not necessarily the best way of doing things. Speaking to industry peers at networking can help to uncover new ways of doing things, ways which you hadn’t considered. 

5. Help others 

Yes, we all want to improve ourselves but it’s also extremely rewarding to help others in our industry. By going to networking, you will benefit from all the above four points (and more) but you will also have an opportunity to help others with the same challenges. Remember, everybody goes to networking for the same reasons, so let’s help each other. 

We are lucky enough to live in a time and place where many types of networking are available to us. This is important because we’re all quite different, we connect best in different ways, and we find information more valuable in one format over another. So, finding the right type of networking for you is a key skill which will hugely increase the number of quality connections you make. 

There are two main types of networking that I’m keen on and suggest you try: 

Join a community like Otolo. If you’re the type of person who communicates best online, then this type of networking will be perfect for you. Otolo means that you can connect with people outside of your local area, find a mentor, join groups with people of common interest, start discussions in forums and much more.