After 15 years working in hotels, Richard Pelletier, sales and revenue manager for the Best Western Listel Whistler Hotel, believes that the business can accommodate almost anyone interested in a hospitality career.
Richard, 37, began his career in a restaurant, but soon decided that toiling in a commercial kitchen wasn’t for him, so he switched to an entry-level position on the catering and banquet side of the hotel business. After working his way up to a supervisory role, spending 18 months as a reservations manager, moving out to the front desk for five years and eventually becoming office manager. He then moved to the three-star Listel where he later on took over as sales and revenue manager.
With 98 rooms, the Listel is a small hotel with a small staff, which means everybody has to be “kind of a jack-of-all-trades,” Richard says. In his own case, he looks after in-house sales, works out rate structures and marketing strategies, maintains current information on the hotel’s own website and on other sites, such as Expedia, attends industry trade shows, and occasionally entertains clients. If need be, he fills in at the front desk or in other frontline positions. Usually he’s at his desk by about 8:00 am, but says that’s about the only thing typical about his work day.
Richard believes that the hotel business “teaches a lot of life lessons,” not to mention skills that can be used anywhere in the world there is a hotel. He recommends trying an entry-level position first to test the waters, and thinks that combining work with academic training at the same time is an excellent idea, “because it allows you to use what you learn as you’re learning it.”
He concedes that not everybody has the ideal personality for sales or guest relations positions, but points out in any hotel there are more people working “at the back of the house” than on the frontline, and their role is crucial to the operation’s success, too. “I really think there are positions for all types of people,” he says.