Why Learning English for the Hotel Industry Is a Great Idea, and How to Start
Hotels are a whole different world!
They’re a place where tourists, families and businesspeople can rest at the end of a long day.
They also offer fantastic job opportunities.
But working in a hotel usually requires one specific skill: spoken English.
Hotel visitors may not always know the local language where they are. They will probably know English, though!
English is a language spoken all over the world.
If people from France or Italy (or anywhere else) visit your hotel, you might not be able to speak with them in their language. But there’s a good chance they will understand enough English to communicate.
Still, the English spoken by hotel staff is not regular, everyday English.
It’s much more polite and formal, and there’s certain vocabulary that gets repeated a lot.
In this post, we’ll talk about the difference between hotel English and everyday English.
We’ll also talk about what learning hotel English can do for you.
But first, what are your goals?
Learning English with a goal in mind
If you’re reading this article, you may want a job in the hotel industry. Or you may just be interested enough to learn more about it. Either way, you may be close to having something very important for improving your English: a goal.
Learning with a purpose (goal) makes it easier to focus your efforts. Instead of learning just any new vocabulary, you might learn new vocabulary for the hotel industry. Instead of learning how to have just any conversation, you might think about how to answer questions from hotel guests.
A goal gives your learning an end, something to reach. Without a goal, you might feel overwhelmed.
And finally reaching your goal can feel amazing!
Learning English for the hotel industry is an excellent goal.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Learn the benefits of working in the hotel industry.
- Learn the difference between everyday English and hotel English.
- Find out how you can learn hotel English.
We can help you do all three of those things right here in this article! Just read on.
Reasons for learning hotel industry English
According to Face the Facts, the hospitality industry got almost 300,000 new jobs in 2011, just in the United States. “Hospitality” refers to a larger industry that includes food service and accommodation (hotels).
The hotel industry is growing all over the world. More and more job seekers are turning to hotels and tourism. That’s because there are plenty of jobs and the pay is often great. Plus, hotels are great places to work!
In the hotel industry, you get to work with fantastic people. Hotel staff are chosen for their energetic and pleasant personalities. Also, you can meet people from all over the world!
There is also lots of room to grow. You can turn working in a hotel into a career where you can manage people and projects. That probably sounds better than working 9-5 in the same chair for the rest of your life!
Best of all, the hotel industry will always be around. No matter what’s going on with other industries, people will always need hotels. People will always need places to rest when they’re not home.
Of course, focusing on hotel English shouldn’t keep you from learning regular English. It may even give you more confidence!
In fact, working in a hotel will require you to use all kinds of English: You may end up chatting with a visitor about where they’re from. You may talk to co-workers during breaks. You may have to tell people about the area or the weather around the hotel.
Having better all-around English will improve your job prospects in the hotel industry. So keep learning everything you can!
How hotel English is different from everyday English
We mentioned earlier that hotel English is different from everyday English. That’s because as an employee in a hotel, your job is to make sure the customers are having a great stay. Whether you’re working as a concierge, receptionist or in any other position, you will need to know hotel industry English.
Here are some things that make hotel English different.
There is a lot of repetition
Working in a hotel means repeating several phrases many times. You might be repeating certain phrases all day.
“I hope you enjoyed your stay. How will you be paying today?”
This is great news if you’re worried about saying something wrong when you first start out. Just remember the correct phrases and you’ll be fine! You will learn more as you speak to more people, and your English will grow naturally.
- I hope you enjoyed your stay. This is said when someone is leaving the hotel.
- Please let me know if you need any assistance. (Please tell me how I can help.)
- Everything is in order. (All the information looks OK.)
- I can show you to your room. (I’ll walk you up to your room.)
- Check-out/in time is at [time]. “Check-in time” is the time a guest can have access to their room.
Hotel English is polite and formal
Imagine a beautiful hotel lobby, where the receptionist at the desk greets you like this:
“Welcome to our hotel. How may I be of assistance today?”
Now imagine the same situation, only the words spoken by the receptionist are:
“Hey there, how’s it going? You need something?”
It’s not quite the same, is it? Working in a hotel means using more polite language than you would in your everyday life. It doesn’t matter if you’re speaking to an important businessman or a tourist on vacation. Everybody visiting the hotel is treated with the same high level of respect and formality.
- How may I be of assistance? (How can I help?)
- Breakfast is complimentary. (Breakfast is free.)
- I’m sorry, there are no vacancies at the moment. (Sorry, we have no free rooms.)
A large part of your job will be answering questions and requests
In a casual environment, you might be asked to talk about your hobbies or other personal things. In a hotel environment, you will be asked about the hotel and the area around it.
So learning hotel English isn’t just about learning the English. It’s about learning everything you might be asked about your hotel or location.
In hotels, people make requests often. Part of your job will be understanding what’s being asked and responding properly. A great way to make sure you understand something is to repeat it back in your own words.
For example, let’s say someone says, “I’d like a wake-up call at 7.” You can reply, “So you would like me to call you at 7 to wake you up?”
You would then follow up with a proper response, such as, “Not a problem. I’ll take care of that for you.”
Useful phrases and examples:
- The best way to get from here to the airport is by taxi. Would you like me to call one for you?
- We have a number of museums located nearby. Are you interested in anything in particular?
- Our exercise center is located on the second floor. It is free of charge, but you will need to present your room key at the entrance.
Part of knowing hotel English is knowing how to handle problems with courtesy
While most of your job should be pleasant, once in a while there are problems and mix-ups. When this happens, you will need to keep cool and polite. You will need to resolve problems with a smile.
There is proper language to use when you want to keep a situation under control. You might say, for example:
“I’m sorry to hear that you’re not happy with your room.”
Being understanding and wanting to help are important, so you could add:
“Please let me know what I can do to help make your stay more enjoyable.”
Useful phrases and examples:
- I’m sorry our concierge forgot to give you a wake-up call this morning. Will you accept a voucher for a free meal at our restaurant by way of apology?
- I understand that you wanted to use the business center, but it is closed for the day. Would you be willing to use a vacant suite as an alternative?
- I will be happy to let you speak to my manager. Please take a seat and I will get in contact with her.
Overall, though, hotel English is very simple!
As part of a hotel’s staff, you will be dealing with native English speakers and non-native speakers. This means many different levels of English will be spoken, and you will need to be understood by everyone.
That’s why hotel English is simple and to the point. As long as you are polite and clear with your speech, you will do great!
How to learn hotel English
Taking a regular English course is a good way to prepare for the hotel industry. But here are a few ways you can focus on hotel English:
- Online hotel English courses. There are many places online where you can take courses, sometimes even for free. Some of these places have hotel English courses, specifically for people who are interested in becoming employees in a hotel. The online course website Alison, for example, has an English for Tourism course. This course can help you learn the English you would need to work at a hotel front desk. English Central also has an online course, as do many other online course websites.
- Courses at the hotel. Many hotels have ESL programs, and will actually make English lessons available for their staff. It might be part of your training, or you may need to ask for it. If you’re already employed or looking to be employed at a hotel, check what kind of English learning programs are available.
- Similar jobs. If you’re not ready to get a job at a hotel yet, you can prepare your English by getting a job that requires similar skills. Working as a secretary, receptionist, sales representative or in other “customer-facing jobs” will get your English ready for a job in a hotel. And any of these jobs will look great on your resume!
- Friends. If none of the options above are possible, you can always get together with friends and practice! Take turns playing the roles of the hotel visitors and the positions around the hotel.
If you’re learning English to improve your job options, the hotel industry might be exactly the opportunity you’re looking for.
Remember, learning hotel English in addition to regular English is recommended if you want to work in the hotel industry.
If you do both, you’ll have an easier time getting a job (and working) in a hotel!