Looking for a job where you can use your English skills?
More importantly, would you like a job that can take you anywhere in the world?
Then you should boost your English abilities and your career with hotel English training!
And no, I’m not talking about English classes that happen to be held in a hotel (although that could be a good idea too!).
Instead, I’m talking about English for hotel and hospitality workers. Hotel English training gives you the special English skills you need to work in a hotel, or in any similar tourism or hospitality environment. And this kind of training isn’t just available to people who already work in the hotel industry. Anyone can seek out hotel English training.
Whether you’re a hotel manager, a different kind of hospitality professional or simply someone interested in working with tourists or travelers, there are lots of great, professional resources for learning hotel English.
Why Study English for Hotel Work?
Hotel English opens up a whole world of opportunities to you… literally. Let’s look at some of the jobs you can do around the globe if you have strong hotel English skills.
Working holiday jobs
A working holiday is a special trip abroad that includes a work permit. This work permit, called a working holiday visa, is available in 59 different countries around the world.
Working holidays are a great way to visit another country and cover your travel costs. Some working holiday tourists even make a profit, coming back with more money than they had at the beginning of their trip.
Working holiday visas usually involve hospitality work, often in international tourist destinations. As a result, many working holiday jobs require great tourism English skills.
Hotel English knowledge can help you land a working holiday job not only at a hotel, but with any employer that serves visitors from other countries.
International travel, tourism and hospitality jobs
You probably already know some English travel phrases. These phrases, combined with additional hotel English training, can allow you to help international travelers.
International travel jobs that require hotel English include the following:
- tour guide work
- travel agency work
- jobs on cruise ships
- jobs with airlines
- jobs in hotels and hostels
In these jobs, you’ll often find yourself talking about hotels (or other accommodations) and booking hotel rooms.
Local travel, tourism and hospitality in your home country
Don’t want to work abroad? Want to stay close to home? Hotel English training can still do a lot for you! Studying hotel English can open you up to new local careers. You don’t have to travel to an English-speaking country to learn or use your hotel English. You can use it in the city where you live.
Regional and provincial hotels often have international guests. A hotel in your city would probably love to have an English speaker like you as part of their staff.
Hotel English also helps you find work in local expatriate districts, which are the districts in your area where foreigners tend to live, visit and work.
Jobs in any industry
Hotel English is even useful for people who don’t work in travel, tourism or hospitality. In fact, hotel English can serve you well at any business-related job.
Does your any employer that have international managers or foreign partners? If so, those people will probably visit your place of work from time to time. You can impress your boss and advance your career by volunteering to help foreign visitors find hotels in your local area.
Of course, you’ll need good knowledge of hotel English when you help international people make local hotel arrangements.
Hotel English Training for Anyone Who Works in Hospitality and Tourism
Important Things to Remember About Hotel English
Hotel English is polite, but not necessarily formal
When you work in hospitality, people expect to be served respectfully. But it’s also your job to help people relax and have a good time.
Depending on the hospitality situation, you may use extremely formal English words and phrases:
- Pleased to meet you
You might also need to use friendlier “business casual” English words and phrases, such as:
- How are you?
- It is good to see you
If you work in a more economical and relaxed hotel environment, you may need to use polite but relaxed slang to make guests feel comfortable:
- Hey, buddy
- How’s it going
- How’s your day been?
- That’s cool
Right here on our English Language and Culture Blog, FluentU offers a good lesson on different phrases and greetings that are formal, business casual and informal. These phrases are good in many different professional settings, and they can be especially useful in various hotel English situations.
Hotel English is all about vocabulary
Hotel English is full of highly specialized vocabulary. Not only that, but the vocabulary you need can vary, depending on your job.
For example, if you’re working in a hotel that’s focused on sustainable resources (like organic food, organic materials and locally-produced items) then you’ll need to learn vocabulary related to that. If you’re working in a hotel with luxury services like spa treatments and massages, you’ll need to learn vocabulary about these services.
FluentU has identified 6 different types of tourism English vocabulary. We also offer tons of vocabulary word lists and practice activities for hotel English, including this lesson on 64+ essential hotel English vocabulary words, and this 100+ hotel English vocabulary word list and tutorial. And don’t forget our hotel English vocabulary flashcards!
Hotel English is primarily spoken, not written
Hotel English involves a lot of conversational English. You’ll need to speak with many people, including your supervisors, employees, coworkers and guests. You may also need to speak with people at other hotels and tourism businesses to coordinate activities for your guests. Be prepared to hear and quickly follow English-language instructions and requests.
You must also be ready to answer questions about your hotel and the surrounding area, giving spoken travel information.
Written hotel English focuses on lists and charts
Of course, there’s always reading and writing involved in hotel work. To successfully use English in hotel and hospitality work, you need to be good with English-language tables and checklists.
Room assignment charts are especially important. In hotel English, you’ll read where each guest is and what amenities each room has.
Hotel charts also list cleaning duties and emergency procedures (in case of fire, in case of earthquake.).
For examples of hotel English charts and tables, see FluentU’s article on English for hotel housekeeping.
Get Professional Training in Hotel English from These 12 Top Resources
The internet is, as always, a go-to place for affordable, convenient English training.
1. ESL conversation websites
Hotel check-in words, phrases, dialogues and activities can be found on almost any ESL website. To name just a few, you can find hotel English training materials at English Everywhere.com, ESL Lab, Two Minute English and LearnEnglishFeelGood.
All of these websites focus on conversational hotel English that will help you speak with guests and succeed in your hotel job. Some have videos, some have videos with transcripts and others have all the information written down for you to read.
2. Business English websites
These are websites entirely dedicated to teaching English to people working in business careers. This professional types of English is great for handling meetings with coworkers and supervisors, speaking to customers and getting ahead in your career. It can even help you with things like job interviews, salary negotiations or asking for a promotion.
The best of these business English websites often have entire pages dedicated to hotel English, since many businesses are related to hotel work, hospitality and tourism.
English Club has good hotel English training for people who work in hotels, and so does EnglishForMyJob.com. They’re both very focused on learning and reinforcing vocabulary for hotel work.
Additionally, FluentU English has an entire set of video and audio lessons just for professional-level hotel English training.
Unlike traditional language learning sites, FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the English language and culture over time. You’ll learn English as it’s spoken in real life.
FluentU has a variety of engaging content from popular talk shows, nature documentaries and funny commercials, as you can see here:
FluentU makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you'll see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It even reminds you when it’s time to review! Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.
You can start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, by downloading the app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
3. Online hotel training videos
Think you need to actually get hired by a hotel to watch hotel training videos in English? Think again. A surprising number of employee training videos for hotels can be found on video sharing websites.
Find these training films and study them on popular sites like YouTube, DailyMotion and Vimeo!
On YouTube, you’ll find many channels that are all about teaching and learning English, and they often have videos or entire series about learning hotel English. For example, the Slow Easy English channel offers a number of hotel English lessons—watch part one of the hotel series here.
4. Official websites for hotels and other travel companies
Major hotel chains have English-language websites full of useful hotel English that you can study and learn. For example, you can visit the Hilton, Marriott and Wyndham official websites and explore for a while.
Note down any new vocabulary you find on these websites, and write down the most important sentences they use to describe their hotels, rooms, reservation policies and other services.
Travel agencies also have English-language webpages that are good for hotel English self-study. One example of these agencies online is Liberty Travel.
5. Travel blogs
You might be surprised by this, but you can pick up a lot of hotel-relevant English by reading people’s personal travel blogs. There are countless travel blogs in English all over the web. The Expeditioneer website has a good list of the top 50 travel blogs in English.
6. English phrasebooks
If you’ve traveled abroad before, you may already know how valuable English travel phrasebooks are. No matter what your native language is, you can always find books with travel translations from your language to English. You can search Amazon for a travel phrasebook written for speakers of your native language.
These kinds of books don’t just improve your world travel experience. They also help you develop the hotel English skills you need in order to work professionally in the world travel industry.
7. Conversational English books
The most successful hospitality workers are chatty (talkative). If you can have fun, happy conversations in English, your tourist customers will love you, and so will your employers.
You can get English conversation books from all the major publishers of ESL textbooks. I especially like McGraw Hill’s “Conversational American English” and the “Compelling Conversations” book series from Eric Roth and Toby Anderson.
There are lots of other conversational English books to choose from. Search Amazon, your local library or your local bookstore today!
8. Business English books
As I’ve mentioned before, “business casual” speech can really help you in hotel English. So business English books are also a good hotel English training resource. Again, booksellers and libraries should have books you can use.
I personally recommend “Communicating in Business” by Simon Sweeney. It’s a fantastic “starter” book for anyone who’s just beginning to learn about business English and hotel English.
9. English-language travel guides
Travel guides written in English don’t just give you some good, new hotel English words and phrases. They also help you explore the world you can work in as a hospitality professional.
Most importantly, these books help you relate to your potential customers. Travel guides let you explore exotic locales, in English, from an international tourist’s point of view.
My personal favorite English-language travel guide series are Fodor’s and Lonely Planet.
Ready to learn the fun way? Check out FluentU’s list of 10 movies that teach realistic hotel English. They’re wonderfully entertaining.
Find and watch television comedies and dramas about hotels, such as “Fawlty Towers,” “Hotel Babylon” and the very appropriately-named “Hotel.”
Some reality TV shows focus on hotels too. “The Hotel” is a documentary series about a small hotel in the U.K.
“Hotel Impossible” features a real business consultant who travels around the United States and helps hotel managers.
Actually, the television network that makes “Hotel Impossible” is absolutely full of travel shows. The network is called the Travel Channel. Go to their website to find other shows where you can learn hotel-related English.
If you’re considering working with world travelers, you yourself probably have a passion for travel. Use that passion to learn hotel English firsthand. Travel to other parts of the world. Book your travels in English and talk to the hotel workers in English.
What vocabulary and grammar do you need to interact with the people in hotels? How do they speak to you, their customer? Always pay attention to the things you want to talk to hotel staff about—these are things that your own hotel customers will talk to you about. Take notes about how the hotel staff respond to you.
If you don’t have the time or money for an international trip right now, go to a tourist hot-spot in your own country. Speak in English to the tourists and to the hotel staff.
Once you’ve started using some of these incredible resources, you’ll have given yourself a complete training in hotel English.
Prepare to see your career take off!
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