Hospitality Connection Barcelona: Bringing back a human touch

by | CAREER GUIDANCE, Job Hunting

The hospitality industry is built on human connection. The majority of people are attracted to this line of work because they are passionate about making people happy and providing them with an incredible experience

The satisfied smiles, the shared laughs, the feeling you get when a guest tells you thank you for making things special. These are the reasons why you work in hospitality. 

That same human connection is just as important when you’re looking for a hospitality job. In an industry that is all about interacting with guests in person, hunting for a job virtually can leave something to be desired.

So, to help connect high-end hospitality brands with top notch talent, Hosco decided to create Hospitality Connection. It’s our new, traveling career fair that the Hosco team will be bringing soon to a city near you. 

Our first event in Barcelona on March 6th, 2023, was a resounding success with over 25 luxury hospitality companies and hundreds of qualified candidates coming together under one roof. Spirits were high in the building all throughout the day and the buzz was palpable. You could feel the genuine excitement people had to interact in person rather than through an algorithm.

We had the pleasure to speak with company representatives and candidates alike to understand more about their experience at the event and their general feelings about the industry.

What did job seekers think about Hospitality Connection Barcelona?

As the Hosco staff moved throughout the room, we took the opportunity to speak to companies and candidates alike. It was our first time hosting a career fair so we were interested to see how people felt about an in-person event after the pandemic pushed us all into the virtual world.

For job seekers, an event like Hospitality Connection turned out to be a breath of fresh air. After years of applying for jobs and submitting CVs online never knowing if they’ll get a response back, candidates were delighted to meet recruiters and managers from luxury hospitality companies face to face.

Mohamed, a hospitality professional with experience in both the hotel and F&B sectors, appreciated the chance to connect with and charm recruiters in person.

“I’ve attended a lot of career fairs but this one is different. There's so many big luxury brands in one place and you can meet with them face to face to show off your personality. It’s much better presenting yourself in real life than just sending your CV and hoping to hear back,” he says.

What was the experience like for recruiters?

Company representatives also reveled in the opportunity to meet with candidates in person instead of clicking through an endless pool of digital CVs.

Jaime Maestre Marin, Director of Hotel Experimental Menorca, was happy to be able to interact with candidates in-person and explain more about what his company has to offer.

“We’re kind of a new concept in the market so Hospitality Connection is a good opportunity to showcase the Experimental Group to candidates and for us to put a face to the very strong profiles that we’re finding through Hosco.”

Judith Grau, the People & Culture Manager for Hoxton Hotel in Barcelona, was excited to see a variety of candidates with a range of hospitality experience.

“The profiles we are interviewing today are quite varied and it’s interesting to see people with experience from all different positions within the sector,” she says. “Considering the staffing challenges facing the industry and all the vacancies to fill for the busy 2023 summer season coming up, we think we found more than a few people who could fit in well somewhere on our team,” she says.

Three industry insights from Hospitality Connection Barcelona

The luxury hospitality industry has always been an exciting and challenging field for professionals. As the industry grows and evolves, there are certain themes and trends that are becoming increasingly important to both those working and recruiting in it. Through talking to candidates and recruiters, we noticed three topics that came up more often than others.

Culture and conditions are improving 

The clearest trend that we picked up on through speaking with companies is that the working conditions and culture in the luxury hospitality industry are getting better

Hospitality companies are working hard to create a positive work environment where employees feel at ease and happy, which will ultimately translate to better service for customers. This includes creating a culture of respect and support, providing a safe and healthy work environment, and recognizing employees' need for work-life balance.

"We want to eliminate the concept that the hotel business is a job of doing everything for the customer and nothing for the employees,” says Pablo Aldemira, Accommodation Manager for El Palace Hotel.

We want to create an environment where people also feel at ease, professionally, because we believe that this is what ultimately flows towards the clients and in luxury hospitality, above all, this care, this affection and this personalisation is what will differentiate you from the rest."

Jaime Maestre Marin, echoes that sentiment, “People are attracted to working in hospitality because of passion. We like to make people happy with our work and provide an unforgettable experience, whether in a hotel or in a restaurant.” 

“But, at the same time, I believe that employees are very concerned with achieving a healthy work-life balance. They are increasingly interested in being able to enjoy both their personal and their professional lives,” he says.

Creating a positive work environment and culture is essential to attract and retain top talent in the industry. Employers are recognizing the importance of providing a work environment that is not only safe and healthy but also supportive and rewarding.

Job stability and opportunities for growth are expanding

One of the most common concerns of job seekers in the luxury hospitality industry is job stability. The industry has always been known for its unpredictability and lack of stability, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this problem. Many professionals are seeking opportunities for career growth and advancement within the same company to ensure a stable future.

Tania Fernandez, People & Culture Manager at Vivood Hotel, recognizes that after the pandemic people are looking for a steady and dependable career path, now more than ever

"Perhaps the history of this industry is that it has never been very stable. And, then during the pandemic, it was obviously the sector that suffered the most. So, I think that now candidates are looking for that more than anything. They are really looking for stability but they also want a chance for growth within the same company."

Pablo Aldemira thinks the vast number of different choices in the hospitality sector creates unique opportunities for career growth.

“I think the good thing about the hotel and restaurant industry is the number of opportunities it provides for both job stability and growth. The hospitality industry changes every day as the clients change, so it's a professional opportunity that you don't have in any other industry,” he says.

From our conversations, it’s clear that companies in the industry are starting to recognize this need for stability and growth. Employers are making efforts to support workers and create new training programs to develop talent. As the industry recovers from the pandemic, job stability and career growth opportunities will continue to be a top priority.

Companies are focusing on professional development

Another important theme that emerged is the increased attention on professional development and training. The luxury hospitality industry is becoming more professionalized, and companies are starting to realize that they need to do more to help more to develop talent in house. 

Federico Benvenuta, Assistant Manager of HR for El Palace Barcelona, believes offering training programs for employees is essential to attract and retain talent and stay competitive.

“We are doing a lot to change our practices related to employee development. We’ve created new training programmes to help our staff develop their skills and create new opportunities for themselves,” he says. “Offering training programs is a smart thing to do because it helps us generate talent from within during a time when recruiting is so challenging. If we don’t change, we’ll get left behind.”

Employers in the industry are investing in their employees' professional development to ensure that they are able to adapt to the changing needs of the industry and stay competitive. This includes providing training and development opportunities for employees at all levels, from entry-level staff to management.

Overall, Hospitality Connection Barcelona was a special event that allowed candidates and recruiters to shake hands, look each other in the eye, and say “nice to meet you”. After years of being stuck in the digital world, this was a simple but pleasant treat for everybody involved. To see what the energy was like in the building on March 6th, check out our recap video below!

Our next Hospitality Connection career fair is coming to Paris on May 15th. If you want the chance to meet dozens of luxury hospitality companies in the city of lights, register and reserve your spot today! 



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