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Hotel Internships: Students working towards qualifications such as Hotel Management or Food and Beverage Management are often required to complete an internship as part of their programs. Academic credit can be earned for a successful internship. Hotel internships are temporary positions within hotels that allow you to gain practical experience by working alongside professionals. You get the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you have gained in real-life situations. This hands-on experience will allow you to make more informed decisions about the career path you take following your graduation.

Many hotels that offer hotel management programs will often give preference to former interns. Former interns are also more likely to be offered a full-time position on graduation as you have had the chance to prove your abilities. Most internships are unpaid positions but some pay an hourly rate. However, hotel interns may receive other benefits such as on-site accommodation, free meals or the use of swimming pools or other leisure facilities. Hotel internships may be more easily obtained in the busier holiday periods.

What does a hotel internship entail?
Students interning in hotels are encouraged to gain experience that relates directly to your educational program and future career goals. You will usually be required to concentrate on one area during your internship. However, some opportunities for cross-training may be available depending on the size of the hotel. The aim of your internship is to learn the policies, systems and procedures in place for each department you work in. Hotel internships are available within the following areas - Culinary; Lodging; Housekeeping; Food and Beverage; Accounting; Human Resources and Marketing.

Culinary interns work in the area of catering and may specialize in banquet or į la carte serving. Alternatively, you may work in the hotel kitchens as a trainee chef or baker.

Interns in the Lodging division gain experience in front office operations such as reception and reservations. This may involve becoming proficient in the reservations software used in your hotel. You may also gain experience as a concierge or porter.

Housekeeping interns work as room attendants inspecting and cleaning the guest bedrooms. You may also be involved in laundry operations or in building maintenance. Some interns may work exclusively in gardening or landscaping.

If you are specializing in Food and Beverage, you may have the opportunity to gain practical experience in hotel dining rooms as a member of the wait staff or as a host. Bartending is also a popular role for interns. You may be involved in the purchasing and receiving of stock.

Accounting interns working in the hotel accounts department may be involved in accounts payable and receivable or payroll. You may be involved in the setting of budgets or the analysis of financial information.

Hotel interns may also have the chance to intern in the Human Resources department which will allow you to gain experience in recruitment, training and employee relations.

Another area in which internships are offered is Sales and Marketing. You may get to help in the coordination and implementation of promotional events. You might be required to generate new business by distributing promotional material or carry out administrative work such as the maintenance of guest databases.

How do I find a hotel internship?
Your educational institute may help to place you in a suitable hotel internship or provide information on hotels that regularly offer internships. The competition for internships with high-profile hotels can be very intense. This is particularly true if the internship is a paid position. You should ensure that you are aware of the closing dates for submission of applications and forward your resume along with a cover letter to the hotels you would like to work in. You may also need letters of reference.

What skills do you need to be offered a hotel internship?
If you are called for an interview, you should research the hotel thoroughly and be aware of their key markets and facilities. You will need to display excellent communication and interpersonal skills. You will need to prove yourself capable of taking direction and working well as part of a team. Ensure that you are well presented as you may be interacting directly with the customers. Companies benefit from exposure to the current knowledge, skills and practices of the intern so you should ensure that you can speak knowledgably about the latest industry trends.

Below is a list of some of the various types of internships.