Marianne Sesay was born in Croatia, took her first hotel job in Canada, and now works as the employment manager for the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.
Not a bad career path for someone who had to learn English at age 15 when she moved to the United States’ northern neighbor.
The hospitality and resort industry in Arizona offers a plethora of opportunities: From landscaping and maintenance to food service, spa therapy and management. Service occupations account for 65 percent of jobs in the industry nationwide, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook Web site.
“In this industry in general there are so many different opportunities because it is a trade,” Sesay said. “You can enter the industry at the basic level and learn different skills you would need to promote yourself to a higher position or management.”
Sesay started working for Fairmont 15 years ago as a front office agent. She moved into a housekeeping management position then became front office manager and guest service manager and eventually moved in to human resources. At the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, she oversees recruitment, retention and employee relations.
Direct travel spending in Arizona generated more than 160,000 jobs in 2005 according to a report released in April for the Arizona Office of Tourism.
In 2005, those 168,100 jobs earned $4.5 billion. Most of those jobs were in accommodations, food services, arts, entertainment and recreation, according to the report by Dean Runyan Associates.
Depending on the size of the hotel or resort and the amenities offered, jobs may be available for dishwashers, housekeepers, banquet attendants, secretaries, accountants, chefs and others. On-the-job training may be available.
With 24/7 operations, employees may find a schedule that fits around their family life and may choose full-time or part-time employment depending on the job.
“I think the appeal is working with people and having that great feeling of making memories for another person,” Sesay said. “In every job you want to feel fulfilled. That’s hard in a monotonous atmosphere. In the hotel industry you get to meet different people all the time, you make contacts and when they leave the resort they leave with a memory and that’s very appealing for a lot of people.”
Plus there are the benefits of visiting sister hotels around the world.
“With the industry, you get to move if you choose to do so. You can move from different hotel to hotel and you learn different cultures and about different areas of the world you live in: The climate, the operations, the people. It makes you a much more rounded person.
“I’ve been fortunate to travel everywhere and attend different conferences with the hotel. When our sister properties are in high season and we can loan our efforts to other people, I’ve been able to work at different properties for a week or a month at a time. It fosters a family atmosphere at our hotel.
“Wage and salary employment in hotels and other accommodations is expected to increase by 17 percent over the 2004-14 period,” nationwide, the Occupational Outlook Handbook reports.