When people think of Las Vegas in relation to career choices, they often make the common mistake of narrowing the job search to focus solely on those jobs related to the gaming aspect of the city. What many people fail to recognize is the volume of jobs needed to fill the more than 62,000 rooms in the Las Vegas room inventory. It requires a specifically trained skill set to assist the more than 42 million annual Las Vegas visitors in efficiently navigating from the hotel lobby to the room so the business or leisure trip can begin in a timely manner.
Because the 4.2 miles of the Las Vegas Strip houses 15 of the 25 largest hotels in the world, Las Vegas hotels generate numerous Hotel Management opportunities. As an added benefit for women, Nevada enjoys being in the top five states in the United States for having the lowest gender pay gap between men and women. To those individuals considering a job in Hotel Management, Las Vegas offers unparalleled opportunities to begin a career in the dynamic world of hotel hospitality.
Chaz Plumley, a hotel operations manager at Bellagio and and instructor at The International School of Hospitality understands the challenges and demands of the Hotel Management industry. Prior to joining Bellagio this past summer, Chaz worked next door at The Cosmopolitan Of Las Vegas where he explained he was fortunate to learn the basic elements of the profession. “My introduction into hotel operations began at the front desk. There, I was extremely fortunate to have been mentored and coached by some of the best people in the industry.” After mastering front desk operations, and housekeeping,Chaz accepted a front desk manager position, and that is where he began to form his individual style of management. Chaz managed to escape from the responsibilities of Bellagio recently, to share some insight on opportunities in hotel management.
What type of personality traits are found in the best hotel managers?
Chaz: Good question. The best managers that I have worked with were those who are able to be genuine, but humble, and value integrity very highly. Hotels managers must be empathic and be able to place themselves in the guest shoes to see their point of view, and see things how they view them.”
You graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a BS degree in hotel management. How much did your time in the classroom prepare you for real world situations in Las Vegas hotel management?
Chaz: The classroom helped with the paper aspects of the job, such as generating reports, and conducting meetings and presentations. Real world people skills, however, are not found in a book. Those skills come from interpersonal communication practice and with, ideally, the opportunity to work with industry professionals,” said Chaz.
Through my instructional role at TISOH: The International School of Hospitality, I am further reminded that eduction opens doors. At TISOH,they place students into short 30 hour externships that help them see classroom discussions in action and meet the right people to help them build and start a career. These externships, no doubt, have a significant impact on the 96 percent student satisfaction rate and/or 90 percent diploma student placement rate at TISOH. The hallmarks of a TISOH education are: practical, short term, taught by industry professionals, externships provided (for realism and networking), extensive networking opportunities, programs developed by industry.
In addition to working in hotel management at Bellagio, you also teach Hotel Management at The International School of Hospitality in the evenings. What pointers do you give to your students to prepare them for hotel management careers?
Chaz: I regularly tell students to not make it complicated. Agents working at a front desk are not doctors saving lives. The hotel lobby is not the ER. As part of the guest experience, front desk agents check guests into rooms so that they may begin their hotel experience as quickly as possible. The goal is to make this a stress-free experience for the guest. Our goal is to see that we accomplish that. As an instructor, I have the opportunity to explain real life experiences to the students in class. Being able to use real world examples and how they relate to the classroom materials creates a three dimensional learning environment for the students. I am able to take the classroom curriculum and explain to students how the knowledge is useful in an actual work day.
How important is it to find a balance between professional and personal life and how do you accomplish this balance?
Chaz: Finding that balance is an ongoing effort and it varies greatly between people. Being away from work is important for many people, but I have also worked with people who are comfortable spending all their time at work as if it were their home. Find what works for you and make it happen.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Chaz: I would have to say that would be influencing and mentoring new leaders in the industry. I was fortunate to have received exceptional guidance, and I enjoy returning that to future industry leaders.
Are there any areas that you wished you have studied that would have better prepared you for hotel management?
Chaz: I probably would have focused more on the technology aspect of the industry. There is a clear disconnect between hotel operations and the industry technology aspect when implementing a new software system or program. If I more clearly understood the software program aspects, perhaps I could better explain it through training and coaching.
Before going back to work, Chaz concluded with a reminder to students that for the hospitality industry, Las Vegas in an excellent city to break into the industry. “Hard work, dedication and a good work ethic combined with a smile, will open many doors for you in the Las Vegas hospitality industry,” Chaz added.
This article is presented by TISOH: The International School of Hospitality, a 10-year old, Las Vegas-based, accredited continuing education institution. . The school offers quality short-term, practical training and career development programs in hospitality. Developed for the industry and by the industry, TISOH’s small class sizes and online courses include: concierge, conference management and event planning, catering, hospitality leadership and supervision, hospitality human resources, hotel operations, and wedding coordination and design. Diploma graduates, trained by working experts in the field, enjoy a 90 percent job placement rate. TISOH is an academic partner of the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute and is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training. For more information, visit www.tisoh.edu or call (702) 947-7200.