If you are interested in the hospitality industry, but you want to work in an upscale, cutting-edge business, then one of the many Starwood jobs might be perfect for you. As one of the world’s largest hotel companies, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide operates, owns, manages and franchises nine different brands. These nine brands include not just hotels, but also resorts, spas, residences, and vacation ownership properties.
The next big step for Westwood was their launch in 2005 of Aloft Hotels, which is described as a “mid-scale, urban-style, business/boutique hotel brand”. Aloft has attracted some criticism for being a little too formulaic, and success appears to have been mixed. Most recently, Westwood has introduced their Element hotels, which are designed to be “green” from top to bottom. These hotels feature energy-efficient and water-efficient fixtures, and floors made of recycled materials.
Starwood appears to be in a very solid financial position. In a recent address to shareholders, (July 2012), CEO Frits van Paasschen struck a very optimistic note, stating that revenue is up 7%, occupancy is at a healthy 71%, and Starwood now has 100 hotel projects underway in China.
Starwood says it very well on their own website, when they note that “each hotel and resort is like its own little city, with jobs ranging from van driver to accountant, and from security officer to retail manager”. Their careers website lists a total of 23 different career paths, including a few unusual ones like Six Sigma. Six Sigma appears to be a semi-mystical approach to streamlining and improving operations, sort of like Feng Shui meets Process Engineering.
Beyond this, most career paths are the complex mix one would expect. There are plenty of administrative and customer service positions, food preparation and food service paths are also heavily staffed, housekeeping and laundry are manpower-intensive, and positions in the legal department, engineering and maintenance staff, architects, procurement and purchasing, and of course the inevitable call center and telemarketing functions.
Getting That Job At Starwood
The Starwood careers page is at www.starwoodhotels.com/corporate/careers, and there are a couple different ways you can use the site. You can click the Career Paths button on the right, and go to the listing of the 23 different career paths available. Click on one of those, read the description, and then you can use the drop down box at the bottom of the page to choose your country, and see if there are any jobs available in that career path.
The other option is to click the larger “Find a Job and Apply Now” button near the bottom of the menu on the right. Be ready to wait 20 or 30 seconds while the resulting map page loads. Now you will see a projection map of the world listing job openings by continent. Currently, (mid-August 2012), there are 1939 openings in North America, and 2096 in Asia, with smaller numbers for the other continental areas. Now click on the banner that says North America. Wait a few seconds, and a new map will load, broken down by country. Click on the USA, wait a bit, and another map will load, showing the USA broken down by states. Now you can use the drop down boxes below the map to set filter criteria, and the results shown in real-time. There is no need to click the search button unless you wish to use a keyword.
Analysis of anonymous feedback from current and former Starwood employees shows a very solid level of employee satisfaction, and a respectable 81% say that they “approve of” CEO Frits van Paasschen.
In 2010, Human Rights Campaign named Starwood one of its “Best Places To Work For LGBT Equality”, and in 2009 Newsweek Magazine selected Starwood as one of the “Top 500 Green Companies”.
Here are a few fragments of information that may be useful to you:
- Average wage for a Front Desk Agent is $11.83 per hour, with a reported low of $9 and a reported high of $15 per hour.
- Average salary for a Front Desk manager is $42K per year, with a reported range of $32K to $50K per year.
- Applicants report that the interval between applying online and being contacted for a phone interview can be one or two weeks.
- Most applicants report a fairly simple interview process consisting of a phone interview, (of up to 30 minutes), followed by a face-to-face interview, a skills test, and a back ground check.
- Sample interview question – “Describe a time when you didn’t get along with a co-worker.”
- Sample interview question – “How would you handle a customer that was frantic, swearing, and beyond disgusted?”
- Sample interview question – “Tell me about a time you had to manage multiple projects. Give me a specific example, what you did, and the end result.”
- All applicants should expect to take a drug test.
Hopefully this summary has been useful to you as you consider your prospects with Starwood. Further investigation of their career website should also be helpful. It is definitely worth considering that there are more openings showing in Asia than in North America. If international travel appeals to you, this may be a factor in your decision.