By Matthew Radman,
International Business Assistant Editor
Tuesday, March 21 marked the first-ever Careers in Travel and Entertainment event hosted by Robert Franco and the Career Center.
The event is the product of high student demand and featured a panel-style presentation discussing the diverse and growing travel and entertainment industries. The presenters, all of whom were Seton Hall alumni, revealed an enormous amount of opportunity as well as fun that is available in a career in the hospitality industry.
Helen Carras, a former American Express executive and current travel and entertainment consultant, demonstrated just how massive the growing hospitality industry is and where she sees room for growth. Currently, Americans spend on average $2.6 billion on travel every day.
That revenue helps support over 15 million jobs and contributes almost $150 billion in taxes. Carras described how internet travel sites and specialty travel leave plenty of room for the trillion-dollar industry to grow.
Although it seems that internet travel sites have eroded the demand for specialty travel experts, 22 percent of people who make over $50,000 a year and 30 percent of millennials use travel agents to plan unique experiences and assist in the travel planning process.
One of the largest components of the travel industry is, naturally, hotels. Michael Marino is a hotel sales and operations veteran who has experience in most aspects of the hotel industry. He began in sales and marketing before the transition to an operational role.
Marino described the excellent training that he received from his former employer, Marriott, and the value of what he learned as he progressed in his career.
He is passionate about customer service and explained that the travel, and specifically the hotel, industry welcomes employees with people-minded personalities.
However, he mentioned that it is a good fit for many personalities as the operations aspect of hotels involved a lot of analytics and numbers-based work.
Overall, he has found the industry to be rewarding, fun, and people-oriented.
The other main component of the hospitality industry is travel itself, specifically vehicle rentals.
Tony Bonkalski has found a great career with Enterprise Rent a Car.
He described the thorough and well-rounded management trainee program in which he began.
Enterprise’s program is well regarded as one of the best management training programs and one of the best employers with which to launch a career.
Bonkalski described his experience with Enterprise as a great learning experience in a company that rewards a strong work ethic and effective leadership.
After an eye-opening presentation, the many curious students in attendance spent time talking to and networking with the presenters.
The event opened up a world of possibilities in the minds of the attentive attendees.
The presentation shed light on a growing industry that is searching for ambitious talent to begin careers in a fun and rewarding industry.
The event proved to be a success and will make a great addition to Seton Hall’s routine career events.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 print edition.
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