Teaching English in a Hotel or Resort Setting

Here are a few tips about teaching English in a hotel or resort setting.  

One thing you may not be aware of yet, is that in a hotel/resort setting you will usually teach the employees by department.

This is partly because they have very different language needs and partly because hotels often place employees in different departments according to the level of their English skills.

Usually the most skilled English speakers are going to be working the front office/front desk/reception area.  Next step down would be the Food and Beverage (F&B) department.  F&B people will obviously have different types of conversations with hotel guests than the front office people.

Further down the food chain of English skills would be housekeeping, who would – of course – have a different type conversation with guests and than the maintenance people and further down the line would be groundskeepers.

Groundskeepers are usually going to be asked directions.  They will run into guests outside who want to know where the pool is, the tennis courts, maybe the name of a plant and so on.

Housekeepers will talk about when they might clean a room, a request for more towels and so on.

Maintenance & Engineering Department – the TV or A/C isn’t working, the toilet is clogged, etc.

We can see that they all will have specialized needs for very specific conversations.  The hotel is hiring you to get those people up to speed fast.  It is a business and they want results, so you concentrate only on the specific needs for each area.

Especially for the lower level positions, their English skills may be minimal and teaching a few simple conversations might be all you can accomplish in the limited time allotted for those employees (and they often don’t allot much for lower-level employees).

Lessons need to be very focused and specific. If a reception employee needs to ask a guest’s name or what kind of room they want, what EXACTLY is that question they need to ask to obtain that information?

And what is the likely response from the guest?  Or several likely responses from the guest?  Your students often won’t know these things unless you tell them exactly.  And – you are the teacher – they expect that you will tell them.

You can possibly get some of the back-and-forth conversations that you need to teach from elicitation, but you should be prepared to provide all of it.  THAT is what should be the Presentation or Engagement component of your lesson.

For Practice or Study, structured examples of the back and forth conversation with some variation should be manipulated moving from structured to less structured .  Production or Activation- even more variation and ideally, some real examples from their daily work.

Don’t neglect the Elicitation component of ESP lessons.  It is difficult to know, even if you have good experience in that industry, all the possible problems the staff deal with on a day to day basis.  About ten years ago I was teaching an F&B class how to handle complaints and the #1 complaint – think of one . . .   I am sure you didnt’t guess this one . . . when the guests at the open air restaurant got up to get more food at the morning buffet, the birds were raiding their plates and tables!

TED’s Tips™ #1:   Learn more about teaching Hospitality English at www.TEFLeBooks.com here: http://teflebooks.com/hotel-english/ or about the certification program at www.TEFLBootCamp.com here:  http://teflbootcamp.com/english-for-special-purposes-certification-courses-2/esp-teaching-hotel-and-resort-english/

Why not work in some of the world’s most beautiful settings?

Teaching Internships in China


Teach English in Hotels and Resorts around the World

Teach English in Resorts and Hotels around the World

It is a bit funny that you read so much from different TEFL certification vendors about teaching English around the world: the adventure – the great locations – etc – but none of them EVER seem to talk about one of the best options available to teachers: teaching English at hotels and resorts in some of the world’s best and most beautiful locations.

This is a career option that is a bit counter intuitive when you are starting out.   Go right to the top – to the best hotels and resorts.  Don’t go looking for jobs in the two or three star resorts.  They generally don’t care too much about the English skills of their employees.  It is the five-star hotels, villas and resorts that know that good communication skills equal good guest relations and good service.   And those communication skills are in English as these resorts will serve people from around the world and the only common language is usually English.

How do you find these jobs?  Look at websites that sell five star resorts and hotels.  Look for the best hotels in resort areas.  Check Bali, the Maldives, Kenya, Tanzania, Hainan, the China Beach area of Vietnam, Siem Reap in Cambodia, Phuket and Samui in Thailand, Boracay in the Philippines and just about anywhere else you might think of where tourism is the #1 industry and where it is done well.

Many people teach English because they want to “see the world”  – why not see the very best parts of it?  The parts so popular that major resorts and hotels have been built there.

The best resource around is the Hotel and Resort English eBook offered by TEFL eBooks.  The book was written by a teacher who – at the time – was teaching at a five star resort on a tropical island.  The eBook is a compilation of lessons taught at a Hilton hotel to help staff meet the discriminating wants and needs of their guests.

Just one more great option to try!

TED’s Tips™ #1: Use your imagination a bit and seek employment in some of the worlds most beautiful and interesting resort locations.  Hospitality English is an option not often explored by newbies or even oldies in the TEFL industry.  Go and work in the location of your dreams!

Teach English in Resorts and Hotels

An Interesting ESP Niche

More people are becoming aware of this area of ESP and this is a good opportunity to address how to find those niche jobs. And, since many new TEFL Teachers are former restaurant and or hospitality workers, they are well qualified to teach in this area. Much more so than teachers who have never worked in the hospitality service industry and who are not familiar with what some people will call a “service mind”.

I taught and coordinated teacher training for a year in a resort hotel and though I didn’t have previous experience in the industry, I was lucky to have a GM that took a personal interest in the instruction of his employees and even sat in on the classes with some regularity. So, when we got off track – he was there to set us straight as he did from time to time. I had also previously spent time teaching at a hospitality training college – so I wasn’t a total newbie to service mind.

The most frequent questions I get about these jobs is how to find them. You won’t see them posted on job boards very often.

Here is why:

Most resorts don’t even advertise their English teacher positions as they are swamped with applicants from overseas – people who will never even show up for an interview – and they also get swamped with backpackers who are just “passing through” and won’t take the job seriously.

Fact: LeMeridien Resort on Phuket Island in Thailand advertised a position several years ago and got over 60 applicants. Less than twenty were willing to come to Phuket to interview.
Only three actually showed up . . . !

That is a quote from a page I wrote for the Hotel TEFL English eBook page over at TEFLeBooks.com

So, how do you find such a job especially if they aren’t usually advertised?

You need to apply directly to resorts and hotels: Anything five star is a start. Take you resume and if you can’t connect with the HR manager leave it at the front desk in a nice envelop addressed to the General Manager. If the GM gives it to the HR manager, you can be sure HR will follow up.

Focus on five star, but some international chains will hire even for four star settings – they KNOW how closely tied the good use of English and customer satisfaction are. Below four star don’t bother. Those places don’t generally care or will do their best to hire people with English skills rather than training them.

When you apply for a five star job, dress and groom at a five star level. That generally means no facial hair, no visible tattoos or piercings. It usually means a long-sleeve shirt and tie for men, even in hot tropical environments. While you may not have to dress so carefully on the job, you do need to dress carefully when making initial contact.

Approaching the initial contact confidently and pleasantly is critical. You are, after all, going to teach people how to greet and deal with people in English. how to be tactful using English in situations where guests (and they ARE guests – they are not “customers”) may be unhappy or have a problem created by the hotel/resort.

The best reference around for this type of ESP is the HOTEL TEFL eBook, as mentioned above.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Dress and present yourself professionally, it is critical for these type jobs. You’ll likely not land that job if you dress casually or approach your contact casually.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Resort and Hotel teaching jobs can be some of the best jobs overseas and for obvious reasons in some of the best locations in the world – they are worth researching and seeking.