Tourism has been on the rise in the City of Brotherly Love for a long time. In the last five years or so, Philly has been thrust repeatedly into the national spotlight. We had the visit from the Pope, the Republican National Convention, and many other events that have put Philly even more prominently “on the map.” More special events and a growing national interest in Philly have led to a significant boom in the tourism sector. When the Pope visited, there were concerns that there weren’t enough hotel rooms within 30 minutes of Center City to accommodate everyone in town. Since then, building new hotel rooms has been a year-round race to the top. The hospitality industry is on an insane growth spurt. And with the addition of every new gleaming hotel tower, there comes a need for thousands of jobs. Last year alone, Philly added three major hotels along with 4,900 jobs to the 272,000 existing hospitality staff positions in the Philly metro area last year, as per the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The great thing about hotel jobs is that there is literally something for everyone. Whether you have a master’s degree or only graduated high school, if you have two hands willing to work, there is a position with your name on it. In 2019, Philadelphia is poised to add six new major hotels. Chief among those in reputation is the Four Seasons Hotel, which is planning a job fair to fill some five hundred positions at the new establishment. And this is to say nothing of the hundreds of short-stay apartment hotels, which are popping up like weeds all over the city. Basically, ever since Philadelphia was awarded the distinction of being the first World Heritage City, developers have been tripping over each other rushing in to fill the needs of tourists who are interested in the distinct mix of history, entertainment, and sightseeing that the city has to offer.
Jamie Cooperstein, adjunct instructor at Drexel Center for Food and Hospitality Management, noted in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“The city saw more international tourists after then. Philadelphia became a must stop and its position in American history got recognized,” Cooperstein said. “Before that, tourists may have just visited New York and D.C.”
Cooperstein also noted the lack of Center City hotel rooms prior to that point, which caused many visitors to adjourn to nearby New Jersey or Delaware.
As mentioned previously, one hotel employer looking to make a splash is the upcoming Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, which will take up the twelve topmost floors of Comcast Tower. The hotel will be hosting a job and recruitment fair at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Ben Shank, general manager at Four Seasons Philadelphia, said that the opening of the hotel brought along with it a lot of “great opportunities” for people to build their careers. Upward mobility is the name of the game, he said, mentioning that a full 75 percent of all promotions within the Four Seasons chain come from within. He boasts that people who start in entry-level positions at the hotel could, with hard work and a few years’ experience, rise in the company and eventually hold an “elevated” position either in Philadelphia or almost anywhere else around the world.
Shank is a great example of this upward mobility at work. Twenty years ago, he joined the company in the humble position of a bus boy at Philadelphia’s old Four Seasons outlet. He bounced around the company, taking jobs at locations like New York, Hawaii and Arizona, most recently opening the Four Seasons Orlando Resort before returning to Philadelphia.
The recruitment drive seeks to fill a whole host of positions, starting with front desks receptionist, door attendants and housekeepers to more specialized positions like spa therapists, fitness trainers and floral designers. The hotel is also trying to fill a few management positions. Full-time employees can expect eight-hour shifts, a full benefits package including health insurance and 401(k) matching, and paid vacations.
Along with the Four Seasons, hotels coming to Philly this year are Lokal Hotel Fishtown, Pod Philly, Hyatt Place Hotel Airport, Mainstay Suites, and Ascend Hotel Collection. This is in addition to existing hotels completing multi-million dollar renos, like Sofitel Philadelphia, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, and AKA Rittenhouse.