Reader Response: Tech Writing in the Hospitality Industry

Today’s post was born out of a response to a reader who wishes to remain anonymous (FYI, I did receive her permission to share this as long as I didn’t include her name). Nice to know you folks think I know what I’m doing. ūüôā

Letter #1

First, I’ll share her first note:

I came across your blog post ‚ÄúThe Tech Writer as Event Planner‚ÄĚ from January 21, 2016.¬† Your post validated the direction that I would like to take with my career.¬† I am an event planner working towards transitioning into technical writing.¬† I am confident that I have the skills and abilities to make the transition, but I am needing some guidance to achieve my goal.

Most technical writing job postings that I have seen are tech based, but I am more knowledgeable in the hospitality, retail, and customer service industries.  Is there a place for a technical writer in the industries that I am familiar with or would it be more beneficial to delve into the tech industry?

Also, I have been trying to figure out how to become connected with people within the industry.  I live in a less populated state and have reached out to some local companies, but there does not seem to be a big demand for technical writers.  Are there any online networking forums, websites, or organizations that you would suggest I contact?

Any guidance or advice that you may have is very appreciated.  Thank you for taking the time to help others.

Thanks for reading!
You most certainly can find work in the hospitality industry–that was my life two or three career changes ago. Options could include:
  • Training
  • Proposal writing/business development
  • Sales & marketing¬†
Nearly all aspects of hospitality require training of some sort, from hotel front desks to food & beverage cashiers to event ticket takers. I actually did some training writing as a regular “cast member” at Walt Disney World before I ever got “technical writer” included in my title.
Proposal writing: This would be more for conventions or large organizations looking to bring in a large chunk of business. An example might be submitting bids for a large convention coming into town, though that sort of thing might be handled by a quote more than a full proposal.
Sales & marketing: This would be mostly marketing copy, plus public relations, with a lot of guest/client-facing work not related to writing (e.g. phone calls, meetings, inside/outside sales, etc.). Sales managers often have to research and write marketing plans to show the owners how the sales force plans to pursue customers…however, that’s more of a secondary duty than a primary function. Most sales and marketing activities involve interacting with potential customers.
When it comes to making connections, you might try the following:
Training:
  • American Society for Talent Development (ATD)¬†
  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Tourism:

If you have any other questions, let me know.

Letter #2

This was a follow-up to my response.

Thank¬†you for this great information, I have some research to do!¬† Also, thank¬†you for mentioning that you have had multiple career changes.¬† I think this is number 5 for me…
Instructional design is the direction I would like to take.¬† At this point, I am unsure what steps I need to take to achieve my goal.¬† I have experience¬†editing and writing marketing materials and have limited experience in writing training materials.¬† I feel that I need to learn training theories and terminology to be taken seriously.¬† To learn new skills, I typically find an educational program to complete.¬† I am debating if it is more beneficial to get a master’s degree, a certification from an instructional design association,¬†or learn from webinars and online training.¬† In your experience, have you seen any advantages or disadvantages for these options?¬† Are there any other options that you would suggest?
I sent a further response, which seems to have disappeared from out sent folder. However, I did gently reminder my reader that the hospitality/convention/conference business is in a bit of a recession/depression right now and might be for a year or so. The good news is that instructional systems design is a transferrable skill. I also noted that there are certificate programs available in ISD (instructional systems design) if she wanted to pursue an academic path in that field.
Best of luck to those of you job hunting. Happy to offer the advice!

About Bart Leahy

Freelance Technical Writer, Science Cheerleader Event & Membership Director, and an all-around nice guy. Here to help.
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2 Responses to Reader Response: Tech Writing in the Hospitality Industry

  1. Sarah says:

    Thank you for discussing this side of technical writing.
    I happened into a job in the hospitality industry after completing my degree in English with a minor in tech writing (sadly, it was a couple years before tech writing became a major at the college I went to).
    I manage a small Resort, and run the entire marketing department…which consists of just me.
    I found that the courses I took in business and technical writing enabled me to write the kind of copy that was engaging, rather than long-winded or fluffy. It was interesting how my English courses encouraged the exact opposite, and I always found them very difficult. Why write more than necessary about a given idea or topic?
    I will be using the connection recommendations that you provided to see what other opportunities are out there. Thanks!

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