Unique hospitality careers you might never have heard of

24th June, 2024

Unique hospitality careers you might never have heard of

In this article

The hospitality industry is full of familiar roles such as hotel managers, concierges and restaurant staff. There are also plenty of unconventional and lesser-known career paths that offer exciting opportunities for those willing to explore beyond the traditional. This article aims to uncover some of the strangest careers in the hospitality sector. From sleep concierges to cultural experience specialists, we look into the fascinating world of unusual hospitality jobs, showcasing the diversity and innovation that define this dynamic industry. Join us as we venture beyond the ordinary and discover the extraordinary careers that await in hospitality.

The strangest hospitality jobs in the world

While the hospitality industry boasts a wide array of conventional and unconventional roles, some positions stand out for their sheer uniqueness and novelty. From quirky to downright bizarre, these unusual hospitality jobs are still important to help ensure guests have the best experience possible.

Penguin nanny: ensuring the well-being of Antarctic guests

In Antarctica, some luxury lodges employ penguin nannies to care for resident penguin colonies. These dedicated individuals monitor the health and behavior of the penguins, provide enrichment activities and ensure guests adhere to wildlife viewing guidelines. While unconventional, the role of a penguin nanny offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work alongside some of the world’s most fascinating creatures in one of the most remote and inhospitable environments on earth.

Professional sleeper: testing beds and bedding for quality assurance

Surprisingly, there are individuals employed as professional sleepers. This job entails testing beds and bedding for comfort and quality assurance. Staff in these roles spend their days and nights lounging in luxury hotel beds, rating everything from mattress firmness to pillow fluffiness. This might sound like a dream job to some, but it’s also essential. Professional sleepers play a vital role in ensuring guests enjoy restful and rejuvenating sleep experiences during their hotel stays.

Odor judge: sniffing out unpleasant smells in hotel rooms

To maintain high standards of cleanliness and guest satisfaction, some hotels employ odor judges to make sure that there are no bad smells lingering in hotel rooms. These experts use their keen sense of smell to detect scents that may go unnoticed by other staff members, ensuring guest accommodations are fresh and inviting. While it may not be the most glamorous job, odor judges play a crucial role in upholding the reputation of hotels for cleanliness and comfort.

Beekeeper: harvesting sweet rewards and promoting environmental sustainability

As sustainable hospitality practices have increased, beekeeping has emerged as a unique and rewarding profession in the industry. Hotel beekeepers are responsible for maintaining beehives on hotel grounds, tending to the bees and harvesting honey for use in the hotel’s culinary offerings. Beyond producing honey, hotel beekeepers play a crucial role in promoting biodiversity and environmental conservation by supporting pollinator populations and raising awareness about the importance of bees in ecosystems.

Nature guide: safeguarding guests from wildlife encounters

In remote wilderness lodges and eco-resorts, some staff members are tasked with safeguarding guests from potential encounters with wildlife, particularly with bears, lions and other large predators. Nature guides use their knowledge of animal behavior and habitat to mitigate risks and ensure the safety of guests during outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and wildlife viewing. This role requires courage and expertise but it also offers a thrilling and adventurous career path for those with a passion for wildlife conservation and outdoor adventure.

Ghost host: leading haunted tours and paranormal experiences

For guests seeking spine-tingling thrills and eerie encounters, some hotels offer ghost hosts to lead tours of their most haunted sections. This role is all about being able to entertain guests with tales of ghostly encounters, lead séances and ghost hunts and create immersive experiences that blur the line between fact and fiction. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, and the role of a ghost host adds an element of mystery and excitement to the guest experience, appealing to those with a fascination for the supernatural.

Dog surfing instructor: riding waves with canine companions

In coastal destinations around the world, some hotels and resorts offer dog surfing lessons as a unique guest experience. Dog surfing instructors teach guests and their furry companions how to catch waves together, providing safety equipment and guidance for both humans and dogs. This unusual job combines elements of water sports instruction with pet care, offering a one-of-a-kind activity for adventurous travelers and their dogs.

Interesting roles in hospitality management

While hotel management typically conjures up images of front desk managers overseeing housekeeping staff, there are also some special management positions that offer a more interesting day-to-day life. These roles contribute to the seamless operation and exceptional guest experiences in hotels.

Wellness director: cultivating health and wellbeing initiatives

In a time when health and self-care have become integral aspects of travel experiences, hotels are appointing wellness directors to oversee wellbeing initiatives. These directors develop comprehensive wellness programs that cater to the physical, mental and emotional needs of guests. From organizing fitness classes and spa treatments to offering mindfulness workshops and healthy dining options, they create environments that promote relaxation, rejuvenation and holistic wellness. This can also include supplements and treatments to help cure hangovers or special spa options. Wellness directors collaborate with internal teams and external partners to curate a range of offerings that appeal to diverse guest demographics, ensuring guests leave feeling refreshed and revitalized.

Sustainability officer: leading eco-friendly initiatives

With sustainability becoming an increasingly important focus in the hospitality industry, hotels are appointing sustainability officers to spearhead their drive towards being less harmful to nature. These professionals implement green practices such as energy conservation, waste reduction and responsible sourcing to minimize the hotel’s environmental footprint. They may also oversee sustainability certifications and educate staff and guests on eco-conscious practices, contributing to a more sustainable future for the hotel industry.

Experience curator: crafting memorable guest experiences

These cultural experts are tasked with designing and orchestrating unique and unforgettable guest experiences at hotels. They collaborate with various departments, including food and beverage, entertainment and guest services to create personalized programs tailored to customers’ preferences and interests. Whether organizing exclusive culinary events, arranging immersive cultural excursions or coordinating bespoke amenities and services, experienced curators strive to exceed guest expectations and create lasting memories.

If any of the above careers appeal to you, one of the best ways to acquire the skills and know-how you need is to study for a degree in hospitality management.

Aim for the top with Les Roches

Whichever hospitality career interests you, our world-class tutors can help you develop the skills you need

How to get unique hospitality roles

Securing a position in one of the unique hospitality roles mentioned above requires a combination of specialized skills, relevant experience and a proactive approach to networking and career development. Here are some steps you can take to increase your chances of landing a unique hospitality role.

Research and identify niche opportunities

Start by exploring the hospitality industry to uncover niche roles that align with your interests, skills and passions. Research specific hotels, resorts or travel companies known for offering unconventional hospitality experiences and identify potential job openings or internship opportunities.

Acquire relevant skills and experience

Gain the right experience and essential skills through internships, volunteer work or part-time positions in related fields such as tourism, event planning or wildlife conservation. You will also need the following attributes for hospitality roles:

  • Organizational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Time management skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Analytical skills

As well as learning these key skills, you can also undertake training in the role you’re interested in, for example, wildlife guiding certifications for a role as a bear whisperer or sustainability management courses for a position as a sustainability officer. To qualify for top roles in the industry, you should consider specialist hospitality degrees.

Network and build industry connections

Attend industry events, conferences and workshops to network with professionals working in unique hospitality roles and gain insights into job opportunities. Use online platforms such as LinkedIn to connect with professionals in the hospitality industry, join relevant groups and forums and engage in discussions to expand your network.

Tailor your resume and cover letter

Customize your resumé and cover letter to highlight any relevant skills, experiences and achievements that demonstrate your suitability for the unique hospitality role you’re applying for. Emphasize your passion for the hospitality industry, your willingness to embrace new challenges and your ability to thrive in dynamic and unconventional environments.

Stay persistent and flexible

Recognize that landing a unique hospitality role may require patience and perseverance, as these positions are less common and there is more competition than for traditional roles. Remain open to opportunities for growth and learning and be willing to explore different paths in the hospitality industry to ultimately find the unique role that’s the perfect fit for you.

What is it like to work in hospitality?

Working in the hospitality industry offers a dynamic and diverse experience that includes interaction with people from all walks of life, unique environments, and the opportunity to create memorable experiences for guests. Among the attractive features of the hospitality industry are:

  • Dynamic and fast-paced environments: hospitality roles often involve multitasking and adapting to changing circumstances, making every day unique and exciting. The fast-paced nature of the industry keeps employees on their toes, requiring quick thinking and efficient problem-solving skills to handle unexpected challenges
  • Interacting with diverse individuals: hospitality professionals have the opportunity to interact with people from various cultural backgrounds, ages and personalities on a daily basis. Building rapport with guests and colleagues encourages a sense of connection and fulfillment, as employees have the chance to learn from others and broaden their perspectives
  • Creating memorable experiences: one of the most rewarding aspects of working in hospitality is the ability to make a positive impact on guests’ lives by providing exceptional service and memorable experiences. Whether it’s helping a customer celebrate a special occasion, recommending a hidden gem in the local area or simply offering a warm welcome, hospitality professionals have the power to leave a lasting impression
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement: the hospitality industry offers a wide range of career paths and opportunities for advancement, allowing employees to pursue their passions and develop their skills over time. From entry-level positions to management roles and beyond, hospitality professionals can climb the career ladder and take on leadership positions in hotels, restaurants, resorts and other hospitality establishments


There is a wide range of opportunities beyond the traditional roles typically associated with the hospitality industry. From caring for penguins in Antarctica to leading haunted tours in historic hotels, the diversity of positions available reflects the creativity and innovation that define the hospitality sector. There are also plenty of management roles you can consider that could help you look at hospitality in new and interesting ways.

Whether you’re drawn to the thrill of adventure, the allure of luxury or the satisfaction of sustainability, there’s a niche for everyone in the world of hospitality. By embracing your passions, honing your skills and staying open to new opportunities, you can carve out a fulfilling and rewarding career that allows you to thrive in this ever-evolving industry. Of course, there are also plenty of more common hospitality roles you can consider. If you want to get a head start on your chosen career option, consider studying for a hospitality degree at a world-renowned school such as Les Roches.