Building in Time for Professional Development

By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

Professional development has taken a back seat for many hospitality professionals as they have focused on keeping afloat over the past year. Now that things are beginning to slowly move forward again, it’s time to start carving out space to build professional skills. HSMAI’s Rising Sales Leader Council held a robust discussion around the topics of personal and professional development on a recent call. Here are key takeaways from that discussion.


  • “It can get expensive, but know that having that knowledge is worth the investment in yourself. Even if you can’t pay for it upfront and you have to pay in installments, making the time and knowing you can apply that new information is worth it.”
  • “I’m on the distribution side of things and I’ve seen that it’s important to really understand what type of metrics my counterparts have. If I can understand how they think, based on the logic of how revenue optimization works, I can do my job better.”
  • “I’ve done a completely different role than I’ve done in 10 years because of the pandemic. I didn’t realize how it had affected my professional development until now, because I now know things that I didn’t before and I can see when I’m working with clients that I understand those other roles and I feel like I’m a better salesperson for that.”
  • “I have an interest in revenue optimization, so I took HSMAI’s CRMA exam, which I would highly recommend to anyone who’s also interested in that. I’m also doing a certificate on revenue management from Cornell.”


  • “I have found an accountability partner. Last year, I recruited an official mentor, somebody I’ve known for a long time, that I really respect and do not want to let down. So, we meet every two months and in between those times, she usually gives me something to think about or work on or do and she’s the last person I’m going to let anything drop for. So, find somebody to really be accountable to and keep you focused.”
  • “There are seminars that come up that we really want to do on really awesome topics, but it’s just impossible with our schedules to always do it. So, one person from our team will go, and then they will send out notes, because even just trying to watch the recordings afterward becomes kind of daunting.”
  • “Sign up for webinars, but wait and watch the recording at twice the speed — you’ll get through it faster, and it forces you to pay closer attention.”


  • “It’s going to be competitive in the job market. People will be looking at different characteristics. So, you can’t just expect you’ll be able to jump back into a job and be ahead of someone else or be able to do it the same way you did it before.”
  • “Put yourself in a position to do things that other people aren’t willing to do. In a younger position, you may have more time than someone that’s later in their career. So, try a bunch of things and if just one of them works out, at least you have that one thing and you’re bringing something new to the team.”
  • “I think showing up with a good attitude every day will take you pretty far, especially right now. If you can be patient with yourself and feel like you can tackle every task one by one, I think you’ll be in a lot better place, especially if you’re just coming back.”

Categories: Sales
Insight Type: Articles