International Hotel Salary Packages!!

Welcome hoteliers!

Thank you for stopping by for another article.

There was an article I read a few months ago about how us millennials are much more open and comfortable discussing our salary with others as a measure of our success and I have to say I never noticed how comfortable I was discussing it myself; it’s true. I can’t speak for others, but money is not only very important in how I made decision (gotta live right) but I was also curious about how my salary would increase over time; also what were others making? Was I being paid fairly? Unlike government workers our salaries aren’t posted online, so you never really know; only HR knows 😉

(HR is all-knowing!)

HR


So I don’t mind telling people so they can gauge what they could expect/willing to accept by working in China; both compared to local salaries, compared to their salaries back home as well as how that salary stacks up to the standard of living from a local standpoint and an international standard.

My one and only disclaimer is that I’m not HR, so I don’t know everyone’s numbers it’s only based off my personal knowledge and information I gathered from friends and connections. I’m a curious person; again, there’s no database or information to base it on.

I also can’t really comment much on other departments outside of the front office, also there are differences between working for a franchised property and an equity property, lastly the country you come from IS a factor in how much you will get paid; anyone who says otherwise hasn’t asked as many questions; disclaimer over..

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Before I go into specifics on numbers, I need to tell you the difference between the local and international package, it’s self-explanatory but important. A local package is, well, local, but more than that, for expatriates (expats) you’re more likely to get hired if you accept this package (less paperwork, cheaper for hotel, less hassle and expenses to report.) If you are lucky enough, or have a high enough position to get an international package, thank your lucky stars, it’s a totally sweet deal. So what’s included? (These are from a typical expat standpoint and based off what I had or knowledge I acquired.)

              Local  
Salary mirrors avg. local
Housing Allowance partial cover of rental costs
Insurance partial cover of insurance costs
Vacation 10 days with 1 day earned per annum
Sick Leave 6 days
Bonus depending on hotel
              International  
Salary mirrors international salaries
Housing Allowance covers the cost of most rental apartments in the city
Insurance full cover of most insurance costs
Vacation 10 days with 1 day earned per annum
Sick Leave 6 days
Bonus depending on hotel
Plane Ticket offered after 1 year of service
Relocation covers cost from home country to hotel

Now allow me to explain my charge, I know it’s a little weird, and maybe others have a completely different chart. But here’s the lowdown:

 Salary: As an expat, you’ll get a little more money, but it’s just enough that you can live comfortable living like a local, which means you’re not going to be eating and drinking fancy every night; with an international package, although you’d blow money fast, you make about twice as much per month.

 Housing: On the local package, you’re lucky to get a housing allowance and if offered it’s just enough to subset some of the renting costs. At the time it was enough, for me, I wanted to live decently in a place not on the other side of the city and no roommates; I was in it for the experience. I got lucky and found all of that with what I was offered, but most times it’s good enough to cover half the rent; In an international package you’re offered a nice housing allowance which depending on what you’re looking for, should cover all the rental costs, or if the hotel has house use rooms which is quite common, you can opt to surrender the allowance and live in the hotel (which isn’t bad.)
 – I do want to note that the hotel will give even local package earners a comp. room for usually 2-3 weeks so they can find an apartment.

 Insurance: Touchy point, in all honestly I’m a careful person I’ve never broken anything, that being said as a foreign worker you must receive some form of insurance from the employer, if it’s not offered they’re illegally hiring you, or screwing you, but the local package will partially cover some of the costs depending on the nature of your injury or sickness. The international package will cover more obviously, however in China, even hospital visits are usually paid in cash, and this is a reimbursement, unless its extreme conditions, you’re expected to pay for your visit, submit the paperwork to HR and get a reimbursement.

 Vacation: To my knowledge vacation time was the same with 10 days offered and an incremental 1 day added per annum with a maximum of 14 days for both. It was the same for me and a friend of mine who had an international package for another hotel.

 Sick Leave: Was the same for both of us received 6 days per year.

 Bonus: In China, hotels give yearly bonuses based on the hotel performance which is totally sweet! For instance, the Grand Hyatt Shanghai’s was around an additional 2x which means that if my salary is 8,000rmb ($1,213 USD approx.) that month I’m taking in my normal 8,000rmb and an additional 16,000rmb ($2,426 USD approx.)

 Plane Ticket & Relocation: Here’s where there’s a difference, international package earner are (sometimes) going to get a relocation pay in which the hotel pays for your plane ticket, and your expense getting to the hotel if they didn’t have a hotel car to pick you up from the airport. For your yearly vacation, the hotel is going to pay for your plane ticket to a destination of your choice; this depends on the hotel, two of my friends got a ticket to wherever they wanted for their vacation, another friend of mine was from Australia so could only get a ticket there from the hotel, anywhere else and he had to pay himself, but the point is you get a ticket somewhere.

These are just some of the basics and how the packages vary. If you’re wondering who gets what, think of it like this. Level 1-7, 1 being General Manager, 7 being an intern. Levels 1-3 are getting an international package 95% of the time, levels 4 and below are going to get a local package 99% of the time because ideally they could hire a local over you at that level.

One more thing to note, the most common positions that could be filled by expats overseas are within the leadership committee such as the General Manager but mostly limited to positions within the front office and food & beverage; positions in sales/marketing, security etc. are still going to be locals 99.9% of the time.

Employment levels vary in hotels but very generally you can break it down as below, and I’m going to reflect the levels based on the front office to the GM. The reason they vary as you’ll see there’s an additional position which is not too common in hotels in the west.

Position Level
General Manager 1
Director of Rooms 2
Front Office Manager/ Assistant Front Office Manager 3
Duty Manager 4
Team Leader or Supervisor/ Management Trainee 5
Front Desk Agents 6
Interns 7

Again, these levels vary, but the most notable is the Duty Manager position, in America we have Front Desk Agent -> Supervisor (sometimes) -> Assistant Front Office Manager (sometimes) -> Front Office manager. This Duty Manager is sort of a manager, but not really. It’s mainly a supervisor with a little extra power over operations and handling the day to day flow, whereas the AFOM (Assistant Front Office Manager) is handling departmental matters such as scheduling, budgeting, policies, ordering etc. an AFOM is considered a department head in Asia but in many places it isn’t quite that high up

My advice, and the reason I don’t have standard of living costs in this article, but will have in a future article for sure, is that I had already lived in China, so I knew how to live cheaply, and where I can splurge; plan out what kind of lifestyle you want to have and if you would be able to get by with a standard local package, or, if your position is high enough to obtain an international package, take it! its rare! But I do wan’t to express asking a lot of questions before accepting the job and researching a lot to make sure you’re getting a good deal, at least whatever is acceptable to you.

I know this was a bit of a long article, I’m sorry; I want to make sure I get as much information to you guys as possible. In the next article, I will talk about what the actual salaries are like and some basics on the housing. Thanks for stopping by and see you in the next article!

Best Regards,

Daniel Cooper

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