Honeymooners: Conversation activities for practicing hotel English

Page No.: 
Mathew Porter

Quick guide

Key words:ESP, hotel English, vocational school
Learner English level: Beginner to advanced
Learner maturity level: High school and above
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Activity time: 50 to 90 minutes
Materials: Hotel symbols sheet, hotel symbol card sets, hotel descriptions sheetsA and B, client profile


The first part of this activity is designed to get students to recognize icons and vocabulary associated with the hotel industry. Then, using the icons and vocabulary, students communicate with clients to plan a honeymoon in the second part of the activity.


Create asymbol sheet, card sets, and hotel description sheets using public-domain clip art at openclipart.org (see Appendices for sample handouts).


Step 1:Put students in groups of four,and pass out one symbol sheet per student (Appendix A).

Step 2:Give students about 5 minutes to guess and write the meaning of all the symbols on the sheet. Providing a word bank for lowerlevel students is a good idea.

Step 3:Have students check the meanings of the symbols in groups or just give the answers.

Step 4:For an advanced karuta vocabulary game, pass out one card set per group and have thestudents place the symbol cards face up on their desks (Appendix B).Each student takes a turn asking the group about an amenity or service. The members of the group try to take the symbol card that was referenced in the sentence. The caller may not reach for a card. For lower level students, introduce expressions for asking about hotel services and amenities (e.g., Are there irons in the rooms? Is there a swimming pool?). Continue until all the cards have been taken. Then, count and declare a winner.

Step 5:For a hotel descriptions activity, give two students in each group Hotel Sheet A,and two students Hotel Sheet B (Appendices C and D). Advanced students could work in pairs instead of groups of four.

Step 6:Have students ask questions todiscover the differences between the hotels on their sheet. Explain that the goal is to become familiar with the hotel choices on both sheets. For lower level students, introduce expressions(e.g., Does your hotel have a gym?or Is your hotel near a subway station?).

Step 7:For the “Honeymoon”task, students must ask questions to discover the client’s desires for their trip. For lower level students, introduce questions (e.g.,Would you like a hotel with a swimming pool? or Do you need a restaurant in the hotel?).Lower level students can also work from prepared client profiles (Appendix E).

Step 8:Divide students in each group into Plannersand Clients.

Step 9:Instruct the planners to search through Hotel Sheets A and B and find a satisfactory hotel. After finding one, they should discuss in English which hotel to suggest and why.

Step 10:The clients ask the planners about the hotel they find, confirming that it satisfies all the required features.

Step 11:If the planners have given an unsatisfactory suggestion, they must search the hotels again (repeat Step 9).


This is a lesson usedat a guidance fair for first-year high school students who were considering enrolling in a hotel course at a vocational college. Although this lesson was prepared for a high-beginner level, modifications can be made at every step to encourage more natural language use and make it more challenging for advanced students. Also, the final step could be performed on prescreened travel web sites or within a teacher-constructed HTTP environment in a CALL lab.


The appendices for this article can be downloaded from the link below.