This research examines the perceptions of alumni mentors working in the hospitality industry, along with hospitality students as mentees, through a four-stage mentoring program framework: initiation; goals and action plans; cultivating the relationship; and evaluating the relationship. Industry alumni mentors and student mentees from a leading hotel management school at an Australian university were selected to provide a rich illustration of the mentoring program. Data were collected through interviews of 48 mentees and 14 industry mentors (response rate of 45%). The findings illustrate that mentoring relationships enable mentees to build knowledge and skills, develop networking opportunities and build confidence. The application of the four-stage mentoring program framework provides several theoretical and applied contributions. Namely, a formal matching process enhances the initiation of a mentoring program, preparation and goal setting sets the stage for positive relationships, emotional and professional support cultivates commitment to mentoring relationships, and a mentoring program allows for valuable self-reflection.