Do I have the right soft skills for the hospitality industry?

June 28, 2019 •

3 min reading

Do I have the right soft skills for the hospitality industry?

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First of all, as opposed to many other career paths, which require a narrower focus, to be successful in hospitality, it is a clear advantage to be an all-rounder. This is why a hotel management school curriculum includes such a broad variety of topics and skills to master - going from how to manage a cold chain for food items to calculating the present value on a future investment. 

You should be prepared to adapt to a constantly changing environment, putting the needs of the customer at the forefront of every decision you take. Indeed, interpersonal relations are a cornerstone of the hotelier’s skillset. If you enjoy meeting people and taking care of their diverse needs and desires, hospitality is probably exactly the right industry for you. Interacting with people is important not only for customer relations, but also for managing staff as you move up the ranks.

There is a great range of hospitality skills that you will develop overtime at a hotel management school or during internships, here are a few: 

Good communication skills are essential

Communication skills - both oral and written - are of paramount importance in a hospitality context. On the one hand, a friendly, helpful and clear dialogue is required in order to fulfil the needs and wishes of the customers. On the other hand, you also use communication to motivate your employees, who in many cases serve the customer. One of the critical facets of good communication is listening – being able to understand what customers want and what employees under your supervision need. Other key aspects of communication include: 

  • The right body language, eye contact, hand gestures, and tone of voice;
  • Clarity and concision;
  • Friendliness- a friendly tone, a personal question, or simply a smile;
  • Confidence - it is important exude confidence in one’s interactions with others. Confidence demonstrates to colleagues that you believe in what you’re saying and will follow through;
  • Empathy - even when you disagree with an employer, colleague or employee, it is important to understand and respect their point of view,
  • Open-mindedness - a good communicator should enter into any conversation with a flexible, open mind set.
  • Respect - people will be more open to communicating if they are shown respect; and
  • Feedback –this is especially important for managers in order to elicit a high level of commitment from staff.  It is important to be able to both give and receive feedback in an appropriate manner.

Cultural awareness is an important asset

If you plan to progress in the field of hospitality, you are going to encounter a wide variety of people with very diverse backgrounds.

In order to succeed as a hotelier, it is important to be sensitive to and to gain an understanding of different cultures, religions, races, nationalities. Understanding cultural differences can be a key factor in delivering excellent customer service, as people’s tastes and sensibilities are to a large extent conditioned by their ethnic and linguistic background. 

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Multitasking is vital 

By its nature, the hospitality demands a high degree of flexibility and the ability to juggle several tasks simultaneously. In the course of one day, you may be required to plan a banquet, respond to customer requests and deal with infrastructural problems – all the while maintaining a professional demeanour.

Being a versatile worker will make you invaluable to employers, as they will see that you can easily adapt to a variety of roles and situations in the enterprise. The higher up you move in the hierarchy, the more multitasking will become important, as you will have to deal with staffing issues as well as customer needs and wants.    

Teamwork is required

Whether you are starting out in service job or managing a large hotel, teamwork will be a major part of the position. In order to succeed in this industry, you must be willing to operate as the member of a team, also to listen to each other and to help out where help is needed. Because together as a team you are stronger!

In conclusion, those targeting a career in hospitality will be particularly successful if they are good communicators, flexible, culturally aware and team players.

Written by

Lecturer and International Career Coordinator at EHL Passugg

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Do you want to develop your soft skills to be successful?

In a hospitality management degree program, you not only acquire all the academic skills, but also the soft skills that can make the difference and lead to success. Find out more here.