Why Hospitality Experience Matters – For Any Industry

hospitality people

A question that I am often asked is: why people should study and work in hospitality?

The first thing I say is that no matter what your ultimate career goals are, hospitality experience will serve you well.

When talking about hospitality, of course the "people person" jobs come immediately to mind: front desk, restaurant, housekeeping... but hotels and restaurants need accountants, financial analysts, engineers, human resources experts, sales managers...and more.

Pennsylvania State University and Duke University recently released a study that adds to a growing body of evidence that if we want our children to lead fulfilling and productive lives, it’s not enough for schools to focus exclusively on academics -- that social skills like self-management, self-awareness, and social awareness are strengths that are necessary for students to fully  succeed in many other areas of life. All are skills that are are developed in the study and practice of hospitality.

Consider these benefits:

  • Good service and friendly people are an asset to any organization. Just imagine if every clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles had spent time training in hotel-quality service delivery?
  • Situations change at a moment's notice in hotels and restaurants. Learning to think on one's feet is an important by-product.
  • Hotels and restaurants are full of all kinds of people from all walks of life. "Hospitalitarians" must be able to adapt to differences in culture, language, lifestyle, and more.
  • We have a unique and closeup view of the people whom we serve, therefore, discretion is a critical part of what we do. I worked with a fabulous Maitre D' in a Washington, D.C. restaurant that saw its share of VIPS dining with their "nieces." He would remind us that the "d" in Maitre D' stands for "discreet." We learn that the satisfaction that comes from maintaining integrity is more powerful than the desire to tell a good story.
  • Hospitality flexes your creative muscles. In addition to creative problem solving, you could have opportunities to create special events, table decor, room packages, and the myriad small touches that make the guest experience special.
  • Good hospitality workers develop a work ethic that never leaves them. The work is hard and the hours are long. A 24-hour industry means that work must get accomplished when it needs to get accomplished.

I know many professionals in the fields of business, legal, and finance who are thrilled to have an employee who has hospitality experience. They know they are getting someone with well developed soft skills, a solid work ethic and a creative flexibility that makes them critical to their organization's success.

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