Top priority skills for the hospitality industry
This article aims to explore some of the top priority skills required to work in the hospitality industry. It goes without saying that working in the hospitality industry can be both very challenging and rewarding. Working as a waiter/waitress, cabin crew, or porter is not always the easiest job in the world; however, it is also true that hospitality is a great industry for young people to break into the professional world.
People involved in this industry deal with customers from different walks of life on a daily basis. Therefore, they need to possess some very important skills e.g. customer handling skills, team working skills, and cultural awareness. However, job applicants need to be aware that some organisations may look for additional skills as well.
Top priority skills for the hospitality industry
Customer handling skills
People working in a restaurant, hotel, airline, or an amusement park are often required to serve customers face-to-face. Certainly, not all customers are the same. Likewise, different circumstances trigger different kinds of customer behaviour. In addition, and most importantly, customer satisfaction is the key to success in the hospitality industry. Therefore, people must have very good customer communication skills.
Serving customers better often depends on how well they have been understood by the service providers. And understanding them to handle them better requires people working in the hospitality industry to have some excellent customer services skills e.g. empathy, problem-solving skills, patience, confidence positive attitude, a willingness to go extra mile, product knowledge, time management skills, and an ability to respond to customers’ queries and needs quickly. According to Cambridge Dictionary (2019) empathy refers to ‘the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation’.
Regardless of the job role, people are expected to work with others to achieve the organisational goals and objectives. For instance, kitchen porters clean up everything and assist cooks; cooks prepare food; chefs cook food; waiters/waitresses serve food; and people in the till collect money from the customers. If one of them is not efficient, then there will surely be some impact on the preparation and delivery of foods.
Most employers now-a-days seek good teamworking skills in job applicants. They want employees to have the ability to work in teams putting personal differences aside. This requires employees to have both verbal and non-verbal communication skills. They also need to demonstrate reliability, positive attitude, and the ability to extend helping hands when required to become a good team player.
Cultural awareness is about understanding the cultural differences. It is an extremely important skill required to work in the hospitality industry. Working in the hospitality industry in the most diverse and multicultural cities in the world such as London, Sydney, Paris, Sao Paulo, New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Singapore, Dubai, and Amsterdam requires people to be aware of different cultural values, beliefs, and perceptions (World Atlas, 2019). This is also true about any other place where different cultures and sub-cultures coexist with each other.
According to BHMS (2016) the top skills for a successful career in the hospitality industry are: customer orientation, ability to deal with conflict and solve them, cultural awareness, language skills, and teamwork. Investigations into other relevant sources also reveal that the top priority skills for the hospitality industry are customer handling skills, teamworking, and cultural awareness.
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Last update: 30 September 2019
BHMS (2016) Top 5 skills for a successful job in the Hospitality Industry, available at: https://www.bhms.ch/nc/news-detail/top-5-skills-for-a-successful-job-in-the-hospitality-industry/ (accessed 27 September 2019)
Cambridge Dictionary (2019) Empathy, available at: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/empathy (accessed 27 September 2019)
World Atlas (2019) The Most Diverse Cities in the World, https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-most-diverse-cities-in-the-world.html (accessed 26 September 2019)
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Author: Jo David
Jo David has years of experience both in the UK and abroad. He writes regularly online on a variety of topics. He has a keen interest in business, hospitality and tourism management.