The term ‘hospitality’ refers to a broad category of segments or sectors within the service industry pertaining to different commercial aspects like cruise liners, event planning, lodging and hotels, restaurants, theme parks, transportation etc. The economics of the hospitality industry is directly proportionate to people’s ‘disposable incomes’ and available periods of ‘leisure time’.
Units within the industry
A broad hospitality unit has several sub-groups or division units like direct operations management, facility management, human resources, project management, sales & marketing management etc.
The single most important concept that is shared across all segments of the hospitality industry is ‘customer service’. The level of success of a business is determined by how it (the operational staff) is geared to serve others (customers). The focus of a hospitality industry may be any one of many or multiples of service sectors. Although managing the economics i.e. the challenges of income and expenditure is crucial to the success of a business, the accomplishment of rising up to the challenges of ‘customer service’ will dictate how the business can hope to progress.
Elements of hospitality involving customer service
One of the largest elements or the single most important of all elements in the hospitality sector is Food & Beverage (F&B). The F&B trade can function independently in the form of bars, catering establishments, eateries, pubs and restaurants, or as part of other service businesses such as the entertainment segment that includes bowling alleys, casinos, game parlors and movie houses. When the F&B outlet is a part of a larger hotel & lodging outfit, it enhances the chances of offering top-class customer service and providing an overall experience to the customer or guest.
The next segment will be the Accommodations area, either Bed & Breakfast (B&B) places or lodging places that represent a large chunk of the hospitality industry. This area covers any place that provides accommodation from camping sites to wayside motels, high-end hotels & holiday resorts to luxury deluxe properties. The focus of providing lodging integrating attentive customer service along with comfort and efficiency is at the heart of a business service that is customer-oriented. More than the monetary aspect, most travelers value basic amenities that are provided with cleanliness, efficiency and caring and the more satisfied people using hotels, restaurants, bars, etc., the more the business can be successful.
Another prime sector of the hospitality industry is to do with transportation and travel – from airlines to cruises to train travel, domestic to individual countries as well as global. This particular segment, as the others too, requires considerable knowledge and experience in customer service as well as modern trends in travel and transportation that define the services provided to customers in terms of efficiency, safety and enjoyment.