What is the Hospitality Industry?

Some could say the hospitality industry makes the world go round. Perhaps, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it cannot be denied that the hospitality industry plays a critical role in world business, travel and history.

Branches of Hospitality

The hospitality industry is a service industry that has encompasses many different branches of business including lodging, restaurants, cruises, theme parks and others segments related to tourism. Many of the different branches are interrelated and directly influence each other. The success or failure of one branch directly influences the success or failure of another.

This relationship was exemplified after September 11th. As people became fearful to fly, the airlines saw a drastic decrease in travelers. As a result, so did hotels, resorts and other tourist destinations. With time, increased security and marketing efforts from both the airline and hotel side, the level of travelers slowly returned and both sectors of business eventually returned to normal levels.

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The Intangible Experience

Classified as part of the service sector, the hospitality industry does not manufacture tangible goods, but rather provides services, often in the form of intangible experiences. Given that the word hospitable means friendly and welcoming to strangers or guests, it is no wonder that the goal of the industry is to provide those experiences in just that manner.

The hospitality industry offers a diversity of jobs with varying skill levels. Regardless of the specific job, the industry employees can often be described as "experience makers," or breakers, for that matter. These "experience makers" make up the crux of the jobs associated with the hospitality industry.

Specifically speaking of hotels, whether it’s the front desk agent that welcomes the guests, the bellman that takes them to the room, the restaurant server that waits on them at dinner or the spa therapist that gives the massage, the success of a specific hotel relies on the ability for these employees to meet and exceed service expectations.

Hotels & Resorts

A huge component of the hospitality industry is lodging, namely hotels and resorts. At its most basic purpose, hotels provide a clean place for travelers to sleep, or as industry insiders will say – heads in beds. Beyond that basic need though, many hotels often provide the venue for fine dining, world events, special events, business meetings and business deals.

Hotels & resorts categorize their guests differently; some are independent travelers, often in the form of vacationers. Others are corporate travelers, staying at the hotel not so much for pleasure, but solely in town for business purposes. Others are group travelers, visiting a hotel in conjunction with an incentive group or business conference. Regardless of how they’re categorized though or what purpose brings them to the hotel, hotel guests arrive with an expectation for good, if not excellent service.

Working in the Hospitality Industry

As the hospitality industry includes many types of businesses, and within each business, a wide spectrum of positions with varying skills, it is not an overstatement to say there is something for everyone. The industry is characterized by a large number of employees and attracts diversity of ages, genders, cultures and education levels. Entry level positions usually require no formal education, while professional positions typically will require a college degree.

As with many industries, the hospitality industry is vulnerable to downturns in the economy, especially as much of the industry is driven by disposable income. With that being said, the hospitality industry is one of the oldest in the world, and one that continues to grow, innovate and avail new opportunities.


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