Core Competencies for Hospitality Professionals

  • Interpersonal Communications
  • Teamwork and Leadership
  • Ability to Adapt
  • Conflict Management
  • Computer Literacy

Hospitality jobs represent one of the largest sectors of the US economy, encompassing a variety of commercial activities ranging from food service to providing therapy at a spa. It should come as no surprise that there is significant demand for qualified hospitality professionals in a number of different industries. In fact, hospitality and leisure outpaced all other private sectors in the number of job openings in May 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics . Individuals with a professional interest in a hospitality field should actively develop various several core professional skills alongside relevant academic pursuits if they really want to succeed in a competitive industry.

1. Interpersonal Communications

Conversational skills may come easier to some people than others, but everyone working in hospitality should be able to communicate clearly with others. A comfortable command of the language is necessary for most hospitality jobs, with multilingual abilities being a strong plus depending on fluency. Successful industry professionals learn to become comfortable conversing with customers, employees, and managers alike. They can communicate clearly to avoid confusion and know how to handle delicate situations to the benefit of their employer.

2. Teamwork and Leadership

Almost all hospitality services are rendered by a team of people working together. For example, creating a relaxing atmosphere at a spa requires staff members to coordinate effectively to provide a smooth and seamless customer experience. This skill is even more important in restaurants because cooks, servers, and managers rely on each other constantly to ensure accurate and prompt food service. Successful hospitality team members work hard, maintain a positive attitude in stressful scenarios, and know how to coordinate the efforts of several parties to achieve positive results.

3. Attention to Detail and Organization

Sometimes a few details make the difference between good and excellent service from a customer’s perspective. Personal organizational skills are a must-have for anyone who wants to forge a career in hospitality, as well as a commitment to achieve excellence on a regular basis. This is particularly important in matters of hygiene and safety, as they are both serious concerns for many customers and even a small omission could be disastrous.

4. Conflict Management

Sometimes hospitality professionals need to bend over backward to make sure their customers are happy, so it’s good to be a little flexible. Conflict management is an extension of interpersonal communications and can be one of the most crucial responsibilities of a job in hospitality. Mediating a conflict requires understanding and empathy for both parties involved, as well as critical thinking ability for developing an acceptable compromise.

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5. Computer Literacy

Computers and other digital technologies have revolutionized almost every aspect of hospitality service providers. Everyone working in the industry should have a firm grasp on the basics of computer use so they can enter and access information as needed. Senior staff should be able to troubleshoot problems with the essential software, particularly point-of-sale systems that are used to track and sort meal orders in dining establishments.

As an expansive and diverse field, there is really no limit to the skills that could benefit people seeking employment in hospitality. These core competencies are great assets for building a successful career, but they are certainly not the only essential ingredients. Hospitality jobs are often physically and mentally demanding, so employees and leaders also need a strong sense of motivation, commitment, and passion for their work.

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