Hospitality industry seems to be growing every day. But it is no wonder, because today’s pace of life makes people to have their meals out of home and go to other cities in business. Apart from that, people travel more than before now, so they also need the places to stay and have fun at while they arrive at the destinations. The industry provides a wide range of services, on the one hand, and jobs on the other one. This work discusses the role, structure, and image of hospitality industry as well as current trends in it.
The Current Structure of the Hospitality Industry
The Current Scale, Scope and Diversity of the Hospitality Industry
The term “hospitality” is a relatively new word in the sense relating to this paper. It covers all aspects relating to catering and hotel industries. The hospitality industry is present in all countries and it constantly keeps on developing. It is complex and diverse, and new occupations and types of venues related to this industry seem to be appearing every day. The term covers a wide range of businesses and venues whose main purpose is sometimes other than hospitality. The industries that were not primarily connected with hospitality are now becoming more and more closely connected with this area. The hospitality industry is the one that develops at the highest speed throughout the whole world nowadays. Each tenth person is employed in it. Only in the United Kingdom alone, more than 1.8 million people work in the industry, and this number is growing.
There are different sectors of hospitality industry such as entertainment and recreation sector; food and drinks sector; information sector; meetings, incentives, conventions and event sector; accommodation sector; clubs and games sectors; travel and tourism sector.
The Organizational Structure of Different Hospitality Organisations
The accommodation sector deals with providing people with a place to stay. It includes motels, hotels, resorts, hostels, motor lodges, bed and breakfasts, caravan parks, and service apartments.
The food and beverage sector’s purpose is to provide people with meals and beverages. It covers cafes, bars, restaurants, fast food cafes, and outside caterers. As well as the previous sector described, this one offers services of different levels.
The MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and event) sector is very diverse. It brings people together for some events, usually relating to the world of corporations. The sector includes convention hotels and centres. It usually provides beverages and food and sometimes accommodation.
Clubs and gaming sectors are closely connected with each other. They include Leagues clubs, bowling clubs and golf clubs. One can get food and beverages and enjoy televised sports events, live shows of bands, and gaming facilities. Casinos belong to the gaming sector. They offer live shows, food, beverages, accommodation and gaming facilities.
The purpose of the entertainment and recreation sector is to offer recreation and entertainment to those who travel. Entertainment usually includes visiting cultural events, art galleries, museums, and sightseeing. Recreation involves amusement parks, visiting zoos, beaches, the areas of cultural heritage, sporting events and other attractions.
The travel and tourism sector deals with providing tourists with transportation and organisation of trips. People used to turn to travel agents who helped them to organize their trips. However nowadays, due to the development of the Internet, people usually manage to organise their trips themselves. Transportation related to this sector covers buses, trains, taxis, airplanes, cruise ships, and ferries.
The visitor’s information sector provides tourists with the information about the destination they would like to visit or are already visiting. They inclue visitor information centres established by state governments, information services at hotels, and souvenir shops.
The Role of Hospitality Related Organisations and Professional Bodies
Hospitality related organizations and professional bodies play the major role in helping people travel, have fun or just get food and drinks. This industry is helpful for those who travel in business and those who are on holiday. For instance, some hotels provide the special conference rooms with all of the necessary equipment. Apart from that, most of the hotels provide the access to the Internet, so one can even work distantly.
As for those who are on holiday, the discussed industry may prove helpful at all the stages: from planning to enjoying the holiday. Due to the development of the hospitality industry people can get all the information they need about destinations, prices, transportation, and accommodation at the tourist information centres etc. and choose something that suits best. Such establishments are also useful to those who have arrived in a city or town for the first time and do not know where to go and what to see.
The establishments representing accommodation sector offer the services at all levels considering visitors’ budget and expectations. For instance, hostels are usually used by young tourists who do not have much money to spend and are not very demanding as for the conditions of living. Hotels, on the other hand, provide more conveniences: the rooms are cleaned every day, and at least one meal is included in the price of a room.
The food and beverage sector is also featured by different levels of service: from fast food cafes (self-service, low quality of food) to expensive restaurants (with waiters and gourmet food).
Staffing in the Hospitality Industry. Requirements, Roles and Responsibilities
The hospitality industry is the source of numerous occupations at different levels. Some people work with visitors while others manage staff. Among the general skills those, who are occupied in the industry must have, are communication skills, customer service skills, and, usually, the knowledge of foreign languages.
The occupations in food and beverages sector can be divided into two groups: food service management and food service staff. The duties of a restaurant manager include interviewing candidates, training and directing workers, checking whether customers are satisfied with everything. The people with at least some college education are preferred for this position.
As for the food service staff, this group includes servers, hosts and hostesses, bartenders, and cooks. Head cooks are the chiefs of the kitchen staff. They control their work. The people working in the kitchen are responsible for preparing and sometimes for buying food as well as for developing menus. Bartenders make and serve drinks. Hosts and hostesses greet customers and help them find a place they would like to stay at in a restaurant. Servers take orders and bring the prepared food and beverages. For this position, no higher education is needed, only the high school one. Servers are trained already at the place where they are going to work.
The occupations in the accommodation sector are divided into hotel and accommodation management and housekeeping staff. Hotel mangers monitor all the operations performed at a hotel so that the service provided for customers is at a high level. They control the work of the staff in all areas: maintenance, room service, the front desk, marketing and security, and housekeeping. The ones with at least bachelor’s degree in hospitality or hotel management are preferred for this position.
The duties of housekeeping staff are to keep the place, where visitors stay, clean. They make beds, wash linens and different items in the room, wipe off the dust, vacuum, clean bathrooms etc. No special education is needed here – the staff is trained right at the workplace.
Travel agent is the occupation representing travel and tourism sector. They help clients plan their trips, find and book accommodation for them, organise transportation and entertainment. They advise customers where to go and how to get there according to their wishes and budget. Since travel agents usually cooperate with different hotels, resorts, and cruise liners, they can provide special offers for reduced price. Only high school education is required for holding such a position. However, some employees also want the candidates to have some experience or training in the field. Sometimes they provide the training at their companies, but it is also often required that the candidates attend some special courses before applying for the job.
It is hard to describe all of the occupations embraced by the entertainment sector, because there is a huge number of them: from sightseeing and bird watching to rafting, golfing and educational excursions. The education required depends on position, but it is mainly the high school one. The skills of a person employed in this sector must include the communication skills, often the knowledge of foreign language, and sometimes special skills such as fire eating, acrobatics, dancing or singing.
Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning again that the structure of the hospitality industry is very complex. Thus, in some cases it may also include the professions that do not belong to the discussed industry in the first place, but are vital to it. They include sales and marketing specialists, those who work with finance and accounts, engineers, doctors, shop assistants etc.
Recent developments Affecting Hospitality
Operational, Managerial and Legislative Issues
The development of hospitality industry makes its connections with the other ones stronger and stronger. Thus, it faces a number of issues, such as the operational, legislative and managerial ones. In order to understand how to handle them, one first has to familiarize with the issues themselves.
The operating issues include labour shortages, cost containment and increased competition. Labour shortages belong to the most difficult issues, since they sometimes limit the expansion of the industry. This problem might be caused by the level of salaries, workers’ dissatisfaction with their work, long hours of work, and demography.
As well as in any other industry, those who operate businesses in the hospitality one aim to reduce costs, but to preserve the high quality of the services they provide at the same time. So managers try to find the ways how to operate effectively, but try save the money whenever it is possible.
Due to the high speed of development of the discussed industry, there is an endless number of hotels, cafes, restaurants, bars, and recreation facilities built right next to each other. This results in a competition where the establishments cut the prices and do their best to satisfy customers with the services they provide in order to attract more people than their rivals do. As a result, businesses get smaller profit.
Among the legal issues arising in hospitality industry are liquor licence, music, clauses in contracts for providing products and services to guests, and management operating agreements.
A liquor licence provides the right to consume and sell alcoholic beverages in different establishments at any time or with some specific meals. If one opens a new business, s/he has to get the licence beforehand. If a person starts running the establishment that has been opened before s/he started working, the transference of the licence has to be approved.
Such a simple thing as playing recorded music is the source of some issues as well. If the owner of an establishment wants to play music or to music videos on screens s/he has to take into consideration the fact that it is required to pay the licence fee.
An exclusion clause in a contract is the thing that limits liability. It is a tool to shift liability to another party. One has to be very cautious while reading contracts in order to avoid problems.
An operating agreement is the agreement that defines the responsibilities of the owner of a business. It is created when the owner wants to let another party take part in the operation of a facility. Hotels are usually run in this way. Such contracts are usually very detailed that is why it is extremely important to understand all their components.
The key managerial issue in hospitality industry is that everything nowadays is connected with computers. The loss of access to systems, databases and other information because of the failures of hard-, software or the Internet may lead to serious problems.
The Current Image of the Hospitality Industry
As it can be observed from the growing numbers representing the people providing and using the services in hospitality industry, it is prospering. However, some changes should be introduced to improve it. Hotels, cafes and restaurants appear very fast and demand much costs. That is why the owners sometimes sacrifice quality to save money or, vice versa, get smaller profits just to attract more customers than their competitors do. Nevertheless, it seems to be impossible that the industry will ever disappear, because the demand for the hospitality services keeps on growing.
The industry provides a huge number of workplaces, but, at the same time, employees often do not work for one and the same establishment for a long time because of low salaries. People go to hotels and recreation facilities at the seaside or in the mountains to have some rest after long days of work in front of computer screens, but they are still surrounded by computers and other technologies during their vacations. However, it is worth admitting that nothing can be perfect, but if the owners of businesses in the studied industry want to prosper, they should constantly long for improvement.