A new narrative has emerged – From a second rate profession to one which sits at the heart of communities

Hospitality has come a long way in terms of how it is viewed and perceived. There are still many who will argue that the industry is not strong enough in terms of perception or as a career path but this ignores both how far it has come and also the simple fact that it is a great career for those who like to serve others. The leader in hospitality is not the same as in other industries; they need to want to create experiences and be there for guests and clients. It has never pretended to be an industry for all but it has a far stronger story to tell than has often been the case.

The industry does need to possess more confidence in itself and be kinder in how it judges itself.

It is true that whilst hospitality has created a whole number of millionaires over the last two decades, it does not come close to banking, financial services and technology in creating wealth. In fairness, technology has transformed the way we work and live so it is understandable that technology has risen and sees three of the top richest entrepreneurs in the world. The stories of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg and Jeff Bezos has become the business role models of the last fifteen years.

But why does hospitality seek to compare itself to others? It is its own unique profession and one which arguably more diversity of experience and opportunity than any industry.

More, hospitality today plays a more meaningful and deeper role all across society. It may not have transformed daily life as much as technology has but it has been the constant presence which has served to bring communities and people together. As the world woke up from the pandemic, one of the first things which people sought to do was to return to restaurants and bars as well as sports stadia. During the pandemic, it was inspiring to see how so many hospitality companies changed their operations to serve those which it could and this has not been forgotten.

Hospitality may not create the great wealth of technology and financial services but it does play a role which has a social purpose and is world-class in its own right. It is now time for the industry to have greater belief in itself and stand up and tell a stronger story. Hospitality is a very special industry which brings together multi-dimensional creative teams who want to serve guests and communities and this should not be under-valued.

At the same time, it is one of the most stable industries. Forecasters note that a recession may well be pending but expects the industry to see recovery as of Q2 2023 and see a brighter recovery in late 2023. Moreover, it is a truly global industry which offers opportunities which very few others are able to do.

Hospitality is reinventing itself, reimagining services and this can be an exciting new era for the industry. However, it is fair to argue that it does need stronger structures to support emerging talent. It does need a stronger depth in world-class education. There are some fabulous examples but not enough. More is needed. It needs to work hard at appealing to new audiences and make all feel welcome in the industry. It needs greater investment in the development of talent at middle management levels. It has always been a large jump to ask operators to become leaders without stronger support and development. What makes a great operator is a different mind-set to that which creates a leader. It also needs to today promote its story far better. It is a world-class global industry which could appeal to many.

Hospitality has so much to offer and plays such an important role in society. Time to tell the story better.