Hospitality is more than just an industry; it is a mindset

What does the term ‘hospitality’ signify to you; is it an industry offering food and beverage, travel, tourism, lodging and recreation, or is it more than that? Is it time to think about hospitality differently, and spread it as a profound mindset that extends its benevolent essence across a multitude of industries? Is a drawback to the hospitality mindset that we put others first and don’t allow us an industry to be as competitive?

At its core, hospitality is about people—about understanding their needs, empathising with their desires, and going above and beyond to create an environment of warmth and care. While the hospitality industry has indeed been a champion of this mindset, it is not confined to hotels, restaurants, or resorts. The fundamental principles of hospitality can be integrated into various other industries, transforming the way businesses operate and interact with their customers. Considering its undeniable value, shouldn’t this ethos be embraced and applied by leaders across a diverse array of industries? After all, fostering such a mindset can undoubtedly elevate the overall experience for every customer, regardless of the sector they engage with.

Merely a week ago, an incident on a British Airways flight from a distant destination to London Heathrow captured attention as each passenger was served a singular piece of KFC during the extensive 12-hour journey. This curious event raises questions about whether other industries have lost sight of the true essence of hospitality. It is intriguing to consider whether the crew on board this flight swiftly improvised when their catering carts malfunctioned, or if they were motivated to avoid potential compensation claims resulting from flight delays or cancellations? In any case, this occurrence prompts reflection on the core principles of hospitality, which centres around crafting positive and lasting impressions, rather than leaving passengers with negative experiences. Are they missing the hospitality mindset?

In a fast-paced, technology-driven world, the human touch is often undervalued. However, hospitality reminds us of the significance of personal connections and genuine interactions. By infusing a hospitality mindset into the corporate culture, companies can create a distinct brand identity, setting themselves apart from competitors and forging lasting connections with their customers. Another hallmark of the hospitality mindset is the focus on providing exceptional customer service. Going above and beyond to exceed expectations is a trait that can be applied in any business. The hospitality mindset recognises the importance of every individual’s unique journey; but is this an outlook executed by all businesses across industries?

It is often discussed that 70% of undergraduates don’t then enter the industry. Many would reflect on this statistic and infer how the industry is failing to keep their own students upon graduation, but is this statistic in fact normal if you compared with university degrees say in Criminology or Psychology? Is this part of the hospitality mindset, that we are too negative on ourselves as an industry? If other industries have the same statistics, would they be as critical of themselves as an industry, or is just us with our hospitality mindset?

As an industry, we have the tendency to critique ourselves stating that restaurant hours are just less desirable, but is this strictly true? Or are we being negative and putting ourselves down; do we need to start singing our praises and vocalising the positives? One of the unmatched characteristics of the industry is the ‘buzz’ you can feel after a 12-hour shift. As a team you feel tired after the non-stop all-day service, yet are buzzing as you pulled through together united, to make it a success. Is it time we talk about the unmatched feeling our industry can give employees, that we know other industries cannot offer? As after all, hospitality is more than just an industry; it is an important mindset.

Written by Izzy McHattie, EP Business in Hospitality