Monday, May 22, 2017

The Hospitality Industry

When asked to name the basic needs common to all human beings, those which immediately spring to mind are likely to be food and shelter. From ancestral nomads migrating out of need, the twenty-first century has evolved to integrate travel into everyday life as not only a need, but a norm as well.

The word “hospitality” has its roots in the Latin word hospes, meaning host. Without a guest, the host would cease to exist, and vice-versa. Building on this two-way relationship, a booming hospitality industry has developed into the second largest revenue generating sector in the world.

The basis of any popular industry is popular demand. With the guaranteed movement of people and the growing popularity of a dining experience, the hospitality industry has spread like quickfire into virtually every customer-service related business.  From Travel and Tourism, hotels, and airlines to restaurants, hospitals and retail, there are significant areas under the influence of the industry.

It is important to dissect the reasons as to why people travel, and to analyze what activities they engage in when they do. This helps to identify the areas in which revenue can be generated. On one hand, there are those with travel as part of their job description. Work takes them far and wide, and they naturally require accommodation and nourishment. On the other hand, travel has become synonymous with leisure, and abundant holiday makers and tourists are trotting the globe in search of novel destinations and experiences.

Both ends of the spectrum and all shades in between have developed an expectation of the services with which they will be provided, and the respective businesses have succeeded in matching it. The remarkable thing about the industry today however, is the sheer range of clientele it caters to. Those who desire a luxurious, high-end, and expensive experience can just as easily find a place for fulfilment as those looking for an affordable, efficient and simple one. Where the industry has the most scope, is in businesses which require a service experience.

The fact that an experience is intangible adds to its value and overall influence on peoples’ behavior. A good experience will nudge someone in the direction of reliving it, thereby generating a loyalty to one’s brand or business. On the contrary, a bad experience can just as easily sway someone in the opposite direction. Thus, the success industry heavily relies on customer satisfaction. This, in turn, has amped up the quality of customer service and has broadened the areas into which it is integrated.

The hospitality industry will be in existence so long as people move from one place to another. However, even though the industry is vast and seemingly fool-proof, its success inevitably hinges on the presence of a guest or customer, and their satisfaction with the experience with the service. Thus, ensuring a positive experience and building a strong host-guest relationship is the end goal of hospitality. 

To conclude, is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt- “True hospitality is giving the best of yourself to your guests.”

Isha Sahgal
Student, INLEAD

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