When we tell people about our business, we’re often met with an embarrassed stare and the question “what is hospitality?” Honestly, it’s one of those classic words that a lot of people vaguely understand, but don’t entirely know if they’re right - like crockery, or aperitif. Well, we promise by the end of this article you’ll know exactly what hospitality is (and if you play your cards right, crockery and aperitif too).
If the word “hospitality” conjures up images of air hostesses from the 1950s and perfectly folded napkins, you’re on the right track. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines hospitality as “the act of being friendly and welcoming to guests and visitors” and “food, drink, entertainment, etc. that an organization provides for guests or business partners”.
So, what is hospitality? It’s someone treating you well, whether that’s at a dinner party or a national promotional event.
What Is The Hospitality Industry?
So, we’ve answered the question “what is hospitality”, which leads us to the next question… what is the hospitality industry? The hospitality industry includes any business that focuses on customer satisfaction and offers services or products designed for leisure. The businesses which fall into this category can largely be classified in one of four fields:
Food and Beverage - restaurants, cafes etc
Travel and Tourism - airlines, transfer companies, etc
Lodging - hotels, motels, camping grounds etc
Recreation - cinema, museums, zoos etc
As you can see, working in the hospitality industry doesn’t just mean being an air hostess or serving drinks in a stadium’s corporate box, the roles are just as diverse as the industry itself!
You could be dishing out aperitifs* at a glitzy VIP event, or whipping up a veritable feast in one of London’s best restaurants. Hospitality is all about providing a service for guests and making them feel special.
*Aperitifs are drinks served before a meal.
How To Get Started In Hospitality
Being such a broad field, hospitality is one of the best sectors to get into. Not only are there a huge number of work opportunities, but many of them will allow you to learn on the job, increasing your skills and employability as you go. Of course, there is a downside to hospitality being so popular, in areas like London, competition for these jobs is fierce, meaning many people who are new to the industry don’t get a look in.
So, what’s the best way to get started in hospitality, especially if you’re living in a big city or in an area with lots of competition? Experience. Now, this is a chicken and egg situation, how do you get experience if they’re only offering jobs to people with experience? You have three options:
Apply. Apply. Apply some more. It’s certainly not the easiest option on our list, but if you send your resume to enough potential employers, one might stick. Right? A growing number of graduates and young people are finding out first-hand just how crowded the job market is. This option is still the one most people try at first, but begins to feel a lot like hitting your head against a brick wall.
Start at the bottom. Yep, you may have to start by working ungodly hours and washing crockery*, but by getting your foot in the door, you increase your chances of being considered for other internal vacancies down the line. * Plates, bowls etc, usually ceramic as opposed to fine china.
Take a hospitality training course. Want to skip the “learning on the job” part and get a job that works around you? With hospitality training you can do just that, learning the key skills you need to work in any of London’s most respected hotels or restaurants.
If you’d like to learn about the courses we offer, and how your training might lead you directly into an exciting career in hospitality, you can read more here.