The Contemporary Hospitality Industry
Scale, Scope and Diversity
The hospitality industry comprises of all business organisations and individual entities providing services and facilities that are relevant to the concept of hospitality. Therefore, the term implies that the industry includes entities that offer food, beverages, accommodation and contact catering as well as events hosting and other entertainment services and facilities across the globe (Clarke & Chen 2009). Initially, the industry mainly recognised the full time providers of services and facilities; but currently, the contract catering companies also are a major part of the business. The industry is very diverse, constituting hotels, restaurants, casinos, pubs and bars, amusement parks, canteens, clubs and catering contractors as well as events management organisations. It is evident that the contemporary hospitality industry is wide in its scope and diversity. The market employs a large number of people globally, most of whom are in the service industry serving in one capacity or another. Regarding the industry’s scale, it must be noted that tourism is among the highest earners in most countries. Moreover, the hospitality industry plays a significant role in tourism development. Being in the business of attracting, accommodating and entertaining guests, the hospitality industry contributes significantly to the national and the international economy at large by not only creating jobs, but also encouraging foreign exchange through tourism (O’Fallon & Rutherford 2011).
There are numerous types of hospitality organisations ranging from restaurants to bars and hotels. A restaurant is an establishment that offers meals and drinks as well as different forms of entertainment to the customers. As such, the organisational structure within a restaurant must consider one important aspect, which is that employees interact directly with the customers on a consistent basis. Therefore, the workers must be able to solve any problematic situations as they occur. The strategy implies having an innovative structure where the employees can make decisions that affect or apply to their specific roles and responsibilities within the establishment (Yang 2009). Thus, there is a set of guiding rules and policies but the employees are also expected to think in response to a situation and formulate practical solutions for the challenges. However, the employees are also supervised closely by their superiors, since workers have to take responsibility for all of their actions.
In the bar, the environment is innovative and interactive. The bar employees need to be able to offer not only adequate but also relevant service to their clientele. As a result, there is a need to understand the target market and the current customers that the company serves.
However, there also is an emphasis on the ability of the employees to interact with the clients. The personal communication calls for a need for a customized approach to individual situation. The supervisors mainly offer guidance, but the employees are expected to fulfil the organisation’s set standards and business philosophy in order to achieve their goals and objectives. The hotel is somewhat different in that the interactions between the employees and the customers are rather dictated by company policies. Hotels mostly offer accommodation among other services. Therefore, the facilities need to be immaculate in their operations. In order to achieve excellence, there is often a need for really close supervision and the formulation of a comprehensive guide for the employees to avoid failing the customers, and thus losing business (Lockyer 2008).
Role of Hospitality Related Organisations and Professional Bodies
Like any other industry, the hospitality industry is seen as a dynamic one with a lot of professions involved. Therefore, there is a need for various professional associations and unions to moderate the industry. Similarly to the other industries, professional fellowship is just as important in the hospitality industry owing to a number of reasons. The hospitality business had at some point suffered a limitation in terms of qualified skilled labour (Ford, Sturman & Heaton 2011). As such, the available specialists were prompted to form professional associations that would market their expertise and thus encourage more people to train and practice in the respective field. Therefore, the principle implies that the first role of professional bodies within the industry is to encourage new talent to promote a better quality of services for the customers.
Other than just developing the field, professional bodies within the hospitality sector must ensure that employers know their value. Another factor is that the employers should appreciate workers. Even though the workers in the industry are not known to strike or hold demonstrations like their counterparts in manufacturing, mining and retail chains, they also often need to be heard by their employees. An open door policy is usually in the blue print of an organisational structure within the hospitality industry; but it is not always as easy to implement it.
Each sector within the hospitality industry has its own set of staffing requirements based on the kind of work that is done within the organisation in (Dowling et el., 2010). For example, the food sector is mainly interested in individuals who have a good background in preparing, serving and in some cases preserving food. The job description implies a need for experience and versatility in as far as the food industry is concerned. Customers enjoy being told about the meals that they intend to indulge in, especially if the menu is exotic and thus comes with a fascinating background. Therefore, the restaurants require employees not only with a talent in cooking, but also with good interpersonal relationship skills and general enthusiasm for helping people (Boella & Goss-Turner 2013). The hotels, on the other hand, need to accommodate their clients and ensure that they are comfortable. Therefore, they should be able to offer the best ambience for a guest, not only by ensuring that all the facilities are in good working condition but also through friendly and helpful atmosphere for the clients at all times. The hotels require a good number of welcoming and cooperative staff members in the front office, hosting, room service and housekeeping, IT and even accounting. The bars and night clubs generally need sharp people to serve not only as waiters and bartenders but also as security, management and event marketing. The idea of bar management is to ensure that the organisation is always at its best in terms of customer service and safety, since the bar scene is not often known for being a calm one.
Roles, Responsibilities and Qualifications in the Hospitality Industry
The first general responsibility of employees in the hospitality industry is providing relevant and effective service to the customers. The staff members have to be knowledgeable and approachable within their respective professional areas (Boella & Goss-Turner 2013). The basic qualifications that are required include the ability and willingness to learn. Employees may need to have some academic or practical background in a specific field, but the most important qualification is communication abilities to interact with the customers in a way that is helpful and welcoming. Another major consideration in terms of the roles and responsibilities in the hospitality industry regards ensuring the safety of the customers. In any establishment, customers are likely to come if they are assured of their safety. Thus, the industry generally requires individuals who are able to look out for the safety of others. It can be noted that most organisations within the industry have training programs for safety and a set of security regulations that guide the staff members (Boella & Goss-Turner 2013). Therefore, it follows that in order for one to qualify for a job in the hospitality industry, they should have the ability to recognise danger. Moreover, they should offer protection not only to themselves, but also to others in the trouble in sight. The customers need to know that they are being watched over in case anything goes wrong, and thus the employees in the industry should be able to ensure that the customers are safe. Safety in hospitality setting could imply protection from food poisoning, allergies, theft of personal property, and terrorism among others. The employees have to be alert and well informed on matters of security. Finally, it can also be mentioned that the industry appreciates versatility.
Operational, Managerial and Legislative Issues Resulting From Recent Developments Affecting the Hospitality Industry
The hospitality industry has also been affected by the technological advancements like the rest of the world. Thus, the industry has encountered operational issues like the use of technology in most of their processes from marketing to making reservations and collecting feedback from the clients (Hayes & Miller, 2010). It is noted that the hospitality industry today needs more people on board in the management capacity compared to the staffing needs in the administrative teams. As such, all the employees within the organisation must have some expertise in providing services and interacting with the customers at a personal level. Another operational issue is that the businesses within the industry have to adapt to the consistently changing demand. Customers are very dynamic owing to their exposure to cosmopolitan and consumerist cultures. As a result, the organisations in the hospitality sector need to be versatile to change with the demand and remain relevant to their customers.
Regarding managerial issues, it can be appreciated that among other things, the hospitality industry is a difficult to manage. The managers in hotels, bars and restaurants are not in any responsible for communication with the customers; they also rely on their subordinates to do the work. As such, it can be understood that the employees have more power in the end. Moreover, they determine how well the company will perform based on the training of employees and service quality delivered to the customers. The industry has been forced to introduce significant managerial practices that are aimed at ensuring that the employees are willing and able to serve the customers well. Participative and transformational leadership practices, an innovative and yet also bureaucratic corporate culture, as well as employee motivation practices have been employed in order to combat the disconnection in the industry (Uysal & Williams 2013). Managers have to contend with the fact that the employees are interacting with the customers directly; thus, they hold the company in their hands. The fact means that the best way to ensure that the set goals and objectives are achieved is to keep employees are content with their job duties. Another managerial issue in the hospitality industry has been the concept of employee relations with relevance to the industry. Human capital management is a topical change in the present times. Thus, the human resource in the industry also embraced the concept of managing talent rather than just assigning tasks.
The only legal issue here is the idea of a minimum wage. Initially, employees in the industry received some of the lowest wages possible. Thus, the employees were very limited in terms of their finances. However, with favourable legislation minimum wage has been increasing consistently in almost all parts of the world. Also, the industry is forced to comply and raise the wages of their employees. The change may have some disadvantages for the organisations in the business. Mainly, the wage distribution benefits companies by ensuring that the employees are able to concentrate on their work rather than worrying about their financial situation with the high cost of living (Green & Lomanno 2012).
Current Image of the Hospitality Industry
The hospitality industry is very wide in its scope, covering hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, canteens, amusements parks and casinos among other facilities. Therefore, there are many elements to be considered when looking at the image of the industry. However, it can be noted that most people would regard the industry as a refuge, where they go to relax or hide away from the challenges in their lives. They expect to be treated well, and even pampered in some cases. The fact that the industry is consistently growing implies the business is developing; and the demand is growing (Zainal et al 2012). With technology, the industry has been able to meet the expectations and needs of the customers effectively without compromising on their sustainable profitability. The industry is currently characterised by glamorous establishments in impressive locations, as well as immaculately dressed staff with an impeccable smile and a welcoming poise (Chen, Sloan & Legrand 2010). Therefore, the customers continue to expect only the best in terms of service within the hospitability industry.