The Modern Hospitality Industry
Charting the shape, evolution and structure of hospitality today.
A comprehensive insight into the hospitality industry is presented based on textbooks, professional accounts, industry speeches and media articles. Its size, scope, structure and setup is examined with distinction drawn between service and commercial sectors. Staff and consumer demographics are discussed in the context of how the former serves the latter. The role of the hospitality manager is explained.
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“the essence of the hospitality phenomenon...is characterised by a reciprocally beneficial two-way process that takes place within three distinct, and separate, contexts: domestic, civil and commercial.”
O’Gorman’s 2010 text traces hospitality’s history across cultures and nations, charting the influence of transport and industrial revolutions, changing inter-state relations and economic structures. The nature, type, pricing bands and locations of service businesses has evolved alongside transformations of society but the key tenet of hospitality has forever been the act of offering shelter, respite and welcome to others.
“Look(ing) after guests well out of genuine concern for their happiness and charg(ing) them reasonably...can be called hospitable”
(Lashley and Morrison (eds.), 2000:45, cited in Slattery, P. 2002.)
From its origins, when payment was optional, hospitality has burgeoned into a multi-national, billion-dollar industry spanning numerous sectors with vast economic and social influence, affecting many areas of industry, commerce, social and international relations.
The Modern Hospitality Industry
A Deloitte study of July 2010 showed that in 2009 the visitor economy contributed £52 billion to UK GDP (equivalent to 4%) and concluded that after being offset against infrastructure impacts and compensations, tourism-related revenues actually contributed 8.9% of UK GDP.
“The hospitality industry (is) considered to include, but not be limited to, hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, entertainment venues, fast-food outlets, leisure venues, cafe ́s, events, food-services, resorts, cruise ships, indeed almost anywhere you can have a good time and there is some relationship with food, drink or facilities.”
(Williams, 2002, p. 24)
Hospitality today encompasses over 14 different sectors and 80 different job types. Sizes range from small, individual venues (80% employ fewer than 5 people) to huge multinational, multiple-service establishments, global corporations such as Hilton Worldwide or Marriott Hotels exist alongside small start-ups, often not in direct competition but instead providing contrasting services to a consumer demographic that is as broad as the multitude of establishments available.
Hospitality’s ‘Service Sector’ comprises non-profit-making businesses including schools, hospitals, prisons, care homes, company cafeterias and staff canteens. As non-commercial ventures they must conform to budget limitations and often strict bureaucratic requirements regarding health and safety, supplier guidelines and stringent nutritional standards. Produce is subsidised by governments or businesses and any profits are reinvested within the business. The service sector customer (i.e. the financier) is different from the consumer (i.e. those served). Its challenge lies in dovetailing these conflicting needs to provide satisfactory hospitality to the consumer within the...