3 Things you probably misunderstood about Hospitality

Wanting to pursue a career in hospitality? Or perhaps you know someone who’s pursuing the course but you believe it’s a huge mistake? Well, before you jump to any conclusions, here are the 3 most common myths held by many in regard to the hospitality field.

MYTH # 1: No specialised training is required to excel in the hospitality sector

A successful career in hospitality requires a significant level of preparation in terms of training, development, and continuous learning. All hospitality jobs, even the simplest ones, require conceptual skills, human skills and technical skills. Imagine if you are working as a restaurant manager. You have an angry customer complaining about why the toast is burnt and would like to see the chef while you have 10 persons waiting in line to be seated. In the meantime, you have five tables yet to be cleaned and you need to allocate your staff who are juggling between cashiering and taking orders at the same time. But again, you have forgotten the bill you promised to bring to a customer and in the midst of all this, you still need to smile so as not to offend the complaining customer. I just mentioned a restaurant scenario did I? This links to another common misconception which is careers in hospitality are limited to just hotels, restaurant, and bars. The sector includes education and training, events, entertainment, recreation, travel, finance/banking as well as culinary arts and tourism ― all of these areas provide excellent and lucrative career paths.

Myth # 2: Hospitality workers are not well paid

There is some truth to this statement, but a half truth is dangerous. The hospitality industry, including the hotel industry, consists of thousands of hotels worldwide and several sub-industries.

Average salaries in the hotel industry is indeed lower but this is due to the large salary discrepancy between basic, entry-level and those in executive management positions. Interns who are students and work for training purposes are paid less. Also, the hotel industry has a limit on part-time employees and daily wage workers. Lastly, a cosmopolitan nature of the industry encourages hotels to import workers from developing and underdeveloped countries at lesser wages. However, at the medium and higher levels, the salaries and perquisites are extremely high.

Myth # 3: Hospitality jobs are for the uneducated

The reason why some people associate the hospitality sector as an uneducated choice is because it is one of the industry where humans interact the most. Therefore, people tend to make quick judgement about it. Customers entering the hotel are greeted by guards, attended by Bell Boys and have their rooms cleaned by Housekeepers, while laundry is collected by Laundry Attendants. If they happen to be in smaller hotels, the perception that is developed creates this myth. We do not often hear people having opinions about the librarian, or the barber who cuts your hair, but when it comes to the service industry, everyone suddenly thinks they are an expert in this field. This can be dangerous because the word of mouth is a powerful tool. However, when opinions are made based on shallow knowledge about the industry, it becomes a reputational nightmare for the hospitality industry.

However, here are the facts.

Good hotel management schools include in their curriculum Business Communication, Geography, Accounting, Human Resource, Marketing, another language etc. Hotel management is a career by choice and there is a rigorous selection process to get into top schools. Yes, like all other industries, even in the hotel industry there are stars and there are duds but that doesn’t mean hotel industry is falling behind in terms of knowledge management.

The phrase “do not join this industry unless it is your own decision,” holds true particularly in this industry. Unless you are willing to make hospitality your way of life, do consider before making the decision.

Jireh Tay

Advanced Diploma in Tourism, Hospitality and Events Management.

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Jireh Tay

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