I recently shared my definitions of the word HOSPITALITY in a column published in this online service and asked readers to contribute their definitions.
The response was very positive and I am pleased to share a sampling of the responses from a diversity of people and places.
Defining Hospitality My original article included personal and professional reflections as follows:
- Hospitality is much more than a word today. It has become an industry that runs the danger of becoming too high tech, with too little high touch.
- Hospitality should have many adjectives, but many of us cannot precisely define it.
- Hospitality means providing service to others, yet not being cast as a servant.
- Adjectives that should apply to Hospitality include: Attentive, courteous, amiable, cordial, agreeable, gracious and welcoming.
- Hospitality also means demonstrating consistent excellence and quality in people skills (staff and guests), product and ambiance. It should also mean profitably providing value and worth at any price level, while demonstrating your own unique points of distinction.
- Hospitality should be smiles, trust, caring and sharing your operation's success, regardless of you job title. Most of all, Hospitality should be a "place", where people can still be exceptional individuals, where they can extend their own personality and style.
- Hospitality is a place and a feeling where one can build their own self-esteem and pride, by providing positive memories and experiences to our guests.
Reader input came in from many different people. There were definitions from people relatively new to the industry and from seasoned veterans. Some were individual operators and others who managed companies and multiple brands. There were educators and there were those who supported the industry.Enjoy their reflections and definitions of Hospitality.
A shared definition from a relatively new Director of Sales and Catering and one of his sales managers
Hospitality is "Providing your guest with the same amount of attention and service as you would expect if you were in their shoes." Jed Arrogante Director of Sales and Catering and Angela Hueth , Sales Manager - The Westgate Hotel, San Diego , California
From a resource that works with many family owned hotels and companies
"When it comes to hospitality my thoughts drift toward Marriott. Based upon my travels of 23 years plus throughout the United States of America, Europe, Scandinavian countries, Caribbean Islands, etc., the following are my thoughts on hospitality. Hospitality is - To be invited and made to feel genuinely welcomed and relaxed. To be treated with a disposition of cordiality, reception and support. To be professionally guided by the host to meet and exceed the guest's expectations. -Mike Henning, Founder and President Henning Family Business Center Effingham, IL
From a lifetime career hotelier who operates in multiple locations and continents
"Hospitality is being a Service provider. A Hotelier taking care of their guests is like a Doctor treating, caring, comforting and thinking about the well being of their patients. Manhar P. (M.P.) Rama, CHA, Chief Operating Officer JHM Hotels, Greenville, SC
From an industry professional now in academia:
"For me Hospitality is defined as "self discovery." This might sound trite, but it is based on the tenet that as humans we need other people who allow us to discover our strengths and weaknesses. So, hospitality provides the medium for us to explore different places, culture and things."
Jennifer Calhoun MBA, CHE, Assistant Professor/Director, Hospitality and Tourism Institute (HTI), Prince George's Community College, Largo, Maryland
From a professional who has worked with a major hotel brand in support services, central reservations delivery and as liaison between hotel owners and the brand:
"To me, hospitality is about exuding warmth....genuine care....an innkeeper showing pride and sincere offering of their "space"...Me casa su casa." - Shannon Evans, Manager, Strategic Planning, Phoenix AZ
From a well known and established training resource
"Hospitality is treating others with warmth and generosity, authentically! "
Doug Kennedy, President and Founder, Kennedy Training Network , Hollywood, FL
From an International Executive Search Group
"Hospitality requires a Passion for serving"
Phillip Alfus , President and CEO, The Alfus Group, , New York, NY
From a franchisorHere is the definition of Hospitality I generally use:
"Hospitality is providing outstanding hotels with exceptional associates, for ecstatic guests and delivering defined optimum results in profitability to the owners and investors."
Ramesh Gokal, CHA President & COO VISTA INNS Murfreesboro, TN
From a leading educator at one of the largest hospitality programs anywhere with multiple campuses and specialties:
"I have been teaching this subject for a number of year and find that people try to put it in a small box. I suggest and finally have resolved to use the following:Hospitality - The care and feeding, and their supporters who care, for people away from home. This really does expand the skills and knowledge of where our students may eventually find themselves - Vast areas that many may not have thought that really belongs to hospitality . Originally, I used just the Care of Feeding of People away from Home.
I have since amended it to include those people who are the suppliers, association groups etc. -An interesting exercise is to divide groups of students into their areas of interest- hotel- food- Travel and tourism- and Sports, event and meetings- Let them then define the different aspect, segmentation etc. and when finished put it all on the board. Most students have never thought their options were so vast or that the skills and knowledge and attributes we teach are transferable across all of these options. "
Caroline A. Cooper, CHA, Ed.D, Executive Director, Business & Hospitality Relations, Johnson and Wales University, Providence, RI . Dr. Cooper is also the current chair of the AH&LA Educational Institute's Certification Commission.
From a European based industry consultant:
"As your article leads to express, there may be many definitions of Hospitality. Some may be more meaningful to the customer; some other, more meaningful to the professional. I wish to contribute with a couple, addressed to the professionals:Hospitality is to create a working atmosphere that empowers and motivates "front liners" to furnish guests with a memorable experience. Hospitality may be obtained by creating a wise combination of three crucial elements: a well conceived architecture in the largest sense; the design of an operational concept that may fulfill all expectations; and a human factor with the attitude and proven aptitudes to deliver excellence. "
Jean-Claude Koster, CHA, EHL, Président, Koster Associates, Consultants to the hospitality Industry, Madrid - SpainFrom several global hoteliers in property management
From South Korea:Here is my (quick) definition of Hospitality:
H = home: the original ‘Public House' was exactly that: a house where the inn-keeper welcomed strangers to stay with him: at a (fair) rate
O = openness: a place where one is welcomed with openness: genuine and caring
S = secure: where you are ensured that you can indeed sleep without a worry
P = peaceful: in order to be refreshed upon departure
I = intelligent: a place where they have given your stay more than a good thought
T = trust: the re-assurance that you are ‘not taken for a ride'
A = able: where there are ‘able' men (and women) there to serve you
L = listen: where one is being listened to
I = informative: where you can gather news and information as well as share it
T = together: in the sharing warmth of other travelers and providers
Y = YOU: are our Number One: the Guest
Jean Keijdener, Country General Manager, Executive Office, Somerset Palace, Seoul, South Korea
From Myanmar-Hospitality means patient listening and understanding of people's feeling and desire. Hospitality is no religion, no nationality and no border.
Zay Ya Min Din, Managing Director Amazing Hotels and Resorts, Yan Yangon, Myanmar
From Kenya"I would like to agree with your definitions of hospitality. My definition is simple - it is the offering of kind reception, accommodation and entertainment to a stranger, a friend or a partner in business".
David Opele, Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya
From China " Greetings from the Ancient City of China, Xi'an. My definition for hospitality will be "providing local knowledge to our customers"," gracious good bye", "knowing the culture of each individual".
Jim Khoo, General Manager, Holiday Inn Xi'an Greenland Century City (Pre-opening Office), West High-tech Development Zone , Xian , PR China
From a recent international hospitality school graduateOne can notice that hospitality may have two different meanings.
The first one from the point of view of the guest and the second one from the point of view of the service provider or the so called the server. A guest would define 'hospitality' as a process which takes place in a hotel, restaurant etc. where he/ she receives' a service that is beyond his/ her expectations. However on the other hand a server may define 'hospitality' as a simple process in which they can impress the guests without putting one's life in danger. For example if a server just smiles when he/ she serving the guests he/ she can count himself/ herself in the good books of the guests.
Utsav Arora, Graduate of International Hotel Management Institute, Lucerne, Switzerland. He is currently living in India and planning to open a restaurant there.
From a career professional serving the industry as a sales resource and trainer for several major brands:
"Hospitality necessitates an ongoing humility from us, the practitioners. It requires our natural instincts of being right to become deferential to our guests and our prospects. To these people, it should convey a feeling of safety from a physical AND an emotional perspective. Hospitality is the reason my business card is replete with all lower case letters out of respect to the capital letters in my life (my clients)."
ed. iannarella, president, stonehenge consulting group lancaster, pa. relocating to Ft Myers, FL late 2008
From their web sites
- At Renard, customer service is not a "Department" it's an "Attitude"! Sylvia Menezes, Senior Consultant RENARD INTERNATIONAL HOSPITALITY SEARCH CONSULTANTS Toronto, Ontario , Canada
- Fundamentals of Resort Hospitality: Delivering Welcome-Home Ambiance "Managing resorts is really about creating incredible experiences. It's ensuring every owner and guest enjoys special moments, high-touch service, and quality vacation time. Resort management does encompass budget, reserve funds, board management, and all the other back-office functions that are integral to success. But you can have it all and still not deliver the hospitable environment that creates and maintains your relationships with your team members, customers, and owners. Front-line team members make or break your hospitality. Service is all about actions-but it's also ambiance. It means that special touch, as well as consistent behavior and standards. It means intuitively anticipating a guest's need for quality that you can directly control and develop among your team members. Practicing a common-sense approach to providing remarkable vacations can be done at all levels, every day, and in every action."
My personal thank you to the readers who took the time to share their thoughts - the insights are meaningful and cross cultural boundaries.