5 Qualities the Best People in Hospitality Have in Common
From the line-level to the executive level, there are five qualities that the best people in hospitality have in common. For the employer, the next time you are hiring for a hospitality professional use this list to shape your interview questions. For candidates seeking a career in hospitality, do some self-reflection on these attributes to ensure you will be fulfilled in the hospitality industry.
- Friendly. Being friendly, often translates into being courteous and hospitable. This seems obvious, but you would be surprised how many people in the hospitality industry do not like people, in general. When I am interviewing someone over the phone I am listening to see if I “hear” them smiling during our conversation. In person, this is a bit easier. Is the candidate’s “resting face” a smile? It doesn’t have to be for the entire conversation, but for a good part of it. I want to understand that friendliness just exudes from their person because when a guest is standing in front of them or yelling at them over the phone—a friendly smile can go a long way to diffuse the situation. If the team member is the least bit warm, then any issue becomes less personal and the guest is much more willing to be reasonable.
Think about the best hospitality experience you have enjoyed. Disney is credited often for creating unbelievable guest
experiences largely due to their castmates caring and friendly attitudes. The “Happiest Place on Earth” can not afford to have
castmates that are not hospitable, and neither can you.
- Humility. What does humility have to do with hospitality you may ask? A person who is humble has the capacity to be service-oriented. Their perspective is to seek to understand the other person which makes the individual a better teammate, leader and communicator. They lack the insufferable pride where being right is what motivates them. They can also put their own ego aside because they are more concerned with making the guest happy, compromising for the sake of the team and leading by example.
Books have been written about practicing humility in the workplace and its benefits. Many of the most influential leaders in the
world are credited with this quality and hospitality is no exception. Founders of major hospitality brands like Marriott and
Hilton grew from humble beginnings and these leaders never forgot this. Bill Marriott, Jr. credits his father’s humility as what launched Hot Shoppes into the Marriott International of today.
- Curiosity that motivates investigation, a thirst for knowledge, a lust for learning. This is the quality that is the birth of innovation. It is more than just being curious—it is the kind of curiosity that propels action. This type of curiosity more than the child that asks “Why?” a hundred times a day!
Hospitality is an ever-changing industry. It is not stagnant, so we need individuals that are constantly wanting to know more
and exploring possibilities. It is also an industry servicing people—so as the currents of individual’s expectations change, we
must adjust to exceed those expectations. This type of curiosity can be seen in team members that are excited to learn
something new and are open to new ideas.
As technology improves every element of our lives, the best hospitality leaders are like great conductors. They have a desire to
understand how all the instruments play individually (i.e., departments or team members) to make an orchestra.
Fast Company credits Delta Airlines as one of the most innovative airlines because of their use of technology to improve their
One of the most respected hoteliers, Horst Schulze, has built brands and defined what a luxury hotel experience should be for
our industry. His vision for Ritz Carlton literally shaped service excellence in hospitality and beyond and he supports others
quest for learning in his Master Class series. For those that are looking to satisfy this quest there are so many hospitality
courses and training offered online now that satisfying this quality is so much easier. Accelerate eLearning is a prime example
of hospitality training that is available today for hoteliers.
- Imaginative. Many of the things that have revolutionized hospitality were born from imagination like the birth of online travel agencies and companies like Airbnb. This individual is going to work on a problem until it is solved. They are creative, innovative and see problems as opportunities to exude great guest service. Imaginative individuals are the team members that will find efficiencies in any process and help the team be more effective. They think outside of the box and don’t understand the word “no”, they push through for the yes. Companies will not survive without team members at every level that are tackling problems and turning those solutions into competitive advantages.
- Dependable. This is the most overlooked qualities at every level. Whatever the position in hospitality, not possessing this quality is a deal-breaker. Do you want to hire a housekeeper or a night auditor that isn’t dependable? Do you want to work for a leader who isn’t trustworthy? We all need to be team members that do what we say and keep our commitments. This is a quality of employees that care. If they are dependable, they likely will exude responsibility as well.
Responsible means “worthy of one’s trust.” Brands, like Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites have been built upon this premise
alone. No matter which city, or country, guests know what to expect from these brands. Their customers are so loyal because
these brands don’t disappoint.
The next time you sit down to interview a candidate, or as you look to enter the hospitality field, consider these non-negotiable
Vice President of Business Development, Jacaruso Enterprises
February 25, 2021
Amanda Nicholas, VP of Business Development, of Jacaruso Enterprises helped develop and launch a hotel training platform focused on revenue results, Accelerate eLearning.