Top 10 Skills Needed for the Hospitality Industry

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The hospitality industry includes roles in the hotel, food and beverage areas and it’s one of the biggest industries in the UK. Some of the most popular career choices for this field include tour guides, event planners, chefs and cruise ship staff. There are many skills required to become successful in any one of these roles, but what is perhaps the most important skill is your ability to put a smile on your customers’ face and meet their expectations.

To help you determine whether you possess the skills to become successful in a role in this field, we’ve put together a list of the key skills needed for the hospitality industry which include attention to detail, teamwork and commitment.

10. Cultural Awareness

Most of the customers in this industry are tourists; you’ll be required to work with people from different cultural backgrounds. Your ability to be culturally aware and get past your own cultural norms is crucial to building a successful career.

Your customers will not always share the same values, belief systems and perceptions so it’s important to break free from cultural barriers and help your customers feel more comfortable. The goal is to make them so happy that they’ll want to come back, so ensure that you’ve taken all measures required.

9. Multitasking

One of the reasons why this industry is so difficult to work in is because it’s almost always hectic. There’s no such thing as a quiet day in the office and whether multitasking makes you less or more productive is irrelevant as you’ll be forced to do it anyway. One of your chief objectives should be to become a master of multitasking.

You’ll need to be able to juggle many things simultaneously, while you should also be able to complete each task you are assigned. Your ability to multitask may be one of the most important skills you can possess in this industry, so I strongly suggest that you try and master this skill as early as possible. To do that you should consider getting a job while studying, while you should also challenge yourself to take on more than one responsibility at the same time.

8. Can-do Attitude

One of the most important skills in the tourism industry is to be able to make customers feel that they can rely on you to make them happy. To do that you need a can-do attitude that will make everyone feel at ease with you. A great tip is to remember that feeling enthusiastic about your job, instead of being sour, will help everyone feel happier. There are lots of tricks you use to help you stay positive, but the most effective one is to make your own personal rewards system. That will help keep you going even on days when you don’t really feel like catering to anyone’s needs.

7. Commitment

Commitment can be a vital skill in the hospitality industry as it what can determine success. Many people start out enthusiastic, but as they don’t realise that this field can be exceptionally demanding, get bored quickly and fail to understand that their job is to keep clients happy no matter the cost. These individuals never make it past entry-level jobs because they don’t have what is needed to succeed and what is needed is for you to be committed to serving your clients in the best way possible.

6. Language Skills

Although not always required, language skills are a bonus in this field because they allow you to be better able to communicate with your clients. Even if you work in a restaurant that only locals frequent, language skills will help you win points with your manager, who will be much more willing to move you into a more responsible position sooner rather than later. Language skills can also help you build better relationships with customer and can prove to be invaluable in the long run.

5. Organisational Skills

As we discussed earlier, working in the various tourism professions of the hospitality industry means that you are required to multitask very often. One of the best qualities you could possess that would allow you to do that effectively is organisation. Being able to prove that you have excellent organisational skills won’t only be a great boost to your CV and an attribute that will attract employers, but it can also be a quality that will let you be better at your job.

Organisational skills can be acquired with careful planning, so I’d advise that you start planning your day ahead and keeping a checklist of things you need to do.

4. Flexibility

Jobs in hospitality rarely keep office hours, most of them require professionals to work odd hours, so you need to be prepared to keep different hours than the rest of the workforce.  It’s essential that you’re also flexible in the way you work. Professionals in this field need to tackle a lot of things and are often required to drop one task to start a new one. You need to be the kind of person who’s ready at a moment’s notice to switch gears and take on different tasks.

3. Communication Skills

Exceptional communication skills highly valued in most industries, but it is imperative to have this skill set when working in hospitality and tourism. Each day you could be faced with people from a variety of backgrounds, ages, nationalities and temperaments; it important that you can communicate in a way that represents the business while also speaking to customers in a way that they can relate to.

2. Building Connections

One of the key skills needed in the hospitality industry is to be able to effectively network. Unlike many other professions, networking in this field is not just a way to move your career forth; rather it’s a way to encourage your clients to continue to come back. Building a loyal clientele who is interested in returning to the hotel/restaurant/tour will help raise your popularity, and in the long run, it will also help your career.

Of course, it’s also important to be able to prove that your customers are returning thanks to the relationship you’ve cultivated with them. Learning to use language that employers love, phrases such as client management and guest relations during your interviews can really make a difference.

1. Customer Service

If there’s one thing that can make or break you in this industry it’s the ability to meet customer expectations. It’s your job to ensure that your guests have a great time and that there’s nothing to worry about. Excellent customer service skills are all about understanding the customer’s needs and being able to cater to them. To hone your skills try practising more empathy and compassion.


The hospitality industry can be very interesting if you’re the sort of person who enjoys interacting with other people. Find out if you have the necessary skill set by taking an aptitude test.

What other skills do you think are important in this field? Let me know in the comments section below.

This article was originally published in March 2015.