Basics of Hospitality

  • Definition of hospitality
  • Characteristics of the hospitality industry
  • Scope of Hospitality and Tourism Industry
  • Relationship with other sectors of the tourism industry


Provide overnight accommodation for travelers, dating back to Ancient; it is the oldest commercial business in the world. The guest room is the first part of a private house for hospitality. Then came the caravan and guest accommodation provided by the monastery. Today, accommodation and food service activities play a pivotal role in the economy. A lot of accommodation provides meeting rooms, conference facilities and services, restaurants, bars, entertainment, gift shop, games, fitness club, and other activities and facilities.

Definition of Hospitality

Hospitality is the act of kindness in welcoming and looking after the basic needs of customers or strangers, mainly in relation to food, drink, and accommodation. A contemporary explanation of Hospitality refers to the relationship process between a customer and a host. When we talk about the “Hospitality Industry”, we are referring to the companies or organizations which provide food and/or drink and/or accommodation to people who are “away from home”.

The hospitality is part of the broader service industry, with a focus on leisure rather than more basic needs. The hospitality industry refers to a variety of businesses and services linked to leisure and customer satisfaction. A defining aspect of the hospitality industry is also the fact that it focuses on ideas of luxury, pleasure, enjoyment, and experiences, as opposed to catering for necessities and essentials.

Characteristics of the Hospitality Industry

  • Product-service Mix. In the hotel industry, customers rarely consume pure products, but a mixture of products and services. Tangible functions-for example, steak as a staple food, a glass of wine, well-dressed service staff, and restaurant decoration. Intangible features-for example, a comfortable dining atmosphere, or the friendly attitude of the staff. The successful hotel industry depends not only on its products and services but also on their delivery methods. When making the hospitality experience satisfactory or unsatisfactory, the quality of employees and the way they provide services are usually more important than tangible products. Therefore, these two functions can contribute to the overall experience during service delivery.

  • Two-way Communication. To achieve excellent service In the hotel industry, two-way communication is a key factor that requires the involvement and participation of both customers and service personnel in the process of service provision. Through interaction with customers, it’s important staff can receive news about their needs and expectations. Take immediate action to build customer satisfaction. Interaction between insiders, departments, or inter-department is also important. The client’s experience in using any accommodation or catering services usually involves teamwork and the exchange of information within the organization.

  • Relationship Building. The hospitality industry depends on repeated customers to thrive. Building long-term relationships with customers can benefit the organizations for generating stable revenues regardless of the instability of seasons. Developing brand reputations through positive word-of-mouth of the repeated customers is also essential. To develop brand loyalty, different methods are currently applied by the lodging and food service sectors. Membership programs that give privileges and incentives to frequent customers are among the methods to develop loyalty. Yet, top management of organizations believes that the informal ways of building “friendship” between front-line staff and customers through a high degree of personal attention and customization can win the loyalty of customers in the long run.

  • Diversity in Culture. People involved in this sector, either customers or staff, are experiencing diversity in culture through interacting with others. Staff who work in a hospitality organization always have interactions with customers from different regions or work. Some may also differ in cultures and backgrounds. Due to their differences in religious beliefs and values, some conflicts and misunderstandings can easily occur. Thus, staff should be open-minded and come up with solutions for all parties in resolving problems in their duties.

  • Labor Intensive. The hospitality industry requires a huge supply of labor to create a memorable experience for customers. This characteristic is especially true for those enterprises which target high-ended customers. Although the advancement in technology does contribute to the replacement of some simple tasks in the whole service process, customers who concern the element of ‘care’ generally expect a high degree of human contacts and personalized services in their consumption experiences. It explains why the industry is always in high demand for labor. The hospitality industry is willing to spend time and resources in training and recruiting potential candidates to join its workforce.

Scope of Hospitality and Tourism Industry

Food Service

The food and beverage sector which is professionally known by its initials as F&B is the largest segment of the hospitality industry. It comprises establishments primarily engaged in preparing meals, snacks, and beverages for immediate consumption on and off the premises. When a restaurant is part of a hotel, the services it renders can enhance the guest experience by providing excellent food and first-class customer service.


Travel and tourism deal with services related to moving people from place to place. Buses, cabs, planes, ships, trains, and so on are all part of the travel industry. Leisure travel is when a person spends money on lodging, food, and recreation while taking a vacation trip, and business travel is when a person travels for work and spends money on lodging and food. Some people also spend on recreation while on a business trip. The major function of tourism is to encourage people to travel. When people travel, either for business or leisure, they spend money on hospitality. `


Accommodation refers to a place where you can sleep for a period of time or one or more nights. High-end hotels, youth hostels, senior hotels, campgrounds, motels, and other companies that provide accommodation for people to spend the night belong to the accommodation industry. 


Recreation is any activity that people do for rest, relaxation, and enjoyment. The goal of recreation is to refresh a person's body and mind. Any business that provides activities for rest, relaxation and enjoyment, to refresh a person's body and mind is in the recreation business.

Entertainment businesses that provide shows such as movies or theater, attractions which are places of special interest or visits such as zoos and museums, spectator sports, and participatory sports are all parts of the recreation business.

Relationship with other Sectors Within the Hospitality Industry
1. Accommodation

The accommodation sector of the hospitality industry is concerned with providing customers with a place to stay, on a temporary basis. It is most commonly associated with the tourism industry, where people book holidays or trips and require lodgings, but the accommodation sector also caters to local people seeking a short break from their everyday routine, or those who require temporary accommodation for almost any other purpose.
Bed & Breakfasts

Bed & breakfasts, also known as B&Bs, are small establishments, which offer overnight stays and breakfast in the morning. Most B&Bs owners live in the property, while guests are provided with a private room and, in most cases, they will also have a private or en suite bathroom. However, bathroom facilities are sometimes shared.

Arguably the most obvious form of accommodation that falls within the hospitality industry, hotels cater to people who require overnight or longer-term stays. Aside from offering lodgings, they tend to provide various other services, including room service, housekeeping, and facilities for eating and drinking.

Motels are similar to hotels but are specifically designed for use as overnight accommodation by motorists. With this in mind, they are generally situated at the roadside, and will have free car parking facilities. Unlike hotels, however, motels usually offer little in the way of additional services or amenities.

Hostels are a form of communal accommodation, where multiple guests will usually sleep in a shared room, with the guests effectively renting a bed. Bathroom and kitchen facilities are usually shared and hostels offer less privacy than hotels. Yet, they are usually significantly cheaper, making them a solid option for those with a low budget.

A resort is similar to a hotel, but it will provide a wider range of facilities and amenities. This means that guests are able to access sleeping facilities, food and drink facilities, entertainment facilities, shopping facilities and other amenities without needing to leave the resort. Many resorts also offer all-inclusive pricing.
Serviced Apartments

Another form of accommodation that shares similarities with hotels, serviced apartments are self-contained units, which are supplied for either short-term or long-term stays. These apartments will typically be fully furnished, will contain a kitchen, and may include various hotel-like services, such ass laundry and cleaning.
Time Sharing

Finally, time shared accommodation is a type of accommodation where ownership or usage rights are shared between multiple people. It may be a house, condo, or similar type of property and each owner will typically be allocated a particular time of the year where they will have right of use.

2. Food & Drinks

While food and drinks are necessities, most food and drinks services also fall under the hospitality industry umbrella, due to the fact that they offer people a way of spending their leisure time and disposable income, as well as an opportunity to socialise and enjoy an experience. Again, the food and drinks sector caters to a wide range of customers, including tourists, locals, ex-pats and passers-by.

Restaurants provide customers with food and drinks services, with the food either being eaten in the establishment, or taken away for consumption. This section of the hospitality industry includes fine dining restaurants, takeaway restaurants, fast food restaurants and a variety of other restaurant types.

Catering services are food services provided within a particular site, or in a more remote location, where food and drink are not necessarily the main service provided. Examples of this include catering provided at parks, arenas, stadiums, hotels, event venues and on certain forms of public transport.
Bars & Cafés

Bars and cafés provide customers with options to go out, socialise and enjoy food and drinks. They also tend to be a more casual option than most sit-in restaurants. Cafés generally focus on coffee, tea and light snacks, while bars tend to prioritise alcoholic drinks and soft drinks, and may also offer additional entertainment.

Nightclubs are one of the main ways the hospitality industry caters to people in search of night-time entertainment. They serve alcoholic drinks, are kept open until late, and often place an emphasis on both music and dancing. Many nightclubs have specific themes and they may cater to locals, as well as visitors or tourists.
Tea & Coffee Shops

Tea rooms and coffee shops provide a similar function to cafés, primarily serving varieties of tea and coffee, as the name suggests. With that being said, tea and coffee shops are often individual rooms within larger buildings, such as hotels, and they may also sell products to be taken away, such as tea bags and coffee beans.

3. Travel and Tourism

It is important to understand that the hospitality industry and the travel industry are closely linked. Many of the services that are classed as travel industry offerings are also hospitality offerings because they are linked to leisure, customer satisfaction, pleasure, experiences, and the use of disposable income. Importantly, the cross-over between the tourism industry and the hospitality industry centers on services, rather than end-products.
Travel Agents

Essentially, travel agents serve to sell travel products to customers, on behalf of suppliers. They will often receive a commission for successful sales and can be a convenient option for inexperienced travelers, providing them with advice on the best travel products for their particular needs.
Tour Operators

A tour operator offers a combination of travel and tour products, combining them into a package, which is then sold to customers. This might, for instance, include travel to a destination, transfers from a hotel or train station to a hotel, as well a number of trips, activities, or experiences throughout the customer’s stay.

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

Online travel agents, or OTAs, perform many of the same functions as traditional travel agents, albeit over the internet. However, the use of online platforms means customers often have access to a greater level of self-service, with the OTAs helping users to search for the travel products that best suit their requirements.

Cruises are voyages on cruise ships, undertaken for pleasure, rather than for the sole purpose of transportation. A cruise may have various stops along the way, but passengers will spend the vast majority of their time aboard the cruise ship, which will provide them with lodgings, entertainment, catering, and more.
Car Rental

Car rental services cater to customers who require short-term access to a car. In many cases, these services are used by tourists traveling to other parts of the world, although some locals may also wish to rent a car, especially if they do not have regular access to one, or if they require a larger number of passenger seats.

Finally, a casino is an entertainment establishment, which provides customers with opportunities to gamble. These gambling opportunities are predominantly offered via luck-based games. In addition to the gambling component, many casinos also stage live performances, offer food and drinks, and are connected to hotels.