While ‘hard’ management skills, such as accounting and financial analysis, are essential for successful hospitality and tourism management, ‘soft’ skills are paramount in what is first and foremost a people business.
The hospitality industry is labor-intensive, requiring extensive soft skills from employees. These skills involve direct interaction with clients and the management of teams whose goal is to satisfy customers.
Here are 10 essential soft skills that all future hospitality and tourism managers should master:
1. Networking skills
The ability to network effectively is one of the key skills needed in the hospitality industry. In this field, networking is not about job-hopping but rather about stimulating repeat business from customers. Building a loyal clientele interested in returning to the hotel/restaurant/tour will, in the long run, also enhance one’s career. Of course, it’s also important to be able to demonstrate to employers that customers are returning thanks to the relationship cultivated with them. Learning to use language that employers like to hear, such as ‘client relationship management’ and ‘guest relations’ during job interviews, can enhance one’s chances of being hired.
2. Customer service Skills
It should never be forgotten that the customer provides the funds to pay salaries and other expenses, allowing a hotel or restaurant to remain profitable and reinvest in its infrastructure. Thus, it is essential that employees and managers succeed in satisfying and even delighting customers. Customer service skills are all about understanding the customer’s needs, delivering a positive customer service experience, and making sure your employees are trained to do the same.
3. Communication Skills
Communication skills are highly valued in all industries, but they become even more crucial as professionals advance to the upper levels of an organization. In the hospitality and tourism field, one deals with people of many backgrounds, ages, nationalities, and temperaments on a daily basis. Thus, it is important that businesspeople communicate in a way that represents their company’s image while simultaneously speaking to clients in a way that they can understand.
4. Organizational Skills
In the hospitality and tourism trade, organizational skills are of paramount importance. With the need to multi-task and respond to spur-of-the-moment requests, it is necessary to maintain an organizational structure so as to be able to accomplish daily tasks in an efficient manner. One piece of advice: plan each day ahead keeping a checklist of things that need to be done. This will also help you develop strong time management skills.
5. Flexibility Skills
The hospitality and tourism industry requires employees to work odd hours, including nights and weekends. Working in this field also requires a great deal of flexibility; workers must be able to switch rapidly from one task to another as the situation may demand.
Many young people start in the hospitality industry with an optimistic outlook but fail to realize how demanding their jobs are and consequently become bored. If such individuals do not understand that their job is to keep clients happy at all costs, they will never progress beyond entry-level jobs.
7. Language Skills
Language skills are an asset in the hospitality field. Speaking a client’s language can help one establish a more personal relationship with them, which increases customer satisfaction and also builds loyalty.
8. A positive attitude
No matter how difficult the challenge, hospitality professionals must be prepared to meet it head-on. Resolving a difficult situation for an employer can boost one’s chances of getting a pay rise and /or promotion. By being enthusiastic about one’s job, instead of sour about it, one enhances one’s esteem both from customers and employers.
9. Multitasking Skills
To be indispensable in the hospitality or tourism industry, employees must be able to perform multiple roles. They must be able to juggle different tasks simultaneously while completing each task assigned. Multitasking may be one of the most important skills in this industry. One way for students to get a head start in developing their ability to multitask is to work on the side while pursuing their studies.
10. Cultural Awareness
Hospitality and tourism enterprises are more likely than most to deal with customers of a variety of nationalities and cultural backgrounds. The ability to be culturally aware and get past one’s own cultural norms is crucial to building a successful career in this sector.
Customers may not always share the same values, belief systems, and perceptions. To satisfy their needs and wants, one must be able to break free from cultural barriers. Cultural awareness is an essential social skill that will help customers feel comfortable and at home with their surroundings.