The question ‘what is hospitality management?’ is Googled quite a lot. For those of us who have studied bachelor degrees in hospitality management, the answer is obvious. For those who are outside the sector, it can be a bit confusing.
Part of the confusion lies in the fact that the word ‘hospitality’ sounds a bit like ‘hospitals’. Indeed, do a Google Keyword search and you’ll see that these two words are often bunched together.
At its most basic, the answer is simple: managing hospitality. A more full, thoughtful response could be something like this:
It is both the art and the science of making people feel welcome – as applied in a structured way to hotels, tourism, restaurants and the customer-facing element of any other industry.
The Greek word for the hospitality concept is xenia. It means ‘guest friendship’, the generosity and courtesy shown to people who are far from home.
Without wanting to stretch the metaphor too far, in this day and age, the sense of alienation and disenfranchisement felt by many, means that there are a lot of people out there who feel a bit ‘far from home’. Genuine hospitality can make people feel connected again.
This is one of the reasons that hospitality is not just about hotel, restaurants and tourism, though these still offer excellent careers. Many companies, from financial services and hi-tech to real-estate and luxury goods recruit Les Roches hospitality students because they recognize that they have learnt the art of making people feel like they belong somewhere, that they are listened to, appreciated, understood.
But the idea of Xenia as ‘guest friendship’ also conveys another valuable outcome of pursuing hospitality business degrees at Les Roches. The friendships made here – because of the cultural diversity, because of level of engagement in group work – last a lifetime.
And in a world where who you know is as important as what you know, the importance of this factor cannot be underestimated.
How do you define hospitality management? Join the discussion on Google+