Whether you choose to use your hospitality management skills to run a restaurant, manage a hotel, plan meetings, direct a resort or attraction or launch a tourism business of your own, certain personality traits and skill sets will help you succeed. There are some crucial differences between the job duties and, in turn, the qualities need to accomplish them. However, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there’s a good deal of overlap in the qualities of good food service managers, lodging managers and event planners. For any of these hospitality management roles, you will benefit from being a good problem-solver, an organized administrator, a skillful communicator, an effective leader and a creative thinker.
Problem-Solving Abilities in Hospitality Management Roles
Problems, both big and small, occur in all types of workplaces. In environments where many different details and logistics are constantly being coordinated and success depends on guest satisfaction, being able to solve these problems is extremely important. The problems that happen in the hospitality industry take many forms, from personnel problems to inventory problems to customer service problems.
A big part of success in handling these problems is recognizing what could go wrong before it happens, the BLS reported. By anticipating what could happen, hospitality managers in their respective roles can take steps to minimize the likelihood of these issues, like cultivating a reliable team of employees, developing comprehensive employee training programs and having policies in place to prevent mistakes with food inventory or overbooked occupancy. They can also plan future solutions so that they know how to handle problems that do arise.
Hospitality managers should know enough about every aspect of the business they operate to be able to develop policies and solutions that are practical, not just ones that look good on paper but don’t fit the real demands of the job.
Organizational Skills in the Tourism Industry
So much of the work of a hospitality manager is the planning of logistics – table or room reservations, employee shifts and responsibilities, event menus and timetables, room rates and entrée prices, and so on. Keeping all of this information straight requires you to be organized.
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The burden of organization doesn’t fall entirely on managers. There are computer software applications used throughout different areas of the hospitality industry that help with organization and company policies that, ideally, keep logistics manageable. However, being truly organized means more than using electronic or paper filing systems. It means thinking far enough in advance to plan programs and meetings that often won’t take place for more than a year. It means learning to juggle multiple responsibilities and deadlines at a time and to pay close attention to details like financial records and sanitation and safety measures, the BLS reported.
A detail-oriented nature goes hand-in-hand with organizational skills, because it’s difficult to keep information organized without an eye for details. Often, it’s the details – surprises in décor, service, food and drink taste and excursions – that make a trip memorable.
Communication for Hospitality Managers
Nearly every job requires some amount of communication, either spoken or written, with customers, colleagues, vendors or supervisors. For roles in hospitality management, though, communication is key to so many of the chief responsibilities of the job that it is one of the most important qualities you can possess.
For hospitality managers, communication often starts with listening to the guests you serve and the employees you supervise. Good listening skills help you provide better service, especially when guests have a complaint or problem they need you to solve, and to handle challenges in the restaurant’s, hotel’s, or tourism company’s operations before they develop into full-fledged problems. Addressing these matters effectively requires the interpersonal skills to build relationships and the ability to clearly and professionally express your thoughts in speech and in writing, whether that means going over new policies and procedures in a hotel or restaurant staff meeting or exchanging emails with clients about the status of their event plans.
Customer service skills, in particular, are a valuable type of communication skill to practice, since the primary goal of your business is to make guests feel welcome.
Business Acumen and Leadership Qualities
Hospitality managers are, above all else, leaders. They lead the daily operations, the efforts toward long-term success and the staff of their hotels, restaurants, event planning organizations and tourism businesses. Although people often equate “leader” with “boss,” the best leaders do far more than boss around underlings. Instead, they inspire workers at every level of their organization, from entry-level cook and desk clerk roles to assistant and mid-level management roles, to reach their full potential.
It isn’t easy to develop the many different qualities that make you a good business leader. Natural ability only goes so far. It’s important to learn not only the technical business skills in accounting, marketing and the use of software popular in the hotel management and restaurant management industries but also the principles of effective leadership and employee training strategies. In a hospitality management role, you accept responsibility for many tasks and challenges, from scheduling shifts to planning programs that contribute to growth for the company. Success in these duties means making wise decisions about company finances, staffing, policies, training, services, inventory and other aspects of the business.
Running a hotel or restaurant is an art that requires a great deal of balance. A likable leader who fails to keep the business profitable isn’t successful, but neither is a penny-pinching boss whose management style drives away employees and deters repeat guests.
Creativity in Hospitality Management
It may not make the BLS’s lists of the most important qualities for these professions, but for many hospitality management positions, creativity is a valuable asset. Of course, creativity factors into your problem-solving skills and resourcefulness, but this personality trait is also important in its own right. For restaurant managers, planning menus requires you to think creatively about flavor combinations, garnishes and presentation and the availability of seasonal and local ingredients. Event planners need to be creative when brainstorming ideas for the theme, decorations and entertainment for a meeting, conference or social event.
Creativity may be involved in deciding the substance of your work – like developing new types of focused tours or theme park attractions – or the style, like the décor in a hotel.