Hospitality Is About Connection, Not Perfection

Assessing the Business Environment

Greetings from rainy but beautiful Ireland!

So far, I have traveled to some of the must-see locations in the Wicklow Mountains. I am fortunate to have walked the stunning gardens of Powerscourt, visited the tallest waterfall in Ireland, walked around Glendalough, driven through Sally Gap, and visited some filming locations of my favorite movies. The county of Wicklow is enchanting, and I could spend years exploring the open mountains, wooded trails, and gorgeous lakes. Exploring Dublin has also been a blast. I have walked around the Old and New Dublin, including Temple Bar and Viking Areas. Safely wandering the streets and eating at hidden gems around the city has been my favorite activity when I have free time. Using the buses seems natural now, even though this is my first time using public transportation. For future students who might be nervous about using the buses, the best advice I can give is to research the system and ask questions before you go on your first trip. Also, invest in the student or young adult leap card before you arrive or immediately after. I am looking forward to continuing to explore the other must-see destinations and museums all over Ireland.

Soon I will begin my placement at Stephen’s Green Club, Ireland’s primer private membership club. This operation is known for its fine dining options, formal event spaces, and membership exclusives. The building where the club has called home since the 18th century is dripping with class, a welcoming atmosphere, and rich history. In general, the Stephen’s Green Club is a perfect example of an operation within the hospitality industry.
You may be wondering what that truly means. When I answer the question of what my major is, a large majority of people have to ask me what hospitality means. With limited time and in simple terms, I typically explain that as a hospitality management student, I am preparing to manage a hotel or food and beverage operation. In reality, there is so much more involved within this area of the workforce, and the possibilities are endless. The term hospitality refers to the relationship between a guest and the goodwill of a host. The hospitality industry is actually an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of operations that revolve around providing services and entertainment to guests, visitors, or strangers. For such a vast industry, there are typically five main categories. Such as lodging, food and beverage, recreation, tourism, and travel. This does not include everything, but these categories help organize the chaos.

The following are examples of famous companies in the hospitality industry.

  • Marriott International (lodging)
  • Mcdonald’s (food)
  • Delta Airlines (travel)
  • DoDublin Bus Tours (tourism)
  • Disney World (recreation)

As an individual working in the hospitality industry, it is crucial to have excellent interpersonal skills and know-how to effectively apply these skills. Although the industry is vast, everything boils down to the attitude of the business, the ability to serve customers, and exceed expectations. Interpersonal skills should incorporate the ability to negotiate, connect, listen, have empathy, patience, and tolerance. Other skills that are required for a successful career include excellent communication, resilience, attention to detail, cultural awareness, initiative, multitasking, and adaptability. All of these skills are essential at any level in the hospitality industry due to the nature and degree of high contact we have with customers. Everything I have listed so far is just scraping the surface. Although the industry heavily relies on soft skills, job and responsibility-specific abilities, or hard skills, are almost as equally as valuable. These skills are a little more challenging to pinpoint because they distinguish similar jobs throughout the industry. Some examples of hard skills needed to succeed at my placement as a manager would include the basics of food and beverage management, marketing, basic hotel operations, human resource management, and event planning management skills.

From what I know, I will spend the first week or so working in reception at the Stephen’s Green Club. Reception is the entrance point for all customers, and there are several things I will need to demonstrate in this area to succeed. First and foremost, this is where customers are first exposed to the operation, and it is important they are warmly welcomed. I will need to know how to properly greet anyone who walks in and properly communicate any important information. Since this is a private club that strives themselves for its memberships, I need to be very professional and open to making connections and learning about each member who enters the operation to continue to meet their expectations. I am slightly nervous about trying to understand the thicker Irish accents I may encounter and being confident when I am still adjusting to the newness of the working environment. Hopefully, these nerves will disappear after a triumphant first week.