Taboo Topics in the Hotel Industry

Taboo Topics in the Hotel Industry are important to master.

When you work in hospitality industry or the service industry in general, you become a master at the art of making small talk to cover those lulls in conversation.  Lulls when your folio is printing, when the computer hangs and you have to carry out an entertaining conversation to keep the guest from getting bored.  

We are trained to personalize our interactions by using any information we can find about the guest in the system. Or based on our memory and knowledge of the guest from past interactions with them.

“How was your trip to Hawaii last month?”

“How are your kids?”

“How is your dog?”

Safe conversation topics that allow you to get to know the guest better make them feel like you care about them on a deeper level. And that you are not just waiting to finish the transaction and get them out of the way.

However, there are times when we step over the line and venture into taboo topics that can cause tension or even upset the guests.  

Sometimes, we might become too comfortable. Especially with our regular guests. We may forget that certain boundaries exist.  

There are just some things, taboo topics, that you should not bring up.  You should aim to avoid discussing with guests. And even with your colleagues.  


So, what are some of these taboo topics?

Here are a few taboo topics I recommend you stay away from:


Politics is always a sensitive and divisive topic.  People usually have very strong opinions when it comes to their political preferences. 

As we have seen in the past months in the Philippines, there’s nothing quite like politics to spark the most vicious of disagreements.

Two hoteliers discussing the recent Philippine Elections.  Taboo Topics in Hospitality Industry


If a guest happens to support a different candidate or party, it might stir up hostility and trigger some inappropriate conversations between the guest and the employee.  

It can also impede your career advancement on some level.  It shouldn’t but if your boss does not share the same political views as you, consciously or subconsciously, they may develop a less-than-favorable impression of you.  And this could ultimately have an impact on your career growth. 



Religion is another hot topic you want to avoid.

Religion can be just as polarizing, if not more so, than politics.  

Religion is so deeply personal that carelessly airing out your own beliefs can potentially rub someone the wrong way.  

In an industry with such a diverse mix of customers, you want to be very mindful and sensitive when expressing your opinions about anything pertaining to religion so as not to accidentally offend anyone. 

If you can, try to completely avoid getting into this discussion in the first place.



No matter how close you may think you are to a guest or a colleague, the things that happen in the bedroom should never be discussed in the workplace.  

Not only is it tacky, but it can also be perceived as very unprofessional. 

Two hoteliers working front desk, there is a speech bubble above one with a sex scene in it.  The 2nd Hotelier has a thought bubble with a shocked emoji.  Article: Taboo Topics in the Hospitality Industry by MY RANGGO Hospitality Magazine Philippines 

It can be tempting to talk about this as it’s a fun topic and can certainly break up the monotony of the day.  But know that it can reflect poorly on you, and should definitely be a topic to avoid.


Negative feelings towards your work or colleagues

Every one of us has at least one thing that we don’t like about our workplace. Sometimes it may be our workmates or even our boss.  

No matter how tempting it may be to vent out to a guest we are close to, or even our other workmates, we should never openly discuss these negative feelings in the workplace.  

Vent if you must, by all means, but do it outside of work. And with people who cannot use it against you.  Certainly, do not EVER do it online.  

Even if you delete your rant a few seconds later, there’s a high chance someone would have already seen it, taken a screenshot and sent it to the very people you least want to see it.


Your personal drama in life

While some of our guests do eventually turn out to be our friends in real life, we still need to establish some sort of boundary with the things we can and shouldn’t share.  

Our personal drama with our partners, parents or anything that is happening in our personal lives should never be discussed in a work setting.  

A hotelier talking about her personal relationship with a shocked guest at Front Desk.  Taboo Topics


Not only does it look extremely unprofessional, we also cannot control other people’s perception of us based on how we present ourselves in the story.  

People may perceive us as unable to manage, control or separate our personal and professional life. It may seem like our personal life is taking over.  

Personal drama talk is best reserved for after-work drinks with your best friend. Not with guests or workmates, and certainly not during office hours.


After some time working in the hotel industry, you begin to see which taboo topics are considered safe for the necessary small talk, and which ones could potentially harm your career.  

Ranting about how much you dislike your boss, how unfair the management is, the lack of benefits and the low pay. Or openly talking about your sex life or routinely engaging in political discussions can impact on how you are perceived professionally. 

Oversharing will only do you harm.  So it’s always best to take a step back and think before you speak.  

Your career will thank you for it.

What do you think?

Written by Angel Lam Ko

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