The 10 Essential Soft Skills You Need To Master For A Long Career In Hospitality
There are 10 essential soft skills you need to master if you want a long career in the Hospitality Industry. All hotel recruiters or service industry employers agree that technical or work skills are important. And they will definitely give you an edge for recruitment or promotion.
But what is just as vital, for determining how successful you will be in the work place, are your “soft skills”.
What are “soft skills?”
These are non-technical skills that relate to how you do your work. Or how you deal and work with your co-workers. Or how you see and solve problems. They include interpersonal, or “people skills”, empathy, time-management and communication skills, among others.
In a hotel setting there are 10 essential soft skills you need to have. You can have more but these are the 10 essential skills, or qualities, a top-notch hotelier must possess in order to thrive and prosper in the hospitality industry.
Good Communication Skills
When your job involves dealing with different kinds of people on a daily basis, communication skills play a big role in your success.
When you can express yourself well, you come across as more confident and less prone to misunderstandings.
When you have to present information, pacify an irate guest, make an upsell or simply make the guest feel at home with friendly conversation, a person who can express themselves effectively will shine above the rest.
Active Listening Skills
Just as it is important to be able to communicate your thoughts and ideas well, one also needs to have excellent listening skills to be a great hotelier.
We can only effectively provide what guests truly need and want, if we take the time to listen and understand both their verbal and non-verbal cues.
Active listening means focusing completely on what the other person is saying and making a conscious effort to absorb what they are trying to say, instead of being distracted by your thoughts on how to respond.
This helps you understand them better, making it easier for you to provide better quality service.
If you’re not sure if you have mastered this soft skill yet, check out John Savages article Listening Skills: Do You Listen To Reply
The hospitality industry is a people-driven industry. To succeed, or rise through the ranks, a person who has empathy and above-average emotional intelligence is someone any hotel would be happy to have, keep and promote.
When you seek to understand what the guest needs, on a deeper level, by placing yourself in their shoes, you are able to provide service that is thoughtful, personal and authentic.
You will also be able to connect and engage with guests better, and make them feel that you genuinely care about their stay experience.
Multi-tasking & Time-Management Skills
Part of what makes a job in a hotel particularly challenging is the fact that there are times when you have to deal with several things bombarding you all at once.
This might be a long queue of guests standing in front of you, a telephone ringing incessantly, someone from another department needing your help with something, a ton of paperwork you need to get done before the end of the day, e-mails that are waiting to get replied to.
If you are easily overwhelmed, this could spell disaster.
If you can manage to divide your mental space effectively among all these things competing for your attention, then you have a very strong chance of succeeding in the hotel industry.
Decision-Making & Problem-Solving Skills
The hotel is a place where many decisions need to be made in a snap every single day. With the sheer number of people being served, and the volume of transactions happening constantly, not every decision can wait long enough for a supervisor or a manager to handle it.
Because of this, one valued trait of a good hotelier is the ability to make educated and calculated decisions at guest contact point.
With the available resources and information at hand, one must be able to make a call that will be beneficial both to the guest and the hotel.
This is easier said than done, though, and the confidence to be able to do this usually stems from years of experience in the industry.
Anyone can simply follow instructions. Or get the guest what they ask for. However, what puts exceptional hoteliers a step above the rest is their ability to give guests what they need before they even ask for it.
The ability to anticipate guest’s needs comes from a combination of hotel work experience, having vital information about the guest, a solid knowledge of what the hotel has to offer and a genuine desire to delight the guest.
When a guest’s needs are anticipated correctly and respectfully (be careful not to assume!), it can leave a lasting impression that will keep them returning to the hotel again and again.
A hotel has many different departments, working together to provide a seamless experience for the guests. A good hotelier must be able to work harmoniously with their colleagues.
Their colleagues, in this instance, are not just those who work within the same department. But also those who work in other departments.
When you are a good team-player, you are able to gain the trust and cooperation of other people. This makes it easier for all of you to do your jobs. And achieve the ultimate goal of delighting the guest.
To really ace at this you could take advantage of the Hotel’s cross-training programs. These will give you better insight in to how other Departments operate. See my How To Get Promoted Article
Attention to Detail
So many things go into making sure a guest has a memorable and problem-free stay in the hotel. From the point of reservation up to the trip back to the airport.
Every single detail must be checked and double-checked. One tiny break in the service sequence can potentially ruin the entire stay for a guest.
A good hotelier knows that the ‘devil is in the details’, and makes sure that the I’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed at all times.
Now more than ever, hotels look for employees that can adapt quickly. Whether because they may be called on to work in a different department due to fewer full-time employees. Or due to to sudden changes in plans.
With the current unstable situation, things are changing at a rapid pace, including how things are done at work.
Employees who can roll with the punches, and sway with the wind, are highly valued nowadays, as more and more hotels turn to multi-skilling to maximize the current available manpower.
Last but certainly not the least, a good hotelier should possess the heart to serve.
Working in the hotel industry is not as easy as it looks. Sometimes it can almost drain the life out of you.
But if you are innately service-minded, you will be willing to go the extra mile to make your guests not just satisfied, but delighted. And your bosses will notice that!
These ten soft skills are essential for a successful career in the hospitality industry. And they are crucial to delivering a customer experience that is heartfelt and memorable. This will also build guest loyalty and boost your hotel towards success.
If you are a fresh graduate or someone who is considering transitioning to a career in hospitality, keep in mind these ten valuable soft skills which any excellent hotelier must possess, and master, to be successful in the industry.