Skilled hospitality students at EHL Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality

Hospitality skills: the future is Affective Hospitality 

Discover all the hospitality skills that will be needed in the future

Understanding hospitality skills

What are Hospitality Skills?

Hospitality skills are the essential skills needed to succeed in hospitality or any service-related industry. They include: 

  1. Hospitality Hard skills

These skills are specific to a function or necessary to accomplish technical tasks, such as operating a reservation system. They are also called technical skills.

  1. Hospitality Soft skills

These are the social behaviors needed for the multi-cultural environments typically found in hospitality businesses, and for delivering outstanding customer experiences. 


Hospitality Skills List

  1. Customer service skills
  2. Job-related operational skills
  3. Flexibility skills
  4. Organizational skills
  5. Networking skills
  6. Multitasking skills
  7. Cultural awareness
  8. Awareness of environmental, social and ethical issues.
  9. Creative problem-solving skills
  10. Oral and written language skills
  11. Active listening skills
  12. Communication skills
  13. Critical thinking skills
  14. Self-awareness
  15. Autonomy and life-long learning skills
  16. Commitment, accountability and can-do attitude

In addition, skills for hospitality managers include:

  1. Leadership skills
  2. Data analysis and performance measurement skills
  3. Decision-making skills
  4. Multi-cultural people-management skills
  5. Organizational design skills
  6. Strategic development skills
  7. Service marketing skills
  8. Financial analysis and budget management skills
  9. Real-estate management skills
  10. Information Technology skills
  11. Presentation skills

Want to be a hotel entrepreneur? Here is the list of hospitality skills you need.

The Skills Gap in the Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry is changing. The number of tourists and guests is growing, while their expectations are evolving rapidly. This means more people, new skills.
The labor and skills shortage in the hospitality industry is therefore becoming more acute.

Among the skills that are most lacking as the hospitality industry is getting ready for the 2030's:

  • working in heterogeneous teams
  • understanding cultures and designing memorable guest experiences
  • working in a flexible and agile manner
  • applying an entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving.

Learn more about the importance of soft skills in hospitality

Young hospitality manager practicing soft skills

Checklist: The First Soft Skills Young Hospitality Managers Should Learn

Learning soft skills can be daunting. Pure memorization doesn't work here. You have to deal intensively with your own personality. According to our hospitality professors and industry experts, young hospitality managers should start with these: 

1. Customer service skills
2. Networking skills
3. Communication skills
4. Flexibility skills
5. Organisational skills
6. Language skills
7. Commitment
8. Can-do attitude
9. Multitasking skills
10. Cultural awareness 

Discover why our hospitality experts selected these soft skills

How will Employers Assess Hospitality Skills in the Future? 

When reading a resume in the coming years, employers will look more closely at soft skills. It can be expected that most candidates will add personal skills on their resume. The winning candidates will be those who can best demonstrate both on their CV and during their interview that they actually master them. 

Be ready also to more interviews featuring role-plays, uncommon environments, impromptu assignments. 

Find out what employers are looking for on a hospitality CV, then make your resume shine by updating your list of skills to impress industry employers.

Hospitality Resume skills  

As skills evolve, your resume should too.

COMING SOON: Best practices to showcase your hospitality skills on your resume. 

Hospitality Skills go Beyond Hospitality

With half of the graduates of the world's top hospitality management school being hired by non-hospitality companies, it is obvious that hospitality skills are attractive to many industries beyond the traditional hotel and tourism companies. 

As an example, the EHL career fair has grown to welcome over 150 companies from a wide range of industries each semester.

Learning hospitality skills

Teaching Soft Skills: Is it Actually Feasible?

How to learn and how to teach soft skills are recurring questions on which leading hospitality management schools focus.

Why? because soft skills are one of the top things employers look for when hiring. While soft skills are sometimes referred to as people skills, that's simplifying things.

Learn what employers really mean when they say soft skills, how soft skills can be taught, and the benefits of learning before you move into the workplace.

Can soft skills be taught? Here is the answer.


3 Steps to Improving your Soft Skills

Soft skills deal with your mindset, character, and how you handle personal relationships. Improving them will help you grow personally and professionally.


1. Identify your Abilities and Potential

The best way to achieve hospitality skills is to gain awareness of your personal strengths and weaknesses.

Start by asking for feedback from those around you, observe and listen.

This is rather important when it comes to soft skills, as there is only around 10% overlap between the skills people think they have, and the ones they actually have.

Discover if you have the right soft skills for the hospitality industry?


2. Get Expert Training

A great deal of evidence suggests that soft skills for the hospitality industry can also be boosted via focused training interventions.

Soft skills development doesn't come easy and getting the adequate training or coaching can definitely provide you with personalized feedback and help you improve your key deficits.


3. Put it in Practice

Gaining knowledge is only half the battle won. The other half comes through extensive practice. It involves attention, repetition, interest, and motivation.

When it comes to soft skills, practical learning experience is the only way to boost your confidence in your organizational abilities, independence and analytical competences.


Tips to Learning Hospitality Soft Skills

You can start improving your hospitality soft skills today.

How do you learn soft skills for hospitality? Discover our tips

Ressources by skills 

Develop Strong Hospitality skills with our Expert Resources

Discover a range of educational, useful, creative and fun resources to help you improve your hospitality skills.

Communication skills in the hospitality industry

Most people believe that speech is our main form of communication. In reality, oral communication is a fairly recent development in the history of human evolution. Per definition verbal communication is the sharing of information between a sender and a receiver by way of speech. It is vital that when communicating the message hotel businesses and employees are sending is understood in the way that it was intended, and that communication is not distorted.

But before speech was developed, humans relied on body language and sounds to transport attitude, emotions and feelings. Nowadays, nonverbal communication, which includes body language, the use of personal space, facial expressions and tonation, still makes up approximately 65 percent of our communications.

While verbal communication is often used to carry facts and data, nonverbal communication articulates our physical, mental, or emotional states of hotel or restaurant customers. Hospitality is a highly interactive and people-focused business and it is therefore important to hotel managers and staff to master both ways of communication.

Learn more about how to improve communication skills in the hospitality industry


Developing Language Skills

There are a lot of language learning software options on the market that allow you to study a new language at your own speed and on your own time. Not sure where to start?

Try these top 5 free language learning apps.

A career in international hotel management can be fascinating--and full of work. Anyone who hopes to achieve everything possible in this field will need to look at all the different ways they can gain an education.

5 key language skills for your international hotel management career.


Empathy Skills for Hotel Managers

The hotel managers who are able to operate efficiently and, at the same time, manage to include empathy and emotionality into their working processes, will be the players of the future.

Empathy refers to the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. In order to fully appreciate the importance of empathy in a hospitality context, it’s perhaps useful to start by distinguishing between empathy and sympathy.

The difference between these two terms is the following: sympathy means to feel compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships and difficulties that another person experiences; meanwhile empathy means putting oneself in someone else’s shoes.

So why are empathy skills are crucial for hoteliers?

Social Skills for Hotel Managers

Social skills, also called “interpersonal skills,” are important soft skills that we use to interact and communicate with others.

The ability to hold a conversation, be engaging, and listen actively is not just a skill but a necessity in any business situation as almost every job requires social skills.

If you work within a team, you will need to be able to get along with the other team members. If you work with customers, you must listen attentively to their questions and concerns. If you are a manager, you will need to effectively communicate and motivate your employees.

Discover why only a manager with social skills awakens employee enthusiasm.

Leadership Skills for Hotel Managers

All good leaders require a number of soft skills to help them positively interact with employees or team members.

So, how you can develop effective leadership skills especially when you’re a busy executive holding a demanding role?

Teamwork Skills for Hotel Managers

Regardless of your role, you need to be able to work well with others, demonstrate leadership, collaboration and good communication, etc.

Teamwork is required for almost every industry.

Discover how one of the top restaurants in the world approaches teamwork? Insights from Alain Ducasse's restaurant at the Plaza Athénée in Paris.

Storytelling Skills for Hospitality Managers

Storytelling skills can create the unique magic and authenticity of exclusive hospitality events. But what power does storytelling have in itself and how can it be used to entertain and retain guests in general?

Discover why storytelling is the hospitality capability of the future.

Want more information about how EHL's curriculum could help you be Future ready?

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The future of hospitality is affective hospitality

The Service Economy is Unsustainable - Get Ready for the Emotion Economy! 

It’s all about emotions!

In hospitality guest experience has always been one of the most important factors, but consumers now want more. Hotels and restaurants need to provide an outstanding experience that exceeds guest expectations. For this level of experience to happen, hotels will need to embrace innovative new programs and technology that help to create memorable experiences for guests.

But the development of the hospitality industry didn't stop at this point. In recent years, research has shown, it is not just the experience as such but the created underlying emotions that are the real determinants of guests’ experiences, behaviour and future actions.

From Service economy to Emotion Economy: How the hospitality industry is evolving?


What the hospitality industry needs is Emotional Competence (EQ) 

In addition to traditional service competencies, hospitality employees need to develop emotional competencies and be trained to become «stage directors» who have the ability to provide a positive, individual and memorable guest experience – notably the most demanding task in hotel or restaurant management.

The barriers between host and guest are redefined and hospitality employees have to be empowered. Because they are the ones creating live on-property communities and generating long-lasting emotional experiences.

People have strong affective experiences in any hotel - whether they are travelling for business or for leisure and all these experiences remain linked to the hotel and its brand.

Boost your emotional and social intelligence skills

What is affective hospitality? 

What is Affective Hospitality?

People have strong affective experiences in any hotel or restaurant - whether they are travelling for business or for leisure. Just think of intimate moments or last-minute work-related activities. And all these experiences remain linked to the hotel or restaurant and its brand.

Emotional experiences of hotel or restaurant customers in fact contribute to loyalty, satisfaction, future purchase intentions, a “forgiving” attitude and recommendation.

So it can be theorized that by enhancing positive emotions and their previously mentioned psychological ingredients, hospitality management has the ability to influence consumption patterns, retention rates and general guest experience levels in a positive way.

In the context of hospitality, it is all about guests’ individual emotions. They are instrumental in decoding human decisions, as they are strong motivational forces that shape decision-making processes.

So at its core, Affective Hospitality can be defined as the strategic, operative and tactical provision of experiential, culturally mindful interaction scenarios to evoke conscious inert and positive guest emotions by activating the entire sensory range through controlled verbal and non-verbal communication.

It may not be possible to control or recreate guest emotions in hospitality but it is possible to create emotive frameworks within which those experiences are more likely to happen. This objective needs to permeate through all strategic and operational management levels of a hotel.

Affective Hospitality is based on Affective Sciences

Affective science is the integrative study of emotions or affects and their effect on self and others. Research over the last two decades suggests that many phenomena cannot be understood without taking into account affective determinants (i.e. motives, attitudes, moods, and emotions). Emotions are not irrational objects, they are adaptive phenomena that can be studied scientifically.



Affective Hospitality Education at EHL

In contrast to other hotel management schools, EHL Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality (SSTH) does not only teach social skills, but also strengthen self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation and social awareness. The students should be trained to be enthusiastic hosts with a good feeling for themselves and their counterparts.

Only hotel managers who can create emotions and truly unique experiences will be able to succeed. Therefore, EHL equips the students with the right tools and emotional abilities to be agile stage-directors in the world of affective hospitality.