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


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. 

  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

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 hospitality industry is therefore becoming more accute.

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. 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 them 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. 

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.


Teaching soft skills, is it feasible?

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


What is affective hospitality? 

The future of hospitality is affective hospitality. 

The future of hospitality is affective hospitality. The definition of affect in general may vary from the point of view. Once it was considered to be a mental proces characterized by a subjective feeling state that was accompanied by emotions and moods. Affect now has referred to aspects based on a tri-partite model of attitudes that includes cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions :

  • cognitively, it is the thoughts people have;
  • affectively, it is the emotions or feelings people have;
  • behaviorally, it is the choice and actions people make.
At the heart of an affective hospitality are therefore guests’ individual emotions. Recent changes in social values and lifestyles have turned emotions into the core drivers of individual well-being, and emotions determine the guests’ future behavior. We can achieve emotions through verbal and non-verbal (e. g. seeing, feeling...) communication. For affective verbal and non-verbal communication to be authentic, staff needs to be authentic.

Therefore and in addition to traditional service competencies, hospitality employees need to develop emotional competences 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. Affective hospitality redefines the barriers between host and guest and empowers hospitality employees. They create live on-property communities and generate 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.

From an academic point of view, the focus on affective hospitality is increasing the importance of soft skills. In contrast to other hotel management schools, EHL Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality 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, it is essential to equip students with the right tools and emotional abilities to be agile stage-directors in the world of affective hospitality.

The hospitality industry may not be prepared yet but EHL Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality is well positioned for this change of paradigm and will play a leading role.  Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality graduates combine empathy and efficiency, they are shaping the future of hospitality.

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