Success in hospitality management requires a mix of hard and soft skills.

Hospitality management is an extremely rewarding career, allowing you to build an international name for yourself and provide meaningful positive experiences for visitors from around the world. To achieve as much, it takes a balance of developed hard skills and nurtured soft skills.

Many of these skills are hard to come by without the right education and training. As a result, the global hospitality industry is suffering from a skills shortage, according to Foodservice Consultants Society International. Furthermore, hiring and retaining skilled staff was highlighted as the number one challenge facing Australian food business owners in an Impos report.

The best qualifications to equip you for lifelong success in hospitality await right here at Kenvale College. Let's discuss which vital skills you'll develop and nurture in a Kenvale hospitality management programme.

The soft skills needed to succeed in hospitality management

86 per cent of the essential skills for hospitality managers are soft competencies.

Soft skill competencies in the hospitality industry have been studied since the early 1980s. A paper by Lisa Sisson of Grand Valley State University found that 86 per cent of the skills deemed essential for managers in the hospitality industry are soft competencies.

Soft skills typically encompass introspective and interpersonal skills that are much harder to learn or quantify without the benefit of real experience. Soft skills are similar to emotions or insights, in that they depend somewhat on character and intuition. That's not to say, however, that these cannot be learned.

Leadership and teamwork are some of the most crucial traits of a successful hospitality manager.Leadership and teamwork are some of the most crucial traits of a successful hospitality manager.

Research by East Carolina University identified several soft skills common among hospitality managers:

  • Team leadership,
  • Coaching,
  • Problem solving,
  • Influence.

Team leadership is the ability to build a rapport within a team. Entry-level managers must understand how to gain the trust of their team while listening, cooperating and ultimately creating a positive team environment. Although large hospitality organisations have many disparate departments, it's vital managers are able to foster cooperation, collaboration and communication to meet and exceed the needs of guests.

Coaching refers to the development of skills. Excellent hospitality managers will be able to improve the competency and job satisfaction of team members through training, performance evaluation, recognition and motivation. With hospitality and tourism known for above-average staff turnover, the role of the manager in equipping new staff with the right skills and retaining trained employees is paramount.

Problem solving is all about thinking on your feet. Hospitality is an industry heavily reliant on service and perception. That means providing customers and staff with the best outcomes, all while maintaining a calm exterior. Facing problems head-on, managing impressions and potentially handling culturally sensitive disputes requires practice and a can-do mindset.

Influence is similar to leadership. Holding influence with your staff means being capable of shaping employee behaviour and performance through ongoing mutual feedback. Effective managers are able to see the bigger picture and both give and receive feedback to ensure the best results for the whole establishment. Leading by example and exhibiting excellent time management and self-motivation are key for a manager with influence.

The hard skills needed to succeed in hospitality management

Hard skills for hospitality management are easily achieved with the right qualification.

Meanwhile, hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that can be more easily defined and measured, and are easily achieved with the right qualification. The hard competencies required for success as a hospitality manager depend largely on the individual specifications of the management role.

A recent dissertation from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) discusses the commonly required hard skills in four-to-five star hotels. From a range of online job listings the dissertation found the following hard skills were required for a range of hospitality management roles from entry level to senior:

  • Food and beverage management,
  • Commercial acumen,
  • Sales and marketing skills,
  • Competency in all areas of hotel operations,
  • Human resource management.
Business acumen is one of the many vital hard skills of a hospitality manager.Business acumen is one of the many vital hard skills of a hospitality manager.

Food and beverage management encompasses in-depth product knowledge around food, wine and other beverages sold on-premise. Moreover, it requires a thorough understanding of food safety. Managers are responsible for ensuring food handling is compliant with health and safety laws at every production point.

Commercial acumen is a broad set of skills including financial management and business planning. Hospitality leadership roles typically involve some budget handling, whether that's staff rostering, menu planning, recruitment or procurement. You must be able to understand revenue margins, manage budgets and plan for business success.

Sales and marketing refers to your ability to understand, utilise, monitor and measure the success of different marketing channels for the business. Today, there's a greater emphasis on the value of digital marketing especially, with social, search and booking websites becoming crucial to hospitality marketing strategies.

Competency in all areas of hotel operations doesn't come along easily. This requires experience working in and around all departments of a hotel. The right qualification gives you insight into every working area of a hospitality establishment, as well as real experience in the field.

Human resource management combines many of your leadership soft skills with practical aptitude in recruiting, vetting and disciplining staff.

So many of these competencies are more than just hospitality career requirements – they're life skills. Infinitely transferrable, holding these hard and soft skills sets you up for success no matter where your career path might take you.

Gaining the right skills for hospitality management

Gain real skills for real careers, here at Kenvale College.

Hard skills, though critical, are easier to learn than soft skills. They can be gained through years of work or learned through a formal qualification, but the soft skills required to climb the hospitality career ladder must be gained through real on-the-job experience.

This is where the true value of vocational education and training (VET) lies. At Kenvale, we offer qualifications intrinsically tied to paid workplace experience. Your programme will run concurrently with an industry placement, often with the option to continue work afterwards. Working approximately 20 hours per week, this paid work experience ensures you are immersed in the right environment to develop the soft skills so crucial to career success.

Gain real skills for real careers, here at Kenvale College. Get in touch with a course advisor today to learn more.

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