Gulshan Soni (Ph.D) Ass. Professor Hawassa University
School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Hospitality is probably the most diverse but specialized industry in the world. It is certainly one of the largest, employing millions of people in a bewildering array of jobs around the globe. Sectors range from the glamorous five-star resort to the less fashionable, but arguably more specialized, institutional areas such as hospitals, industrial outfits, schools and colleges. Yet of these many different sectors, catering has to be the most challenging. Whatever the size of the catering operation, the variety of opportunities available is endless.
The hospitality industry includes all types of food and beverages, accommodation and recreational services to the public. It is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and it employs many more people than all the other service sectors combined. The hospitality industry is a virile force in the world. It offers a wide range of jobs and careers which vary according to the style of service in each establishment. The major advantage in being trained as hospitality professional is that good people skills can take you far.
In Ethiopia, the hospitality industry is growing rapidly. The hotel profession is an art as well as a science. In fact the contemporary economic condition has caused ‘hoteliering’ as an art concept to recede to the background. The emphasis now is on the protection of capital and maximizing profit for the owner. Profit connected with the hotel business does not usually come from the sale of food, beverages and lodging to the general public. Most of the finance in this business comes as a result of acquiring as much real estate as possible, rather than actual hospitality. The field of hotel management is interdisciplinary. It draws ideas from: tourism, travel, economics, psychology, accounting, finance, food technology, management, food chemistry, microbiology, physics, marketing, and law. From these systems we draw upon a systemic approach and use analytical tools designed to make hoteliering a satisfying experience for people when they are away from home.
Managing a hotel is a complex activity involving the applications of a wide range of skills and a broad spectrum of knowledge to many types of business problems. It essentially deals with employees, guests, suppliers and other tradesmen through which the hotel functions.
The profession of Hospitality Management is one of the most challenging ones. The hotel business is most satisfying because it brings employees into contact with other people, mostly in pleasant surroundings and its rewards are tremendous. The hotel management has more responsibilities as compared to their employees. The management has to try to inculcate harmony as well as maximum productivity and earnings for the establishment.
The task of directing and coordinating the work of all departments demands considerable expertise on the part of the management. The conditions in which a hotel functions constantly change. With increasing rapidity, costs of operation are continuously rising, manpower is in short supply and finance is difficult to secure.
The scope of management in the hotel and catering industry demands expertise unlike that in most other industries. As being an integral part of the hotel industry it demands 24-hour service throughout the year and a full range of commercial activities occur under the same roof.
The hospitality industry is part of a larger enterprise known as the travel and tourism industry. It is one of the oldest industries in the world. In early days, traders, explorers, missionaries and pilgrims needed a break in their journeys requiring food, shelter and the rest.
People opened their homes and kitchens to these weary travelers, and an industry was born. Although accommodation today varies and services have changed and expanded over the ages, one thing about the hospitality industry has remained the same, guests are always welcome! From a friendly greeting at the door, room service, breakfast, to a host of facilities the hospitality industry offers travelers a home away from home.
Hotel management, whether small, medium or large scale, must be concerned with ways to trim costs and expenses. Basic hotel management optimizes the return on the source of the enterprises and provides a healthy climate where hospitality can be extended. It relies on principal and scientific knowledge.