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The Importance of Verbal Skills in the Hospitality Industry

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Communication in the hospitality industry is an important method of raising customer service levels and ultimately customer satisfaction. The preparation of students in communication is important for a range of duties in life but is a core element of the service industry. Rahim & Tazijan surveyed a number of hospitality managers and interns to determine their communication needs for future course development (2011).

The hospitality industry is a growing field in the U.S. as manufacturing stagnates and the service sector increases. According to the World Bank, the service sector comprises a significant portion of the overall economy in the post-industrial countries. As this service sector grows, the need for students that can communicate well is important.

Verbal communication is something we learn since we first begin to walk and as we become more proficient, the more capable we are in relaying information. Customers in particular desire communication that is friendly, accurate, and helps them solve a problem. The choice of words and tone has a large impact on customer impressions.

It is not a skill that is easily learned but can be mastered over time. College graduates should have a level of eloquence in their speech that affords them the opportunity to take higher-level positions. Whether one is within the service field or within a management position, it is beneficial to be able to speak well and communicate effectively.

Once graduates have mastered the basics of proper language, they are able to apply those concepts in other situations. Whether they are giving directions or helping a guests with an inquiry the ability to speak well makes all of the difference. It is this clear transference of knowledge that helps customers feel as though their needs are being addressed appropriately. Such skills are highly important in conflict situations.

The researchers found that the majority of managers (91.6%) indicated that interns had low ability and this influenced their ability to inform guests of transportation, entertain guests, and explain hotel policies to guests. Of all the respondents the skills of transportation arrangement, entertaining guests, answering customer questions on items, explaining fire escape routes, and explaining local attractions appeared important. Amazingly nearly a third of interns believed that some of these skills were unimportant leaving dissonance between the manager and themselves.  

Kusluvan, S. & Kusluvan, K. (2000). Perceptions and attitudes of undergraduate tourism students towards working in the tourism industry in Turkey. Journal of Tourism Management, 21(3)

Rahim, S. & Tazijan, F. (2011). Analyzing the training and internship needs assessment of verbal communication skills amongst hotel practitioners. English Language Teaching, 4 (3).

World Bank. Growth of the Service Sector. Retrieved 11.19/2013 from http://www.worldbank.org/depweb/beyond/beyondco/beg_09.pdf


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