The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the hospitality industry in so many ways that when it bounces back (and it will!), it will no longer be the same as the one we left behind. For one, the acceleration of digitalisation is so rapidly and profoundly changing ways of working that hospitality professionals need to acquire new hard and technical skills.
However, we know that in a post-COVID world, human connection and the soft skills required to build long-lasting and fruitful client relations will stay at the heart of hospitality.
What is the difference between hard skills and soft skills?
You might have asked yourself this question before, especially over the last couple of years, as term soft skills has gained popularity and importance. So, what is the difference between hard and soft skills?
The answer is on your CV. Look at your education, degrees, qualifications, training, and think about the knowledge you have acquired that helps you achieve quantifiable results. By doing this, you will be able to identify your hard skills.
For instance, revenue management is a hard hospitality skill since you can prove the benefits you brought to a company with concrete numbers. In this case, you can demonstrate the knowledge you obtained through proper training and education. In summary, hard skills are measurable and are essential to complete a professional task that you could not have performed without previous preparation.
In contrast, soft skills are the strengths you would list on your CV. They are the skills you would mention during an interview when asked about your strengths and weaknesses, or what your colleagues or manager say about you.
Soft skills are human abilities, such as good communication, multitasking, leadership, creativity, and professionalism, that help you form better relationships and are helpful when solving tasks. Essentially, soft skills can take you the extra mile and can set you apart from other candidates with the same hard skills.
Soft skills are difficult to measure, but not impossible. They are easier to demonstrate in real life when put into practice. These human abilities are obtained and developed through experience and are transferable to other roles and across tasks.
Why are soft skills important for the hospitality industry?
Soft skills are ingrained in hospitality and are crucial to delivering a unique and unforgettable customer experience, which is necessary to build loyalty and help any hospitality business succeed. As mentioned, soft skills are developed through experience. However, in hospitality, soft skills are reinforced and taught through education and training, so hospitality professionals are praised and sought after by many other industries.
What soft skills are necessary for a successful hospitality career?
Based on recruitment activity and feedback from hospitality experts worldwide, our research at Hosco identifies eight primary soft skills for a successful hospitality career and that recruiters expect to see in future employees.
Unsurprisingly, service-mindedness is among the top soft skills to have in hospitality. It describes the willingness to go the extra mile to make the customer feel special. It demands a strong ability to anticipate the needs and behaviors of others and to take initiative.
Having drive means that you continuously strive for improvement, take responsibility for achieving business results, and persevere despite obstacles. Someone with drive not only likes to set and pursue aggressive goals, but they also get others to commit to and achieve them too.
Working well with others in a group, known as teamwork, is crucial in today’s work environment. You have to demonstrate that you can trust and cooperate with colleagues across various departments and functions and share responsibilities.
More than ever, hospitality professionals have to adapt to rapid changes and show agility in their working environment. Being comfortable with ambiguity, receptive to new ideas, and responding to workplace changes with flexibility and optimism are essential to succeed.
5. Emotional intelligence:
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand your own and others’ emotions, to the extent that you can adapt the way you interact with them to achieve specific outcomes. In particular, this ability helps you to engage and work more effectively with colleagues from different viewpoints, backgrounds, cultures, and countries.
6. Influencing skills:
Possessing influencing skills means that you can get others to support and collaborate on a common goal without forcing them. Doing so relies on strong communication and interpersonal skills. Someone with influencing skills inspires trust and is generally good at maintaining harmonious relationships with others.
Another consequence of rapid changes in the hospitality industry is having to face unforeseen situations. Problem-solving is the ability to detect problems and solve them in a useful and timely manner. Someone with strong problem-solving skills follows a logical decision-making process and can handle difficult and unexpected issues.
8. Attention to detail:
Complementary to problem-solving skills, attention to detail is the ability to perceive small inconsistencies and changes, and for ways to continuously improve. Someone with strong attention to detail skills strives for accuracy and perfection.
Developing these soft skills will undoubtedly help you to grow your career in hospitality. What is more, soft skills can turn out to be valuable assets and a key differentiator when moving into a new industry.