Andika Putra
Posted on October 2023

What Is the Hospitality Industry?


What is the hospitality industry, exactly? How is it defined? When did it begin? What types of jobs are available? This guide will help you understand everything you need to know. Keep reading to discover definitions, unique tools, and insider tips on what the hospitality industry is and, if you're interested, how to get started in it. Then, learn more about where to find the best hospitality industry jobs and which roles you may be best suited for. 

What is the hospitality industry? Everything you need to know:

What is the history of the hospitality industry?
While the hospitality industry doesn't have one globally-accepted start date, its history dates back thousands of years and spans across the globe. Take a look at ancient Greece, for example, where xenia — also known as the sacred rule of hospitality — was defined as "the generosity and courtesy shown to those who are far from home or associates of the person bestowing guest-friendship." In short, Xenia was made up of two basic rules:

  • The respect from hosts to guests. Hosts must be hospitable and provide guests with a bath, food, drink, gifts, and a safe escort to their next destination.
  • The respect from guests to hosts. Guests must be courteous and not be a threat or burden to their guests.

Although our modern-day version of hospitality looks different than it did thousands of years ago, it still follows one main theme: To provide guests with services. And guests do more than just make a pitstop at hospitality businesses these days. Many hospitality businesses are now seen as destinations themselves! 

What is the definition of the hospitality industry?

Hospitality has dozens of different definitions, but it can be broken down to the act of making someone feel welcome, usually through entertainment and comfort. So what is the hospitality industry? It includes many businesses that fall under this large umbrella, such as hotels, motels, resorts, restaurants, theme parks, and much more. If you’re not sure whether or not a business is considered part of the hospitality industry, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this establishment serve food or drink? 
  • Is customer experience a top priority? 
  • Does the business make money through services more than goods? 

If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these, there’s a strong chance that the business is involved in hospitality to some degree. 

Another way to better understand hospitality is by looking at The Big Four: Food and beverage, travel and tourism, lodging, and recreation. The food and beverage category includes restaurants, bars, and lounges. Travel and tourism covers airlines and travel agencies. Lodging can be anything from hotels to AirBnBs. And recreation usually means activities such as golfing, fishing, and tennis. 

All of these industries are connected by their drive to provide an enjoyable experience for all who participate. The atmosphere is welcoming and warm, the facilities sometimes offer convenient amenities such as showers or complimentary valet parking, and their revenue typically relies on whether or not people enjoy being there.

What is the goal of the hospitality industry?

The goal of the hospitality industry is to provide customers with an enjoyable experience. Whether that enjoyment comes from eating a good meal, relaxing in a luxurious spa, or getting a good night’s rest away from home, making sure each individual guest is taken care of is paramount.


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