A Service Industry

In the business and corporate sector the hotel industry is setting up a place for itself, with its growing appeal of career building possibilities.

Besides F&B service and production, there are many portfolios available in this industry.

An industry that has seen world-class novices shine, the hotel industry has grown in leaps and bounds. A career in the industry, coupled with smooth management skills, can set you up for a great career ahead.

To enter the field of hotel management, an applicant is favoured if he walks in with an MBA, or a substantial and fairly experienced  background in management   and business. Aspiring chefs, sous chefs and other kitchen staff members must come from home economics, hospitality or food technology backgrounds. A beginner with an apprenticeship under the guidance of an expert chef is also favoured. A degree/ diploma in hotel management is usually preferred. However, even a graduate with good communication skills and a pleasing personality can make an entry into this industry as a trainee.

The hotel industry is an all-encompassing term for everything ranging from management to services. Those eager to make a place for themselves in the industry can choose from a variety of portfolios. Food Service Retail is a rapidly growing industry and can be segmented across multiple formats based on the product and service offerings – fine dining, casual dining, quick service restaurants (QSRs), ice cream parlours, food courts and cafes. In fact, fine/ casual dining and QSRs are the fasted growing formats. These two formats would together contribute to about 80 per cent growth of the organized sector in the next five years. Besides F&B service and production, there are sample portfolios available in this industry as it is making extensive use of technology in every  function to improve efficiency and standardise operations. Company websites and social networking sites are being used as a forum for marketing and communicating with patrons to establish connections as well as designing customized revenue management solutions.

The Indian hotel industry has been known for its ability to coalesce culture and service. Stimulators like heritage hotels, a flourishing tourism sector, international relations and ever-changing consumption patterns have aided the success of the hotel sector in our nation.

In accordance  to the general pattern of demand and supply, the Indian hotel industry deals with the problem of seasons in tourism – fluctuating demand for the sector. Another factor, known as the weekend phenomenon sees the wavering demand for the industry’s services during the end of the week period, when people choose to venture out and relax after a five-day week. Other technicalities such as brand positioning, product offerings, infrastructure and tactical pricing are also dealt with on a daily basis.  With the addition of new hospitality products and other service industries such as banking, insurance and travel, the demand gap is only widening. Although trained resources are a challenge due to the limited number of hotel-education institutions in the country, the problem related to training and attrition can be addressed by designing effective career planning programmes.

To keep patrons satisfied, the industry is now well equipped with the latest technology. The foray of MNCs into the Indian Hotel Industry has given rise to the availability of a wider range of leisure options for vision to choose from.

With healthy annual tourist arrivals, better infrastructure visibility, brand expansion and world class services, the industry is looking at a healthier future. The industry in India is at a turning point, where it is witnessing an influx of international and domestic branded hotels, along with a renewed interest by investors. In the long term, the outlook for the industry is very promising. The demand supply gap in India is very real and there is need for more hotels and restaurant chains in most cities. There is an urgent need for budget and mid-market hotels in the country as travellers look for safe and affordable accommodation. The F&B sector, especially food service retail, is poised for bigger growth with the entry of international chains.

In addition to the technical skills, the most important ones are excellent communication skills and soft skills. Unfortunately the current entrants to the industry are not only lacking in these aspects but also ignoring them. If the Indian hospitality industry has to compete with other sectors for attracting good talent, Indian employers should offer higher remuneration to the entrants.

USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Gulf countries and cruise liners are the most sought after places for jobs in this sector.

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