The important soft skills that one must possess is the ability to listen patiently to customer needs, and be calm at the same time have the analytical mind to find what needs to be done at that very moment.
Although soft skills are an important ingredient of success in every aspect of hospitality your skills will be out to test depending on where you are placed.
How you greet a guest the moment he arrives, how you help him with the initial formalities all comprise the basic tenets of soft skills that you need to master fast. Other important areas that need training are communication etiquettes like how to shake hands, and a positive body language both of which go a long way in reinforcing the fact that you are giving your guest undivided attention.
Here, what cardinally matters is how you welcome the guest and make him feel comfortable. If the guest has visited the restaurant previously, remembering his name or his likes and dislikes are extremely crucial.
To surprise of many, even presentation of food requires soft skills. In food production, how you garnish the salad, how you make food, look and smell better also come under the purview of soft skills.
Broadly, all employees must know how to deal with customers firmly yet tactfully at times. Sometimes a guest may misbehave with a female staff member. Without obliging the guest, or making a big issue out of it, a discerning employee should be able to find a quick solution like sending a male counterpart to look, after that guest thereafter.
Employees in the hospitality sector should have effective communication skills. This not only means language skills, but also empathy. They must put themselves in the customers’ shoes and should make every attempt to understand is / her personality, behavior, attitude and actions.
Most hotels train their staff in-house through their internal training divisions while some outsource the training. Sometimes, it is necessary to get external trainers, as in-house training can limit the exposure to candidates. There are some institutes that also send their staff to five start hotels for a stay. We do this for operational orientation, so that they know the latest trends in the hotel industry and bring that experience and understanding back to the classroom.
The majority of training imparted is by the in-house training center, which falls under our human resources department. Appropriate external training is also arranged as per need, for example, specific language training, first aid training, etc. The skills are achieved through planned pro-active training such that all team members undergo every topic as per schedule. Some of the mandatory training programs to help equip the team in handling situations are body language skills, listening skills, the power of positive communication, telecommunication skills, situation handling skills through role play, exceeding guest expectations and guest delight, spirit of hospitality etc.
While a few years back, all you needed to land a job in the hospitality sector was a sound technical qualification there is no denying the fact that today with the Indian hospitality industry setting international footprints, demand or employees with the right soft skills is certainly o the high. While most hotels bank on their in-house training facilities to train their staff, hotel management institutes are taking this non-technical aspect of training very seriously.
Lastly, if you intend to make a career in the hospitality sector, soft skills is something you really cannot afford to treat softly.