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7 Key Personality Traits For Success in Hospitality

On both ends of the transaction, the world of hospitality is all about people. Yes, you're delivering great food, drinks and atmosphere to your happy customers, but all that preparing, serving and hospitality management is done by quality staff who are above all else the key representatives of your brand and business.

So while you need to invest in the best possible ingredients, premises and equipment, your staff and the willingness to improve customer service are arguably the most important investments of all. Business only booms if your customers are happy, which means customer service and the customer experience must be delivered by exactly the right personality types.

Get your hospitality recruitment and staff training right and your customers will love your business and be back for more. Get it wrong, and that 'rude waitress' or 'ignorant bartender' could poison your well in one fell swoop when a guest posts a terrible online review that sticks.

Professional hospitality training and employee engagement go an awful long way, but some people are simply born for this industry. These living and breathing business cards for your establishment have a truly inspiring skill set: friendly, hard-working, endlessly willing to go the extra mile for a guest, and so much more.

What exactly does the perfect personality type for hospitality look like? We explore the 7 key traits:

1. A Listener

The unmatchable Judge Judy once said that we all have one mouth and two ears so that we listen twice as often as we speak. It's good all-round advice, and doubly so for the world of hospitality.

And even when great hospitality staff are actually talking, they're still listening - with their eyes. A customer's body language says they're stressed, nervous, uncomfortable, unhappy, lost - and great hospitality staff members have the skills to read it and know what to do next.

2. A Communicator

Listening may come first, but a natural ability to clearly communicate and be understood is also vital for hospitality staff.

But once again, there's more to it than that. Hospitality staff don't just have to know how to word their message, but to deliver it with the right attitude. They make eye contact, their face is friendly, their body is open and they communicate confidently, clearly, calmly and compassionately amid a wide spectrum of customer behaviour and if they don't, it's the bottom line that suffers.

3. Customer-Oriented

'The customer is always right' is an oldie but a goodie - and great hospitality staff and well-crafted staff training programs acknowledge the particular importance of that mantra in this unique sector.

That's because hospitality is all about the overall customer experience — customers have come for a meal, a drink or even a well-earned holiday, and even a staff 'speed bump' can ruin the day and mean a key competitor gets the business or the recommendation next time around.

Great hospitality staff therefore go the extra mile to put smiles on faces, understanding that a personal inconvenience is far less important than whether the customer has what they need in the way they need it right now.

4. Stress-Resistant

Everybody has their limits, but the ideal personality for hospitality has an extremely high tolerance threshold. Customers have come to your establishment to chill out and be satisfied, leaving the staff member to deftly cope with all manner of tricky and stressful situations that may arise.

We're talking about things like cranky customers, screaming babies, hot and heated kitchens, and much more — every single day on repeat. If stress management is not an innate personality trait, hospitality can be a very tough game for staff.

5. Quality-Oriented

Quality is crucial in just about any business sector — but in hospitality, it's an absolute must.

We're not just referring to beautifully presented dishes, but also standards for health, hygiene and safety. Great staff therefore understand that while innovation and initiative are important, simply following and meeting protocols, rules and regulations to the letter have a much higher priority.

6. A Multi-Tasker

In many jobs, an employee gets to really focus on doing a single thing very well indeed. But so commonly in the world of hospitality, staff are doing two, three or eighteen things at any one time.

The natural-born multi-tasker will be the best at calmly and skilfully balancing their time, patience and energy against competing demands, without cutting corners on any aspect or - worse still — dropping those juggling balls completely.

7. The 'Hospitality Type'

At the end of the day, the hospitality industry may be extremely rewarding whilst promising so much in career opportunity, but it's also a pretty tough gig. Hospitality staff work long hours, they're juggling multiple balls all day long, and they're doing it while always remaining calm, friendly, focused and efficient.

In short, great staff are outstanding. Committed, problem-solving, independent and yet valuable team members, supremely organised and flexible, and so much more — the ideal personality types are the throbbing heart of every hospitality business.