Hospitality Management 101

Hospitality establishment sectors include many different businesses, for example hotels, restaurants, casinos, resorts, tour agencies and airlines. While there are no specific requirements for educational experience, many companies have begun favouring candidates with the relevant education. However, extensive job training and work experience is typically necessary for upper-level management positions.

Different types of establishments will require different operational management requirements or roles.
These include but are not limited to:
FOOD OUTLETS : Restaurant (Fine dining or family), Take-away (Private or franchised), Cafés or coffee shops, Catering companies

CONFERENCING/CONVENTION : Small or large conferencing, Large convention venues

GUESTHOUSES : Bed and breakfast, Bed, breakfast and dinner

HOTELS : Express, Business, Airport

LODGES : Game lodges, Privately owned

It is becoming more and more widely recognised and accepted that the performance and success of an organisation depends upon the quality of its management.
MANAGEMENT IS NECESSARY To direct an organisation towards its objectives. To set and keep the operations of the organisation on a balanced course. To keep the organisation in equilibrium with its environment. To reach the goals of the organisation. It maintains the organisation’s equilibrium and helps it to attain its goals simultaneously and at the highest possible level of productivity.

Planning is the activity of management that determines the mission and goals of the organisation, including the ways in which the goals are to be reached and also the resources that will be needed in order to reach these goals.
It is concerned with setting the goals of the organisation and determining how they are going to be attained. As a fundamental element of management, planning is not only the starting point of the management process, but, in a sense also the point around which the management activities revolve. The objectives and the plans determine the type of organisation needed, the leadership that is necessary, and the control that has to be exercised to steer the organisation as productively as possible towards its goals.


Planning is the managerial process that gives direction to the organisation Planning promotes co-operation between the various departments and people in the organisation. Planning compels managers to look to the future. It eliminates crisis-management by obliging future-oriented management to anticipate threats in the environment.
Planning is the managerial process that gives direction to the organisation Planning promotes co-operation between the various departments and people in the organisation.

Organising is the second step in the management process. After the goals, objectives and plans have been determined, the human and physical resources of the organisation have to be allocated by management to the relevant departments or persons; duties defined and procedures fixed to enable the organisation to reach its goals.
There must be a framework or structure within which management sets about putting the strategy or plan into operation to fulfill the purpose. Hence the saying: “structure follows strategy”. The development of such a structure includes the second fundamental element of management: organising.
Organising means that management has to develop mechanisms to put the strategy or plan into effect. Arrangements have to be made to determine what activities will be carried out, what resources will be employed, and which persons will perform the various activities. This involves the distribution of tasks among employees, the allocation of resources to persons and departments, and giving the necessary authority to certain persons to ensure that the tasks are in fact carried out. Above all, there must be communication, co-operation and co-ordination between the persons and departments performing the tasks.
More specifically, organising is important for the following reasons: Organising entails a detailed analysis of work to be done and resources to be used to accomplish the aims of the organisation. It is through organising that the range of tasks and resources, and methods or procedures can be systematised. Each person should know his duties, authority and responsibility, as well as the procedures that he must follow or the methods that he has to adopt, and the resources that he can use. Organising divides the total workload into activities that can be comfortably performed by an individual or a group. Organising promotes the productive application and utilisation of resources. The development of an organisational structure results in a mechanism which co-ordinates the activities of the whole organisation into complete, uniform, harmonious units.

The process of organising, i.e. the way in which tasks and resources are distributed among individuals and departments to set a plan or strategy in motion, is based on two principles. These principles are firstly specialisation, or the division of labour, and secondly departmentalisation or the grouping together of activities that are more or less similar, including forecast and cost control


Leading means giving orders to different departments and people and motivating them in such a way as to direct their actions in conformity with the goals and plans. The part played by leadership in getting and keeping things going and in motivating and influencing staff by ensuring good communication between management and staff and among staff can have a decisive effect on the culture prevailing within the organisation.
It is at this point that the third fundamental task of management comes into play – the leadership assumed by someone to set things going and to keep them going to attain the ends in view. With the assumption of leadership, direction is given to the activities so that the goals or objectives of the enterprise may be fulfilled as productively as possible.


The term leadership is somewhat vague and hence difficult to define. It includes things such as giving orders, handling and motivating people (individually or in groups), managing conflict, and communicating with subordinates. In its simplest connotation it is the relation between superior and subordinate. More precisely: from the point of view of management, leadership may be defined as the influencing and directing of the behaviour of subordinates in such a way that they willingly strive to accomplish the goals or objectives of the organisation.
A leader has the authority, but gets results without having to use force. He is a leader by virtue of certain personal qualities that he possesses, including the ability to consult his followers and motivate them, enlisting their co-operation of their own free will.

Control means that managers should constantly check whether the organisation is properly on course towards the accomplishment of its goals by ensuring that the activities and performance conform to the plans for attaining the predetermined goals. Control also enables management to detect any deviations from the plans and to correct these. At the same time it obliges management to be constantly reconsidering its goals and plans.
The last of the fundamental tasks of the management process is control, and in a sense this can be viewed as the starting point of the next management cycle. From the managerial point of view, control is the process through which organisational activities are regulated in such a way as to facilitate the attainment of planned objectives and operations. With this, the cycle of management will have been practically completed. But one activity is still lacking: the evaluation of the management effort, or checking whether the activities are being performed according to the plan, mission and objectives of the organisation. Effective control may therefore be defined as a management process designed to keep deviations from planned activities or levels of achievement to the minimum so that the organisation’s aims may be accomplished with as little disturbance as possible.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTROL : The importance of control may be deduced from the nature of the management process itself and in particular the task of planning. Control is intimately linked with planning, organising and leading. Therefore planning is the first step in control, and without control planning is pointless. Again, control without planning is not possible.

Characteristics of an effective control system:
INTEGRATION: A control system tends to be effective when it is integrated with planning, is flexible, accurate, objective, timely and not unnecessarily complex. Control complements planning in that deviations highlight a need to review plans and even objectives; in this way control provides input essential to planning.
FLEXIBILITY: A second characteristic of an effective control system is that it is flexible, meaning it is capable of accommodating change. Rapid adjustment of plans or objectives should be seen not as deviations but as improvements that the control system is able to accommodate, within limits, so that no new, expensive system need be developed and implemented.

Human resources management is a purposeful action to assist managers in utilising and applying the available manpower within the enterprise to the optimum so as to achieve the objectives of the enterprise.
To enable the HR Manager to perform this task efficiently he/she does:

This refers to the intended actions in the enterprise to ensure that the right number and quality of employees are available at the right time to help realize the current and future objectives of the enterprise.

JOB ANALYSIS: This is the process by which all relevant information regarding a
specific job is gathered. Job analysis has two components: a description of the job and a job specification. Job descriptions refer to the content of the job itself, in other words as indicated by the name or title of the job, the duties and responsibilities attached to the post, the decisions to be made, aids which can be used, working conditions, initiative, independent action, and so on.

JOB LIST: Job analysis begins with identifying the duties that must be performed and developing a job list. It continues with a study of each identified duty, and the development of written job breakdowns. This helps to develop or draw up work schedules

JOB SPECIFICATION: This consists of the determination of the type of employee required to perform the tasks that have been described.

MANPOWER FORECASTING: This is the process through which continual forecasts are made about the type and number of employees required by the enterprise.

THE MANPOWER PLAN: Such a plan provides management with concrete guidelines, suggesting actions by which the manpower needs of the enterprise can be satisfied over the short, medium and long term. The manpower plan is aimed at providing answers to what should be done today in order to be prepared for tomorrow.
The manpower plan should dovetail with the long-term strategic planning of the organisation. Its success in achieving the stated objectives should regularly be determined. For example, it can be established how many female employees occupied managerial posts after a certain period, if a stated long-term objective was to appoint women to management posts.

Recruiting means searching as widely and as thoroughly as possible for people who are suitable for vacancies in the establishment and encouraging them to apply for these vacancies.
Klan et al. (1985: 171) describe the process of recruiting as follows:
“The recruitment process involves identifying and attracting candidates for current and future jobs; it is a process of developing and maintaining adequate sources for filling human resource needs.”

Should a vacancy occur, the search for a suitable candidate to fill the post will be launched outside the enterprise from:
Employment agencies Head hunting Walk-ins Advertisements

The enterprise tries to fill its vacancies with current staff members by means of promotions or transfers.

When it comes to external recruiting, the process becomes very complex. The human resources manager should establish for himself beforehand precisely what sort of person to recruit, where the person is to be found, and how he or she should be recruited. The manager should endeavour to recruit a few applicants who are all suitable for the post. From these, the most suitable one should then be chosen. Too many applicants mean more costs and time to sift all the candidates. The idea that successful recruiting means only that enough people need to apply for a post is a myth.

Once clarity has been obtained on how recruiting is going to be done (i.e. from internal or external sources) there are various recruiting techniques to try to recruit the suitable candidate. The following are some techniques.

      • Recruiting by means of advertising

      • Recruiting by consultants and labour bureau

      • Recruiting by existing staff. – staff recommend friends or acquaintances

      • Recruiting by approaching candidates personally (head hunting) – requesting a staff member they know from a competitor to come and work for them

The explicit objective of recruiting is to ensure that a sufficient number of applicants apply to fill the different posts in the enterprise. When the applicants have been recruited, the next step can be taken: selecting the best candidate.

Selection is the process of scrutinising and choosing the most suitable person for a certain vacancy – from the candidates identified in the previous step. Each decision to select an individual for employment or promotion represents a prediction that the candidate will be successful should he be appointed to the post.

PERMANENT POSITION/FULL TIME: Full time employees work a standard week (37.5 hours or more). They benefit from pay increases and benefits and tend to be highly skilled individuals who complete vital work for the organisation.

TEMPORARY/CASUAL: These employees are used by the business to cover positions for a short period, assist with large scale projects or help cope with seasonal changes in demand. It has become common practice to obtain temporary staff from specialist employment agencies that screen applicants themselves and provide a short list for an organisation. Although this saves time, the agency will charge a fee. As the candidate will only fill in a position for a short period, the selection process/criteria will not be as intensive. An interview may be the only criteria in this process.

INTERNAL: Staff are selected from the current staff complement to fill a position. Since the staffs is known to the human resources department, an interview may be the only selection criteria utilised – if any is used at all.

PART TIME: A growing demand for flexible hours has arisen as employees attempt to balance working with other aspects such as studying or raising children. This candidate will have to complete application forms and undergo an interview. CONTRACT: Contract staff are employed for specific periods. They are not permanent staff but will have their contract renewed if applicable. They work for the company until the stipulated date or until the responsibilities or projects are completed. These candidates may undergo an interview and other documentation may have to be completed.

The first step in preliminary screening is the examination of an application form or letter of application with valuable information regarding the applicant, giving personal information, references, qualifications and experience.
It is important to note that the application form or CV is the preliminary selection instrument.

Once the staff needs, training needs, recruitment, selection and induction process have been successfully completed by the human resource department, it is now necessary to address the ongoing development and maintenance of the human resource function. Training and development of staff is an ongoing procedure and needs to be managed effectively.

Training is defined as a planned process to modify attitude, knowledge or skill behaviour through learning experience to achieve effective performance in an activity or range of activities. Its purpose in the work situation is to develop the abilities of the individual and to satisfy the current and future needs of the organisation.
Essentially, training is aimed at influencing the knowledge or skills of the employee within a certain time limit to increase his productivity so that he can achieve the objectives of the enterprise more readily. Training therefore focuses on job content.

Development is the process through which managers or potential mangers acquire the necessary experience, management capabilities and inclination to function successfully as managers.
Development focuses on individuals in managerial posts or individuals who are being groomed for managerial posts. If we consider that each manager is appointed for the sole purpose of pursuing the objectives of the enterprise.

It is a well-known fact that money is a very important motivator. Remuneration will therefore be one of the most important factors to motivate an employee to join an enterprise. If this remuneration is not attractive enough to him, the employee will easily be persuaded to leave the enterprise if he can receive more money elsewhere.

Remuneration is the output received by the employee from the enterprise for input (work) given by him. In essence three types of remuneration can be distinguished:

DIRECT REMUNERATION: The basic salary or wage the employee receives;
INDIRECT REMUNERATION: Fringe benefits enjoyed by the employee, such as leave benefits, membership of a medical aid scheme, membership of a pension fund and housing benefits.
A REWARD: This refers to steps taken by the enterprise in recognition of good work done by the employee, e.g. a monetary reward such as a bonus when an employee performed better than expected, prizes such as a paid holiday or an overseas trip. Leave can be given in the form of additional days off. A reward is therefore not a right that can be claimed by the employee, but a form of voluntary recognition given by the employer to the employee for good service.

Hospitality management refers to the overall management of a hotel, restaurant or similar organisation. People who work in the hospitality industry need to have a certain set of skills. These skills include but are not limited to good communication, service and organisation skills.
There are a variety of departments that make up the structure of a hotel or similar. In smaller establishments many job roles are shared by employees such as the Head Chef will act as the Duty Manager as well or the Accountant will act as the Human Resources manager.
In order to have a full understanding of how the establishment works, it is beneficial to have a brief overview of each department and the way in which it is structured and how it effects the establishment as a whole.

These departments include (but are not limited to):
General/ Operations Management
Reservations (Front Desk)
Guest Relations/ Concierge
Food and Beverage (Front of House)
Kitchen (Back of House)
Human Resources/Training and Development
Marketing and Sales/Event coordination
Information Technology (IT)

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Photo Credits : Martenscos, Google, Getty Images

In this department, there will traditionally be three managers.

These include:

        • General Manager (GM)

        • Deputy/Assistant General Manager

        • Operational Manager

Each department will have a Head/Lead manager. This manager is required to directly manage the employees within their department. All performance appraisals, performance issues, disciplinary issues, leave requests, medical issues and possible salary negotiations or salary disputes; are to be discussed with your head of department, it is then referred to Human Resources. If the issue you face as an employee is directly linked to your Head of Department (HOD), then you may approach Human Resources directly.

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