IndustryShould we strive to be the best at something or good at everything?

Industry professionals discussed the topic “Generalist vs Specialist” at this year’s Flight Hospitality Conference held at IHTTI School of Hotel Management in Neuchâtel.

Today we are seeing the rise of technology and artificial intelligence replacing traditional hospitality roles. The 2019 Flight Hospitality Conference invited hospitality experts to weigh in on the dilemma: As hospitality professionals, should we focus on becoming specialists or should we generalise and gain knowledge across multiple fields?

If we choose to specialise in a role, the role may one day become obsolete and leave us without a job. For example many traditional hospitality professions such as receptionists, concierges and bartenders have merged together or have been replaced entirely by technology. According to MaryJane Flanagan, Managing Director, MJ Inspire Ltd,

There will always be room for specialists, but this industry will need individuals and teams who can generalise and move across areas within hospitality. Specialists can be brought in for a specific need at a specific time

At boutique and independent hotels, it is often difficult to hire experts in every role due to budget constraints. These establishments often prefer flexible individuals with a “can-do attitude”.

President and Managing Director at Old Edwards Hospitality Group

Richard Delany, President and Managing Director at Old Edwards Hospitality Group shared:

Some areas such as spa or culinary still require specialists. Many others only need attitude. Hire people for their attitude and teach them the skills they need. Hospitality comes from the heart

From a recruiter’s perspective, specialists can be more desirable than generalists, especially in the culinary field. During the conference, Gary King, Founder and Managing Director, Collins & King Associates ltd. revealed:

There are just not enough qualified chefs out there. It is important that we grow and maintain relationships between universities and future employers to fill the demand of skilled individuals.

Flight Hospitality Conference in Neuchatel

Matthew Rowledge, Human Resources Officer at the Royal Garden Hotel took a different perspective and believes that there is room for both in a hotel.

Welcome both generalists and specialists, it gives you the flexibility to hire the right person for your specific needs. You know what you need in your organization, you decide what a specialist is and what roles you need

Learn more about the 2018 Flight Conference.

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