Five Benefits of Training Staff to Effectively Communicate in English for Hospitality

by Jeffrey Parry – Content Manager, Kingsmen Hospitality

The hospitality industry is a truly global, multi-national, and cross-cultural environment for organisations and individuals to operate within. With such distinct and different people working together, English is often employed as the lingua franca of the industry. ‘Hospitality English’ differs from learning English in a more traditional manner, in that it is more formal, more precise, and emphasises non-verbal communication. This article will go over five distinct benefits of training staff on how to effectively communicate in hospitality English.

1. The Importance of Formal Business Writing

Formal business writing is a vital skill to possess as it acts as the first and most widely used form of professional correspondence between businesses, individuals, and more. Essential to any business to function, the hospitality industry is no exception.

Formal writing is not simply using fancy words; it is about providing clear, formatted, and precise correspondence between two or more parties operating in a professional capacity. A well-formatted, formal, and easy-to-decipher email not only conveys courtesy and care, but it also improves the reputation of an organisation and their professional credibility.

2. Learning to Use Clear, Unambiguous Language

Hospitality language is often rehearsed and formal. As such, learning English for hospitality is uncomplicated to implement and teach. Staff need to respond and understand customer requests and complaints in clear, polite, and precise language to allay confusion and provide effective solutions. Answers to questions for example should be prompt and clear, making sure that there is a full understanding between the involved parties.

3. Remaining Courteous and Calm Under Pressure

Hospitality English is not just how to answer questions correctly and deal with customer requests, it also teaches staff how to deal with customer’s problems in a polite and courteous manner. The word ‘maybe’ for example, can result in very different meanings to what a speaker might have originally wished to convey depending on the tone and manner of how they did so. If staff are correctly trained to deliver the correct responses in an appropriate tone and manner, they can reduce tensions and agree to an amicable solution for both parties.

4. Cross-cultural Communication & Awareness

In an ever globalised and interconnected world, it has become an inevitability for hospitality staff that they will be dealing with people of a wide array of distinct and unique cultures. The differences can be vast even when comparing countries that share a similar language and culture such as the United Kingdom and the USA. It has become more important than ever that staff understand and are aware of differing cultural norms and traditions to their own, and how to effectively communicate given these barriers. Hospitality English must deal with all potential levels of English communication, as customers themselves will have drastically different and varying English language skills themselves.

5. Building Staff’s Confidence

Learning a language or learning how to use a certain language in a given context can be a challenging task, which can further be made more daunting by the fact that staff must do so in a professional and formal capacity. By training staff beforehand, organisations can effectively prepare their staff to be ready to deal with a variety of different scenarios, in which they have to employ various phrases and responses, resulting in building an employee’s confidence to deal with those situations. By learning English in an official capacity, staff can eventually learn to be effective communicators in less formal situations with customers.

Final Thoughts

Learning English in the context of hospitality can sometimes be overlooked by employers in the industry or as something that staff are expected to already know, but by training and teaching employees to effectively communicate in a clear, polite, and formal manner within the context of hospitality, an organisation can achieve considerable improvements to its credibility, reputation, and customer service.