Document Type

Unpublished Paper

Publication Date



The hospitality industry has faced and continues to face major challenges in hiring and retaining the workforce needed for recovery from the pandemic and future growth. The goal of this research was to better understand these changing needs so that hospitality educators can supply the industry with well-rounded graduates attuned to the transformed hospitality operating environment. Focus group research was conducted with 22 senior hospitality managers in summer 2021; participants also completed an inventory of 28 skills and attributes commonly associated with the delivery of hospitality services. Overall analysis indicated that the skills and attributes rated “more important” or “much more important” with the greatest frequency were associated with “soft skills” such as versatility, empathy and communication. Technical skills such as technological fluency, sanitation and financial management, while important, were less frequently cited on average and were more likely to be rated as of “about the same importance.” Participants also cited strong work ethic, perseverance, good time management and mental and emotional strength as important attributes for professional success.