The 5 Different Sectors of the Hospitality Industry

The 5 Different Sectors of the Hospitality Industry


Overview of All Hospitality Sectors

Thanks to a highly diverse range of services, the hospitality sector enjoys a huge variety of business enterprises. While many of these goods or jobs revolve around creating an inviting and comfortable atmosphere for clients, they can also include helping people plan their own events, setting up environments to promote recreation, or catering to the needs of various professionals. As someone who may want to get into hospitality, it is important to understand the main branches of the industry.

Our article here can take you through some of the top sections that go into hospitality, and we will explain some of the key factors governing each one. No matter what your future in this business holds, it is likely that you’ll work in areas such as accommodations, food service, the traveling part of hospitality, basic entertainment, or how to plan for professional meetings and events.


Different Key Sectors Explained

Before we begin, we can offer some short explanations of the key sectors you’ll encounter in this business. It is a good idea to remember that this is an industry with segments. Although each segment maintains its own operations, other segments connect together. This presents some significant overlap within hospitality. Unlike a more isolated job, a career in hospitality might mean that you’ll need a wide range of skills you can use across multiple sectors. For example, your primary training might be in managing guest accommodations.

However, some of your duties may include learning about how the food and beverage options at your establishment work, or guests may ask you about local tourism. In either case, you’ll need some knowledge from different sections of the business in order to help them to the fullest extent. Additionally, there could be various levels of skill within each segment. Your future employers might expect a particularly high level of advanced knowledge from you in your chosen sector, but you may have lighter duties when you need to operate in an adjacent area of hospitality.

In the following sections, we will outline the key aspects of each of the major segments that most companies in the industry would consider vital to the success of a business. While the main focus will be on the primary duties or operations in a given sector, we’ll also dive into just how one might overlap with some of the others. Understanding how different parts of the business form relationships with each other is a big step toward being able to provide the highest quality of services that you can, further increasing guest satisfaction and customer retention.


1. Lodging or Accommodation

Accommodations within the industry will involve any venue at which guests will stay. These might include hostels, budget motels, private rental properties, or the hotel chains with which many travelers are familiar. While food and drink might represent the largest share of hospitality in some regions of the world, the accommodations sector serves as the backbone supporting everything else. Most management strategies within hospitality will place much emphasis on just what amenities lodging is able to offer to clients.

Aside from many of the types of locations we've mentioned, the hospitality industry can also construct entire resorts that provide high-quality accommodations to their customers. Many companies will put the focus on their rooms or physical locations, but resorts include easy access to the other pillars of hospitality we talk about here.


2. Food and Beverage

Depending on the specific global region on which you might focus, food and beverage might be the largest of the sectors in the hospitality industry. After all, even restaurants alone serve in some capacity here, and there are many types from which to choose in almost every major tourist location. A business can amplify this effect even further if a dedicated restaurant is part of the lodging area for guests. Even if this place is not part of the hotel itself, clients may ask staff about nearby recommendations for dining. Either case involves food or beverage as part of the experience, but there are other levels that we should consider here.

Some tourist locations may have parameters that emphasize fast service. Usually, this practice will result in the business hiring fewer employees than one might see at a more typical dining establishment. In fact, some small shops may have no on-site staff at all. Aside from stocking shelves, technology has allowed some businesses to let customers serve themselves and pay for items without needing to interact with any employees at all.

Conversely, fine dining restaurants will need staff with years of experience in order to provide the level of service guests might expect. Chefs, servers, and other members of house staff will need to show a great degree of skill and dedication to propel the hospitality industry forward here. Restaurants without a reputation for fine dining may need staff without quite so many skills, but they are no less important to how the food and beverage side of things may work in this business. Further, some businesses come to the client and try to meet their exact needs for each situation. This is where catering services might come into play.


3. Travel and Tourism

When experienced travelers think of tourism, this might conjure opinions or feelings about the hospitality industry as a whole. Tourism is certainly a huge part of hospitality, but those analyzing or working within the industry usually consider it to be its own segment. Tourism’s primary goal is to encourage the free and open travel of clients who will be in need of more general hospitality services. You can think of tourism as one of the means by which hospitality gathers new clients in order to increase the latter’s revenue streams. When people travel, they need all of the other things hospitality can provide, particularly the major points we’re talking about here.

It would not be unfair to say that all other parts of hospitality rely on successful tourism in order to function at a high level. If you’ve traveled, you may have heard about either tourist cities or tourist spots within certain cities. Some of the more popular places around the world enjoy robust local economies thanks to successful tourism. In these situations, any business that is part of hospitality may have trouble sustaining itself if tourism is largely absent from the area. Some restaurants may be able to draw local crowds, but whether that would be enough business to sustain them entirely is another matter. Similarly, hotels rely on a steady stream of clients passing through in order to stay profitable. The cogs of tourism are what keep the rest of the hospitality machine moving smoothly.

However, travel or tourism will contain separate industries that might tie back to the rest of hospitality. This is where some of the segments may overlap, and you can also use tourism as a way to see how you may need skills across multiple disciplines. Creating packages for tourists, vehicle rentals, flights, or even some transportation by waterways are all parts of the tourism side of this business. Guests may expect you to be able to arrange or recommend different options within each of these modes of travel.

On a related note, having some of this knowledge about the rest of the major pillars of hospitality could be essential to a fine career in tourism or travel. A specialist in this field should be able to help clients navigate accommodations, food, entertainment, and more. It could help you to have some experience in adjacent industries, too. Travel agencies themselves are a big part of this, and financial services for travels can be just as important here. Financial protection, insurance products, or medical packages are all things many customers will want to take advantage of before they begin their journeys to parts unknown.


4. Entertainment and Recreation

Many people go to places around the world just to see some new sights and experience other cultures. However, other travelers look for different versions of their favorite entertainments or recreational activities, too. Local or regional entertainment options make up a huge part of the hospitality industry. If you work in one of these places within a particularly touristic city, you have a hand in keeping the hospitality sector afloat.

In some cases, a simple massage might be a recreational activity, and many hotels offer services like this one to their guests. Just as with other parts of the business, some entertainment options overlap with other parts of the industry. A nightclub in a bustling city provides a wealth of entertainment to its patrons, but it also acts as a provider of food and beverages as well.

Large cinemas, traditional theaters with live-action productions on a stage, comedy clubs, museums, zoos, aquariums, sporting events, and even shopping are all parts of the entertainment or recreation segments of hospitality. This part of the business caters to clients who tend to have disposable income beyond what they’ve spent on the accommodations and travel in order to get to the destination itself.

Even historical sites are part of the entertainment side of things. Anything you can do to give clients activities to enjoy during their stay will be part of this business, and any job you perform to this effect makes you a part of it. An establishment may have its own casino, for example. Otherwise, there may be one nearby. Some hotels go up in prime locations that cater to clientele looking for everything from museums to sporting arenas in one area that is easy to navigate.

If you desire a career in travel management specifically, you’ll become familiar with the various entertainment options available to clients within a given region. This sort of position usually means that you’ll try to optimize all aspects of a trip for your customer. In doing so, you’ll help them take care of modes of travel, means of getting around once they arrive at their destinations, accommodations, food options, and all of the entertainment that might be available to them. You could even become the manager of a travel company yourself, but you would need to learn the major aspects of all the segments we’re covering here.


5. Timeshare and Meetings

You may be familiar with the seminars that involve timeshares. Generally, these events help prospective owners see the benefits of using such a property for either recreation or business ventures. A timeshare is any dwelling that has its own usage rights or ownership details divided between multiple people at once. For example, condominium units on or near resort locations are popular options for many people. Each person with a stake in the unit will have their own period of time during the year when they have usage rights to the property. In essence, they would become the owner of the property for the duration they outline in the usage agreement.

You may hear some industry experts call timeshares vacation ownership packages. While using such a place as a vacation spot is certainly a popular option, keeping your allotment for business purposes can make you a part of the hospitality industry as well. Similarly, you may be the owner of the property outright. In this case, you may wish to turn it into a vacation rental in order to increase the number of revenue streams at your disposal.

Should you decide to go this route, you can offer your property to different businesses at various times during the year. There are multiple ways in which you can set all of this up, and the paths you might take can offer a little or a lot of flexibility to your clients. Many businesses need locations like these in order to host seminars, new hire training courses, team-building retreats, and more. If you are a vacation rental owner, you can think of yourself in an accommodations management position within the hospitality industry itself.

Different clients may buy slots in your timeshare that they would want to use at regular intervals. If so, you’d be responsible for the upkeep of the property. A big part of this may include making sure the location has all the proper amenities that your guests might expect. What this category includes can vary according to the length of the client’s stay and what they will be doing while they are using the site. In some ways, you may run the property similarly to any other part of the accommodations segment of the hospitality industry.



As an umbrella that provides different goods or services to patrons, hospitality is a versatile and ever-growing sector. While we’ve outlined some of the major points of each of the sectors within the business here, it is a good idea to narrow your focus on the kinds of interests and skills you have already. In doing so, you can figure out which section is the right fit for you. There are also training courses, certifications, and degrees you can get to further improve your skills and viability as a hospitality professional.

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