The difference between hospitality and customer service might surprise you

The personal and professional concepts behind hospitality and customer service are easy to comprehend, however the difference between the two can seem murky. Here’s our attempt to explain the distinction. We’ll start with the formal definitions according to Oxford:

Hospitality noun

hɑspəˈtælət̮i/ ]

friendly and generous behavior toward guests

Customer Service noun

kʌstəmər ˈsɜːrvɪs/ ​

the help and advice that a company gives people who buy or use its products or services

Can you spot the difference?

Hospitality is a personality trait. Customer service is an act that satisfies a customer’s purchase experience. While both impact on the customer experience, hospitality isn’t necessarily tied to a business — it’s something anyone can do anytime, anywhere. Customer service is an inherent part of the business process that meets the customers’ needs. So while customer service is a mandatory business affair, hospitality takes grit, strength of character, and selflessness.

Hospitality extended from one person to another immediately implies one is a guest and one is a host. The acts and behaviors of a host are different from a customer service agent. The goal is to provide a unique experience — one that isn’t necessarily required in the customer service process. This is why there are various industries devoted to creating unique experiences — food/beverage, travel/tourism, spa/fitness, events/leisure, and hotel/accommodations.

While we could go on about these seemingly subtle differences, we look to others who’ve made a career in hospitality to explain it to us.

“Do what you do so well that they want to see it again and bring their friends.”

Walt Disney

“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of an intelligent effort.”

John Ruskin

“Airbnb has proven that hospitality, generosity, and the simple act of trust between strangers can go a long way.”

Joe Gebbia

Looking for a new career opportunity in hospitality? Sign up with Grit and create your professional profile to make connections with hiring employers.

Originally published at on November 6, 2019.




People. Places. Professionalism. Hospitality

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Never Let Someone Decide What You Can or Can’t Do with Jamal Releford

Moving Checklist Template

Moving Checklist Template

The importance of positivity in the workplace

Digital Workplaces are Central to a Sustainable Enterprise — Exploring Possibilities for Technical…

What Advice . . .

Remote work life with 4 SaaS products I can’t live without

Career Reflection — What Do You Really Want?

Passion for Patient Centered Outcomes: Adrienn Szabo and the Impact of a Career in SSU

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Grit hp - Hospitality

Grit hp - Hospitality

People. Places. Professionalism. Hospitality

More from Medium

We’re ready to challenge the status quo in travel


10 Steps to a Scalable High-Growth Business | Vibez 365

What Sort Of Business Coach Does This?