Essay on The Impact of Organizational Culture in The Hospitality Industry


The hospitality industry is unique in the sense that it focuses on more than just simply delivering a product to a customer. It is those interactions between the guests and employees that define a truly rewarding experience. Service is equally, if not more, important to the hospitality industry than the product they are purchasing. How employees create and mold these interactions and drive the guest experience is directly impacted and defined by organizational culture, “a way of behaving, thinking, and acting that is learned and shared by the organization’s members” (Ford, 115). This is such an important concept to guest service organizations because of the overall impact it can have on the business or organization’s reputation. Just one experience can be spread very quickly by word of mouth or simply by bystanders. 

Organizational culture affects all aspects of your business, from employees to customers. A business’s culture is what attracts employees to want to apply. An article stated, “77 percent of workers consider a company’s culture before applying, and almost half of employees would leave their current job for a lower-paying opportunity at an organization with a better culture.” (Wong, Kellie)This shows that how a business runs and treats its employees is more important to applicants rather than pay. This is simply because people want to work where they are happy or at least not going to have to give up their mental health for a company. People’s mental health is more important than having to deal with poor management. It is easy for businesses to state their purpose or what they hope to achieve with their employees, but if the words do not match the actions, they can quickly be revealed and spread to future applicants.  Also if employees begin to realize that the company is not following their message then they will not think of their job as a priority. This will then cause poor customer service due to employees being unsatisfied with their job. It is stated that “Companies whose culture honors customers, employees, and shareholders usually have excellent reputations with all three.”(Ford, 112)

The single most effective way to ensure consistent, reliable, genuine service in a hospitality environment is by developing and implementing a strong organizational culture.

“You can watch company culture in action when you see how a CEO responds to a crisis, how a team adapts to new customer demands, or how a manager corrects an employee who makes a mistake.”(Wong, Kellie) This means that customers and people, in general, are very vigilant in their surroundings, and they will make assumptions very quickly from those experiences. For example, I used to work at a small bakery, and one of the owners was not good at customer service. She would handle customer’s situations poorly, by yelling and kicking them out. Other customers would view these interactions and would simply leave. She continued this to the point that they lost customers and the business itself was known as the place with horrible customer service. This relates to the quote because it showed that one simple interaction can have an overall impact on how future customers view your business, this is because guests are influenced by the visuals around them. Customers can also learn this from reviews online and from people who have experienced it themselves. Overall, if this is how the owner acts, this can then affect the fellow employees who feel horrible to work there or even cause them to act the same way since they see that if the owner does it, it may be right for them to act that way too. “They must rely on strong cultural values to ensure their people do the right things the right way for their guests.”(Ford, 116)

One can perceive one’s organizational culture simply from the business itself. Aspects such as layout, dress code, and documentation will drive guest satisfaction. It is stated that “Businesses that find a way to keep employees happy on the job consistently provide good service.” (Valdez, 2016) If service is mediocre as a result of poor culture, it’s unlikely you will build loyalty with customers. The first impression is essential because the guest will make their first assumption about your overall business by this. If we have a positive and strong company culture, the employees will then be more engaged, this is similar to a domino effect. If we start with this strong culture, that results in more engaged and productive employees, which then will create more sales. Going back to first impressions, if the employees are engaged and content with themselves at the job, this can then spread this feeling to their guests. Greeting a customer at the door once they walk in can help with this impression and make the guests feel welcomed. If employees are easily accessible and in each department, guests will have the reassurance that they can receive help easily. In the end, a great customer experience can only be achieved from great culture.

The book has a great example of a company called Gaylord Palms in Orlando. They are a company that strives “to create a culture that would ensure everyone in it was committed to and would deliver excellent customer service.”(Ford, 113) They created a term called STARS, which helped build trust between management and employees, to ensure them that management focused on cultural value. Creating this customer-centered culture worked and helped this company build a positive image for itself and win an award of “best-place-to-work.” Having this award showed that when you create a positive culture for your company, where not only guests are satisfied but also employees, it helps build that trust and commitment for the overall company. Organizational culture is not only found in large companies but can also be created in small businesses, like mom and pop shops. In my opinion, every business should have a positive and strong organizational culture to run successfully. Without this, it can damage your business and reputation as a whole, resulting in losing the business. This all begins with the leader, owner, or manager. How they run a business will affect their employees, which will then affect the guest’s experience. It is like a cycle that will determine the success of your business and the future it has. Guest’s should always be the priority and if they are wrong, it is all about how one handles the situation. It is best to stay calm, address the issue, and find a solution. Guest’s experiences can now be quickly shared through social media and websites, so it makes it easy for a company to be judged even before going. However, a simple response to a negative comment will show the person your commitment and desire to make sure they are satisfied. Which can then turn a bad comment into a positive one. 

Overall, organizational culture has a chain effect on how a business runs. It starts with the manager, employees, and then guests. If managers continue to build trust with their employees, this results in them being satisfied. This begins with making sure employees feel heard and are being awarded for their good behaviors. Management should ensure that employees are constantly following g positive and strong organizational culture. Employees should behave the right way even if management is not watching them. If the employees are satisfied and content, they will spread these feelings with the customers. They will be more engaged, productive, and eager to help a customer when needed. Also with a strong culture, they will know how to handle different situations, which will leave the guest happy in the end. If a manager does not provide this then it can have the opposite effect of a strong culture. Resulting in the loss of business and a bad reputation.

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