Hospitality Industry: Products & Characteristics

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  • 0:03 Hospitality
  • 0:26 What Is the…
  • 0:58 Characteristics
  • 2:08 Hospitality Sectors
  • 4:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

It's one of the biggest industries around, something that we've all participated in, whether in a job or as a customer. We're talking about the hospitality industry, and in this lesson we'll explore its many forms.


Katie and Jane are heading out on a girls' trip to Charleston, South Carolina, for the weekend. The hotel room is booked, entertainment has been planned, and restaurants have been lined up for taste-testing some of the Charleston's best dishes. Without trying to, the girls have made plans for three of the hospitality industry's most important sectors: lodging, food and beverage, and entertainment.

What Is the Hospitality Industry?

The hospitality industry is one of the most diverse and varied industries in the world, employing millions of people and accounting for trillions of dollars in revenue every year. Not only is it a great career choice for many, but it also encompasses many sectors we engage with on a daily basis.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hospitality industry is part of the larger service-providing industry. It is heavily based on customer satisfaction and meeting the needs and desires of both individuals and families, typically more in a leisure capacity than a formal, business one.


The hospitality industry boasts many characteristics that help set it apart from other businesses. For example:

  • Reliance on disposable income and leisure time: The hospitality industry is not typically focused on providing basic human needs, but on providing services to people with extra time and cash on their hands.
  • Focused on intangible products: Hospitality is not like a new shirt you purchased at an outlet mall. It's not something you can touch, feel, or wear. The hospitality industry sells an experience or a feeling that is desirable.
  • The hospitality industry is perishable, meaning that an experience will not last and the next experience will not be like the last: Once a hospitality feature is consumed, it is gone.
  • The industry never sleeps: The nature of the hospitality industry is 24-hours-a-day, seven-day-a-week. This includes employees' availability and operations, from lodging to transportation to entertainment.
  • Heavily dependent on customer satisfaction: While an unhappy customer may continue to shop at their local grocery store, an unhappy guest in the hospitality industry may never return to consume that sector's products or services.

Hospitality Sectors

So now we have a general idea about what kind of businesses are classified as hospitality providers and which aren't. The broad nature of the hospitality industry encompasses many different things - maybe even some you hadn't thought of! Let's take a look:


Accommodations, from hotels and motels to luxurious bed and breakfasts and lavish resorts, are part of the hospitality industry. Though each accommodation offers different services and amenities, they are all a vital part of the industry. Lodging is needed wherever you go, so this component of the industry is its backbone.

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