Lend us your ears, fellow humans.
You may not have thought about the incredible beauty of hospitality... and how it touches each and every one of us, every day. Much like the power of music, the arts, or faith, hospitality is a powerful force in our world. Whether an act between people we know, new people we meet, or at our morning coffee shop, we can elevate (and celebrate) humanity through hospitality.
If done well, hospitality is one of the most noble and rewarding professions... but it's sadly not always perceived as such. The industry can be challenging, without a doubt—and cynical folks may dismiss us as sentimental... but the truth is, establishments that place kindness, authenticity and people first really do make the world a better place.
Many of you reading this are avid travelers who enjoy hospitality experiences across cultures. As travelers, we are especially tuned in to the beauty of hospitality... because without it, our travels would be much less enjoyable.
Here we present ten ways that hospitality makes our lives better and elevates society as a whole:
1. IT'S INCLUSIVE. You can always find a place to go with a welcome sign on the door. You can get to know the folks at your local coffee shop or cafe... and you can have a chat if you're feeling lonely or disconnected. It allows us an escape from isolation. Sometimes a welcoming smile is just what's needed.
2. IT CONNECTS. You can connect with the staff, meet new people at a hostel or communal table, enjoy a festive setting with friends. Even if you're solo, you can feel connected with the social vibe surrounding you instead of sitting home alone.
3. IT PROVIDES. Ambience, food, drink, treats, comfort, a good night sleep... hospitality takes care of you and provides for you. You can find a home away from home, new cultural discoveries, a respite from the daily grind.
4. IT'S PERSONAL. Mindful hospitality tailors your experience to what best serves you at that moment. An emotionally intelligent host can discern if you need a bit more care and warmth, or if you'd rather just meditate in silence with the glorious meal that was just presented.
5. IT UPLIFTS. You can be feeling out of sorts and head to your local watering hole or tea house and feel better. You can enjoy someone else cooking dinner for you, serving you, and cleaning up after you too. Hospitality establishments exist to uplift you.
6. IT HEALS. At the far end of the spectrum, if you're in a downright depression, sometimes a welcoming smile from a hospitality person, the healing hands of a therapeutic massage, a tea ceremony, they can heal you... mind, body and soul.
7. IT TRANSCENDS. Hospitality traverses all labels and divisions—race, class, status, rank, age, orientation. It doesn't care who you are, what you have done 'right' or 'wrong', why you are 'worthy' or 'not worthy'. It doesn't discriminate. It's unconditional.
It's beyond hype or stars or reviews. Its value is not determined by social media. It's deeper than these metrics. Its value is beautiful and powerful in its essence.
8. IT'S A TWO-WAY STREET. Guests and hosts, we're in it together. Responsibility falls to both parties. Hospitality experiences are most rewarding when there is mutual respect, consideration and kindness. It brings us together.
9. IT'S EVERYWHERE. In every country, in every culture, it connects us. It's a universal language that we all speak. We all seek it, we all provide it and we all need it.
10. IT TRANSFORMS. When we take all these things into consideration, hospitality (and travel) is transformative. When guest and host act in the spirit of true hospitality, our collective humanity benefits from each and every act. It's the butterfly effect... it ripples outward like the waves of a pebble tossed into water. How epic is that?
Can we pledge today to be more mindful as guests?
As hospitality staff can we remember exactly why what we are doing is so freaking special?
As hospitality owners, can we think about the powerful impact we are making in the world—with the way we do business, the way we treat people, the way we serve? Not just for those who pay us, but for those we pay?
And for all of us, can we act with hospitality regardless of financial exchange? Regardless of context? Because after all, hospitality is about kindness and service, between each and every one of us, in the way we live our lives every day. Hospitality is a way of being in the world. Let's choose a hospitable life.