Common forms of communication use in hospitality and tourism industry


Communication is extremely important to organisations and individual alike. The effectiveness of the communication will directly relate to the success of the organisation and the achievements of the individuals within it. Communication in the retail industry is all important to survival and profitability. The successful retailer is constantly developing a network of communication channels to customers, distributors, financial institutions, the government and employees. Each of these groups is composed of people with differing interests and cannot be reached by the same communication channels. Similarly, employees need skills for a range of communication activities that are used a daily in the retail environment. These include written communication, verbal communication and an understanding of non-verbal communication. There is also an increasing need for retailers and staff to adopt and effectively use new communication technology such as integrated computer systems with functions such as e-mail, customer data bases and Internet information access.

Because communication is a central factor in the emerging knowledge economy and a major consideration for anyone entering today’s workforce, we need to look more closely at the total process of communication. Purposes of communication are the transmission of information and meaning from one individual or group to another. The crucial element in this definition is meaning. Communication has as its central objective the transmission of meaning. The process of communication is successful only when the receiver understands an idea as the sender intended it. Both parties must agree not only on the information transmittee but also on the meaning of that information.

A simple communication process is shown in the diagram below.





Communication Process

Sender Has Idea

The process of communication begins when the person with whom the message originates – the sender – has an idea. The form of the idea will be influenced by complex factors surrounding the sender’s mood, frame of reference, background, culture, and physical makeup, as well we the context of the situation and many other factors. The way you greet people on campus or on the job, for example, depends a lot on how you feel, whom you are addressing (a classmate, a professor, a colleague, or your boss), and what your culture has trained you to say (Good morning, Hey, Hi, Howdy, or How ya doing?).

The form of idea, whether a simple greeting or a complex idea, is shaped by assumptions based on the sender’s experiences. A manager sending an e-mail announcement to employees assumes that will be receptive, whereas direct-mail advertisers assume that receivers will give only a quick glance to their message. The ability to accurately predict how a message will affect its receiver and skill in adapting that message to its receiver are key factors in successful communication.

Sender Encodes Idea in Message

The next step in the communication process involves encoding. This means converting the idea into words or gestures that will convey meaning. A major problem in communicating any message verbally is that words have different meanings for different people. When misunderstood, skilled communicators choose familiar words with concrete meanings on which both senders and receivers agree. In selecting proper symbols, senders must be alert to the receiver’s communication skills, attitudes, background, experiences, and culture.

Message Travels Over Channel

The medium over which the message is physically transmitted is the channel. Messages may be delivered by computer, telephone, cell phone, letter, memorandum, report, announcement, picture, spoken word, fax, Web page, or through some other channel. Because communication channels deliver both verbal and nonverbal messages, senders must choose the channel and shape the message carefully. A company may use its annual report, for example, as a channel to deliver many messages to stockholders. The verbal message lies in the report’s financial and organization news. Nonverbal messages, though, are conveyed by the report’s appearance (showy versus bland), layout (ample white space versus tightly packed columns of print), and tone (conversational versus formal).

Anything that interrupts the transmission of a message in the communication process is called noise. Channel noise rangers from static that disrupts a telephone conversation to typographical and spelling errors in a letter or e-mail message. Such errors damage the credibility of the sender. Channel noise might even include the annoyance a receiver feels when the sender chooses an improper medium for sending a message, such as announcing a loan rejection via postcard or firing an employee by e-mail.

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Receiver Decodes Message

The individual for whom the message is intended is the receiver. Translating the message from its symbol form into meaning involves decoding. Only when the receiver understands the meaning intended by the sender – that is, successfully decodes the message – does communication take place. Such success, however, is difficult to achieve because no two people share the same life experiences and because many barriers can disrupt the process.

Decoding can be disrupted internally by the receiver’s lack of attention to or bias against the sender. It can be disrupted externally by loud sounds or illegible words. Decoding can also be sidetracked by semantic obstacles, such as misunderstood words or emotional reactions to certain terms. A memo that refers to all the women in an office as “girls” or “chicks”, for example, may disturb its receivers so much that they fail to comprehend the total message.

Feedback Travels to Sender

The verbal and nonverbal responses of the receiver create feedback, a vital part of the communication process. Feedback helps the sender know that the message was received and understood. If, as a receiver, you hear the message Hoe are you, your feedback might consist of words (I’m fine) or body language (a smile or a wave of the hand). Although the receiver may respond with additional feedback to the sender (thus creating a new act of communication), we will concentrate here on the initial message flowing to the receiver and the resulting feedback.

Senders can encourage feedback by asking questions such as, Am I making myself clear? And is there anything you don’t understand? Senders can further improve feedback by timing the delivery appropriately and by providing only as much information as the receiver can handle. Receivers can improve the process by paraphrasing the sender’s message with comments, such as, Let me try to explain that in my own words. The best feedback is descriptive rather than evaluate. For example, here’s a descriptive response. I understand you want to launch a used gold ball business. Here’s an evaluative response. Your business ideas are always goofy. An evaluative response is judgemental and doesn’t tell the sender whether the receiver actually understood the message.

Common forms of communication use in hospitality and tourism industry there are:

Auditory communication

Visual communication

Tactile communication

Multichannel communication

Auditory communication is where messages are perceived through the sense of hearing. Words, music, sounds and noises take part in this type of communication. In the hospitality sector we can establish auditory communication through different media according to activity and objectives such as: direct conversation or face to face communication, phone conversation and radio broadcasting.

Visual communication is where messages are perceived through sight. Sign, gesture and images are very important when communicating. There are different media such as, letters, complaint forms, contracts, invoices, labels and leaflets.

Tactile communication is where messages are perceived through the sense of touch. Affection is conveyed through tactile sensations. Shaking hands or tapping someone’s shoulder can have positive or negative effects, so it is necessary to be very respectful in this matter and know cultural conventions. There are different mediums such as greetings at meetings and negotiations.

Multichannel communication is where messages are perceived through different senses at a time. There are different media through which this is possible such as television, video and computer.


Managers need complete and correct information in order to perform their functions efficiently and effectively. If such information is not properly communicated, the whole organisation suffers from mismanagement. For instance, business planning, requires information on available resources, strength of competitors, government policies, and other external factors. Such information provides very important inputs for management to be able to formulate the right objectives and strategies for achieving its goal. Proper communication is again needed.

Decision-making is a crucial function of management. It greatly depends on accurate information. Wrong information means wrong decisions; hence, the need for proper communication. Likewise, good communication is needed in controlling. However, it is in leading or directing where effective communication is most needed. People have to be influenced or motivated to think and move towards the right directions; to achieve peak performance; and to act in consonance with the culture of the organization. These clearly require a lot of communication.

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Managers do not only deal with their peers and subordinates, but also with customers, suppliers, and bankers. Their success in dealing with the said outsiders greatly depends on their ability to communicate. Customers are No.1 in any business organization. Without customers, there is no business. To create customers and satisfy them are certainly big jobs for communication. These require proper planning, organizing, and implementation of marketing strategies. All the said activities depend on effective communication.


Motivation is to supply a motive to and also be the motive of. The willingness to exert high levels of effort to organisational goals, conditioned by the efforts ability to satisfy some individual needs. It is also to cause a person to act in a particular way. Stimulate the interest of a person in an activity.

This definition is a good example of the problems associated with the concept of motivation. In essence, there seem to be two conflicting views of motivation.

In one way, the definition indicates that motivation is where someone (perhaps a team leader) causes someone else (a team member) to act in a certain way. In other way, it appears that motivation is something that someone uses as a motive for doing things.

This apparent conflict reflects an ongoing debate research into motivation. Traditional views of leadership and motivation reflected a ‘passive’ view of motivation. In effect, people required strong leaders to motivate them towards certain goals. If someone says they are demotivated and we offer them a bag of cash or threaten to sack them, and then they get on with the task in hand, what has happened? This approach to motivation implies that the leader had to motivate his or her team member through various rewards and/or punishments.

Motivation is described, usually, as intentional. That is, motivation is assumed to be under the worker’s control, and behaviours that are influenced by motivation, such as effort expended, are seen as choices of action. One can look at motivation as a deficiency, a need that must be fulfilled. Hunger is a motivation- it is an internal force, food.

Before you can motivate your staff, you must first understand what motivates each employee in his or her specific job position. As a manager with human resources responsibilities it is easy to realize that differences exist between what motivates hourly and management employees. What makes a job interesting to a group of hourly employees is different from what makes a job interesting to a group of managers. Furthermore, what one employee may find interesting may not be of any interest to another employee. No matter what, there will be some jobs in the hospitality industry that just cannot be made interesting. There are some motivation theories that the organization must understand in order to motivate their employees to excel at their jobs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Abraham identified the “whys” of motivation theory. His theory (Hierarchy of Needs) states that man is motivated by satisfying a set of needs common to all individuals. In ascending order of importance these are:

Physiological needs (food, clothing, and shelter).

Safety/security needs (freedom from fear of losing job, clothing and shelter).

Acceptance needs (to belong and be accepted by others).

Esteem needs (status, prestige, and power).

Self-actualization needs (maximize one’s potential).

Maslow believed that until the physiological needs are satisfied, the other would not serve as motivators. Furthermore, once a need is met, it no longer acts as a motivator, and another need takes its place. One of the problems with Maslow’s theory is that although it works in life situations, it is not applicable to work settings.

Hertzberg’s two-factor theory identified job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction as separate elements that are not polar opposites of each other. The two-factor concept states that job factors generally regarded as motivators should actually be divided into two groups: one consisting of motivation factors (or satisfiers) and one consisting of maintenance factors (dissatisfies or hygiene).

Because job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction do not balance each other out, the elimination of a dissatisfier does not necessarily lead to job satisfaction. Motivation factors include such conditions as recognition, achievement, advancement, and responsibility. Hygiene factors include working conditions, company policies, and salary. One of Hertzberg’s major conclusions was that money was not a motivator.

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Hertzberg believes that if motivation factors are present in the workplace, employees will be motivated; if such factors are not present, then motivation will not occur. If hygiene factors are present, then employees will be satisfied with their work; if such factors are not present, then employees will be dissatisfied. Hygiene factors in no way affect motivation, whether they are present or absent.

Expectancy theory is one of the more implementable motivation theories. The theory states that a person will be motivated when the individual perceives a link between what he or she is doing and the expected reward. The higher the effort, the greater the reward and vice versa. It is important that the reward is attainable and that your human resources will feel rewarded for the effort they produce. Pay-for-performance compensation systems operate on this principle. Fixed hourly wages and salaries do not motivate because there is no link between effort and reward. For the reward to operate as a motivator, the employee must value attainment of the reward, the employee must see a link between his or her work efforts and receiving the reward, and the individual must possess the abilities and skills to do the job.

Money as a motivator, the motivational value of money may change after a person’s basic needs have been reasonably well satisfied. Because human beings have a way of continually redefining their needs, whether money will motivate is to some degree a matter of the amount the employee is already earning. Therefore, while some people will be more motivated to work for money, companies find that for most employees other things are equally, if not more important.

Job enrichment, Hertzberg proposed the idea of job enrichment as a reaction to the KITA (kick-in-the-ass) motivational approach there are most managers practicing. Job enrichment is based on that “the only way to motivate employees is to give them challenging work in which they can assume responsibility.” This strategy includes modifying jobs so that they are more meaningful and give the employee an opportunity for recognition and greater responsibility.

Motivational effectiveness, there is no consensus on how best to motivate your work force. As a human resources manager, consideration needs to be given to several factors that involve human resources functions other than development. Selection procedures need to be effective so that individuals are places in job positions that they are capable of performing. Training programs must be effective in ensuring that our employees have the necessary skills, and evaluation procedures must be in place to monitor employee’s performance. Compensation practices needs to be developed that link performance and pay. Furthermore, these practices must all be viewed as fair; that poor performance is not tolerated, high performance is recognized.

If your work force is to be motivated, they must believe that extra effort and superior performance is of benefit to them. Rewards do not have to be monetary. Flexible work hours, recognized achievement, increased responsibility, and the opportunity to develop personal and career goals work directly toward a motivated work force has to create desire, commitment, and confidence in your employees. Communication channels have to be open and organizational goals clearly defined.


There is always an interesting group of drives in every human being that determines how we interact with the world around us. The basic survival drives, like the need for food and water, are not as evident in the workplace as some of our other instincts-our need for activity, curiosity, and manipulation.

People need to be active. The level of activity we seek differs tremendously, but, generally, people dislike being confined in a small space with nothing to do. People also have a drive to explore new and unknown places and stimuli. We have a preference for complexity over simplicity, because complexity is more interesting. We also have a tendency to enjoy manipulation; we want to touch, play with, and handle specific objects. These very basic needs have far-reaching implications for the design of jobs and of workplaces. No wonder boring, repetitive, or “make-work” jobs, even if they are easy, lead to burn out frustration, and even sabotage (just to “liven things up”.)

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