The hospitality industry is a recognized entity in the 21st century. Researchers have discovered the colors, designs, sounds, smells, tastes, and vistas to create environments that generate calm or excitement, energy or relaxation, as appropriate to the settings purpose. Most of us have experienced the results of their work, often to our benefit. Hotels, hospitals, even airports offer new amenities to make clients feel at home. Employers train workers in a range of skills to sustain that experience. Isn’t this authentic hospitality?
Yes and no. Top management at every business in the hospitality industry envisions that each customer or client will have a good experience. In fact, in crowded markets, delivery of that experience is critical to their success and a focus of training for managers at all levels. Yet, as viewers of the reality show Undercover Boss frequently see, the business aspect shapes the relationship. Generating large sales and satisfied customers are the key to employees’ own advancement. They offer more services to boost sales, or perhaps cater to our neurotic behaviors, as a business proposition.
St. Benedict calls on monastics to offer a different kind of hospitality. While monasteries received many guests, it was not a business arrangement. At our Oblate meeting at 1pm on February 11, we will look at the instructions St. Benedict gives to his followers to view hospitality from another angle.
Visitors and inquirers are always welcome.