The Last ResortEnglish for Hotel Management & Tourism is a field that holds exceptional opportunities for a language learner with ambition, an adventurous spirit and a sincere desire to help other people enjoy themselves.

If the English language learner wishes to make a career in this service occupation, the locale of the workplace can be local, regional, national or global. In addition to the hotels and tour operators, airlines, car rental agencies and restaurants are potential sources of employment in this field. Wherever and however the student chooses to search, a knowledge of the English language is not only helpful but, in some instances, a required skill. Even though it may be expected, hospitality English, as this specialty language is sometimes called, is a professional skill that is often neglected.

Employees who occupy the subordinate level of the tourism industry include hotel maids, drivers, servers, bartenders and other personnel who report directly to the hotel or tour supervisors rather than the foreign tourists themselves. The English language needs therefore, are limited (but no less important for the execution of the employees' duties) to being able to follow instructions and occasionally relaying guests' messages to management. These employees will come into contact with guests and may be expected to hold brief conversations and answer questions that the guests may have. In order to do this accurately, a minimal level of fluency is needed.

The language demands are clearly different at the management level. A hotel or tour manager will be required to interact directly with the English-speaking tourist and to take an active role in the planning process. The guests' needs and wishes will have to be communicated not only to hotel and tour operators' employees but to ancillary service providers as well. Scheduling must be precise. Time, for example, may not ordinarily be considered a function of language but in the world of international tourism, a visitor's conception of time must be considered and respected.

The author has included several links on this page that address specific Hospitality-related Industries. One such industry is Travel and Tourism. These exercises focus on the perceived language needs of flight attendants, cruise ship employees, travel agents and tour guides. A second link focuses on hotels, resorts, casinos and spas and aims to introduce workers such as receptionists, bellhops and room service personnel to job-specific English vocabulary and phrases. The Food & Beverage link targets chefs, wait staff, bartenders and caterers. A final link concerns itself with Politeness Training, which is a valuable skill for anyone in the service industry.

The language exercises included in the following links are based on someone's perception of our language needs. They are not, nor do they pretend to be authentic language resources. For authenticity you must practice English in everyday situations. A hotel staff worker may assist a traveler (or a local) with in-house directions, emergency procedures, assistance with taxis and other public transportation and recommendations for evening entertainment, all within a few minutes. Anyone in the Hospitality Industry can be called upon to do any number of language tasks within a matter of minutes. Being prepared to do so requires confidence and practice. Always remember that what we and others perceive to be appropriate does not always agree with specific real-life situations.

Please click on the following links to be introduced to English language vocabulary, grammar and appropriate phrases:

In order to avoid language instruction that will result in an English vocabulary created in the image of a specialized phrase book, language texts should be avoided and an attempt made to use authentic, topic-oriented materials integrated with the student's own knowledge of the subject. Advertisements and books focusing on the history, proven approaches, and anecdotes relating to the art of tourism rather than the language of the tour planner can result in a language learner more attuned to the task of arranging tours and leisure activities using the English language.


Last Updated: June 25, 2016