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Hospitality: History, Politics and Culture Essay Sample

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Hospitality: History, Politics and Culture Essay Sample

“Hospitality”, by the virtue of the term itself has a broad domain of expanse. In a generalized framework, the term refers to the friendly and warm reception and entertainment of the guests by the hosts. The concept, having its origin from the Latin word “Hospitalitem”, has been prevailing in the global scenario through ages. Over the years, the practice of hospitality has experienced considerable dynamics and change in patters and has also divulged into many forms, which includes commercial, social as well as home hospitality (Medlik 2012). There have been many theories and research regarding the actual definition and domain of operations of hospitality. According to the assertions of some scholars, it is just the practice concerned with the provisions of basic amenities like food, accommodation and clothing to the guests by the hosts. However, there are some scholars, according to whom the definition is far more complex and inclusive, incorporating overlapping of several domains including private, social and domestic ones (Lashley and Morrison 2013).

Keeping this into consideration, the report takes tries to shed light on the aspect of commercial hospitality and it also tries to analyze the feasibility of the concept that commercial hospitality is rather an extension of household hospitality. The report takes into account the extensive scholarly literatures, which are present in favor of the assertion as well as against the same, keeping into consideration the evolution of the concept of commercial hospitality over the years in the global framework (Bowie et al. 2016).

Commercial Hospitality: Evolution of an Industry

Over decades, hospitality has been an industry across the world and not just a household practice of welcoming guests in the homes of the individuals (Sobh et al. 2012). The term “Commercial Hospitality’, as per the various historical findings cited by several literary works, has its origin traced back to as early as 2000 AD. One of the primary commercial zones during that era was the Mesopotamian civilization. There are evidences of the presence of various inns and lodgings for the travelers and businesspersons who used to visit the zones. These findings assert the existence of commercial hospitality in the global framework (Duncan, Scott and Baum 2013).

Over the years, with the expansion and ease of travelling within the domestic as well as international domains, both for the purpose of business as well as for pleasure, hospitality started growing as a proper industry and is currently one of the most dominant industries in the world. The growth of commercial hospitality can be highly attributed to the international phenomena like Globalization, Liberalization and others as well as the technological progress, which have contributed significantly in making the global commercial scenario more integrating and inclusive, thereby promoting business and pleasure travels, both domestic as well as international ones (Carvalhaes 2013).

Commercial Hospitality and Hospitality at home

Hospitality industry, though primarily includes the virtues of commercial hospitality only, however, the same has the origin from the preliminary concept of hospitality in the home. Hospitality industry across the globe includes the different types of hotels, restaurants and others, which provide drinks, accommodation and foods to the guest, but under the domain of a formal exchange system. Thus, thought there are linkages between the two concepts of hospitality, however, commercial hospitality cannot be termed as a mere extension of hospitality in home. The key differences between these two concepts are highlighted in the following sections (Russo 2012).

Differences between Commercial Hospitality and Hospitality at home

Having its origin from the household concept of entertaining and welcoming guests with food, accommodation and other amenities, commercial hospitality have several attributes which differ from that of hospitality at home, which makes the former linked to the latter but not merely an extension of the same:

a) The primary difference between the hospitality at home and commercial hospitality is that while the former one is done on an entirely personal and non-monetary basis, monetary transactions are involved in the latter form of hospitality.

b) Hospitality at home traditionally meant the welcoming and entertaining of mainly familiar guests and sometimes strangers too, in the house of the individuals. This is mainly done by the households, on the basis of the moral virtues and out of friendship of the host and the guest. On the other hand, commercial hospitality, on part of the hosts, are done with the objective of profit maximizing and for earning monetary benefits (Kandampully, Zhang and Bilgihan 2015).

c) As in case of hospitality at home, the guests and hosts generally know each other and the hosts do not accept anything in exchange of the favors they are doing to the guests, providing the same is an option which the host may choose or may not too. However, in case of the commercial hospitality, the same lying under the domain of the proper hospitality industry, prices are paid for the services availed and thus, the relationship between the demand and the supply side players is professional and less personal. Seldom the hosts have option to serve or not serve the guests unlike hospitality at home (Jones et al. 2016).

Evolution: Current integration and linkages between the two domains of hospitality

Though there are significant differences between the traditional concepts of commercial hospitality and hospitality done at homes, however, in the contemporary period, these two concepts have undergone considerable dynamics and integration, with significant changes in travelling and accommodation preferences outside home.

In the recent periods, travelling has changed dynamically and a significant portion of this travelling includes pleasure traveling as well. This is true not only in the domestic perspective but also in the international scenario. Tourism, as a separate industry itself, has grown significantly over time and the patterns and demands in this industry has also undergone significant changes (Brotherton 2012). This, in turn, has led to changes and improvisations in the hospitality sector as well, which, clubbed with the entry of new types of players in both the supply as well as the demand side of the same, has been showing considerable dynamics with time. The reasons behind the same can be elaborated in the following sections.

Reasons behind changes in the patterns of commercial hospitality

a) Preferences of the tourists- In any kind of industry, the preferences and tastes of the demand side players play a key role in determining the supply side dynamics and the nature of goods and services provided as well. In this context, various literatures and empirical findings have asserted that in the recent period, the definition of commercial hospitality has gained much broader perspectives. In the earlier periods, the concepts of commercial accommodations and eateries were very formal and conventional, as most of the demand side players used to be businesspersons or travelers with work purpose.

However, with tourism becoming an industry and pleasure travel gaining huge popularity, the nature of demands for accommodations have changed considerably. With more and more people travelling for the purpose of pleasure as well as business, the priorities of the tourists have changed considerably. Apart from the usual demands for accommodation, which includes safety, security, self-relaxation and beauty of any accommodation, the travelers also look for enriching experiences and comfort zones, which are taken into account by the hospitality sector, especially the commercial ones.

b) Unique experiences- Whenever a traveler selects a place for his or her pleasure travel, especially in the recent periods, the person wants an authentic experience of the place of his or her choice, which includes the flavors, tastes, cuisines, festivities and human attributes specific to that place only. This trait has increased considerably in the last few years especially, with the emergence of travelling and exploring as a popular entertainment practice. The traditional commercial accommodations, being too formal and operating under the domain of international business etiquettes, in spite of their impeccable services, often fail to leave that impression of the personal touch of warmth and exclusivity as they tend to be too professional and the scopes of host-interactions are much less in these cases (Mok, Sparks and Kadampully 2013).

c) New entries of home-stays- This determining factor is an extension of the previous assertion. In the recent periods, in the continuously increasing framework of shared economy, hospitality services like home-stays are coming up extensively. These types of residential accommodations, though primarily falling under the commercial hospitality sector, have the components of hospitality at home. This is because, facilities like home-stays and forums like Airbnb, which facilitates easy interactions between the demand side players and suppliers of the same, work with the vision of making accommodations available at all places, at every price range and according to the preferences of the customers.

d) Gastronomic Tourism- Not only accommodation but also the restaurants and food chains try to emphasize on the objective of providing pro-customer and personalized services. Food-tourism or Gastro-tourism becoming an interesting part of “meaningful” tourism, the restaurants in different places try to display their speciality cuisines and also try to provide personalization and customization options to the customers, thereby bringing the commercial hospitality close to the warmth of hospitality which is received in homes (Osman, Johns and Lugosi 2014).


From the above discussion, it is evident that though commercial hospitality cannot be broadly claimed to be just an extension of hospitality in home, however, in the recent periods the two have been seen to be overlapping in many aspects. The three domains of hospitality, mainly the private, social and commercial, have become more integrated in the framework of shared economy and with the changing demand patterns of the consumers. Taking this into consideration, it can be asserted that though there still remains a fundamental difference between the two types of hospitality, however, in the contemporary framework, these two types of hospitalities overlap each other in many aspects.


Bowie, D., Buttle, F., Brookes, M. and Mariussen, A., 2016. Hospitality marketing. Taylor & Francis.
Brotherton, B. ed., 2012. International Hospitality Industry. Routledge.
Carvalhaes, C., 2013. Eucharist and Globalization: Redrawing the Borders of Eucharistic Hospitality. Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Duncan, T., Scott, D.G. and Baum, T., 2013. The mobilities of hospitality work: An exploration of issues and debates. Annals of Tourism Research, 41, pp.1-19.
Jones, P., Jones, P., Hillier, D., Hillier, D., Comfort, D. and Comfort, D., 2016. Sustainability in the hospitality industry: some personal reflections on corporate challenges and research agendas. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 28(1), pp.36-67.
Kandampully, J., Zhang, T. and Bilgihan, A., 2015. Customer loyalty: a review and future directions with a special focus on the hospitality industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 27(3), pp.379-414.
Lashley, C. and Morrison, A., 2013. In search of hospitality. Routledge.
Medlik, S., 2012. Dictionary of travel, tourism and hospitality. Routledge.
Mok, C., Sparks, B. and Kadampully, J., 2013. Service quality management in hospitality, tourism, and leisure. Routledge.
Osman, H., Johns, N. and Lugosi, P., 2014. Commercial hospitality in destination experiences: McDonald\’s and tourists\’ consumption of space. Tourism Management, 42, pp.238-247.
Russo, M.T., 2012. Home, domesticity and hospitality: A theoretical reflection. Hospitality & Society, 2(3), pp.309-320.
Sobh, R., Belk, R., Wilson, J. and Ginena, K., 2012. Home and commercial hospitality rituals in Arab Gulf countries. ACR North American Advances.

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