10 Books Everyone in the Hospitality Industry Should Read

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Hospitality books can inspire you. These can help you, as a hotelier, to gain new perspectives and learn from the wisdom and success of others in the industry.

However, with the plethora of options to choose from and the daily demands of the job, hoteliers might find it difficult to not only identify the hospitality books worth reading but also to find the time to read them.

We are here to take some of the guesswork out of it for you. We’ve sorted through classic titles and reviewed recent publications to compose a list of must-read books for hospitality professionals.

10 must-read books for hospitality professionals

Anyone in the hospitality business — from a front-desk clerk to a seasoned hotelier — can appreciate the quality of the insights found within these pages. With a range of hotel-related topics and narrative styles to choose from, there’s a hospitality book for everyone on this list. Have a look:

Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service

Book by the Disney Institute

Be our Guest talks about the magic of Walt Disney World and how every guest is made to experience it through exceptional customer service. This book reveals the behind-the-scenes strategies, process, and principles, of the Disney approach of exceeding customers’ expectations. Even the real cast members of Disney Institute agree that this book captures the real essence of the magical customer service provided at Walt Disney World. As a hospitality professional, you’ll see new possibilities of providing quality service through concepts not found in the typical workplace. It’ll make you realize how everything should be of the highest quality and should be done while keeping customers’ needs in mind.

Without Reservations: How a Family Root Beer Stand Grew into a Global Hotel Company

Book by Bill Marriott and Kathi Ann Brown

Even though Marriott is now one of the largest hotel chains in the world, few people know that it began as a humble family business. Without Reservations, by Bill Marriott, Jr., the founder’s son, is extremely insightful for hospitality professionals as it maps out the road that led the family to triumph in the hotel industry. Bill Marriott passes down his father’s industry know-how along with tips for future generations involved in hospitality. This book is full of savvy learnings and management insights for everyone, no matter what sort of property or business they run. For example, Marriott suggests knowing exactly who your competition is and what they do at their core so that you can out-maneuver them.

Down and Out in Paris and London

Book by George Orwell

We recommend this atypical memoir from the 1930s not only for its literary merit and classic Orwellian entertainment value but also for two other reasons. First, it’s relatable, especially for those in the hotel business who have worked their way up the hospitality ladder. Second, it forces you to think about all levels of staff and staff dynamics, thereby making you reflect on how hotel functions like a machine with many busy and interdependent components.

The Heart of Hospitality: Great Hotel and Restaurant Leaders Share Their Secrets

Book by Micah Solomon

Talking about a hotel’s ‘heart’, The Heart of Hospitality shares customer-service procedures with which hoteliers can establish a connection with their guests.  While facilities and a good location certainly help a hotel, what’s most important for every hotel is to have a ‘heart’. In this book, Micah Solomon reinforces one theme: Exceptional customer service should be a process, not an exception. According to him, forming and maintaining that ‘heart’ entails attending to a lot of minor details to ensure your guests enjoy exceptional customer experience. This book will provide a lot of options for hoteliers and hospitality professionals who are looking for practical and useful ways to improve customer experience.

Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism

Book by Elizabeth Becker

In Overbooked, Becker explores the way global influences are impacting travel economically, politically, and culturally. And it’s sensational. It underscores the importance of focusing on the details to deliver a superb customer experience — especially crucial in this industry, given the nature of hospitality. If you want to grow your business, or simply challenge your way of thinking and open up your mind to new concepts within the context of global travel, this book is for you.


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Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

Book by Danny Meyer

We recommend this book because its innovative, valuable insights can be applied to any organization or business of any size. Danny Meyer started Union Square Café in 1985 at the age of 27 and now, he is one of the most successful restaurateurs in the US. The book explains his secret to success in the hospitality industry. You’ll learn about the dynamic philosophy of Enlightened Hospitality in this book, which focuses not only on providing exceptional customer satisfaction, but also fostering strong in-house relationships. If you’re a hotelier or a hotel manager, or even a leader or a manager in any company, this book will help you become more productive.

The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

Book by Joseph Michelli

When it comes to delivering stellar customer service, no one does it better than the Ritz-Carlton. Guests sing the hotel’s praises and they keep coming back and generating strong word-of-mouth. What’s most remarkable about Ritz-Carlton is the autonomy they grant their staff. It’s a practice that ensures remarkable service for guests and is indicative of incredible leadership in management, as well. This leadership book is as much about empowering employees as it is about leaving guests feeling special, thereby leading to a highly recognizable hotel brand.

7 Easy Ways to Show Your Employees You Care!: A Booklet for Hotel Managers and Others

Book by Jokima Hiller

We highly recommend 7 EASY Ways to Show Your Employees YOU Care to anyone who is a hotelier or a manager. Lack of appreciation is one of the major reasons why employees feel dissatisfied and leave their jobs. While doing business on a daily basis, we sometimes forget to show our employees how important they are to us. This booklet will help you realize how important your employees are as they’re the face of your hospitality business. In order to make your employees happy, you need to connect with them. The author shares her real-life experiences in this handy, little guide that will help you show thoughtfulness, compassion, and concern to your employees.

100 Tips for Hoteliers: What Every Successful Hotel Professional Needs to Know and Do

Book by Peter Venison

This is a bestseller and is already known as a must-read among industry professionals. Venison has lived a colorful life with over three decades of experience in the hotel business. Starting off in his teenage years, almost by accident, he entered into a hospitality school. Soon after, he began working his way from the bottom up and went on to lead some of the most prestigious companies in the business. He combines this experience with his avid travels and provides a robust set of tips and ideas for any hotelier to take and adapt to their own space.

A Wealth of Insight: The World’s Best Luxury Hoteliers on Leadership, Management, and the Future of 5-Star Hospitality

Book by Rahim B. Kanani

This book lives up to its name. It truly is a wealth of insight acquired through a profoundly rich deep dive into luxury hospitality on a global scale. A journalist who regularly interviews high-profile executives, entrepreneurs, and hoteliers for major media, Kanani spoke with over thirty-five of the world’s best luxury hoteliers to gather material for this book. With insights into staff recruiting, hotel marketing, technology, branding, personalization, the most significant trends shaping the sector, and more, this book is undoubtedly a must-read for all aspiring and established luxury hotel owners, managers, and marketers.

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Do you have any books you’d like to recommend to hoteliers and hospitality industry professionals? If yes, please let us know in the comments section. Also, feel free to leave a comment if you’ve any questions.


Featured image: wu yi on Unsplash

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1 Comment

  1. Cathleen White

    Amazing books! Thanks

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