Importance and benefits

In tourism and hospitality professionalism is about having skills, sound judgment and polite behavior to do a job well. It is about knowledge, positive attitude and self-esteem. Members of a professional tourism associations, when asked what professionalism is, listed the following*:

─ Honesty and integrity
─ Relevant tourism qualification, experience and ability to make decisions
─ Knowledge base regularly updated
─ High ethical standards
─ Willingness to listen to others and learn from others

Professionalism in running small accommodation benefits the business bottom-line by ensuring quality of service. Professionalism also improves the image of the small accommodation sector in general and the tourism industry’s public image.

*Thomas, R (2007): Professionalism in travel and tourism. Leeds Metropolitan University Institute of Travel and Tourism


   Principles of professional behavior

There are ten basic principles accepted as standards in tourism and hospitality, based on ethics*.

1. Honesty - be honest and truthful. Do not mislead or deceive others by misrepresentations.
2. Integrity - do what you know is right even when there is pressure to do otherwise.
3. Trustworthiness - be trustworthy and candid in supplying information and in correcting misapprehensions of fact. Do not make justifications for escaping your promises and commitments.
4. Loyalty - demonstrate loyalty and devotion to your business, guests and employees. Avoid conflicts of interest; do not use or disclose confidential information.
5. Fairness - be fair and equitable in all dealings; do neither arbitrarily abuse power nor take undue advantage of another’s mistakes or difficulties. Treat all individuals with equality, with tolerance and acceptance of diversity, and with an open mind.
6. Concern and respect for others - be concerned, respectful, compassionate, and kind. Be sensitive to the personal concerns of your guests and employees and live the Golden Rule. Respect the rights and interests of all those who have a stake in your decisions.
7. Commitment to excellence - pursue excellence in performing your duties and be willing to put more into your job than you can get out of it.
8. Leadership - be conscious of the responsibility and opportunities of your position of leadership. Realize that the best way to instill ethical principles and ethical awareness is by example. Walk your talk!
9. Reputation and morale - seek to protect and build your business reputation and the morale of your employees by engaging in conduct that builds respect. Also take whatever actions are necessary to correct or prevent inappropriate conduct of others.
10. Accountability - be personally accountable for the ethical quality of your decisions, as well as those of your employees.

*Defined by Isabell Hospitality Ethics at the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University on the initiative for the founder of Ramada Inns, Marion W. Isbell

Watch a video on professionalism in the workplace.