10 Inspirational Hospitality Quotes We Could All Learn From

Management 11 minute read 01 June 2021

It’s hard to think of any other industry that is as dynamic, exciting, and varied as hospitality.

Whether you choose to place your career in a restaurant, hotel, bar, or multi-national coffee chain empire, you’ll never live the same workday twice.

It’s why, admittedly, it’s such a polarising choice of career. Anyone who has worked in any of the aforementioned businesses will know that it takes a certain type of person not only to be successful but to stay motivated every day.

Taking the rough with the smooth is a huge part of working in hospitality, and, arguably, this is an industry which has endured more of the latter than it deserves in recent times.

So, with that in mind, we thought we’d draw out our favourite hospitality quotes that’ll motivate you to stay firmly within this timeless, wonderful industry.


The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others..

Who said it:

Mahatma Gandhi

1. Mahatma Gandhi

To be honest, we could leave it at that, because few sentences sum up exactly what hospitality is all about better than Gandhi’s words. Serving others was his calling, and that’s the same for the most successful people in hospitality.

When all is said and done, this industry is about one thing: the guest. Get yourself in that mindset, and the rewards for yourself are just as handsome.


People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Who said it:

Maya Angelou

2. Maya Angelou

Remember the last wonderful hotel experience you had? Or the family meal which was made even more special by the restaurant in which it was enjoyed?

Service is a pillar of hospitality, no matter the type of business. From the moment people enter the door, you have the opportunity to make them feel wonderful, and there’s no better feeling for you, either.


Hospitality is almost impossible to teach. It’s all about hiring the right people.

Who said it:

Danny Meyer

3. Danny Meyer

If you’ve bagged yourself your ideal job within a hospitality business, you’ve been chosen for a reason. And that reason is because you’re great at what you do - or, if you’re just starting your journey, because you clearly have the potential to do great things.

Remember that whenever you have an off day. The stuff you do while at work can’t be taught - there’s no handbook for it; you’ve just got that ‘thing’ within you that so many people desire.


Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of an intelligent effort.”

Who said it:

John Ruskin

4. John Ruskin

When you get really good at something, it’s easy to overlook the fact that you’re behind the wonderful things people experience as a result. Call it imposter syndrome or the simple human act of being humble, but whatever it is, make sure you put it to one side and recognise how smart you are. The great service you provide isn’t an accident, as Ruskin says.


I want them to bite into a cookie, and think of me, and smile. Food is love. Food has a power. I knew it in my mind, but now I know it in my heart.

Who said it:

Jael McHenry

5. Jael McHenry

Whether you’re preparing, cooking or serving food, this quote should always be at the back of your mind.

Who doesn’t love an amazing meal? Food makes us feel good; it brings us together like few other things in life can. And, when your business is based around food, you hold the keys to an immense amount of happiness (how many other industries can claim that?).


A hotel should relieve travelers of their insecurity and loneliness. It should make them feel warm and cozy.

Who said it:

Bill Kimpton

6. Bill Kimpton

When people rock up to your hotel, they might be tired, stressed and ready to devote time to themselves. You lie at the start of that wonderful journey.

What a privilege! It’s hard to think of any other industry which enables its workers to relieve customers of insecurity and loneliness. Those characteristics may not be inherent within all your guests, but the sentiment behind your warm welcome is.


Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

Who said it:

Bill Gates

7. Bill Gates

Ok, so Bill Gates is known more for his software than he is his hospitality, but these words simply couldn’t remain absent from this page.

Beyond taxes and long hours, there is one certainty in hospitality: unhappy guests. They’ll always crop up, and they have the power to ruin your day, but hidden behind their words are the best opportunities to learn. So, have that ‘moment’ when you receive a negative review, and then learn from it; you’ll create a better future as a result.


Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even if you wish they were.”

Who said it:

Justine Vogt

8. Justine Vogt

This tongue-in-cheek quote neatly sums up what it’s like to work in hospitality. You love your guests - even those who seem to go out of their way to make the most frustrating requests - but you’re also human.

Long hours and back-to-back shifts play havoc with your emotions and subjectivity, but this sentence should remind you that your job is actually relatively simple - as is the guest’s ultimate desire.


Listening is critical to leadership, and so is staying authentic. You do that and you will get loyalty, and then your role as a leader will be easy.

Who said it:

Mark Hoplamazian

9. Mark Hoplamazian

If you’re in a leadership role within a hospitality business and have previously worked on the ground floor, you know how big a leap it is to the top. The stress levels, expectation and pressure are often insurmountable.

Thankfully, this can all be eased by building the best possible team, and Hoplamazian’s words concisely reveal how to do that in the simplest, most effective way possible.


Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.

Who said it:

Henri J. M. Nouwen

10. Henri J. M. Nouwen

If all else fails, and you’re having a really bad day at work, this quote should be all you need to get your mind back into gear.

Can you think of any other industry that can have this kind of quote applied to it? We can’t.


Wrapping up

The future is very bright for hospitality. No matter what life throws at it, this is a sector which will always pick itself up, dust itself off and do what it does best.

We hope these words of wisdom have raised a smile or given you the extra impetus needed to get out there and make a name for yourself in hospitality.

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