Hospitality management skills have never been more transferable.

By Lesley Smith, Xenowledge Consultant for Recruitment

The TV and news websites do a great job of presenting very bad news, don’t they? Hour after hour, day after day of depressing statistics and grim imagery coming down the wires and into our worlds. I get it; we live in unprecedented times but surely there must be some good news out there, somewhere?

Well, I think there is. Xenowledge has always looked to create opportunities from challenges, right from day one. It’s what we do. We also talk a lot about being agile, flexible and adaptable as a company, but, being honest, in times like this the theory can be easier than the practice, especially when there are seismic shifts in the market. I run Xenowledge’s hospitality recruitment station, and believe me the ingredients to make recruitment work, namely hospitality candidates and clients, suddenly looked in short supply.

It is amazing what we can do with the skills and knowledge we all possess; some lateral thinking in the face of adversity soon comes to the fore. Car manufacturers making ventilators; pubs offering take-away through an open window; virtual tours and online meetings; that kind of thing.

The current climate demands transferable skills to support a new way of working in the health sector. And hospitality management skills have never been more transferable. Care homes, university halls of residence and conference centres which have to embrace temporary hospital wards within their spare capacity need the project management and operational skills found within the hospitality workforce. People need feeding, beds demand linen, supply chains must be maintained, people come, people go; in essence, all the things familiar to a seasoned hospitality manager.

Here at Xenowledge, we have shifted our recruitment efforts to support the national need. We’re working with client organisations who find they are suddenly dealing with new and possibly unfamiliar challenges. I am delighted to say that we have a number of highly skilled hospitality candidates who, despite being currently displaced from their hotel or food & beverage businesses, are offering their expertise to the health sector.

Yesterday I was speaking by phone with one of our candidates, a highly experienced hotel manager and consultant, with significant exposure to improving operational efficiencies. A strategist but hands-on, my candidate knows about dealing with incoming guests, their practical needs, and what is required behind the scenes to keep them happy during their stay.

She is used to working in the fast-paced, demanding world of hospitality but the current difficulties mean that she is now at home, with her hotel closed. She wants to help and she is available to work with any private and public health and care institution currently taking in patients from hospitals to help the NHS free up beds in their facilities, so as to increase their bed capacity for covid19 patients.

I never fail to be amazed at the agility and resilience of hospitality managers. Their energy, enthusiasm and dedication to delivering a great guest experience will never wane, and never have their skills been more transferable than now.

The recruitment of hospitality professionals hasn’t stopped; rather, it has shifted in response to a national emergency. We now have opportunities for challenged organisations to draw on the expertise of an army of people ideally suited to help.

We’re doing our bit here at Xenowledge, so whether you are a medical client needing hospitality expertise, or a seasoned hospitality manager wanting to offer your services, please do get in touch via

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