The Four Sectors of Hospitality

When the term hospitality gets thrown around, most people’s brains turn to hotels. While hotels and other lodging establishments make up a large part of the industry, there are other players. In fact, there are four main sectors of hospitality industry – entertainment and recreation, food and beverage, lodging, and travel/tourism. Each of these subcategories differs in what they offer customers and how they operate, but all of them are tied by the same core goal – guest satisfaction. Employees working within this industry commit to serving guests with the best experience possible, whether that is through quality food, clean accommodations, or exciting activity possibilities. Because of this, it’s relatively easy for hospitality employees to shift between sectors throughout their careers. Being successful in one area almost always translates to another, because of that common core goal.

Lodging (or Accommodation)

Possibly the most often thought of when it comes to the hospitality industry is the lodging sector. This group includes all establishments designed for temporarily housing individuals. Hotels, bed & breakfasts, and shared accommodation establishments such as hostels and campgrounds all belong to this category. While each of these types of businesses differ greatly in their quality and amenities, they all offer one common thing – a place to sleep for the night (or several nights).  

Some lodging establishments cater specifically to business travelers, offering amenities such as in-room offices and conference rooms. Other places encourage shared experiences. For example, many hostels organize group dinners or walking tours throughout the area. These additions or amenities provide added value to guest stay.

Many players in the lodging sector of hospitality also actively participate in other areas, such as food and beverage and recreation. Many hotels offer on-site dining facilities. Similarly, campgrounds are often associated with outfitters such as floating companies which provide guests recreational activities throughout their stay.


Obviously, when it comes to traveling, people utilize all four sectors of hospitality. However, travel and tourism refer specifically to services that transport people to new locations. Depending on the mode of transportation, this journey can last anywhere from an hour (or less) to days, weeks, and even months.  

The entire tourism sector works together to encourage people to travel for any length of time. That travel can be for business or leisure. Players in the travel sector include airlines, cruise ships, taxi drivers, and train and bus companies. Because there are so many different travel options, the sector is a huge employer of hospitality professionals. One single cruise ship can employ hundreds of thousands of personnel. Combine that with airline staff, bus drivers, and other travel and tourism professionals, the roles are seemingly endless.

Food & Beverage

From food trucks to multiple Michelin star restaurants, the food and beverage sector of hospitality is expansive and constantly evolving. On average, American’s spend over a third of their eating dollar eating outside the home. This may refer to dining out on vacation but can also mean just opting for a restaurant meal on a weeknight rather than cooking at home. Whether you are sourcing a meal from a high-end restaurant or simply grabbing a snow cone from a corner stand, the end goal of each of these establishments is you leaving having enjoyed what you ate or drank and satisfied with the service received.

Being an active supplier in the food/beverage sector doesn’t necessarily mean that an establishment only offers these items. For many businesses, such as movie theaters or amusement parks, food and drinks are simply an added offering to their main goods and services. Thus, this section of hospitality includes businesses operating in a variety of industries.

Entertainment & Recreation

The final subcategory within the industry is recreation and entertainment. Don’t let the name “recreation” fool you. This sector doesn’t just involve providing opportunities for guests to actively do something (i.e. bowling alley). It also refers to businesses providing guests with the opportunity to do nothing like a spa or simply a beach umbrella stand. Recreation refers to all activities that bring joy or relaxation. When it comes to entertainment, this refers mainly to attractions or establishments offering shows or unique experiences. Some examples of leading members of the entertainment sector include amusement parks, movie theaters, golf courses, and concert venues.  

Job Hunting in the Hospitality Industry

One of the great things about jobs in hospitality is that the core soft skills required to be successful in most roles transfer to others. Being successful in hospitality requires a customer-service orientation. Going the extra mile to ensure guest satisfaction shows a commitment to the overall goals of the organization. Managers certainly take note of this. Additionally, traits like attention to detail, punctuality, and a growth mindset also serve you well in the industry. Whether you start as a housekeeper, a bartender, or a hotel concierge – transitioning into other roles in hospitality is always a possibility.  

Seeking out roles in which to start doesn’t have to be difficult either. In fact, we keep an updated database of current openings throughout the United States that stretch across most hospitality sectors. There is a role for nearly everyone willing to put in the hard work to support the business. Our 3-Minute Application Process makes starting a career in hospitality a breeze – it’s just up to you to take that first step!