• Sijia Zhang

Consulting vs. Operations: Is it that different? 咨询与运营,不同下的大同



As a young hospitality graduate, I started my career in the consulting sector right after my graduation. Having realized that a basic understanding of hospitality operations is needed to get to know the whole industry, I have joined an operations role afterward. Although many people say these are two different career paths, I found a great number of similarities shared in the daily job responsibilities.

No matter which role you decide to start with, Three Essential Skills can be learned and applied in either discipline!

Interpersonal Communication and Presentation

The hospitality industry is all about people and talking! Both consulting and operations roles require a large amount of communication as well as presentations.


CONSULTING: Working as a hospitality consultant, one needs to meet and communicate with a range of stakeholders for their projects, such as small business owners, hotel operators, vendors and suppliers, artists and designers, media, and so forth. A consultant must have the conversational skills to communicate with others from professional backgrounds they may not be familiar with. In my experience, the consultants would have a chance to present and brief each team member on their priorities and understand each other’s work schedule. Very often, they give presentations to their clients, as a way of explaining their analysis and expected outcomes, and also to their team members for work tasks and training purposes.



OPERATIONS: Working in a hotel, operations teams face an even more diverse clientele. Once a guest enters the hotel, hoteliers are expected to interact with

a little effort can make a big difference!

their guests when checking them in and engaging them in conversation. By communicating effectively, hoteliers can identify and anticipate their guest’s needs in an extremely short amount of time. This allows them to satisfy, and even delight their guests at a later stage (you will even be surprised by some little token of appreciation from your guest!).


In terms of presentations, hoteliers have daily lineups to review the daily report, discuss guests' complaints, and communicate each department's issues and essential tasks. Each check-in is a chance to give a presentation during rooming (introducing hotel rooms) and giving hotel tours. During the presentation, you would not only need to be familiar with your content, but also have the right tone, volume, speed, and (of course!) some suitable humor to entertain your guests and keep them engaged at all times!


Listening skills

We know effective communication is an art, but listening is an even more valuable technique for both consulting and operations!


CONSULTING: Firstly, consultants have a range of meetings with their clients, and they are required to pay full attention and keep themselves aligned with their clients, identify the key points that are relevant to all stakeholders, and record them as meeting minutes. Listening sets the foundation of the discussion with clients later and is critical in building trust.


OPERATIONS: Listening skills are essential when handling guests’ requests and guests’ complaints! Listening doesn’t mean just facing the guest and hearing them. Still, it is more about putting oneself into the guests’ shoes, being empathetic about their situation, and looking for the most suitable solution. Being able to listen to team members is equally important. “A wise man hears all parties.” Wei Zheng, a famous advisor to the emperor in the Tang dynasty, once said. A hotel is a fast-paced work environment. Under high pressure, operations teams still need to identify their colleagues' information to avoid mistakes and double work. It is necessary for hotel leaders to be emotionally intelligent and to be able to know their employees’ feelings while listening to their requests and to build an environment of trust.


Tasks prioritization

Last but not least, the ability to prioritize tasks plays a critical part in both consulting and operations, as both can be fast-paced and high-pressure work environments.


CONSULTING: As a consultant, they have several small and big tasks daily, such as printing receipts, doing projects for their clients, and preparing company events or doing business development. For consulting, any task related to your client is always the first priority.


OPERATIONS: A hotelier is just like a soldier facing on the front line! The hotelier can be asked to prepare welcoming amenities, arrange guests’ check-in luggage, and pick up guests’ lost items in the room all at the same time. Just like consultancy, guests are the priority before administrative work. When all tasks-on-hand are related to the guests, hoteliers need to determine the level of urgency and amount of time required to complete the task and organize themselves (or ask for help) accordingly!


Having worked in a consultancy and currently in an operations role, I am grateful to be able to learn these valuable skillsets that can be applied to both disciplines. At the end of the day, it is the mindset that decides your work scope. I believe that no matter which path you choose to enter first, you will get the opportunity to be equipped with the essential soft skills for your future hospitality career development, and you would find where your strengths and interest are!


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作为一名年轻的泛酒店管理硕士生,毕业后,我在酒店咨询行业开始我的职业生涯。在认识到实体酒店运营的经验是了解整个行业的基础,我随之加入了酒店运营的一线部门。虽然很多人说咨询与运营是两条截然不同的职业道路,我发现他们的日常工作职责却有很多相似之处。有趣的是,归本溯源,我认为有三个基本的软技能是两种职业方向都不可或缺的,也将助你实现工作效益最大化!


人际沟通与公共演讲


人,是酒店行业的基本要素!人与人的交互让酒店业多姿多彩,咨询和运营都涉及大量的人际沟通和公共演讲。


咨询:一名酒店咨询顾问需要与项目的客户会面并进行沟通,包括创业家、酒店管理公司、供应商、艺术家和设计师、媒体等等。一个顾问应有和来自他也许并不熟悉的行业的人快速打交道的能力。在日常工作中,顾问将有机会在每日晨会时向团队成员汇报当日重要工作事项并了解彼此的日程安排。很多时候,他们也会给客户做幻灯片演示,作为解释项目进展和成果的一种方式。除此之外,还涉及到给团队成员做工作汇报和培训等等。


运营:在酒店工作,运营团队要面对更大体量和来自更多元背景的受众。一旦客人进入酒店,运营团队就需要办理入住手续并与客人交谈和互动。通过有效的沟通,运营团队可以在极短的时间内确定并预测客人的需求。这是为之后满足甚至为入住客人实现惊喜的前提条件。在公共演讲方面,酒店员工每天也须开部门例会根据当日报告传达重点事项,讨论客人投诉,沟通各部门的问题。当然,每次客人办理入住后也是交互的绝佳时机,因为你需要为客人介绍酒店房间和带领参观酒店的设施。在交流过程中,这不仅需要将介绍辞烂熟于心,还应具备恰到好处的音调、音量、速度,形成自己的讲述风格,再加入一些轻松的幽默感,让客人全程沉浸在讲述之中!


聆听能力


现在我们知道有效的沟通是一门艺术,但是聆听对于两个行业来说是更有价值的软技能!


咨询:首先,咨询顾问要与客户进行一系列的会议。在会议中,顾问必须全神贯注,与客户的信息保持对称,捕捉与项目利益相关方有关的关键信息并将其记录为会议纪要。聆听是接下来与客户讨论的基础,也是建立日后信任的关键。


运营:在处理客人的要求和投诉时,聆听是至关重要的!聆听并不意味着只是面对客人听对方讲话,更重要的是设身处地为客人着想,具有感同身受的共情能力,然后寻找最合适的解决方案。不只是客人,能够聆听团队成员的想法同样重要。“兼听则明,偏听则暗。”唐太宗谏臣魏征如是说。酒店是一个快节奏的工作环境。在高压力下,运营团队应能鉴别团队成员的反馈,以避免疏漏和重复工作。高情商的酒店管理者能够在聆听员工建议的同时了解员工的感受,营造彼此信任的环境。


任务管理


分清工作轻重缓急和合理安排时间的能力能保证工作的高效。这对咨询和运营都是至关重要的,因为这两者都处于高压和快节奏的工作环境之中。


咨询:咨询顾问每天有一系列需要完成大大小小的工作事项,从收发快递,打印发票到准备公司活动,拓展公司业务和准备客户的项目。对于咨询来说,任何与客户相关的工作都是最优先考虑的,而后才是其他工作事项(如行政工作)。


运营:酒店的一线部门工作者有时犹如奋战在前线的士兵!他有可能同时被下达递交财务报告,准备欢迎礼品,安排客人的入住行李,捡拾客人在房间遗留物的指令。像咨询一样,任何与客人相关的任务是第一位的。当手头上的所有任务都与客人有关时,酒店员工需要立刻辨别紧急程度和完成任务所需的时间,并合理安排(或寻求其他人帮助)!


古人云,“吾日三省吾身”。在思考咨询和当下运营工作的经历后,我很感激能够认知并学习对这两项工作都至关重要的软技能。咨询与运营,看似不同,实有大同。我相信,无论你选择哪个就业方向,看待工作的方式和角度决定了工作的高度。在工作过程中,你会逐渐培养这些对你未来酒店职业生涯息息相关的软实力,并在无形之中被指引到你将最终到达的地方。


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