Difference Between Service and Hospitality

Key Difference – Service vs Hospitality

Service and hospitality are two common words that are used in business context. Service refers to a valuable action, or effort performed to satisfy a need or to fulfill a demand; intangible products such as education, insurance, transportation, banking, etc. are considered as services. Hospitality refers to the friendly and generous treatment of customers. Therefore, the key difference between service and hospitality is that service includes fulfilling the customer’s needs whereas hospitality is the emotional connection you make with the customers.

What is Service?

Service refers to the action of helping or doing work for someone. Service industry refers to a type of business that provides services or intangible products to customers. Transportation, communications, insurance, real estate, food industry (restaurants, cafes), health care, legal services are some examples businesses that belong to the service industry. These industries do not provide a tangible product, rather provides a service or an intangible product.

In business, service is also what you offer your customers. It’s a sequence of acts, tasks, and procedures that respond to the needs or demand of the customer. For example, if you are a restaurant owner, the food you offer is the service you provide for your customers. Similarly, if you are a real-estate, finding a suitable property that fulfills your client’s needs is the service you provide.

However, the service you provide may not be unique – it can be mimicked or copied by another competitor as well. For example, another restaurant can serve the same menu with the same prices as your restaurant.

Difference Between Service and Hospitality

What is Hospitality?

Hospitality is the generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests. In the service industry, hospitality is what makes your business unique and memorable. Hospitality describes how you make your customers feel while receiving the services you offer. Basically, it describes how you treat your customers. If you treat them warmly and friendly, they will become your regular customers.

Your hospitality will be apparent from the smile you wear, the tone of your voice, eye contact, and your actions; these will create a positive impression in your customers.

Furthermore, the term hospitality industry refers to any business that provides customer satisfaction and meets leisurely needs rather than basic ones. Hotels, restaurants, airlines, cruise lines, tourism, etc. belong to this industry.

Key Difference - Service vs Hospitality

What is the difference between Service and Hospitality?


Service refers to an intangible product you offer the customers.

Hospitality refers to the way you treat your customers.

Need vs Feelings:

Service includes fulfilling the customer’s needs.

Hospitality is how you make your customers feel while receiving the service.


Service you offer can be copied by other competitors.

Hospitality is what makes your business unique.

Image Courtesy: 

“Receptionists” By Evan Bench from Paris, France – Reception (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia

“Food served in Peru” By 5lab – (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia