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Hospitality management: past practice and present application

O'Gorman, Kevin D. (2009) Hospitality management: past practice and present application. In: New Heritage Tourism: Global Perspectives Conference, 2009-01-24.

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When exploring hospitality in Classical Antiquity discovered that it was essentially organic and a great deal about the cultural values and beliefs of the societies that existed. Developments within these societies led to the formal stratification of hospitality and three different typologies of hospitality have already clearly emerged: Private or personal hospitality based around the entire household; civic or public hospitality connected with the state; and an emergent, but important, commercial industry. Through practising hospitality the household increased in strength and status; hospitality itself could be hereditary and reciprocal in nature. Civic hospitality had been connected to the state since Aristotle wrote his Athenian Constitution and Plato stratified guests into four categories; this typology of hospitality, initially between individuals, also led to obligations between the states. The formal linking of states by ties of hospitality led to civic receptions and the exchange of ambassadors. Civic and business hospitality developed from private hospitality but retained the key foundation: treat others as to make them feel at home even though they are not at home. There was also considerable evidence of a distinct and rapidly developing commercial hospitality sector. The literature shows that commercial hospitality was already recognisable by 400 BC as a key source of income for a city and as a necessary attraction to bring tourists or traders to the city. The concepts of guest, stranger, and host are closely related only when hospitality was based around the household, all guests/strangers were to be treated the same. Plato's differentiation of hospitality provision into the four categories of merchant on trade or business; cultural visitor to view artistic achievements; civic dignitary on public business; and occasional high-status cultural visitor, demonstrated a significant change in the ideology and thinking that underpinned civic and commercial hospitality provision. In Homeric and biblical literature, hospitality was shown as a way of giving respect and showing honour - it was non-judgmental of social status. However, as hospitality moved from being centred in and on the home into the civic domain guests were no longer treated equally. Hospitality was still welcoming, but it was also stratified. This highlights the fact that as society became more sophisticated and hospitality was no longer homogeneous and the codification of hospitality provided reference points as to how to treat a range of guests/strangers according to a variety of criteria.