The Different Hospitality Sectors Explained

The UK’s hospitality industry is worth around £91 billion, and employees somewhere in the region of 330,000 people*.

Hospitality Sectors 1200x450 - Server at a restaurant handing out food

The hospitality industry is vast and can be broken down into separate sectors. The top four sectors consist of; ‘Food and Beverage’, ‘Accommodation’, ‘Travel and Tourism’ and ‘Entertainment and Recreation’. Although the industry is segmented, there is significant overlap to improve customer experience.

Below, we’ll explore these sectors and how they interact with each other.

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Food and Beverage

Food and Beverage is the largest of the four hospitality sectors in the UK, and is integrated through all segments of the industry. For example, when a restaurant is part of a hotel, the service it provides can enhance the guest experience by presenting excellent food and first-class customer service.

There are different levels of service within the sector. Quick-service establishments, which offer snack food, have fewer employees in comparison to larger full-service restaurants because they rely on self-service. Restaurants themselves hire differently depending on their style – fast-food and takeaway restaurants tend to hire cheaper, lower-skilled people, whereas fine-dining establishments need to secure more experienced staff.

There are also the food and beverage companies that come to you! Catering businesses offer food and beverage services for any special occasion – from weddings and conferences to buffet and al a carte. More standalone businesses tend to be found in this part of the sector, as opposed to the big brand chains seen in fixed locations.


The accommodation sector is incredibly broad, ranging from caravan grounds right up to luxurious resorts. Essentially, any business that provides a place for people to sleep overnight are all players in this industry.

These businesses market to other market segments based largely on location. Those in cities target business people, long-stay visitors, backpackers, and special travellers (government, airlines, and military). Resorts in more scenic areas are mostly popular among holiday makers where they provide a space for the customer to have a break from their ‘everyday’.

Entertainment and Recreation

Recreation is any activity that people do for rest, relaxation, and enjoyment. The goal of recreation is to refresh a person's body and mind. The entertainment industry relies on its consumers having disposable income. Entertainment businesses such as cinemas or theatres and attractions such as zoos and museums, spectator sports and participatory sports are all parts of the recreation business.

Travel and Tourism

Many people consider tourism synonymous to hospitality, but it is in fact a different sector within the hospitality industry. The major function of tourism is to encourage people to travel in order for people to spend money on hospitality.

All other parts of hospitality rely heavily the success of this all-encompassing sector. Without travel and tourism, all other businesses in any given that location would not be able to grow or even sustain themselves.

You’ll find it hard to locate a business within hospitality that doesn’t combine sectors together. Whether you spend a night away or take a trip to the cinema, you will find that the segments work together to create a greater customer experience. This is why studying a hospitality degree, which covers all four sectors, is imperative for your ascension into the hospitality industry.

*Statistics, based on 2018 information, taken from -,more%20than%20330%2C000%20working%20opportunities.