Hospitality is the action of being hospitable. In other words, welcoming, helpful and providing a service to someone who is visiting.
From that starting point, hospitality is perhaps most important in tourism and leisure because it provides the personal touches to a service such as a holiday and can encourage the tourist to spend more time or money at a location and subsequently to return and recommend the place to friends.
Whether working as a receptionist at a big hotel, a waiter in a restaurant or the proprietor of a bed and breakfast, if the person is friendly and helpful then it can often make up for small issues which otherwise might be blown out of proportion. Being respectful and providing for the needs of guests, where appropriate, is a key part of the job of someone in the tourism industry. While this may be done from the point of view of etiquette, if the person is genuinely personable and interested then it can make a huge difference.
Hospitality is a term that can be judged in many different areas of the tourism industry, from the initial arrival and transport arrangements through to food and beverage service and accommodation provided. It should not be forgotten that hospitality extends to the departure as well; when a guest is leaving it is important to leave a good last impression since all your good work can be ruined at this stage.