Have you ever seen someone using sign language in a restaurant, hotel, or other hospitality setting and wondered what it is? American Sign Language (ASL) is becoming increasingly important for hospitality professionals to know as the number of hearing-impaired guests continues to grow. This article will explain all you need to know about ASL and how it can help improve your guests’ experience.


If you work in the hospitality industry, chances are you will encounter customers who communicate using American Sign Language (ASL). While ASL is the predominant language used by deaf people in the United States, it is not the only form of communication used by this population. Other options include oral communication, lip reading, and written English.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to communicating with deaf guests, there are some basic tips that can be helpful in any situation. First, it is important to be patient and allow extra time for communication. It is also helpful to keep your hands and face visible when communicating, and to avoid speaking while wearing a mask or other face covering. Finally, remember that not all deaf people use ASL, so don’t assume that they do not understand you just because they are not signing.

By following these tips and using a little common sense, you can ensure that all of your guests feel welcome and comfortable during their stay.
In addition to these tips, there are a few resources available to help hospitality professionals learn ASL. These include videos, online tutorials, and even group classes. Learning at least a few key phrases can make a world of difference in the way your deaf customers experience their stay at your business. You can use basic signs such as hello, goodbye, welcome, thank you, and I understand. You can also review some commonly used signs for talking about food and ordering drinks or meals. Once you have learned these basics, you should feel more comfortable using ASL with deaf guests.

What Is American Sign Language (ASL)?

Benefits of Using ASL in the Hospitality Industry

American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language that uses hand gestures, body language, and facial expressions to communicate. It is the primary language of deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the United States and Canada. ASL is a natural language with its own grammar and syntax. It is not a signed version of English, nor is it solely dependent on spoken languages.

ASL has many benefits in the hospitality industry. For example, it can be used to communicate with guests who are deaf or hard of hearing. It can also be used to facilitate communication between staff members who speak different languages. Additionally, ASL can be used to create a more inclusive environment for all guests.

Some specific benefits of using ASL in the hospitality industry include:

Basics of ASL Grammar and Syntax

There are a few things you need to know about ASL grammar and syntax in order to effectively communicate with deaf or hearing-impaired guests in the hospitality industry. First, ASL is a visual language so word order is often different than in English. For example, instead of saying “What is your name?” in ASL, you would sign “Your name what?” Secondly, ASL does not use articles (a, an, the) or plural forms of nouns – so you would just sign “guest” instead of “guests”. Finally, verbs in ASL are conjugated based on who is signing them – so if you are signing to a single person you would sign “I am” as “I me” but if you are signing to multiple people you would sign “We are” as “We us”. These may seem like small differences but they can make a big difference in understanding each other!
Another important thing to consider when signing with hearing-impaired guests is facial expressions – as much of the meaning of ASL is nonverbal. Smiling, frowning, pointing, and other gestures contribute heavily to understanding each other’s message. Finally, it is important to enunciate your signs for better communication. This means slowing down and exaggerating each sign so that the guest can clearly identify what you are signing. By following these tips and practicing regularly, you will be able to build a successful connection with hearing-impaired guests in the hospitality industry!

Common Phrases Used in the Hospitality Industry

“In the hospitality industry, American Sign Language (ASL) is a common mode of communication. Here are some common phrases you may come across:

May I help you? – Used to offer assistance

I’m sorry, we’re all out. – Used to apologize for an inconvenience

Do you have any dietary restrictions? – Used to inquire about food allergies or preferences

What kind of room would you like? – Used to ask about lodging preferences

How was your stay? – Used to inquire about a guest’s satisfaction with their experience”

How to Incorporate ASL into Your Workplace

Incorporating American Sign Language (ASL) into the workplace can be a great way to ensure that your business is accessible to everyone. There are a few things to keep in mind when incorporating ASL into your workplace:

  1. Make sure that you have trained interpreters on staff who are able to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing guests.
  2. Make sure that all signage and marketing materials are available in both English and ASL.
  3. Provide employees with training on how to effectively communicate with deaf and hard of hearing guests using ASL.
  4. Be aware of the cultural differences between hearing and deaf communities, and make sure that your business is respectful of these differences.
  5. always remember that ASL is a living language, so it is constantly evolving – make sure you stay up-to-date on the latest changes!
    By following these steps you can make sure that your business is accessible to all and provide a high-quality customer service experience for everyone.

Technology and ASL in the Hospitality Industry

ASL is growing in popularity as a way to communicate with guests at hotels, resorts, and other hospitality businesses. Many hospitality businesses are now incorporating ASL into their customer service training programs.

There are a number of ways that technology can be used to facilitate communication between hospitality staff and guests who use ASL. For example, there are apps that allow users to type in English and have the text translated into ASL. This can be helpful for hotel staff when taking reservations or providing information about services and amenities.

There are also websites that provide video translations of popular phrases in ASL. These can be helpful for both guests and staff members who are not fluent in ASL but need to communicate basic information.

The use of technology can also help to make sure that all guests have access to information about services and events at a hotel or resort. For example, many hotels now have digital signage in their lobby that includes information in both English and ASL. This ensures that everyone can see what is going on and know what services are available.

The incorporation of ASL into the hospitality industry is an important way to ensure that all guests feel welcome and comfortable. By using technology to facilitate communication, hospitality businesses can make sure that everyone has access to the information they need.
The benefits of using technology and ASL go beyond just communication. Technology also allows hospitality businesses to reach a larger audience, which in turn helps them generate revenue. With the right technology in place, hotels can easily connect with guests who use ASL throughout their stay.


Learning American Sign Language for the hospitality industry is an invaluable skill that can help you succeed in this ever-changing work environment. Not only will it give you a leg up on your competition, but it’ll also open doors to new opportunities and experiences that might not have been available to you before. With dedication and practice, communication between deaf individuals and those in the hospitality world can be greatly improved, leading to better customer service for everyone involved.

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