Delineating the changing frontstage and backstage segregation in high-end and luxury hotels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A common characteristic in George Orwell’s, William Foote Whyte’s and Erving Goffman’s classic works, as well as in the literature that followed their legacy, is the tendency of authors to refer to a front-of-house (FoH) and back-of-house (BoH) segregation, especially in terms of workers’ skills, gender, aesthetic, emotional and ethnic characteristics. The mark between the two areas is also treated as a variable, based on the degree of interaction between employees and guests. Departing from Goffman’s so-called sore spot areas, we seek to understand how the line of visibility changes in the light of societal and cultural shifts. Drawing on 25 interviews with general and human resource managers, we report an alteration of the typical FoH/BoH distinction with serious implications for practice. A hotel’s workplace layout, aesthetic, hiring and product processes are redesigned to encompass a new organizational identity and offer embodied experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalHospitality and Society
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2020


  • front/back-of-house, backstage/frontstage, luxury hotels, aesthetic labour, emotional labour, social change, staged authenticity

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