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Elements of Business Skills


This syllabus aims to develop in students the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be productive employees and contributing members of society.

The services sector continues to contribute to Singapore’s economic growth and offer employment opportunities. It is intended that this syllabus provides students with opportunities to develop generic employability skills, values and attitudes and foundational knowledge for work in the services sector, namely in the travel and tourism, hospitality and retail industries.

This syllabus is an introduction to business through an understanding of business activities, focusing on basic marketing and customer relations. These are learnt in the context of businesses in the travel and tourism, hospitality and retail industries, which offer employment opportunities accessible to the students.

The context of knowledge and application is in the local situation in Singapore.

The syllabus also provides students with the foundation for further studies at institutes of higher learning. Through this course of study, students become aware of the prospects and challenges of a career in the services sector.

Aims of Syllabus

The syllabus enables students to develop:

      1. basic understanding of business activities in the travel and tourism, hospitality and retail industries
      2. basic marketing concepts and customer relations skills
      3. basic employability skills for working in the travel and tourism, hospitality and retail industries
      4. analytical and evaluative skills and the ability to make judgments; and
      5. self and relationship management, social awareness, and responsible decision-making.


Syllabus Content


Learning Outcomes

Candidates should be able to

1. Understanding Business Activities

1.1 Introduction to business

• Purpose of business activity
• Resources for business activities
• Classification of businesses according to output
• Competition


• understand that businesses satisfy the needs and wants of customers
• identify the resources involved in business activities (for example, land and labour)
• describe and classify businesses in terms of goods-producing businesses and service businesses
• understand that businesses compete with one another
• identify the competitors of a business

1.2 Businesses in the selected service industries

1.2.1 Travel and tourism
• Travel agencies
• Tour operators
• Attractions
• Integrated resorts
• Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE)
• Spas

 1.2.2 Hospitality
• Accommodation and lodging facilities
• Food and beverage outlets

1.2.3 Retail
• Store retailers
• Non-store retailers



• identify and describe businesses in the travel and tourism industry





• identify and describe the accommodation and lodging facilities available for guests
• identify and describe the types of food and beverage outlets


• identify and describe the types of store retailers (namely speciality, convenience, departmental and supermarket/hypermarket) and non-store retailers (for example, e-retailing, vending machine, door-to-door)

1.3 Career opportunities in the travel and tourism, hospitality and retail industries

• identify and describe some of the jobs available in travel and tourism, hospitality and retail industries
• outline possible career paths in travel and tourism, hospitality and retail industries

2. Basic Marketing

2.1 Introduction to marketing

• outline the marketing process as identifying the needs and wants of the chosen customers and satisfying these customers’ needs and wants in ways that are better than competitors

2.2 Know your customers

2.2.1 Grouping of customers according to
• Geographic location
• Demographics such as age, gender, income and profession
• Lifestyle
• Social group

2.2.2 Understanding customer needs and wants
• Concept of needs and wants

• Market survey


• identify and explain how customers can be grouped


• examine the possible needs and wants of a given customer group (for example, the needs and wants of business tourists compared to those of leisure tourists)
• list the types of market surveys, including observation, postal survey, personal survey, telephone survey and online survey

• conduct a market survey using a given template for a simple survey questionnaire
• demonstrate simple methods of data presentation (namely tables, graphs, bar and pie charts), and identify and analyse data to draw basic trends and conclusions from it

2.3 The Marketing Mix

2.3.1 Product
• Product features
   ○ Travel and tourism ......products
   ○ Hospitality products
   ○ Retail products

• Branding
   ○ Importance and use of ......brands

• Packaging
   ○ Importance and use of ......packaging 

2.3.2 Pricing
• Factors to consider when setting price
• Pricing techniques



2.3.3 Place 
• Factors to consider when deciding on place (location) 

2.3.4 Promotion
• Promotion techniques
    ○ Advertising – Advertising ......media – AIDA model
    ○ Sales promotion – Sales ......promotion techniques
    ○ Personal selling
    ○ Public relations


• Use of ICT in promotion



2.3.5 Applying the marketing mix

• state the marketing mix

• understand that a product can be a physical good or a service or a combination of both
• describe how different product features appeal to different customers
• identify the requirements of customers and recommend, giving reasons, suitable products to meet their needs
• recommend suitable outlets and facilities to a customer based on a given scenario

 • explain the importance and use of brands for products


• explain the importance and use of packaging in retailing


• list the factors to consider when pricing a product

• describe, with examples, the different pricing techniques (for example, product-line pricing, product-bundle pricing, optional-product pricing, odd-even pricing and promotional pricing)
• recommend suitable pricing technique(s) for a given business scenario and give reasons for the recommendation(s) made

• explain the factors to consider in determining choice of location


• identify and explain how a product is promoted
• identify promotion techniques (namely advertising, sales promotion, personal selling and public relations) and explain how they are used to attract customers
• create print advertising materials using the Attention-Interest-Desire-Action (AIDA) mode
• give examples of sales promotion techniques including discount coupons, contests, gifts, samples, loyalty reward programmes and point-of-sale display
• give examples of public relations including press releases, sponsorship and special events

• identify and describe the use of information communication technology (ICT) in promotion, (for example, online advertising, social media and e-marketing)
• recommend suitable promotion technique(s) for a given scenario and give reasons for the recommendation(s) made

• identify and describe the marketing mix in given scenarios
• suggest a plan to market a product

3. Customer Relations

3.1 Communicating with the customer

3.1.1 Uses of communication

3.1.2 Communication methods
• Face-to-face 
• Written
• Telephone

3.1.3 Communication skills
• Verbal communication skills
• Non-verbal communication skills
   ○ Listening 
   ○ Writing 
   ○ Body language 
   ○ Personal grooming and ......hygiene


• identify and explain the uses of communication within a business organisation and with its customers

• identify different communication methods and evaluate their suitability for specific purposes such as invitation to a special event and promotion of products

• identify and explain the qualities customer service personnel should possess to communicate effectively and serve a customer
• prepare messages and notices (for example, letters, emails and memos) for given scenarios
• interpret information from tourist maps, brochures, and other non-continuous texts and communicate information to customers
• demonstrate communication skills in making and receiving telephone calls effectively, (for example, for taking down sales orders, customer feedback, complaints and enquiries and checking availability of stock at another outlet)
• record messages from callers accurately • explain the importance of personal grooming in relating well to customers
• give examples of good personal hygiene practices at the workplace
• identify and explain appropriate dressing for customer service personnel

3.2 Customer service

3.2.1 Quality service
• Service breakdown
• Service recovery
• Handling customer enquiries and requests


3.2.2 The selling process in retailing
• Selling process
   ○ Approaching customers
   ○ Making a sales     ......presentation
   ○ Closing the sale

• Selling techniques

• After-sales service


• identify the characteristics of quality service and explain the importance of providing quality service to customers
• identify aspects of product knowledge in customer service roles across the services sector and explain the importance of good product knowledge
• identify and explain the procedures for handling service breakdown and service recovery
• identify and explain ways of handling customer enquiries and requests (for example, queries, returns of undesired purchase and demand for refunds)

• identify and explain the stages of the selling process

• identify and explain selling techniques when handling a sale

• identify types of after-sales service and explain their importance

Click here for more information on the syllabus