Hospitality Industry Salaries

The Hospitality Industry is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. That means regardless of your location there are probably a lot of hospitality jobs available in your surrounding area. But how do you decide if you want to enter restaurants, hotels, resorts, or general tourism? With so many options, it’s often best to choose your niche based on the degree and experience you need, or the degree and experience you already have. Once you have that degree and experience, you can choose jobs based on your desired salary. Below, check out our definitive list of hospitality jobs and salaries, along and a list of common responsibilities, all organized by the degree most often required by employers.

Hospitality Jobs with an Associate’s Degree

Many entry level hospitality jobs only require an associate’s degree and experience to get started. So, if you are eager to find a way to put those years of waiting tables towards moving up the hospitality ladder, check out some of the jobs listed below. Many of these jobs require hands-on interaction with customers in restaurants, hotels, and tourism settings, so they are a great option for those with experience in the field who also enjoy meeting new people. To find the best online associates degrees, check out our recent ranking so that you can be on the fast track to starting your entry to the hospitality work.

  • Guest Service Coordinator
    • Ensure all hotel guests’ needs are met, answer guest questions, alleviate customer complaints; may include front desk activities, day-to-day hotel procedures, or coordinate guest service operations
    • Degree and Experience Needed: an Associates degree with several years experience. Guest Service Coordinators here
    • Median Salary: $40,000
  • Sous Chef
    • Assist the head chef in menu development, selecting suppliers, receiving goods, training staff, and manage the kitchen.
    • Degree and Experience Needed: an Associate’s or Bachelors in Culinary Arts with several years experience. Find out more about Sous Chefs here.
    • Median Salary: $45,000
  • Restaurant Manager
    • Manage front and back of house operations, maximize customer satisfaction, work with multiple teams across the entire restaurant, oversee and evaluate staff performance, and manage restaurant finances
    • Degree and Experience Needed: an Associate’s degree and at least 5 years experience. Find out more about Restuarant Managers here.
    • Median Salary: $50,000
  • Food and Beverage Manager
    • Manage sections of a restaurant or the bar in a larger establishment; oversees operations in venues that are food or drink centered including hiring staff, establishing service guidelines, and pricing.
    • Degree and Experience Needed: an Associate’s degree with 5 years experience, sometimes with certification as a Foodservice Management Professional. Find out more about Food and Beverage Managers here.
    • Median Salary: $50,000

Hospitality Jobs with a Bachelor’s Degree

Already have an associates and some experience and looking to move up to managerial positions? Many managerial positions in the hospitality industry require a bachelor’s degree, but also give you an additional bump in salary. While the salaries listed below for positions like Director of Hotel Sales are national averages, keep in mind that if you are willing to relocate, you can often find hospitality management salaries that soar much higher. And if you are looking to move into some of these managerial positions there are also a lot of really affordable online Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management degrees out there to choose from.

  • Group Sales Coordinator
    • Collaborate with advertising and promotion teams to make pitches and sales to potential clients; create sales presentations, including covering event spaces, dining services, guest rooms, and other hotel amenities.
    • Degree and Experience Needed: a Bachelor’s degree and 2-4 years work experience. Find out more about Group Sales Coordiantors here.
    • Median Salary: $50,000
  • Director of Hotel Sales
    • Often combined with Hotel Sales Managers; Responsible for managing a team focuses on individual sectors of the hotel’s business, improving sales goals, making adjustments according to hotel grown, and reporting revenue to hotel executives.
    • Degree and Experience Needed: a Bachelor’s degree and 5 years experience. Find out more about Directors of Hotel Sales here
    • Median Salary: $58,000
  • Certified Hospitality Revenue Manager
    • Oversee day-to-day operations of finance accounting, and reservation departments; develop and manage marketing, branding, and pricing strategies; manage and evaluate finance employees
    • Degree and Experience Needed: a Bachelor’s degree and CHRM exam certification. Find out more about Certified Hospitality Revenue Managers here.
    • Median Salary: $110,000
  • Director of Maintenance
    • Oversees day-to-day functions of all buildings and outdoor facilities; develops and manages facility budgets, improvements, and maintenance; ensures compliance with local laws and regulations.
    • Degree and Experience Needed: a Bachelor’s degree with industry experience. Find out more about Directors of Maintenance here.
    • Median Salary: $115,000

Hospitality Jobs with a Master’s Degree

With a graduate degree in hand, your hospitality career options will open to some of the positions listed below, like Hotel General Manager and Director of Operations. As with some of the positions listed above, keep in mind that executive level hospitality positions vary widely in salary given your location and the salaries listed below are only national averages. So while the average salary for a General Hotel Manager might $55K, in places like New York and L.A., they typically double. Even if you already have quite a bit of experience in the hospitality industry and looking to move into director and executive positions, especially at large resorts and hotel chains, we have assembled rankings of fully online Master’s in Hospitality and Hospitality MBAs.

  • General Manager
    • Oversees the entire workings of the hotel, including finances, planning events, and improvements or expansions; Responsible for ensuring employee and customer satisfaction, including reviewing work standards and consulting with upper management.
    • Degree and Experience Needed: a Bachelor’s and experience, but more likely a Master’s or MBA in Hospitality. Find out more about Hotel General Managers here
    • Median Salary: $55,000
  • Director of Hotel Operations
    • Involved in day-to-day operations of the hotel; oversee other managers and coordinators to ensure hotel operations run smoothly, including managing and evaluating hotel processes and procedures to locate areas for improvement
    • Degree and Experience Needed: a Bachelor’s degree for small hotels, but a graduate degree for large hotel chains or to advance to Vice President and Executive positions. Find out more about Directors of Hotel Operations here.
    • Median Salary: $75,000
Posted in FAQ

What is the Hospitality Industry?

Hospitality is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing industries, covering as many as 25 sectors, from hotels and resorts to restaurants, event planning, amusement and theme parks, and tourism. It’s also a major job exporter: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 16 million people work in hospitality and leisure, and another 14 million work in food and accommodation services. One out of every eighteen Americans works in a travel or tourism-related industry, either directly or indirectly.

In short, hospitality is big business – and projected to get bigger.

Hospitality Stats, Facts, and Figures

A few interesting facts and stats about the hospitality industry:

  • $6.5 trillion: The worldwide travel and tourism sector creates a $6.5 trillion annual economic impact. The sector is projected to contribute over $11 trillion in global GDP by 2025.
  • $1.5 trillion: The US travel and tourism industry generated over $1.5 trillion in economic output in 2016, totaling 2.7% of US GDP and supporting 7.6 million jobs. Worldwide, travel and tourism support over 100 million jobs.
  • $400-500 billion: The global hotel industry generates between $400-500 billion in annual revenue.
  • 1 billion: In 2012, the number of international tourists exceeded one billion, the largest number in history and a 50% increase over the previous decade.
  • 700,000: There are over 700,000 hotels and resorts worldwide.
  • 44%: According to the New York Times, Americans now spend nearly half their food budgets eating out, opening growth opportunities for restaurants, delivery services, and food & beverage in general.
  • 50%: Millennials are expected to make up half of all travelers by 2025.

Types of Hospitality Industry Jobs and Salaries

Because of its scope, every hospitality job differs: a restaurant manager’s day-to-day responsibilities are different than a hote group sales coordinator’s. Needless to say, no one’s job is like a Disney World employee. To give a general idea, let’s review a few hospitality sectors alongside potential salaries and job titles.

Hotel Jobs

Working at a hotel means nonstop action. Front-of-house employees – for instance, the concierge or general manager (who balances multiple duties) – prioritize current guests: every room is ready, every request is met. These are the people that ensure guests have the best possible experience; if a problem arises, they’re the first on the scene. On the other end of the spectrum are the administrative roles: sales, operations, maintenance, and more. These workers form the backbone of the hotel business: developing new business and marketing strategies, overseeing property management and acquisition, and generally keeping business steady. Of course, food and beverage service roles are crucial to hotel operations as well, and many hotel workers juggle several responsibilities at once.

  • Possible Job Title: Lodging Manager
  • Median Salary: $51,840

Restaurant Jobs

The restaurant industry is another “front of house” vs. “back of house” setup. The former might include hosts, bartenders, and waiting staff. The latter typically make up the cooking and food service teams: executive chefs, sous chefs, food and beverage managers, and more. While individual duties vary, the endgame is the same: serve each customer in a polite, satisfactory, and timely manner. In addition to technical skills, restaurant workers need a little bit of everything: patience, communication skills, team spirit, a can-do attitude, flexibility, and the ability to adapt. Few jobs are more challenging or rewarding.

  • Possible Job Title: Food Service Manager
  • Median Salary: $50,820

Event Planning Jobs

Meeting, convention, and event planners enjoy one of the best job outlooks in the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment to grow 11% over the next decade, adding nearly 13,000 jobs to the 116,000 existing positions. Further, with the advent of new technologies, more and more events are occurring on digital platforms, increasing audience reach and reducing costs. That said, most event planners continue to coordinate events in physical spaces, setting up business conventions, entertainment panels, music festivals, and more.

  • Possible Job Title: Event Planner
  • Median Salary: $47,350

Types of Degrees Used in the Hospitality Industry

Depending on your career track, you may want to pursue a degree in hospitality. Many entry-level positions don’t require a specific degree, but if you’re interested in managerial roles, relevant undergraduate and graduate degrees can help you build a knowledge base, hone skills, and advance your career in the hospitality industry.

  • Associate’s in Hospitality Management: An associate’s degree in hospitality management is a great way to get a quick, practical education in hospitality basics, especially if you’re just starting your career and/or aren’t certain if you need a full bachelor’s degree. If you decide you want to get a bachelor’s later, transferring credits from the associate is easy.
  • Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management: The bachelor’s degree in hospitality management is among the most popular tracks for its range of study: typical courses include Tourism and Hospitality Marketing, Food Service Systems and Control, Service Operations Management, International Hospitality, Management Information Systems, Quality Management, Financial Management, and more.
  • Master’s in Hospitality Management: The master’s in hospitality management is ideal for experience hospitality workers or professionals looking to make a career pivot. In addition to a rigorous core curriculum, you’ll also have the opportunity to gain real-world experience through practicum requirements and customize the degree through available electives and specializations like Hospitality Marketing, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Sustainable Tourism, and others.
  • MBA in Hospitality Management: The MBA in Hospitality Management differs from the master’s in a few important ways – most importantly, the business emphasis. Students complete a rigorous MBA core, including classes in marketing, management, and strategy, followed by a focus on the intersection of business and the hospitality industry. Most programs include an experiential component and allow students to continue their careers concurrent with the degree.
Posted in FAQ

How to Get a Job in a Theme Park

Surely everyone has felt the urge to get a job at a theme park at some point their lives. And why not? Days spent near rollercoasters, water parks, and Disney princes and princesses sound much more preferable than ones spent by the industrial printer, water cooler, and corporate HR rep.

At the same time, while many have wished, fewer have tried and succeeded. How, exactly, do you land a theme park job? What do employers expect from prospects? How competitive is the job market? How do you stand out to make sure you’re the best candidate? For those who have always wanted a theme park job, whether as a part-time summer gig or full-time career, we examine a few of these perennial questions and more.

Skills You’ll Need to Work at a Theme Park

If you’re applying for an entry-level or part-time role, it’s likely that you don’t have much direct experience working in a theme park. No big deal: theme parks understand that most people have (at best) limited experience. The main thing is to emphasize skills and personality traits that theme park employees need the most.

  • Resourcefulness: As anyone who’s ever visited a theme park knows, they often resemble a state of controlled chaos: screaming children, screaming parents. Even a well-run theme park will experience unexpected difficulties; employees should not only be prepared for problems, but also know how to handle them independently and in-the-moment. In short, some problems require outside help, but many don’t. Theme parks prioritize job candidates that can demonstrate grace under pressure. Before you send in your application or have an interview, think about how previous experiences (professional or personal) required you to multitask, manage, and fix problems on the fly.
  • Enthusiasm: This one is important, and perhaps harder than it might seem. Plenty of potential theme park workers can be enthusiastic about the job – but at that level, it’s a little abstract. The trick is to remain enthusiastic on the job, even when – especially when – things turn south. Whereas other jobs might allow or even encourage workers to air their frustrations, that’s not an option if you’re interacting with customers. And remember, that rule applies to everyone, from ride operators, to production teams, to the grounds crew. The show never stops, regardless of your role.
  • Flexibility: There are hundreds of job titles at a theme park, and every worker has his or her specific responsibilities. Still, this is a team environment, and when one person needs help, another person has to step up. For that reason, theme park workers need to be ready and able to complete a variety of tasks at a moment’s notice; and if you can’t personally offer assistance, you should know who can. Flexibility, improvisation, and adaptation: all crucial for a successful career in theme park entertainment.

What Kind of Degree You’ll Need to Work at a Theme Park

The short answer: none in particular, especially if you’re only interested in entry-level or part-time work. (If you’re on the creative, design, or production side, education and experience will obviously differ.) Of course, bachelor or associate graduates generally have a better record of employment than people with no higher education, but (needless to say) theme parks work differently than most traditional occupations.

Still, if you’re pursuing a long-term career in theme parks or a senior-level management/administrative role, a master’s degree could be useful and help distinguish your resume. In that case, two masters are worth considering, each with unique advantages depending on your career goals (in general, both lead to behind-the-scenes roles, but the former might be more friendly to client-facing work).

  • Master’s in Hospitality Management: Typically an accelerated 12-24 month program, an MA/MS in Hospitality Management covers a range of subjects relevant to theme park management: hospitality & tourism, organizational behavior, restaurants and food service administration, service operations, resort management, marketing strategy, event logistics, hospitality analytics, and multicultural studies, among others. In addition to a robust core curriculum, most programs also offer electives or specialization options that allow you to tailor the course work. If you want a hospitality-focused degree that combines broad-based studies in industry practices with a customizable component, this degree is a great fit.
  • MBA in Hospitality Management: Also a 12-24 month commitment, the MBA in Hospitality Management features a more business-focused curriculum with attention to special aspects of hospitality. Where the above degree emphasizes specific industry standards, this program gives theme park professionals a firm understanding of the business fundamentals that underwrite day-to-day and long-term theme park economics: sales and marketing, strategic management, quantitative and qualitative methods, finance and accounting, and more. Consider the MBA if you want a widely applicable master’s that gives you a little of everything.

Theme Park Stats, Salaries, and Job Prospects

In 2016, theme and amusement parks generated over $20 billion. Disney alone raked in $16 billion and attracted over 140 million visitors worldwide; the next largest competitors include Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Seaworld.

On the international stage, the United States is home to the world’s largest theme parks, with 7 of the top 10 in attendance, but Japan isn’t far behind, occupying the 3-5 spots (which attract nearly 50 million a year).

Most important, experts predict continued growth across the industry, including an increase in theme park jobs and salaries. According to the latest numbers from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, US theme parks employ over 600,000 year-round and seasonal employees, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an 11% rise in employment. Finally, a brief breakdown of theme park occupation mean annual wages looks like this:

  • Art and Design Workers: $57,500
  • Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance: $25,880
  • Business and Financial Operations: $67,420
  • Construction and Extraction: $48,110
  • Entertainment Attendants: $21,770
  • Management: $107,390
  • Office and Administrative Support: $32,790

Still, this is a very limited selection. The BLS lists over 230 occupation entries for amusement park employment. Just as there’s an attraction for every theme park attendee, there’s a job for every aspiring theme park worker.

Posted in FAQ

How to Get a Job At a Convention Center

Convention center jobs are available at every level and across multiple hospitality sectors: meeting and event planning, the food and beverage service, maintenance and property management, and more. Like other hospitality jobs, convention center positions require a range of skills as well as a flexible and think-on-the-go mentality. Situations surface and change on a dime, and convention center professionals must be able to adapt to ever-shifting demands.

Of course, this can present challenges on occasion, but it also creates a vibrant, dynamic work environment: no two days are ever quite the same, and you’ll interact and work alongside people whose professions, hobbies, and interests run the gamut, from world-class business and thought leaders, to celebrities and ComicCon fans. Convention center jobs may not guarantee the predictability of a 9-5 desk job, but what they do offer are excitement, variety, and a surprising range of career paths and opportunities.

Using Your Education to Get a Convention Center Job

As with many hospitality jobs, an industry-related degree isn’t mandatory, but can certainly help your prospects, specifically at the mid- and senior-level positions.

For instance, a bachelor’s degree in hopitality could prepare you for a number of meeting, convention, and event planning careers (an employment sector that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects to grow 11% over the next decade), as well as convention center guest services. At the same time, not all convention center jobs are exclusively client-facing; if you’ve earned a BS in Hospitality Management but prefer more in-house or behind-the-scenes work, sales coordinating and maintenance are areas to check out.

Master’s degrees in Hospitality Management will help you qualify for upper-level managerial roles. There are two options to consider. First, the master’s in Hospitality Management, which typically includes a broad-based hospitality curriculum as well as specializations and concentrations. Second, the MBA in Hospitality Management, which combines traditional MBA course work with intensive hospitality studies and practicum experiences. Both masters have their advantages, and of course different jobs will utilize the degrees in different ways. Because convention center jobs require slightly more business than hospitality expertise, the MBA track could have greater value; but again, every employer is different. Ask around if you’re unsure, or take a look at resources provided by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) – more on that group later.

Using Your Experience to Get a Convention Center Job

The hospitality industry is a wide-ranging field that includes tenured hospitality workers, newcomers, and experienced professionals from other fields and/or closely related ones (hotel operations, tourism, food and beverage, et al.) Convention center work is no different, and many professionals simply learn on the go or transfer skills from previous jobs.

A few skills to emphasize if you’re applying for convention center jobs without a specific degree or background in the field:

  • Flexible: Most convention center jobs require you to perform multiple tasks per day – and most important, multiple types of tasks. A job title may imply a specific area of focus – sales, planning, maintenance services – but the nature of the work means high volume, project turnover, and daily, sometimes hourly changes. Highlight your flexibility – including skills, knowledge, and scheduling – and you’re more likely to land the job.
  • Adaptable: On a related note, convention centers won’t expect you to have every necessary skill from the get-go, especially if you’re coming from a different background. What’s important is that you show that you’re a quick and willing learner: not only someone that can balance a variety of tasks, but that can also work in a fast-paced environment at a high-level.
  • Organized: Convention centers are a hive of activity with myriad everyday duties, unexpected hiccups, concurrent schedules, and hard deadlines. What employers need more than anything – and what they can’t teach – is organization, which opens up every other skill set. The more you emphasize your organizational skills, the more likely you are to find a job and advance your career.

How The PCMA Can Help You Get a Convention Center Job

Founded in 1956, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) is the world’s largest largest network of Business Events Strategists, with more than 7,000 members, 17 North American chapters, activities in 37 countries, and a global audience over 50,000.

In short, it’s a very good resource for both current and aspiring meeting, convention, and event planners. A few membership benefits:

  • Networking opportunities with convention management leaders
  • Career growth and professional development through volunteer leadership
  • Access to the members-only PCMA community
  • Subscription to industry-leading magazine
  • Online training, education, and certification opportunities
    • Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) study program
    • Digital Event Strategist (DES) certification
    • Certified Association Sales Executive certification

Membership fees are reasonable, and the payoff is obviously worth it if it helps you earn a job.

Other Ways to Get a Convention Center Job

Interested in affordable alternatives in hospitality education? Some bachelor’s and master’s programs specialize in affordability, but you might also consider a two-year associate’s in Hospitality Management or accelerated graduate certificate programs and MOOCs.

Needless to say, it also helps to be looking in the right spot: in 2016, there were 252 convention centers in the United States, with the highest concentration in California and Florida, and cities like Las Vegas, Orlando, and Atlanta ranking among the best convention destinations in the country. Further, industry numbers continue to project well. Business-to-business events generate as much as $30 billion per year in revenue, and technology is promoting industry-wide innovations like virtual event planning. However you choose to pursue a career in meetings, conventions, and events, one thing is certain: now is the time to do it.

Posted in FAQ

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