Hospitality Management Job Prospects
The field of hospitality is enormous, generating massive revenue and encompassing a vast array of settings and workers. In 2016, travelers in the United States spent more than $293 billion on lodging and accommodations, and this sector supports over 1.4 million jobs. In addition to vast revenue, the field has tremendous breadth. Beyond hotels and lodging, the hospitality industry includes such lucrative venues as casinos, cruises, restaurants, tour companies and convention centers. Zeroing in on any one sub-sector of the hospitality industry reveals a tremendous range of job positions and specialties as well, from the housekeepers who turn down beds to the executives who market luxury resorts. And while many jobs today are in danger of outsourcing and automation, the human touch and face-to-face personal attention define the experience of hospitality. Jobs in the field are only likely to increase over time, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 33% growth in the sector.
With millions of jobs and billions of dollars, it can be easy to find a position in this dynamic and engaging field. But finding a lucrative and satisfying position can be a challenge. Salaries for entry and mid-level positions can be less-than-stellar. A restaurant hostess, for instance, can expect to make $21,410 annually, while a hotel desk clerk commands a mean annual salary of $23,530, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Careers in upper management and hospitality business, on the other hand, can be quite lucrative. A hotel manager, for instance, earns a mean annual salary of $59,410, while the top 10% in the field earn about $96,570. A restaurant manager earns an average of $50,820, and the top 10% make $87,120. Those in hospitality sales and accounting can earn as much or more. So how can a job-seeker land a one of these lucrative positions? With years of experience, it’s possible to climb the ladder to a management position. Another solution is to pursue an advanced degree. With a Hospitality Management MBA or Master’s in Hospitality Management, you’ll not only have the knowledge and credentials to wield a competitive edge for leadership positions; you’ll also be far more qualified for those prestigious positions in the top 10% bracket.
Hospitality Management Graduate Degree Types
Ready to take the fast track to a top career in the field? There are a great number of high quality on-campus and online hospitality management degrees available. But let’s take a closer look at the types of degrees these programs offer. What’s the difference between a Master’s in Hospitality Management and a Hospitality Management MBA? There’s a tremendous overlap in the knowledge and job skills required for those specializing in management versus business. Both will need top-to-bottom understanding of the business, as well as advanced leadership and strategic decision-making skills. But in terms of professional focus, there is a meaningful difference between a Master’s in Hospitality Management and a Hospitality Management MBA. Read on to learn which degree type best fits your personal interests, professional strengths, and career goals.
Master’s in Hospitality Management
While covering much of the same curriculum, a Master’s in Hospitality Management differs from a Hospitality Management MBA its professional focus. A Master’s in Hospitality Management is all about organizational management: making the business run smoothly, keeping the staff working efficiently, and ensuring that the customer is satisfied every time. To deliver on these goals, graduates must have a variety of quantitative, administrative and interpersonal strengths. Leadership, responsibility and decision-making are essential skills. The curriculum of a Master’s in Hospitality Management program will typically cover studies in finance, administration, bookkeeping, communications and human resources. Graduates with a Master’s in Hospitality Management will be prepared to:
- Solve management challenges in unpredictable environments
- Supervise and motivate staff in a variety of departments
- Anticipate and respond effectively to problems and serve a diverse clientele
- Oversee budgets, staffing, vendors and supplies
- Observe management challenges with a global perspective and find solutions
For most, the entire curriculum of a Master’s in Hospitality Management takes two years to complete, though accelerated options are sometimes offered by programs geared towards adult learners, as is frequently the case with an Online Master’s in Hospitality Management. Whether offered online or on-campus, the majority of master’s degree programs also involve an experiential learning component, which may take the form of an internship or practicum, and some require a dissertation as well. Job prospects with a Master’s in Hospitality Management are bright, with a wide variety of leadership roles within the hospitality industry. Examples include resort manager, cruise director, director of guest services, food and beverage manager, and conference coordinator. Salaries for such positions can be as high as $100,000 and sometimes more.
Hospitality Management MBA
While a Master’s in Hospitality Management prepares graduates primarily in organizational management, a Hospitality Management MBA is first and foremost a Master’s in Business Administration. As such, this degree is all about the business side of hospitality: understanding consumer trends, developing brand strategies, growing market shares and improving profit margins. Rather than skills in handling clients, personnel and facilities, students pursuing a Hospitality Management MBA will be developing skills in quantitative analysis, strategic marketing, risk management and budget management, all with a focus on the hospitality industry.
To deliver on these goals, graduates must have a variety of quantitative, administrative and interpersonal strengths. Leadership, innovation and decision-making are essential skills. The curriculum of a Hospitality Management MBA program will typically cover studies in finance, administration, bookkeeping, communications and human resources. Graduates with a Master’s in Hospitality Management will be prepared to:
- Critically analyze consumer trends to make informed business decisions
- Solve business challenges using strategic theories, models and tools
- Develop short and long-term marketing strategies
- Observe management challenges with a global perspective and create innovative solutions
Another difference between a Master’s in Hospitality Management and a Hospitality Management MBA is the timing of the degree. In general, the majority of students pursuing a Master’s in Hospitality Management are embarking straight out of college. A Hospitality Management MBA, however, is usually geared towards professionals within the industry looking to advance existing careers. Many on this degree track maintain their current employment while pursuing their graduate degree on a part-time basis through an Online Hospitality Management MBA program. Such programs cater to working students with flexible options such as on-demand video lectures and competency-based learning. Most Hospitality Management MBAs are designed to be completed in two years, though part-time students may take three years or more, depending on their pace of work. Graduates holding this degree are eligible for positions of great financial responsibility and have the power, with the right skills and strategies, to significantly improve their employer’s profit margin. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that job prospects with a MBA in Hospitality Management can be quite lucrative. Examples include Hotel Director of Sales and Marketing, Tourism Coordinator, Director if Sales, Global Development Manager and Director of Financial Planning. Salaries for senior positions can be as high as $175,000 or more.
Master’s in Hospitality Management vs a Hospitality Management MBA: Finding the Best Fit
Knowing the difference between a Master’s in Hospitality Management and a Hospitality Management MBA, which degree is the best fit? The curriculum for a Master’s in Hospitality Management and the curriculum for a Hospitality Management cover much of the same foundations: both degree programs teach leadership, teamwork, problem-solving and strategic thinking, all grounded in the trends and problems unique to the hospitality industry. As we have seen, however, there are differences in the career paths open to a graduate with a Master’s in Hospitality Management versus a Hospitality Management MBA. Job prospects with a Master’s in Hospitality Management are largely organizational, and generally involve supervising personnel and facilities and overseeing operations. On the other hand, job prospects with a Hospitality Management MBA revolve around financial management and analysis, and include marketing, development and strategy. In selecting a Master’s in Hospitality Management vs a Hospitality Management MBA, you will be making a personal decision based on your personal strengths and professional goals. For the ambitious hospitality professional, either degree can offer a path to a dynamic, satisfying and lucrative career.