Hospitality is big business. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 15,979 people were employed in Leisure and Hospitality careers, along with an additional 13,694 in the field of Food and Accommodation. The hotel industry alone generates half a trillion dollars annually, and salaries for qualified and experienced professionals can be both lucrative and rewarding. Better still, many hospitality management careers may include the potential for travel, room for professional advancement and the opportunity to interact with new people on a daily basis. Careers in hospitality management involve overseeing multiple departments, facilities, budgets and personnel, all with the goal of creating a memorable customer experience. Essential to this role are exceptional skills in business administration, leadership and customer care.
A bachelor’s degree in hospitality management can open the door to a number of hospitality management careers, including restaurant management, hotel group sales, and event planning. Work settings range from hotels and cruise lines, to attractions, restaurants and events. Regardless of the place of employment or services provided, professionals in this field are focused on one objective: customer’s satisfaction. To that end, bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management prepare graduates with skills in both customer care and staff/facilities management. If you are a warm person who enjoys helping people, yet are also an organized and efficient leader, this may be your professional niche. Professionals who hold bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management and have four years’ experience earn a median wage of $38,000, though positions of greater responsibility can garner $80,000 or more. A number of excellent hospitality management programs are even offered fully online. Where do graduates with bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management find employment? Read on to find out about the many rewarding and potentially lucrative career paths in the field.
Hospitality Careers in Restaurants and Dining
Dining is about more than food. We associate dining with dates, family time, nights out with coworkers or special celebrations. Careers in hospitality management fall into two categories in the restaurant industry: food preparation and restaurant management. Bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management qualify candidates for positions in dining such as restaurant manager and catering manager.
Restaurant management and catering management is all about overseeing day-to-day business operations in order to create an enjoyable experience for guests. Job duties include hiring staff, monitoring inventory, purchasing supplies, and ensuring quality customer service. Naturally, restaurant managers are responsible for establishments, and must attend to equipment and facilities, while catering managers must oversee events, and attend to schedules and venues. Both must effectively train and supervise staff, and assure adherence to food handling health code guidelines. Job skills required include customer care and problem solving, as well as effective facility and staff management. Catering managers earn a median salary of $42,533, which restaurant managers earn $51,641. Other restaurant positions for those with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management include: executive chef, bar manager, food and beverage director.
Hospitality Management Careers in Hotels and Accommodations
In the age of short-term rentals, the hotel industry continues show robust growth. From lavish honeymoon suites, to backpackers’ rustic lodgings, to business conventions, there are all sorts of accommodations required by different groups. Guests expect to be given clean and equipped quarters, regular housekeeping services, on-site amenities and referrals to local dining and entertainment options. As a home away from home, a hotel may need to assist guests with health, transport or travel concerns. Bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management qualify candidates for positions in hotels such as group sales manager.
A hotel group sales coordinator is a member of the company’s marketing and sales team. The sales coordinator must prospect and sell the hotel’s facilities to groups for events, such as conventions and conferences. Job duties involve finding and developing relationships with potential groups, managing and communicating with clients and coordinating schedules. Often, conventions will require special accommodations, such as buffets, audiovisual equipment and presentation rooms. Individuals interested in this branch of hotel management must be detail-oriented, organized, courteous, and have impeccable professionalism and problem-solving skills. Locking in a convention for a hotel can mean bringing in hundreds of lodgers- a lucrative proposition for the lodging business. Salaries can vary tremendously based on the class of establishment and proven ability to generate sales. A group sales coordinator with a solid track record can earn $90,000 or even more. Other hotel positions with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management include: general manager, director of marketing, and director of operations.
Hospitality Careers in Event Planning
Whenever groups convene to confer, celebrate, or collaborate, there are logistics to consider, and these increase exponentially with the size of the group and the complexity of the event. Some events focus on the exchange of ideas, such as business or political conventions, while others focus on community, such as celebrations or memorial services. It’s no secret that weddings and conventions are big business, and there are many lucrative jobs for those able to bring in and execute events. Bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management qualify candidates for positions in events such as that of event planner.
Regardless of the type of occasion or gathering, most require a few basic accommodations, such as food, seating, lighting and sound systems. Event planning is all about ensuring that these are coordinated and delivered within time and budget constraints and in keeping with the client’s vision. Event planners work long and non-traditional hours, and must juggle conflicting schedules and demands to ensure that everything goes smoothly. They are called upon to be administrators in the event planning stages and leaders in the execution stage. Organization is the most indispensable job skill for event planners, followed by relationship management and leadership. Event planners must be able to manage the unexpected and solve problems quickly. With a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, an event planner can expect to earn around $60,000, depending on their experience and the size of events handled. Other event positions for those with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management include: event manager, exhibition coordinator, and retail events representative.
Options in Bachelor’s Degrees in Hospitality Management
Bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management focus on two overarching areas of competency: hospitality and management. Hospitality focuses on the customer and their experience. Hospitality skills are service-oriented, requiring competency in courtesy, communication, and establishing an appealing and client-focused environment. Management focuses on the staff and facilities and their performance. Management skills are personnel- and facility-oriented, requiring competency in administration and leadership. The curriculum required for hospitality management degrees varies, but typically includes business, finance, accounting, information systems, marketing, human resource management, public relations, strategy, and quantitative methods.
There is nothing theoretical about hospitality management- the field is all about providing real-world services and solutions. Employers will want to know what practical skills you can demonstrate on the job. With that in mind, the majority of bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management require an experiential component. This may take the form of an internship or fieldwork. Such on-the-job learning can demonstrate your competency to employers, teach you real-world skills and also introduce you to unexpected job duties and settings you may choose to pursue professionally.
Prospective students may also wish to consider enrolling in distance learning. Some 14 million Americans today are working while also working towards a degree that will allow them to launch or advance a career. Many people pursue online degrees in hospitality management while simultaneously working in the field. The flexible learning schedules of most online degrees in hospitality management are particularly well-suited to the irregular work hours often required in the industry. A number of excellent online hospitality management degrees are available, and many are highly affordable or offer enhanced flexibility, such as competency-based learning. Prospective students considering online hospitality management degrees should always research their choices thoroughly to be certain that their school is accredited. With the right school and career in mind, you’ll be prepared for a successful future in this dynamic and profitable field.