Is a Hospitality Management Degree Right for You?
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Hospitality management degrees explore the areas of business that pertain to tourism and leisure activities, such as the management of hotels, restaurants, convention centers, visitors bureaus and other tourist attractions. Individuals enrolled in a hospitality management degree program learn the ins and outs of food service, running a hotel, hospitality marketing and facility management. They also study accounting, information technology and the legal issues that pertain to hospitality and tourism. Although job openings are on the decline in the leisure and hospitality sector due to the downturn in the economy, there will always be a need to serve those who travel for business and pleasure.
Advice for Earning Your Hospitality Management Degree Online
Through an online institution, you can earn your bachelor's degree in hospitality management. However, it is important to research the accreditation status of your schools of interest first. It is likely that employers will not recognize your degree as credible if you earn it from a school that is not accredited. This is due to the increasing prevalence of "degree mills," which are institutions that do not adhere to a high standard of education. If there are specific companies for which you wish to work, it would be best to contact them and inquire about their education requirements. In addition to earning a degree, it is recommended that you pursue an internship at a hotel or restaurant to gain hands-on experience, which will enhance your resume and help you apply what you've learned.
Hospitality management classes are designed to help students understand the functions of service businesses. You will become well versed in the ethics and values of hospitality. The course work also instructs students on how to improve their communication and task management skills. Some of the required courses include introduction to hospitality management, principles of hospitality law, hospitality marketing, revenue management practices, and principles of food and beverage management.
Common Career Paths
Those who graduate with a hospitality management degree are qualified for middle management in hotels and or restaurants. When employers have proof that you are able to work in a challenging environment, they will be more likely to hire you. Common hospitality careers include (but are not limited to):
- Meeting and Convention Planners
Meeting and convention planners accommodate groups of varying sizes that want to come together in one location. Planners are responsible for every detail of the convention, including setting the schedule, lining up special guests and keynote speakers, and making sure the convention center or meeting facility is outfitted with the right technology and equipment for visual presentations and booths. Meeting and convention planners also facilitate virtual and in-person meetings. They research what convention centers and meeting spaces are available and determine which will best meet the needs of the audience while staying within a firm budget. After the meeting or conference has taken place, the planners often take surveys from participants to see how well the gathering met their needs and expectations.
Employment of meeting and convention planners is projected to grow faster than average, with the best job prospects available to those with a bachelor's degree and experience in meeting planning. The median annual salary of meeting, convention and event planners was $45,260 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs in this field are projected to increase 44 percent between 2010 and 2020.
- Lodging Managers
Lodging managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of hotels, motels, inns, boardinghouses, RV parks, recreational camps and youth hostels. They make sure their guests are comfortable, well fed and have all of their needs met. Aside from this, they also handle the financial side of the business by making sure it is drawing in enough guests to make a decent profit. Lodging managers direct the housekeeping, dining, room, entertainment and recreation services that are offered at hotels.
Employment growth of 8 percent is expected in the field between 2010 and 2020 and keen competition is common for the highest-paying jobs with major hotels. The median annual salary for lodging managers was $46,880 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Food Service Managers
Food service managers handle the day-to-day operations of restaurants, cafeterias and other establishments where food and beverages are prepared and served to guests or customers. Restaurants come in all shapes and sizes, so a food service manager's responsibilities will vary depending on the place of employment. In general, food service managers coordinate what goes on in the kitchen and dining areas. They are dedicated to making the customer experience as satisfying as possible by making sure that the quality of food is high. They must also maintain a clean and attractive environment in their restaurant that guests will enjoy and that will meet city code.
Food service managers usually hire and train individuals who work in the kitchen, wait tables and serve food. They are often responsible for the advertising and marketing of their restaurant, and bringing in customers with specials, discounts and coupons. Employment of food service managers is forecast to decline 3 percent from 2010 to 2020. Those who hold a degree in hospitality will have the best opportunities. The median annual salary for food service managers was $48,130 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.