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What Is Hospitality Management?

August 20, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Hospitality management refers to the administrative tasks and oversight of a variety of businesses, including restaurants, hotels, casinos, resorts, tour agencies and airlines. It is the responsibility of a hospitality manager to ensure operations run smoothly. A good hospitality manager nurtures helpful relationships between workers and customers to offer the best possible customer service.

The defining metric of the hospitality industry is customer satisfaction, which drives customer loyalty, growth, and overall revenue. Hospitality management is therefore a very important sector in the business world.

Here’s a list of some of the best schools to join for hospitality management programs, either online or via traditional on-campus classes.

Responsibilities of Hospitality Management

Working as a hospitality manager may sound glamorous, but hospitality management entails an array of demanding responsibilities to make sure the day-to-day operations of a business are successful. The task of ensuring that every guest leaves with a pleasant experience may be stressful without proper planning and execution.

What Does Hospitality Management Include?

Many people tend to associate hospitality management with jobs in a hotel or the position of a food service manager – which can be the case – but hospitality management goes far beyond those roles. It also includes administrative and managerial roles such as:

  1. Lodging Management
    Lodging management entails supervision of lodging functions in a facility offering overnight accommodation. These may include hotels, resorts, motels, campgrounds, and many more. Lodging managers welcome guests, set budgets and room rates, inspect rooms and supervise other workers within the facility. A job as a hotel manager in a larger resort or a chain of hotels requires a bachelor’s degree in hotel or hospitality management. Prior experience in the service industry or a high school diploma may be enough to work as a hospitality manager in smaller facilities. Here’s a job outlook for the position of lodging manager.
  2. Food Service Management
    Foodservice managers oversee food service operations in an eatery. These include coordinating and overseeing kitchen and dining staff, keeping budgets, and performing other administrative roles. A degree is not always a requirement and a waiter can scale up through the ranks into becoming a food service manager. However, for those who aspire to work for upscale hotels and restaurants, a bachelor’s degree in hotel or hospitality management may be an advantage.
  3. Event Planning
    Business conventions, weddings, and conferences are just some of the areas that make up the bigger part of hospitality management in event planning. Event planners coordinate these functions by identifying locations, coordinating transport, and also food and entertainment. Experience in events planning or a bachelor’s degree is a requirement for the position of an events planner.

Travel and tourism also make up the wider part of hospitality management.

Roles of a Hospitality Manager

Hospitality managers have closely related roles across different business settings. These roles include:

  • Managing budgets and approving expenditures
  • Creating reports for the top management
  • Supervising staff members
  • Interviewing and hiring qualified workers
  • Organizing and coordinating all operations within a facility
  • Managing budgets and approving expenditures
  • Keeping records and updating relevant documents
  • Ensuring adherence to health, safety regulations, and legal guidelines

Difference Between Hospitality Management and Hotel Management

Hospitality and hotel management are two different things that should not be used interchangeably. Hospitality management is a broader term that entails resources management in sectors such as casinos, restaurants, resorts, hotels, events, travel, and tourism. Hotel management is a sector of hospitality management that deals with hotel operation and all other aspects of managing a hotel.

Benefits of Becoming a Hospitality Manager

Hospitality management is an in-demand career that comes with endless opportunities for those who are already practicing or those who choose to pursue one of the many degrees relevant to hospitality management. A career in hospitality management can be both financially and socially rewarding.

With the right hospitality skills, here are some great benefits you get to enjoy working as a hospitality manager.  

  • Competitive Rate
    The hospitality industry offers many opportunities for employment across the world. Since this industry is not so strict on paper qualifications, for instance, a waiter can assume the position of a hotel general manager after many years working in the hotel service industry. However, those who take a hospitality management major at University have a head-start when applying for management roles and command higher salaries than their less-educated counterparts. 
  • Flexibility and Mobility
    Hospitality managers and other staff within the hospitality industry enjoy mobility and flexibility, both geographically and in terms of their work schedule. Such opportunities are readily available for those who work as events planners or in the travel and tourism sector. These jobs offer opportunities to tour the globe while being paid to travel.
  • Endless Opportunities
    Students who complete a suitable hospitality management program, from an online associate degree on up to full four year Bachelor’s, and have entrepreneurial skills will not have to wait to be employed. Such students can start their own businesses such as a recruitment agency, or even a restaurant. It is also a great opportunity to take a hospitality path that aligns with your passion.  
  • Charged Working Environments
    Working in the hospitality industry means constant interaction with other people. There is never a dull moment as you are always engaging energetic people out to have a good time. Those who work in travel and tourism get an opportunity to enjoy holidays alongside their clients away from the busy city lives.
  • Honing Emotional Intelligence
    One research by RVS shows that CEOs in hospitality industries have high emotional intelligence, are team players, self-motivators, and are good at building rapport. This is as a result of many encounters with diverse personalities, while working and creating rapport with people from all over the world.

Why You Should Consider Working in a Hospitality Industry

A career in the hospitality industry allows you to grow both professionally and as a person. Exposure to different working environments and working with diverse colleagues and clients improves the professional skills you already possess. Over time, you get to learn from other people, which can prepare you to work and easily adapt to other professional settings.

How Becoming a Hospitality Manager Can Prepare You for other Challenges in Life

Hospitality managers deal with a variety of challenges daily that call for different solutions. Some of these are closely related to human resource challenges given the correlation of duties involved in both professions.

Experience addressing most of these challenges can prepare you to deal with most life challenges including;

  • Easy and quick adaptability to new work environments
  • Ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Improved emotional intelligence

Important Skills for a Hospitality Manager

Hospitality management is a glamorous career that can also be very challenging. Apart from ensuring smooth operations and working hard to keep a business, hospitality managers also network with potential customers, train new employees, help retain existing customers and also help fill positions whenever an employee is sick or away on leave.

All these tasks can be complicated, and you will require proper managerial training alongside the right skills to be a successful hospitality manager. Some of these vital skills include:

  • Ability to work in a team
  • Proper communication skills
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Organizational skills
  • Language skills

Here are more skills discussed at length that help make great hospitality employees.

Qualities That Make a Good Hotel Manager

A hotel manager job needs to balance a set of skills to enable managers to execute their duties and responsibilities effectively. Most successful hotel managers have a combination of skills such as interpersonal skills, attention to detail, excellent communication, are team players, possess leadership skills, and have financial and operational knowledge.

  1. Interpersonal Skills
    Interpersonal skills are key for effective communication, which is also an important skill for a successful hotel manager. A hotel manager will always be at the center in making sure all staff members and clients are happy. Hotel managers interact with a diverse group of people, some with very demanding personalities. Dealing with such guests may be stressful and requires patience and understanding, alongside professionalism.
  2. Communication Skills
    Hotel managers are always solving issues between guests and employees. Common tools include offering training to staff, communicating changes on procedures to other staff, and staying up to date with industry journals. 

    A hotel manager is also considered the face of a hotel and is, therefore, expected to represent the organization in a professional and respectful manner. All these require top-notch communication skills. How you communicate to guests can determine whether they’ll come back or refer friends.

    Since proper communication also entails keen listening, employees also want to feel their concerns are listened to and addressed appropriately. This way, they’ll stay motivated and deliver as per the expectations.
  3. Operational Knowledge
    Educational degrees or experience gained over time gives a hotel manager the fundamental basis of hotel management processes. Without the operational knowledge of concepts such as human resource management, budget and cost control, and basic financial knowledge, a hotel manager may not be able to make decisions on the important daily operations of a hotel.
  4. Leadership Skills
    A successful hotel manager displays strong leadership skills that include boosting staff morale, are willing to listen to employee grievances and make informed judgments, can assign responsibilities, and also act tough when situations demand. Since you’ll be working as a team in a hotel environment, a hotel manager should lead in directing and assigning roles and also chairing meetings.
  5. Team Builder
    Encouraging an environment where all staff work as a team promotes productivity and enhances a positive customer experience. Since hotel managers and other staff are constantly interacting with the guests, keeping a stressful staff may directly impact the employee-client relationship, which may drive away customers for good.
  6. Financial Management
    While most responsibilities of hotel managers focus on customer service, they may from time to time need to handle financial aspects of the organization that require them to analyze and give accurate reports to the top management.

Qualifications Required for a Hospitality Manager

Gaining an entry-level hospitality management position isn’t difficult compared to entering other professions. It is in the hospitality industry where an executive chef can climb ranks into ultimately becoming a hotel manager. However, to gain entry into senior management roles with competitive compensation, you require a bachelor’s degree in hospitality or hotel management. Smaller facilities with fewer services may require a certificate in hotel management or an associate’s degree.

Since hospitality managers deal with diverse personalities where their satisfaction means more sales to the organization, a psychology degree would be an added advantage for those applying for hospitality management positions in big organizations like a chain of hotels. Such a degree coupled with emotional intelligence is enough to help you discern whether a client is satisfied and find quick solutions.  

Degree Programs for Hospitality Management

The hospitality management career has many open doors when it comes to educational requirements. From a basic high school diploma, to an associate’s degree in hospitality management, you can easily get admission into the wide hospitality management industry. A bachelor’s degree or higher will give you an edge on your applications and increase your take-home hospitality manager’s salary once you find work as a hospitality manager. Where a less-educated staff member often takes years to climb ranks, employees with a degree can often jump straight into management training.

Jobs You Can Get With a Hospitality Management Degree

A student who graduates with a degree in hospitality management has plenty of job choices in the wider hospitality industry. Here we’ll focus on some of the popular job openings available for hospitality management graduates.

These jobs have been categorized into the following industries:

  • Food and Beverage
  • Event Planning
  • Entertainment and Leisure
  • Guest Relations
  • Travel and Tourism

1. Food and Beverage Hospitality Management Jobs

Production and distribution of consumable goods are the two major segments of the food and beverage industry. Here, hospitality management graduates can find jobs in places like events centers, restaurants, hotels, breweries among many others.

  • Catering Assistant
    A catering assistant can be employed directly by a catering company like a restaurant or a hotel to supervise productions and arrange bookings. They can also help in preparing food, receive deliveries and keep stock records.  Other responsibilities may include ensuring food portion control.
  • Sous Chef
    A sous chef is the second in command after the executive chef. A sous chef may work in a food and beverage industry supervising kitchen operations such as meal preparations. A sous chef reports directly to the head chef. Culinary training via a suitable hospitality degree program is enough to gain entry as a sous chef in medium to high-end hotels and restaurants.
  • Restaurant Manager
    This a senior role within the hospitality management industry. A restaurant manager may be employed in a local tavern or high-end restaurant handling international cuisines to oversee all operations from production to delivery. A bachelor’s degree or prior hotel service experience for smaller facilities is the minimum requirement for this position.

2.  Events Planning Hospitality Jobs

Events planning is yet another key area in hospitality management that actively involves practical organization and interaction. Successful event planners exude traits such as the ability to work within budgets, flexibility, and are also great multitaskers.

  • Conference Organizer
    Conference organizers can be hired to arrange venue seating for a business conference or any other gathering. Key duties for these organizers also include arranging day-of-itineraries and keynote speaker necessities in an expo or trade show. A bachelor’s degree in business, communication, or hospitality management is required for this position.
  • Bridal Consultant
    Bridal consultants, also referred to as wedding planners, can be hired to manage numerous aspects of a wedding, including assistance in finding a suitable venue, managing and coordinating receptions, and creating seating charts. Their schedule may change depending on the clients’ preferences. A high school diploma, event planning certificate, or degree in hospitality management gives you an edge as a  bridal consultant.
  • In-house Event Planner
    Event planners are always actively involved in every aspect of an event. These include booking clients, solving problems arising in an event, attending regular meetings, and organizing post-event clean-up. 

3. Hospitality Management Jobs in Entertainment and Leisure Industry

The entertainment and leisure industries can be linked to other industries such as tourism and travel. For instance, tourist towns such as New York and Las Vegas are common places of entertainment. Some job openings for these sectors may include:

  • Theme Park Manager
    Theme parks are more than just roller coasters and rides. To keep them running, it is essential to have managers attending to them. These managers may be involved in planning promotional events and booking shows.
  • Casino Host
    Casino hosts are tasked with ensuring customer satisfaction in a casino. Some of their daily activities may involve marking regular clients and offering various inducements that will impact positively their experience and hook them further. Other duties may involve arranging for their accommodation, transportation, food, and beverages. All these aim at retaining the client for the long-term.
  • Spa Director
    Spas are a widely popular leisure and relaxation pastime, especially for hotel guests. Spa directors oversee appointments, bookings, and scheduling for all the guests visiting the entertainment facility. These may also include maintaining the inventory and more. 

4.  Hospitality Jobs in Guest Relations

Do you enjoy interacting and working with other people? If you do, then a customer-oriented hospitality path is your go-to career with your hospitality management degree. Although these careers are profoundly available within hotel management, they can as well be found in other hospitality industries. Below are some interesting positions you can take up in guest relations.

  • Housekeeping Director
    Directors of housekeeping are mostly employed in hotels and are always tasked with the oversight of the general appearance of the hotels, including cleanliness. These directors also keep records and maintain suppliers, control labor costs, assign other employees, and carry out other related tasks. These directors are also involved in training other staff on hotel policies and other job safety procedures.
  • Sommelier
    A sommelier, also referred to as a wine steward can be hired as experts of fine wine in luxurious hotels and high-end restaurants. These experts promote wine-based events and also work closely with other chefs in recommending wine-food pairings and help in creating establishments for up-to-date wine listings. This expertise might not require any degree though culinary arts in wine technology associate’s degree may help in advancing a career as a sommelier.
  • Front Office Manager
    Front office managers are supposed to provide professional and friendly customer service, maintain guest accounts, coordinate hotel sales, troubleshoot emergencies, oversee other employees among other related tasks. Although some employers may require a bachelor’s degree for this position, most organizations accept an associate’s degree.  

5.  Travel and Tourism Hospitality Jobs

Recent graduates can enjoy diverse opportunities in the tourism industry as one aspect of hospitality management. Tourism management is the best career path for those looking to travel the world without breaking a bank. You may work as a flight or a cruise ship director in charge of all the entertainment for all passengers on board. This career also offers a great opportunity to meet and interact with many people across the globe.  

This sector has job alternatives for those who prefer hospitality careers such as the ones discussed below:

  • Marketing and Public Relations
    A career in both public relations and marketing can be intertwined in both tourism and hospitality depending on the industry’s needs. The importance of marketing and public relations can be attached to the positive image created in the press that can lead to people flocking to a touristy town or hotel to have a first-hand experience. This is a top-tier position that will require a bachelor’s degree in related subjects such as communications and public relations.
  • Tour Guide
    Tour guides develop itineraries, offer public or private tours of popular museums, towns, or any other area of interest to the guests. They are also knowledgeable on cultural heritages and well versed with educational establishments as may be requested by individual clients. 

    Although the minimum requirement for this post is a high school diploma, travel guide associations offer certification programs. A degree in hospitality management will, however, give you a competitive edge over other applicants seeking the same position.
  • Travel Agent
    A travel agent researches and plans for travels on behalf of individuals or groups. These may involve finding and booking hotels and also sharing flight deals. Other key responsibilities of a travel agent include:
    • Promoting and marketing a business
    • Maintaining statistical and financial records
    • Offering advice about passports and visas
    • Handling customer queries and complaints
    • Recruiting, training, and overseeing staff.

Similarity Between Top Hospitality Management Degree Programs

Pursuing a degree in both hospitality and hotel management at any level will guarantee you entry into a hospitality career equally in most of the top positions. The only distinctions may be additional related transferable skills such as a degree in communications or public relations, which might offer a competitive edge for two people competing for the same position. 

Places to Look for the Best Hospitality Management Degree Programs

The fast-paced technological revolution is transforming online learning into a mainstream teaching model. People are embracing distance learning programs where even an online bachelor’s degree can be earned without ever attending on-campus classes. The best part is that these online programs have been developed to be high-quality and with full accreditation.

Some of the schools that offer top hospitality management courses include:

1. Florida International University in Miami

Graduation rate – 60%

Florida International University offers online-based learning in Bachelor of Science and Hospitality Management. The program focuses on hospitality business management for students with an interest in the hospitality and tourism industry. Available programs include food service management, beverage management, culinary management, event management, hotel/lodging management, and travel and tourism management. FIU has a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree to be completed at an accelerated pace for students who want to pursue a master’s degree.

2. Fort Hays State University

Graduation rate – 44%

The university offers a Tourism and Hospitality Management program that focuses on practical business elements in the travel and tourism industry. The online program needs 65 credit hours of the program-specific coursework, 55 general education credits transferable from previous studies to finish the bachelor’s 120-hour-hour requirement. 

Apart from finishing the internship relevant to the coursework, students must also pick at least one discipline from Health and Wellness Tourism, Hospitality Operations, or Events Management and complete 12 hours of coursework from the particular area chosen.  

3. Missouri State University in Springfield

Graduation rate – 57%

Students with a related associate degree and an AAS in hospitality or culinary arts can complete an online bachelor’s degree in a hospitality leadership program at Missouri State University.  Those who graduate are better plated to take on managerial positions in hotels, and related hospitality industries. For courses covering subjects like food preparation, marketing, human resources, and lodging, 40 upper-division credit hours are required.

The school offers both online and on-campus learning for its students. Leadership courses and paid internships are also available to equip students with relevant experience in different positions. 

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