What Is Hospitality Management?

Hospitality management involves the direct application of sound management concepts and practices in the areas of food, lodging and other hospitality-related businesses. Graduating from a bachelor's degree program in hospitality management can prepare you to enter a career in this field. Continue reading for more information about how to become a hospitality manager. Schools offering Hospitality Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Hospitality Management

The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) reported in 2012 that the travel and tourism industry is one of the top ten largest industries in the country. The lodging industry had a revenue of $155.5 billion that same year.

The hospitality and tourism industry is composed of many interrelated sectors, including lodging, food services, recreation, rental cars, contract services, gaming services, private clubs and meeting planning. Most hospitality managers specialize in a particular function, such as information systems, human resources, guest services or food services; however, it is important for top-level managers and executives to have a comprehensive understanding of the various divisions and how they come together.

Training

Typically, a bachelor's degree in business or hospitality management is required for management jobs. Several major universities offer hospitality management majors, and programs may even offer specializations in lodging, food and beverage, tourism, events, casinos and clubs. Coursework may cover customer service, cost control, property management, catering, labor relations and international hospitality.

Hospitality management degree programs often provide opportunities for students to gain practical experience through internships or study abroad programs. Schools may also host guest speakers and professional meetings, and some schools have a hospitality student club.

Career Information

There are various job titles for hospitality managers, including guest services manager, front office manager, food and beverage manager, room division manager and general manager. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides comprehensive career information for popular job fields, including three jobs within the hospitality management field: lodging manager, food service manager and meeting planner.

Lodging managers and food service managers can obtain employment with a high school diploma and several years of job experience. However, a certificate or associate's degree may be required for some jobs, and individuals who would like to manage well-known and upscale hotels and restaurants often need a bachelor's degree. The 2010 to 2020 job outlooks for these careers aren't very promising: a 3% decline in employment opportunities for food service managers is expected, while slow growth of 5% is predicted for lodging managers.

The standard education to become an meeting, event or convention planner is a bachelor's degree in hospitality management, public relations or communications. A much faster than average job growth of 44% is forecast for this field from 2010 through 2020, due to the increasing need for international meetings.

Wages for these three positions are comparable. As of May 2012, lodging managers made a median annual salary of $46,810, food service managers earned a median of $47,960 and meeting planning professionals brought home $45,810.

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