To put this in perspective, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the hospitality industry to grow by 17.7% between 2010 and 2014, adding more than 2.2 million new job opportunities. This industry rewards people who work hard, and is perfect for those who have the ability to constantly learn and improve, whether they have been formally educated or have honed their skills over time. This is why it is a combination of education and experience that makes for the best and most successful hospitality employee.
Career Paths of a Hospitality Management Student
The hospitality industry offers career paths that reﬂect its dynamic, often vibrant nature. There are many opportunities to start at the bottom and work your way up to management – you just need to set your goals and gain the appropriate experience and training and work hard. Career paths in the hospitality industry are not always vertical. Many people working in the industry move sideways, progressing to a similar-level position in a different part of the industry. For example, a manager may move from working in a club to a managerial position in a restaurant. Or they could move to a different job in the same business like, for example, being a manager in a hotel.
Mid-level and executive-level hospitality management jobs are more likely to require specialised training and an associate or bachelor’s degree. For example, candidates for hotel management and executive positions may need a degree in hotel management or administration. Human- resource management positions may require degrees in business or human resources. Other useful degrees for hospitality management jobs include tourism management, culinary arts, marketing, public relations and, of course, hospitality management.
In addition to the many job opportunities, a career in hospitality not only offers one a way to earn a very good living but also a chance to work in a dynamic environment. With that in mind, here are some of the top career paths (but not limited to) in hospitality management.
Hotel General Manager
The responsibilities are to direct everything involved in the operation and ﬁnancial viability of the property; creates standards for personnel administration and performance, service to patrons, room rates, advertising, publicity and food selection.
This position needs a bachelor degree in business management, with some experience in accounting, hotel administration, economics, marketing, housekeeping, food service management, and hotel maintenance and engineering, as well as knowledge of computers and speciﬁc hotel-related software.
Aspects of managerial skills that are needed include customer service, interpersonal skills, management, leadership, and skills in listening, organising, and problem solving.
Ensures accommodations meet guest expectations, and greets hotel guests when needed. They also hire, train and schedule front-ofﬁce staff. Other duties can include overseeing reservations, assigning rooms, and handling billing and accounts. Front-ofﬁce managers also respond to customer complaints and ensure that staff members respond to guests’ special requests.
Degree programmes in hospitality management include coursework in accounting, marketing, housekeeping management, economics, hotel management and maintenance. Some hotels offer training for managers that includes courses in the speciﬁc needs of the facility, such as reservations software.
Front-ofﬁce managers usually obtain their position after gaining experience working in the facility. Hotel administrators or upper management may select employees who have demonstrated leadership and excellent customer service for the job. Experience working with customers in a hotel helps to hone skills in customer service, communication, listening, organisation, time management, and problem solving.
Food and Beverage Manager
Responsible for overall operation for hotel restaurants, bars and lounges, food and beverage managers hire staff, purchase food and stock, and make sure everyone is trained in proper food preparation, proper and legal procedures in serving alcoholic beverages, kitchen safety techniques, and health standards.
A bachelor’s degree in food service management or something similar is becoming increasingly valuable. The skills or aptitude required for this job are management skills as food and beverage managers not only deal with food but also cost pricing, creating work schedules, and more. Problem-solving skills are crucial for dealing with conﬂict among employees, which can impair service quality if allowed to fester. They also need stamina because they can expect long days in hot kitchen environments. Speaking skills are needed when communicating standards and food preparation methods to staff.
Hotel Sales Manager
Responsible for bringing in guests and business for the hotel. They may work with senior sales managers or owners to plan sales promotions, set sales goals, and train staff.
Employers generally look for applicants with a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in a business- related major. Business maths courses like economics, accounting, statistics, sales, and ﬁnances are recommended for future hotel sales managers. Leadership skills, a proven sales record, and presentation experience help hotel sales managers to succeed in this stressful job. Sometimes, they have to work longer than the traditional forty-hour week. Travelling locally, regionally, and nationally to meet prospective guests and other sales managers to discuss business is often necessary. Transfers from one ofﬁce to another are also common in this career, so hotel sales managers should be comfortable with relocating if needed.
Responsible for all aspects of food production, including menu planning, purchasing, costing, and planning work schedules.
Bachelor’s degree programmes in culinary arts combine academic study and hands-on training in full-scale food service kitchens. Students are taught by professional chefs and trained in all aspects of the culinary arts, including nutrition, food safety and production.
This job requires one to lead the kitchen staff, as well as organising skills as the kitchen needs to be systematically run and prepared for contingencies. Creativity is a must for creating unique and memorable restaurant concepts, menus and recipes from scratch. Most kitchens require executive chefs with a minimum of seven to eight years’ experience and the ability to manage menu pricing and inventory, lead a team and showcase ﬁne culinary skills. Most executive chefs carry a degree from a culinary institute.
Casino General Manager
Performs a wide range of tasks to ensure efﬁcient operation of a casino in the hotel. If you take on this job, your primary duties will include ensuring that the casino and all of its employees comply with government regulations and making sure the casino earns a proﬁt. You will also have the duty of hiring, training, ﬁ ring and overseeing supervisors and non- management employees. You might also have responsibility for creating and/or approving work schedules. Management courses, especially those that focus on gaming or hospitality, are needed for this job.
Chief Executive Steward
Coordinates and supervises all activities related to food storage. A chief hotel steward, receives, stores, processes and issues food as well as all other supplies related to the dietary department in a hotel. It is necessary for a chief steward to have, at the very least, a bachelor’s degree in hospitality or hotel management, and must have several years’ work experience within the hospitality industry.
A chief hotel steward must have excellent communication skills, leadership skills, and interpersonal skills. As a leader, a chief hotel steward should be able to solve problems and handle all situations that could arise in the workplace. He should also be very well organised and have a comprehensive knowledge of the food service operations of a hotel.
Oversees the activities of housekeepers, maids and other cleaning personnel to ensure cleanliness in such facilities as hotels, motels, hospitals, schools and government buildings. Some housekeeping managers are employed by cleaning agencies or are owners of cleaning agencies themselves. The duties of a housekeeping manager can include hiring employees, assigning work, inspecting work, purchasing housekeeping supplies, investigating complaints and conducting employee training.
A minimum of four years experience in all aspects of housekeeping in a large, multi-use facility is required, with at least two years of supervisory experience. The ability to anticipate customer needs, change goals and direction quickly and multi task, as well as working knowledge of rooms management systems are needed.
Other Options for Bachelor Degree Graduates
Choosing a university degree is far from easy and ﬁnishing one is an achievement in itself, especially within the hospitality industry which demands a working commitment. Hospitality is an industry that immediately ticks all the boxes in terms of stimulating students through robust degree courses, which usually involve a year’s placement for on-the-job experience. This depth of study allows graduates to gain a wealth of experience before completing their degree course, putting them in a great position when looking for jobs once they graduate.
The hospitality industry is focused on making sure that customers and guests experience a great time as much as it can. Students majoring in hospitality management can choose from a variety of career paths that focus on customer service. Although a hospitality management degree can prepare you for entry-level management positions, non-management career opportunities also exist. Knowing a few of the common career choices for hospitality management majors can help you select the career path that is best for you. These are the options you can take:
Combining Experience with Education in the Hospitality Industry