I’m interested in studying hospitality management. What can you tell me?
Hospitality management, which is also called hotel management, is the administration of lodging facilities like hotels, motels and resorts. In a hospitality management program, you will learn how to operate a hotel so that your customers feel comfortable while they are away from home.
While the idea of working in a glamorous resort may appeal to you, most people who study hospitality management work for hotel chains and small independent accommodations, which are known as limited-service hotels. You should also keep in mind that most hotel workers begin their careers in entry-level positions like guest reception and slowly work up to a management job.
You can earn hospitality management credentials at the undergraduate and graduate levels, although you may not need formal education to start working in the field. The amount of education that you will need is directly related to the size of the facility that you want to manage. For instance, a small tourist hotel may only require an undergraduate certificate. But if you want to manage a 5-star hotel, you will need to earn at least a bachelors degree.
Let’s hear some other perspectives
Student, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Concentration in Hospitality Management, Grand Canyon University
“A successful business person needs to be able to manage people and be assertive when making decisions.”
Student, Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management with Concentration in Hotel Tourism Management, Buffalo State College
“I would advise prospective hospitality management students to explore the different courses within their program before selecting a concentration. This is extremely important for first year students who may not know what they want to do yet.”
Instructor, Cape Fear Community College
“I would tell students who were interested in hospitality management that a degree in hospitality management can help them to advance in a very fun and enjoyable industry. Many hospitality workers do not have formal education in the field, so businesses seek hospitality management graduates for advanced positions because they understand accounting and have customer service training.”
What exactly is a hotel manager?
Hotel managers are administrators who oversee the personnel and behind-the-scenes operations of lodging facilities. Some hotel management tasks vary according to the size of an establishment. For instance, at limited-service hotels, managers often juggle many duties including working in reception, fielding guest queries, bookkeeping and maintaining the property. But at full-service hotels, managers oversee teams of employees like housekeepers, restaurant staff and guest service workers. And no matter what size facility they run, hotel managers use business and customer service skills to make guests comfortable.
Let’s hear some other perspectives
Reservation Sales Associate, Destination Hotels and Resorts, Snowmass Village, CO
“Get a part-time job at a hotel while in school. You can work that job at night when you don’t have class, and it will give you a leg up when you are looking for a resort job. It will also give you a taste of what the industry is like so that you will know if you want to pursue this career.”
How do I know if hospitality management would be a good fit for me?
Here is a quick quiz to help you decide if you have the personality it takes to succeed as a hotel manager. Rate, on a scale from 1 to 5, how well each of the following statements describes you.
I enjoy helping others.
Hospitality management involves waiting on people to create a pleasant experience for them. If you are not service-oriented, you should not become a hotel manager.
I am a leader and I like to be in charge.
Hotel managers run their lodging facilities and provide support and supervision for other employees. Therefore, you will need to be an authority figure who can keep others on task.
I communicate clearly and effectively.
In addition to interacting with guests and staff members, hotel managers work with suppliers, travel agents and other people in the hospitality industry. You must be comfortable with written and verbal communication to succeed in this job.
I do not dwell on negative experiences.
Sometimes hotel managers face disgruntled customers whose requests cannot be fully met. You must be able to maintain a pleasant mood for your guests in order to succeed in this industry.
I pay close attention to detail.
Hotel managers oversee every aspect of their lodging, from making sure that there are towels in each bathroom to properly issuing room keys. If you find details trivial, hotel management will not be a good fit for you.
I am organized and I can keep track of many duties at once.
Hotel managers coordinate many different departments, so they need the ability to quickly switch between tasks. You will need to be capable of multitasking to manage a hotel.
I work well as part of a team.
Hotel managers cooperate with department managers and staff members. You must be able to work together in order to succeed in the hospitality industry.
I handle pressure well.
The demanding deadlines that hotel managers are expected to meet can be stressful. If you decide to pursue this careers, you will need healthy ways to relieve your stress so that you do not burn out.
I am comfortable working unpredictable hours.
Hotel managers are in charge of their entire facility and respond to guest and building emergencies. In this field, you will probably work long hours that fall outside of the typical 9 to 5 job.
I enjoy performing varied tasks instead of following strict routines.
No 2 shifts are alike for hotel managers, who must adjust to unique situations each day. If you are not adaptable, you will probably be frustrated working in the hotel industry.
*Note that this is not a scientific quiz. The result is simply my rough estimate of how well I believe your personality matches that of a successful hotel manager.
By my assessment, a career in hospitality management is probably not a good fit for your personality. Please go to the Admission Advisor homepage for a listing of other careers you may want to consider.
By my assessment, although a career in hospitality management may not be an ideal fit for your personality, if you are willing to adapt in a few areas, you can still find success in the field. Please see the list to the right for information on the areas that you may need to work on.
By my assessment, your personality is a good fit for a career in hospitality management. Scroll through our site to gain valuable insight into what it will take you to earn the necessary credentials.
Is there anything else I should consider in deciding if hospitality management is the right choice for me?
Before you decide to pursue a career in hospitality management, you need to think about a few practical considerations.
Hotel managers are expected to be very committed to their lodging facilities. They often work long or odd hours, especially during popular traveling seasons. If you want to manage a hotel, you should prepare yourself to work some holidays, nights and weekends. And if you cannot be flexible about your schedule, hospitality management is not a good career fit for you.
At all levels of hospitality management study, you will need to learn management and customer service skills through hands-on experience. If you do not have practical work experience prior to enrolling in a hospitality management degree or certificate program, a supervised internship is highly recommended. Internships provide an opportunity to apply the business theory and customer service principles that you learn in the classroom to real scenarios. All quality hospitality management degree programs will offer internships.
What hospitality management professions can I choose from?
There are jobs at every level of education in the field of hospitality management. Some of the most common professions for those with a hospitality management degree or certificate include:
Associates (2 years) or bachelors (4 years) recommended
$45,000 (Lowest 10% earned less than $28,160; highest 10% earned more than $84,270)
Hotel managers coordinate the different departments within a lodging facility to ensure a positive experience for guests. Hotel managers supervise reception, housekeeping needs and business operations. They also make sure that guest complaints are dealt with quickly. Depending on the size of the lodging facility, hotel managers may also oversee food and beverage supply and grounds keeping.
Associates (2 years) recommended
Concierges attend to the needs of hotel patrons. They take messages, advise guests about local entertainment and monitor special requests for services like maintenance and housekeeping. Concierges may also arrange sightseeing activities or plan conferences and special events that take place at the hotel.
High school diploma or associates (2 years)
Guest receptionists work at the front desk of hotels. They take reservations, manage payment for rooms and check guests in and out of their rooms. In lodging facilities that are too small for a concierge, guest receptionists advise customers about local entertainment options and respond to guest inquiries.
Associates (2 years) recommended
$68,290 (Lowest 10% earned less than $42,800; highest 10% earned more than $116,800)
Casino and gaming managers supervise legal gambling in licensed casinos. They train and supervise gaming staff, including dealers, sports book writers and servers. In addition, casino managers address customer complaints and make sure people follow the rules of each game.
Associates (2 years) recommended
$54,700 (Lowest 10% earned less than $30,600; highest 10% earned more than $81,400)
Catering companies, lodging facilities
Restaurant managers coordinate food service staff in order to efficiently prepare meals for guests. They hire and train staff, make sure the restaurant follows health codes and resolve customer complaints. Restaurant managers also set menus, schedule food and beverage deliveries and maintain their restaurant’s budget.
Associates (2 years) or certificate (less than 6 months)
$30,600 (Lowest 10% earned less than $18,800; highest 10% earned more than $47,900)
Corporate businesses, private consulting
Travel agents book travel arrangements for clients and advise them of sightseeing opportunities at their destination. They often work with several lodging facilities near 1 location to promote all-inclusive travel packages that offer transportation, accommodation, meals and organized tours.
Associates (2 years) or certificate (less than 6 months)
Corporate businesses, tourist destinations
Tour guides lead tourists on sightseeing tours. They describe the history of interesting locations and resolve any problems that arise while traveling. Tour guides who work for corporations are responsible for the safety of each client, which includes arranging for accommodations, transportation and any special equipment that is needed for the tour.
What is the job outlook for hotel managers?According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 59,800 hotel managers employed in the United States in 2008. Employment of hotel managers is expected to grow by about 5% through 2018, which is slower than the average growth projected for all occupations. The low growth rate is attributed to an industry shift toward limited-service hotels, which do not offer amenities like food or parking services. Because limited-service hotels operate on smaller budgets, they require less staff and fewer managers. You may not need any college credentials to work at a limited-service hotel. But if you want to work at resorts or full-service hotels, a college degree in hospitality management will improve your job prospects.
|Profession||Employment 2010||Projected 2020||Average Growth|
|First-line Supervisors Of Personal Service Worker||218900||248500||14%|
|Food Service Manager||320600||310000||-3%|
Average Salary Growth 2006 - 2011
|First-line Supervisors Of Personal Service Worker||36090||37190||38230||38540||38430||38480|
|Food Service Manager||46780||48660||50320||51400||52220||52620|
Salary By Percentile
|First-line Supervisors Of Personal Service Worker||$22030||$27270||$35230||$46490||$60100|
|Food Service Manager||$30570||$38090||$48110||$62490||$81410|
How long would it take me to become a hotel manager?
It can take up to 5 years to become a hotel manager. But the amount of time that it takes to become a hotel manager varies considerably depending on what type of lodging facility you would like to work in. As a general rule, the bigger the facility, the more education you need.
If you want to work in an upscale hotel, you will need to earn a bachelors degree, which normally takes about 4 years and some work experience. On the other hand, if you want to manage a hotel that is part of a chain, you may only need an associates degree, which takes 2 years of school. And if you want to manage a small independent hotel, you may not need any formal education because you can be trained on the job. Even so, you may want to consider a certificate program in hospitality management, which will take 6 to 18 months.
What can I expect to learn while studying hospitality management?
During your hospitality management training, you will learn the theory and practice of hotel administration. Your curriculum will teach you the following knowledge and skills:
Business administration is the study of how to manage business operations. Topics include strategies to maximize profits, organize a workforce, and apply problem-solving techniques to real-world scenarios. Business administration involves areas like budget keeping, problem solving, data gathering, statistical analysis and business ethics.
Food and Beverage Management
Food and beverage management is the study of how to run a restaurant. Managers learn how to successfully and efficiently organize a restaurant so that customers receive the best service. Specific topics that are covered include ways to coordinate kitchen staff, create a menu and foster a pleasant dining atmosphere for guests.
Hospitality laws exist to make sure hotels comply with governing authorities. These legal regulations also identify the duties and responsibilities that hotels have toward guests. Knowledge of hospitality law requires an understanding of issues like liability, contracts, employment laws and alcohol licensing.
Safety training teaches hotel managers how to ensure public safety, from regulating sanitation and staff hygiene to creating evacuation procedures to use in case of natural disasters. Courses in safety training cover the use of relevant equipment and strategies to ensure the protection of people, property and data in the workplace.
Human Resource Operations
Human resources is the management of a company’s workforce. This area focuses on the appropriate industry procedures for recruiting and training hotel staff for positions like reception, housekeeping, maintenance and food service. Human resources also includes the guidelines for setting and implementing compensation rates and payroll processing.
Marketing covers everything that a company does to make its products available and attractive to potential customers. Your hospitality management classes will help you to understand the needs of clients and convince them that your facility can meet those needs. You will be able to apply marketing techniques like sales campaigns, public relations and persuasive advertising.
Courses in hospitality management will teach you how to provide customers with comprehensive and helpful service. You will become adept at utilizing clear communication skills to meet the expectations of your customers. You will also learn to respond to complaints in a professional manner.
Hotel administrators use computer databases to store and organize information. They also use e-mail and social media websites to communicate with potential guests. The best hospitality management programs will teach you how to use spreadsheets, e-mail and bookkeeping to improve business operations.
Courses in budgeting will teach you the skills to track profits at your lodging facility. You will learn how to keep meticulous budgets by recording all of the financial transactions that occur during each business day. You will also learn how to monitor daily expenses and income and to accurately manage employee payroll.
Time management means budgeting your time in order to increase productivity. Your hotel management curriculum will teach you techniques for prioritizing daily tasks. You will also learn how to effectively distribute your hotel’s workload each week so that your staff can accomplish its goals.
What academic levels are available in the field of hospitality management?
Hospitality management credentials are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. You can earn associates, bachelors or masters degrees. In addition, undergraduate and graduate certificates are also available in the field.
Select the degree level you are interested in:
If you want to learn hospitality management skills without completing a lengthy degree, you can earn a certificate. Hospitality management certificates are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. An undergraduate certificate is ideal if you simply want a formal introduction to the field of hotel management and are planning on working in a small lodging facility. On the other hand, you will want to pursue a graduate certificate in hotel management if you have a bachelors degree in a related field, like business, and you are interested in working at a lodging facility.
What are the different types of certificates that I can earn in hospitality management?
An undergraduate certificate in hospitality management will introduce you to the field, but it will not prepare you to manage a full-service hotel. This option is best for those who want to work in a small, limited-service hotel.
A graduate certificate in hospitality management offers graduate classes in hotel management. This option is best if you have a degree in another field and you want to learn hospitality management skills.
How long will I have to study to earn my certificate in hospitality management?
Undergraduate certificate programs usually require students to complete 12 to 36 credit hours, depending on the length and depth of the program. It normally takes 6 to 18 months to earn an undergraduate certificate in hospitality management.
Graduate certificate programs vary in length from 15 to about 36 credit hours. Most students are able to complete graduate certificate programs in 6 to 18 months.
What types of courses will I take while studying for my certificate in hospitality management?
To earn an undergraduate certificate in hospitality management, you will take introductory courses in hospitality, tourism, marketing and hotel operations. Depending on the length of the certificate program, you may also take classes in restaurant operations, hospitality accounting, culinary arts or leadership.
While pursuing a graduate certificate in hospitality management, you will take business courses that relate to the hospitality industry, such as hospitality marketing strategy, hospitality finance, hospitality law, human resources and hotel operations. Depending on the length of the program, you may also take elective classes like cruise line management, sustainable tourism practices or wine and culture.
What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a certificate in hospitality management?
An undergraduate certificate in hospitality management may qualify you to assist the manager at a limited-service hotel. But at a full-service hotel, this level of education limits you to entry-level positions like guest receptionist.
With a graduate certificate in hospitality management, you may be qualified for jobs like front desk manager or human resources representative in a limited- or full-service hotel.
What are the requirements for admission to a certificate program in hospitality management?
Many schools require applicants to a graduate certificate program in hospitality management to hold bachelors degrees in business. However, some schools do not specify a subject and you can apply as long as you have a bachelors degree.
What about getting an online certificate in hospitality management?
Some schools have online hospitality management certificate programs. However, you should only earn a hospitality management certificate online if it has an internship component. Hospitality management is a field that requires close contact with customers, and you will not be able to learn the guest service skills that you need in this industry through a fully online hospitality management program. But some online hospitality management schools offer blended programs that let you complete coursework online and take an internship at the end of your classes. If you are an independent learner, there is no reason not to pursue a blended hospitality management certificate program.
An associates degree program in hospitality management will teach you the major responsibilities of a hotel manager, including basic principles of business, marketing and management. An associates degree usually provides you with enough education to secure a position managing a small or limited-service hotel, which offers fewer luxury amenities than a full-service hotel.
What are the different types of associates degrees that I can earn in hospitality management?
Associate of Arts AA
An AA degree in hospitality management has more liberal arts classes to give you a background in the humanities. The AA is a good choice if you plan to transfer into a bachelors degree program.
Associate of Science AS
An AS degree in hospitality management has more science and mathematics courses, but it is essentially the same as the AA. Likewise, the AS is a good option if you want to transfer into a bachelors degree program.
Associate of Applied Science AAS
An AAS degree in hospitality management focuses on the practical aspects of the career. The AAS is best if you want to enter the workforce directly after you graduate.
How long will I have to study to earn my associates degree in hospitality management?
An associates degree in hospitality management typically includes 60 credit hours. Most students finish associates degree programs in approximately 2 years.
What types of courses will I take while studying for my associates degree in hospitality management?
To earn your associates degree in hospitality management you will take courses like food and beverage management, hotel and restaurant operations, hospitality accounting and marketing. Many programs also require you to complete an internship.
What types of jobs can I hope to secure with an associates degree in hospitality management?
An associates degree in hospitality management will qualify you to manage a limited-service hotel. You could also work at a more prominent lodging facility as a hotel clerk, concierge or restaurant manager.
What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my associates degree in hospitality management?
When choosing a hospitality management school for your associates degree, you should look for a program that requires an internship so that you will gain relevant customer service skills and learn what it is like to work in this industry.
What about getting an online associates degree in hospitality management?
Some schools offer hospitality management associates degrees online. But keep in mind that hospitality management requires both business knowledge and customer service skills. While an online associates degree in hospitality management may provide you with the theoretical business knowledge that you will need, you will not receive practical people skills through an online hospitality management program. Therefore, you should only pursue an online hospitality management associates degree if you already have experience working in hospitality, or if your program requires an internship that will give you the chance to work directly with people.
Earning your bachelors degree in hospitality management will prepare you to manage a large hotel or resort. But you should know that major lodging facilities often hire graduates as assistant managers and train them on the job before they can advance.
What are the different types of bachelors degrees that I can earn in hospitality management?
Bachelor of Arts BA
A BA degree in hospitality management has more liberal arts classes that provide a broad education. The BA is a good choice if you want to manage a hotel or earn a masters degree.
Bachelor of Science BS
A BS degree in hospitality management has more technical classes, but it is very similar to the BA. The BS is a good choice if you want to start working right after graduation.
Bachelor of Business Administration BBA
A BBA degree in hospitality management covers the essentials of hotel management with a strong focus on business principles. This is the best option if you want to pursue a corporate hospitality career.
How long will I have to study to earn my bachelors degree in hospitality management?
A bachelors degree in hospitality management typically requires about 120 credit hours or 4 years to complete.
What types of courses will I take while studying for my bachelors degree in hospitality management?
In your bachelors degree program in hospitality management, you will take core hospitality courses like lodging operations, marketing, hospitality information systems and food preparation techniques. You will also be able to take elective classes like history and culture of wine, event management and destination marketing. Many programs also require students to complete an internship.
What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a bachelors degree in hospitality management?
A bachelors degree in hospitality management qualifies you to manage both limited-service and full-service hotels. You may also find managerial work in related fields like the food service, tourism and gaming industries.
What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my bachelors degree in hospitality management?
You may want to consider accreditation when you are deciding on a hospitality management school for your bachelors degree. Accreditation is not mandatory, but it will assure you that you are earning a quality education. The official accrediting body for hospitality management programs is the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA). However, a number of reputable hospitality programs are not accredited by the ACPHA, so you should not discount a particular program purely on the basis of its accreditation status. If you choose to attend a school that is not accredited, make sure that the school offers an internship component.
What about getting an online bachelors degree in hospitality management?
Many schools offer online hospitality management bachelors degrees, but you should not pursue a hospitality management bachelors degree online if it does not require hands-on experience or an internship. Quality online hospitality management bachelors degree programs recognize the importance of gaining practical experience within the field. Therefore, most online hospitality management schools require prospective students to have at least 300 documented hours of experience in the hospitality industry. And programs that do not require experience usually have an internship component, which means the degree is not earned completely online.
A masters degree in hospitality management is a graduate-level degree that allows students to learn advanced business skills and management techniques. Because the hospitality industry is expected to experience slow growth over the next decade, an advanced degree in hospitality management will give you an advantage in the job market.
What are the different types of masters degrees that I can earn in hospitality management?
Master of Science MS
An MS degree in hospitality management teaches advanced concepts like real estate marketing and human resource management in the hospitality industry. It is the best option if you want to manage a full-service hotel.
Master of Business Administration MBA
An MBA in hospitality management focuses on the business side of hospitality. This is the best option if you want to pursue a corporate job in hospitality.
How long will I have to study to earn my masters degree in hospitality management?
A masters degree in hospitality management typically requires students to complete about 60 credit hours, which usually takes 2 to 3 years of study.
What types of courses will I take while studying for my masters degree in hospitality management?
The courses that you will take in your masters program vary according to the type of degree that you pursue. In many programs, you will choose an area of specialization such as marketing, real estate management or events management. In general, the MS is more focused on hotel management itself. For the MS, you will take advanced courses in human resources, event management, food and beverage management and hospitality law. On the other hand, an MBA offers a general business curriculum with a concentration in hotel management. The MBA curriculum includes classes like global hospitality, real estate marketing strategies, accounting and finance. Many schools also require students to complete internships at the masters level.
What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a masters degree in hospitality management?
As a hospitality management MS or MBA graduate, you will be qualified to manage full-service hotels or resorts. You may manage specific departments in different industries that have a large number of employees, such as in a restaurant or a gaming operation. Or, you may oversee the entire staff of a lodging facility. A masters degree will also open the door for you to secure a corporate executive position within regional hotel chains.
What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my masters degree in hospitality management?
If you want to pursue a masters degree in hospitality management, you should look for schools that offer graduate internships. These programs will help you to apply your knowledge in a realistic work setting. In addition, the experience that you gain through an internship will boost your resume and give you an edge over your competition in the job market.
What are the requirements for admission to a masters degree program in hospitality management?
Admission to hospitality management MS degree programs usually requires students to have a bachelors degree in hospitality management and at least 1 year of managerial experience in the field. However, MBA in hospitality management programs usually only require applicants to hold a bachelors degree in any field.
What about getting an online masters degree in hospitality management?
Earning a hospitality management masters degree online is a viable option if it requires you to complete an internship. You can learn business theory and management techniques in an online hospitality management program, but you will need an internship to teach you the hands-on management techniques for running a lodging facility. An online hospitality management school that does not offer internships is not a good choice. In addition, you should keep in mind that most online hospitality management masters degrees are MBAs with a hospitality management specialty, not MS degrees.
What else should I keep in mind when considering studying hospitality management?
If you have decided to become a hotel manager, you should be aware of opportunities to validate your professional skills.
Certified Hotel Administrator
The American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute offers professional certification for hotel managers. To become a Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), you must pay a fee and pass an exam. The CHA certification is not mandatory for hotel managers, but it will enhance your resume by verifying your skills.
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