A hospitality degree can help you develop the skills you need to attain a leadership role in the tourism industry. Whether you want to manage the attractions travelers visit, the restaurants where they eat or the accommodations where they stay, you can learn the theories and practical skills for success pursuing a hospitality degree. Because so many food service managers, lodging managers and other hospitality professionals are self-employed, the degree path is perfect for becoming your own boss.
A large hotel is a major operation. Lodging managers are the hospitality professionals who oversee every aspect of running the hotel. They need to make sure that guests staying at the hotel are satisfied with their accommodations, including the aesthetic appearance, the cleanliness, and the services offered. Lodging managers are responsible for recruiting, training, and coordinating work schedules for the employees working in housekeeping, maintenance, guest services and food services. They also need to worry about the health of the business, including controlling costs and keeping records of the hotel’s profits and expenses. They may also be involved in marketing and planning any conventions or conferences held at the hotel.
The median annual salary for lodging managers is $49,720, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, the top 10 percent of lodging managers earn more than $94,330 per year, the BLS reported.
Keeping a restaurant running smoothly requires a lot of work. Food service managers play a crucial role in the success of a restaurant. They need to understand food theory and how to apply those theories to producing and managing food. They work with chefs to create recipes and set the prices of the dishes sold in the restaurant, which requires them to understand the cost of the ingredients and the work required to create the meal.
Earning potential in the restaurant business can vary greatly from one restaurant to another. Food service managers earn a median salary of $48,690 per year, the BLS reported – but highly trained hospitality professionals working at high-end restaurants can make more than $83,010.
Tourism and Event Management
Hotels and restaurants may be staples, but what if you want to work elsewhere in the tourism industry? A hospitality degree will prepare you for niche roles managing casinos and gaming establishments, catering businesses, theme parks, events and professional sports competitions. In fact, some hospitality programs offer specialized courses for students preparing for work in niche tourism management roles, such as theme park attractions, professional golf management and beer, wine and spirits management.
Hospitality Degree Programs
The top colleges for hospitality degrees combine classroom learning with hands-on experience. In the classroom, students take courses in food safety and sanitation, nutrition, menu planning, meeting management, hotel management and hospitality laws and ethics.
Outside the classroom, students learn real-world skills through internships or work experience at campus-run restaurants and hotels. In these roles, students become familiar with every aspect of restaurant and hotel management, from creating recipes to managing the financial operations and from serving customers to determining menu prices. Hospitality degree programs often require hundreds of hours of work experience.
Many hospitality programs at major universities are part of business schools. Others belong to colleges of health and human development, human services, human ecology or even agriculture and life sciences. Still other programs are part of standalone colleges of hotel administration or hospitality management. As an interdisciplinary degree path, hospitality studies often combine coursework from fields like business management, accounting, finance and human resources as well as hotel and food service operations.