The hospitality industry is a diverse field within the service industry. As a job, a hospitality manager assists in managing the operations of a variety of businesses including hotels, restaurants, movie theatres, and other activities. It involves caring for the needs of customers whether they are traveling across the country or looking for entertainment options in their home towns as well as managing numerous day to day business activities.
While customer service is often a priority to a hospitality manager, additional skills and understandings are needed in order to succeed. This includes knowledge of the financial operations of the business, hiring and human resources concerns, relevant industry analysis, and marketing.
The state of New Jersey has no specific requirements for working as a hospitality manager, though individual businesses may have their own minimum standards. Most hospitality managers gain employment through one of two primary paths; education or experience. Unlike some professions, it is possible to work your way up into a hospitality management position. However, securing education beyond high school can make the path the management shorter in the long run.
Educational options for hospitality management range from professional certificate programs to advanced college degrees. Your precise career aspirations can serve as a guide regarding the level of education you will need to obtain as well as any experience earned previously or concurrently. Generally, the larger the facility, the more education may be required to start amongst the management ranks.
A certificate program in hospitality management is designed to provide an overview of the topics that relate to the operation of hospitality businesses. Not only will information regarding hard skills, such as accounting and finance, be covered, but certain soft skills will also be presented. This can include leadership techniques and team-building strategies as well as issues relating to customer service and satisfaction. Often, those who choose to pursue the certificate option already have a level of experience in either the hospitality field or a field that provides a certain portion of the skills needed to work in hospitality management.
Certificate programs are available through a variety of educational institutions such as colleges and universities. Additionally, course work may be offered online or in-person, allowing for some flexibility in how the certificate is earned. The duration of a certificate program may vary depending on the institution offering the program and the speed at which a student chooses to take courses, though many can be completed in approximately six months.
Hospitality Management Associate’s Degrees
The next level beyond a certificate program is an associate’s degree. Generally, an associate’s degree is part of a two year program that is designed to cover certain core educational requirements as well as an introduction to specialized courses in the field of study.
The core classes will ensure you have knowledge in certain common areas, such as English, mathematics, and computer operations. Specialty courses will introduce management concepts as well as economic concerns. Principles of business accounting will be covered, as well as marketing techniques, human resources management, and applicable laws and regulations.
Certain degree programs will cover courses specifically in hotel management, event planning, and food and beverage services. Additionally, an internship opportunity may be included to provide students with hands-on experience in the field.
For those looking to build beyond this foundational education, it is wise to make sure that any classes take or degrees obtained are from accredited educational institutions. This allows the course work to more easily transfer to other institutions should additional education be desired.
Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism Training Management
While some may choose to stop at the associate’s level, many find benefits in furthering their education through the pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s in hospitality management provides a more specialized education than is available with a general business management degree, though the core requirements are often similar.
Core course work will include classes on finance and accounting, business management principles, written and spoken communication, and other relevant topics. Specialty course will build off of those covered in the general requirements.
In some instances, a hospitality management program may offer the opportunity to specialize even further depending on your area of interest. Such specialization options, referred to as concentrations, may include hotel and lodging management, meetings and conventions, food and beverage management, and sports facility management.
Many bachelor’s degree programs require internships to be completed in order to be awarded a degree. An internship provides you with the opportunity to work directly with a local hospitality business to see how the principles presented in the classroom apply to the actual operations of the business.
A traditional bachelor’s degree program is designed to last approximately four years, though those who have previously completed an associate’s degree in the field may be able to shorten that time through the use of transfer credits. In order to increase the likelihood that credits will transfer, it is important to look for accredited programs. Unaccredited programs may not be considered sufficient for the purpose of transferring credits toward a degree at another institution.
For those who have a bachelor’s degree, further education may open additional opportunities in the field. This can include the pursuit of a higher degree, such as a master’s or doctorate, as well as completing graduate level certificate programs. Education at this level generally only includes course work in areas specific to the degree, so additional general knowledge classes are unlikely to be required.
Graduate certificates allow those with a bachelor’s degree to pick up additional education without the level of commitment required for a more advanced degree. Certificate programs at this level often take less than a year and serve to provide candidates with knowledge beyond the undergraduate level.
A master’s degree in hospitality management often requires one to two years of education beyond those of a bachelor’s degree. Master’s programs provide advanced knowledge in the area of concentration. This will involve an in-depth study of certain business operations, such as accounting and finance, human capital management and labor relations, and sales and marketing. Often, a specialty is selected to highlight the skills needed for the specific area of interest within the hospitality management field.
If you are looking to reach the highest level of education within the field, then a doctorate in hospitality management may be for you. Doctorate programs build upon the topics covered in a master’s program and often require an additional two years of full time education to complete. A doctorate delves further into relevant specialty topics with special emphasis on research, strategy and business tactics. Case studies may be included as part of the learning experience, and a dissertation is often required in order to graduate.
Hospitality management is a career field that also allows dedicated individuals the opportunity to advance into the positions through work experience. While a high school diploma may be a minimum standard, the rest of the skills and knowledge can be acquired on the job.
In order to gain entry into the field through on-the-job experience, you will likely need to begin at an entry level position within the area of interest. For example, those interested specifically in the hotel management sector may begin as a receptionist or administrative assistant as these positions help build the customer service skills necessary while introducing other aspects of business management. This can lead into promotions within the job category, such as lead or office management positions.
If restaurant management, or food and beverage service, is of more interest, you may begin working at a counter position or working in the kitchen. This can introduce you to knowledge areas like cash handling, inventory management, and working in a cooperative environment. With time and dedication, you may be able to transition into supervisory positions such as shift lead or assistant manager.
In order to proceed up the career ladder, you may have to actively pursue opportunities for skill advancement. This can include volunteering to help on larger projects or asking to be cross-trained into different areas. Some hospitality business chains offer internal training programs designed to help current employees move into higher positions within certain specialties.
While some pursuing this career direction may be able to remain with one employer for the majority of their careers, others will need to be open to shifting to positions in other similar businesses to gain new experiences and opportunities.
The environment in which a hospitality manager may work are as varied as the specialties within the field, though the majority of work will be performed indoors within the environments in which the associated service is rendered. Some common workplaces include hotels and resorts, restaurants and food service companies, as well as gaming establishments.
Appropriate work attire will vary depending on the exact location. Some require a certain level of uniform while others vary from business casual to higher levels of office attire. It is not uncommon for a hospitality manager to spend a notable amount of their time on their feet, especially when interaction with customers is common, though office duties may also be included.
The majority of hospitality managers work full time, as many businesses of this type offer extended hours or 24 hour operations. Overtime may be required, as well as evening, weekend, and holiday work.
Hospitality business may be open year-round, or may be seasonal in nature. For example, while a casino in Atlantic City may operate year round, various ski resorts may only operate during certain portions of the year.
New Jersey Salary Information as a Tourism Training
The annual salary of a hospitality manager can vary depending on the nature of the business being managed. Based on data from 2015, lodging managers can expect to see a median annual salary of $49,720 while those specialized in event planning averaged $46,840 per year. Often, the salary offered will depend on the exact work environment, the size of the facility, and the precise duties that the hospitality manager will be expected to perform.
As with many other full time opportunities, benefits packages are common. This can include access to medical, dental, vision and prescription coverage, as well as retirement plans. Some facilities also offer employees the opportunity to use the facilities services at a discounted rate, and may extend those benefits to other family members or friends on a limited basis.
Overall, the hospitality management field is expected to grow at approximately the same rate as other occupations. Along with the anticipated growth, working as a hospitality manager may offer additional flexibility.
The services of a hospitality manager are required in a wide array of environments, generally resulting in opportunities existing in most large metropolitan areas as well as smaller cities depending on your preferred environment. Hospitality managers in the restaurant specialty will see a higher number of employment options nationwide than those focused on less common industries, such as gaming or resort operations, but the exact nature of the demand will depend on the location involved.
Hospitality management also offers a level of variety, as the required knowledge areas can be quite diverse. This can lead a skilled manager to be responsible for hiring and retention issues one day and inventory the next. Additionally, managers may be involved in facility design for new facilities as well as making certain aesthetic and functional choices during a remodel. The use of technology is common whether it is computer-based office duties or point of sale system requirements.
In some franchise systems, hospitality managers may be responsible for multiple locations within a specific region, allowing for a degree of travel within the standard job duties. Others may advance into corporate positions within hospitality businesses, leading to opportunities to develop policy on a large-scale in regards to franchise operations and standards.