What can you do with a hospitality management degree?

When you hear the word hospitality, you might think of hotels, but the truth is that a hospitality management degree will open the doors to more than just restaurants and hotels.

A good hotel school will give you the skills, experience and business knowledge to work in many industries offering endless possibilities for career growth. Here’s a look at the vast world of hospitality management and the adjacent industries where hospitality business graduates find employment with some of the world’s top international companies.

The Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry is growing steadily, providing many career options for individuals who have the right training and education for this vast and exciting industry. By the year 2024, the travel and tourism industry (which includes hospitality) will have generated 346 million jobs and account for one in ten jobs on the planet (WTTC Report, 2015). Hospitality and event management careers can take-off in many directions but the core of the hospitality industry is found in these main areas: hotels and resorts, culinary businesses, travel and tourism, and events. Let’s take a deeper look

Hotel Management: career ladders straight to the top

Hotels and resorts are the heart of hospitality and they offer a dynamic range of career paths. With the growth of the hospitality industry, travelers are no longer limited to the big hotel chains and palace hotels of old. There are more diverse types of hotels opening every year: boutique hotels, business hotels, apartment hotels, and many other types of modern accommodations for every type of traveler.

Within every hotel, there are jobs in the “front-of-house” such as the food and beverage outlets, reception, and guest services. Then there is the “back-of-house” such as the kitchens and the rooms division. In these operational departments, hospitality graduates who like a hands-on approach and being in the action evolve quickly, moving up from entry-level supervisory roles to department head and management positions.

As the hospitality industry continues to diversify, so traditionally unusual roles become more common, and opportunities increase as a result. Modern hotels, particularly boutique brands from the major names, offer guests increasingly specialised services to help them continue their lifestyle while away. The result is vacancies for nutritionists, designers and personal trainers, allowing those looking for a career in hospitality to move from different industry, whilst hospitality graduates can add these particular specialities to their current qualification and experience.

In international hotel companies there are also many unseen roles in human resources, marketing and sales, finance and general management. These departments within the hotel itself often lead to corporate careers. A graduate may join a department in a hotel or resort, and find themselves on a career track with transfers and promotions to senior positions in the corporate head offices of a major international company.

Tourism Management: organizing the experience and the flow

Tourism has doubled in the past 20 years and is expected to double again over the next 20. Travel and tourism make up 9% of global GDP, and the industry is the world’s largest employer. Within the next decade, it is antiipated that this industry will create an additional 75 million jobs and international tourist numbers will reach 1.8 billion by 2030.

To manage and capitalize on this ever growing flux of tourists, destinations offer a growing number of attractions and services. Likewise, hospitality-trained graduates find an increasing number of jobs in tourism-related services: museums and historical monuments, luxury trains and cruise packages, theme parks and casinos, destination management organizations, consultancy and more.

The benefit for these graduates is the diversity that a role in wider tourism brings. More than just managing one experience, tourism and travel is a multi-faceted industry offering customers the opportunity to not just stay somewhere, but explore it and live it. Today’s travellers, more than any other generation, want convenience and on-demand services. They want one contact for all their travel needs, from accommodation and flights, to excursions and car hire.

Event Management: no two days are ever the same

International events, festivals, sports events, and entertainment venues are all focused on creating a “wow” factor and a memorable visitor experience. Also, many hotels and restaurants make a good living on hosting corporate and private events. Overall, the sector of event management, or MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events), is a fast growing field offering many international career options. By 2020 it is estimated that 1 in every 11 jobs will be in the event management sector.

The key to success in this sector comes down to putting the customer at the center of everything and creating a seamless experience, and that’s what hospitality trained professionals do best. Research, planning and a thorough understanding of what your visitor aims to achieve via your event are key. These are abilities that form the foundation of a hospitality education – knowing the market, understanding the customer and building a service around their needs.

Modern hospitality isn’t just about defining service, it’s about listening to users – an essential skill for anyone looking to create a successful event. Glion Institute of Higher Education offers an Event Management specialization track for the Hospitality Management degree and a separate Event, Sport and Entertainment Management bachelor degree for students who want to pursue a career in this dynamic area.

Luxury Brand Management: a new frontier for hospitality management graduates

Luxury consumers today are not only looking to own personal luxury goods, they are seeking luxurious experiences, and more brands are turning towards hospitality graduates. The luxury industry is an impressive global industry that generated over one trillion USD in 2013 and it is promising steady growth across sectors which include personal luxury goods, cars, luxury hospitality, luxury cruises, designer furniture, fine food, fine wines and spirits, yachts and private jets. Plus, brands like Givenchy, Armani, Bulgari and Roberto Cavalli are venturing into hotels, spas and restaurants.

This shift of focus away from the luxury product towards the creation of a more customer-centric experience has been identified in a recent report by Boston Consulting Group. In their efforts to strengthen customer experience, luxury goods brands are looking at the hospitality industry, and luxury brands are increasingly hiring hospitality professionals. Due to this heightened interest of luxury companies in hospitality students, Glion has created a new specialization in Luxury Brand Management for its Bachelor degree in Hospitality Management degree program, delivered in partnership with Domus Academy, a Milan-based fashion and design school.

The Experience Industry: memorable experiences above all else

Around the world there is a growing phenomenon that some call the “experience economy”. It is the business of providing an exceptional customer experience, where the feelings and memories created by the experience are as important as the product itself. The concept of an “exceptional experience” is now being marketed in association with every type of product and service imaginable: fine dining, sports equipment, high-tech gadgets, fashion brands, shopping environments, financial services, gaming, and more.

For the graduates of top hospitality management schools, this trend represents a major career resource because the skills to excel at creating a 5-star customer experience are developed through practical learning in a hospitality setting. Hospitality experience and training is the most effective experiential learning tool to develop ‘customer-experience creation’ skills, which are key for the financial sector and other non-traditional hospitality sectors. This know-how for the experience economy is something that other business schools do not offer.


The best thing about a hospitality management degree

After looking at all these global industry sectors and types of businesses where a hospitality management degree can be applied, the real reason that students choose to study hospitality becomes clearer: a hospitality management degree opens up a world of opportunities. It gives students a chance to follow their interests to anywhere in the world, with the skills to create exceptional experiences and run businesses at any level. That is the true advantage of a hospitality degree: having the confidence, professionalism and business expertise to make the world your oyster.

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