Hospitality management – refers to the application of management concepts and structured leadership in the areas of accommodation, dining and general guest services. From the largest hotels to the smallest cafeterias, all such businesses form an important part of the hospitality industry.
The structure of your course will vary depending on both your university and the specializations you choose. You’re able to start with a selection of course modules introducing you to different aspects of the industry and providing an overview of different hospitality careers. As you progress, you should have opportunities to specialize in one or more of these, leading up to a final project or dissertation in your final year.
To prepare for your career in hospitality, it may be especially valuable to choose a hospitality degree which includes an internship, allowing you to gain real-world experience of the industry while studying. For example, Les Roches International School of Hotel Management offers two internships as part of its three-and-a-half-year hospitality management degree – one at the start of the second year and another at the start of the third year, letting students to improve what they’ve learned.
Course lengths vary between countries, but undergraduate degrees are generally around three to four years. Degrees which include internships may be longer than the norm, especially if the work experience is a full year – known in some countries as a ‘placement year’ or ‘sandwich year’.
Hospitality degrees offer a wide range of specializations, often overlapping with other subjects, such as business, finance, marketing and leisure and tourism. Below are some of the most common specializations which you may be able to choose from as part of your hospitality degree.
Hospitality business administration
If you have a particular interest in the business aspects of hospitality and aspire to become a general manager, executive or even an independent business owner, then this specialization is for you. Within business administration, you’ll cover the full range of skills and knowledge needed to run a business, drawing on relevant aspects of finance, accounting, human resources, innovation and management best practices. As part of a hospitality degree, business administration will be approached with hospitality careers and industries specifically in mind.
Available specialization as part of many hospitality degrees, event management is a good choice for those aspire towards hospitality careers in the dynamic and varied world of events management, operations and marketing. You will gain a thorough understanding of how the events industry works, exploring a range of issues currently faced by events professionals and practicing applying what you’ve learned to real-world situations.
Luxury brand management
Luxury is the fastest-growing sector of the US$6 trillion global hospitality industry, offering opportunities for many exciting and competitive careers. This specialization will give you a comprehensive understanding of luxury industry trends, segments, brands and consumer behaviors. You’ll find luxury brand management offered both as an option within general hospitality management degrees, and as a specialized degree in its own right. Glion Institute of Higher Education, for instance, offers this subject as a main hospitality course, including an internship in a luxury company and an applied workshop in Milan.
The skills and knowledge developed during your degree should prepare you for many specialized careers in hospitality, as well as giving you transferable skills applicable in many other sectors. Other fields in which your degree would be useful include human resources, communications, media, training, and general management, operational or marketing roles. You could even set up your own business.
Area of work
As indicated by the name, hotel management focuses exclusively on the provision of accommodation and related guest services, within a hotel establishment. By contrast, hospitality management could apply to a supervisory role in a much wider variety of business areas – restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, casinos and so on.
In a typical hospitality setting, the guest may spend an hour or two in your company. In a hotel, you may look after any given guest for days, weeks or even months on end. Hence, the latter calls for a considerably different approach to management and service provision. Many of the day-to-day responsibilities in hotels and general hospitality settings are similar, but running a hotel isn’t nearly the same as running a casual restaurant or eatery.