Hospitality professionals open up new worlds. They invite people to have experiences often outside of the everyday and work diligently to make those experiences ones to remember. They provide service in four, often overlapping, sectors.
Travel and Tourism
Travel and tourism professionals help people get to where they want to go and schedule the experiences they want to enjoy once they arrive at their destination. Professional positions in this sector are far-ranging – from the inspirational owner of a travel agency who helps curious tourists pinpoint each stop on their vacation itinerary, to the friendly flight attendants and bus drivers who get them there safely, to the people in between who help them rest and relax along the way.
Food and Beverage
You can’t go far, whether at home or on the road, without bumping into a food and beverage professional. Individuals in this, the largest industry in the sector, prepare and serve drinks, meals, and snacks, and can bridge multiple industries within their roles. For example, those who provide food and beverage service in sports arenas help supplement the fan experience of enjoying an exhilarating game.
Hotel professionals are who most people think when they consider lodging roles, but the sector is much broader than this. In fact, hotels, motels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, resorts and more are all home to a variety of positions – from management, to the front desk, to housekeeping and beyond. The sector has grown more robust with the introduction of homestays with companies such as Airbnb and Vrbo, where property management and housekeeping positions are now commonplace and in-demand.
While many roles in hospitality provide job satisfaction for those who are passionate about providing an unforgettable experience to travelers, positions in the recreation sector of the industry are some of the most sought after. In these roles, individuals get to take their customers on excursions where the goal is rest, relaxation, exploration, and discovery. These excursions can include visits to a movie theater or theme park, swimming with dolphins and surf lessons, and everything in between.
While most positions in the hospitality industry work directly with guests, there are many positions that crossover to other fields.
The Key to Developing Your Hospitality Career
Hospitality degrees can offer a future in hospitality business administration, event and tourism management, and luxury brand management (think Ritz Carlton and the Four Seasons). For those already performing in a non-hospitality degree and for those who want to expand their current hospitality careers, many options are available. The most common opportunities can be found with a degree or certificate in marketing, sales, restaurant management, engineering, and audio/visual work, providing hospitality professionals the chance to wear a few different hats.
Hospitality marketers ensure guest satisfaction by developing advertising and marketing campaigns that let potential customers know about the travel, accommodation, and recreation opportunities available to them. Hospitality marketers often come to the position after years of experience in the industry or with a business management or marketing degree.
Sales professionals have a similar, yet different, role than marketers in the hospitality industry. While marketers drive traffic to the physical or digital doors of an establishment, sales teams take on securing reservations and other purchases and upselling to support the revenue goals of the business. Upselling can include reserving suites, amenities, and excursions through their own services or the services of their business partners.
Restaurant managers carry a similar role to those who work in marketing and sales and may wear various hats to achieve revenue goals. Activities may include advertising and marketing to ensure patrons visit their restaurant by developing menus and specials that pique their interest and keep them coming back for more. Restaurant managers also oversee staff work to ensure staff meets established goals for a consistent customer experience.
You can find hospitality industry engineering roles in many locations, from hotels and convention centers, to theme parks and water parks. This role is critical to the safety and comfort of guests. Engineers oversee a team that ensures the structure meets or exceeds code stipulations through routine maintenance and necessary repairs. While the role isn’t customer-facing, there are opportunities to engage with customers during their work.
Audio/visual technicians — better known as A/V techs — run the show at conferences and wedding celebrations, which are often held in hotels. They train in every aspect of presenting the visual and sound of an event. Work is done primarily behind the curtain, but they may also work closely with guests to meet their particular wishes.
The certified public accountant (CPA) credential accountants obtain allows them to work well in many industries, including hospitality. They apply the principles of their work to the business of hotel and restaurant management, travel and tourism, and recreation. This crossover position doesn’t allow for direct guest engagement but is integral to operational success.
In each of these roles, additional training beyond the respective degree or credential often is required by the employer. For example, someone with a degree in business marketing may find a lucrative position in the industry, but before advancing to a higher position, must obtain knowledge of the full scale operation of the business before taking a seat at the table.
Overall, the world is your oyster when you step into the hospitality industry — and you can quite literally find yourself ordering, serving, and reconciling invoices for oysters. It all depends on the mix of hospitality roles presented to you in your position or those you choose to make part of your professional roster.