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Hospitality and Hotel Management Schools

What is Hotel Management?

A good impression of a hotel depends on many factors, most of all a comfortable room, delicious food, and helpful and friendly staff. Using acute customer service and business skills, hotel managers work behind the scenes to make sure that guests receive a satisfactory experience while the hotel makes a profit.

During a normal day’s work, hotel managers may oversee housekeeping, office administration, sales and marketing, and grounds security and maintenance. In addition to hiring and training staff and setting work schedules, hotel managers may also roll up their sleeves and lend a hand when needed.

Hospitality management schools provide instruction appropriate for students at all stages of a hospitality career. Learn about bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at top hotel management schools to start putting your best foot forward.

Types of Hotel Management Colleges and Institutes

As with any industry, aspiring hotel managers can learn a lot on the job; however, a degree in hotel management is increasingly becoming an important component in hospitality career preparation. By taking classes in marketing, business, accounting, public relations and leadership, students in hotel management programs develop a marketable skill set that hiring managers seek. A variety of institutions offer hotel management training, namely vocational schools, colleges and universities, and online hotel management degree programs.

Vocational and trade schools with hotel management training programs teach students to use a wide variety of business skills relevant to the hospitality industry. Offering a range of certificate and degree programs leading to formal recognition in hotel management, vocational schools are a practical choice for many students.

Colleges and universities with hotel management and hospitality majors and degrees provide good career preparation for aspiring managers. In both private and public schools, students can find undergraduate and master’s degrees designed to give practical and theoretical knowledge of the industry and recent trends.  Some universities offer business programs with a hotel management emphasis.

Online hotel management instruction is also offered at a wide range of institutions. Some online hotel management courses can complement on-campus study, while other hospitality degrees can be completed entirely at home. Students taking hotel management courses online have the ability to gain a good business foundation and understanding of the hotel industry while balancing a busy schedule.

Prospective students of hotel management should research schools according to the location and available degree offerings.

Hotel Management Degree and Curriculum Information

Students in hotel management schools may choose to pursue an associate degree, bachelor's degree, diploma, or certificate depending on their career goals. Those interested in graduate degrees can find that some schools also offer a master’s in hotel management.

A certificate or diploma in hospitality management usually takes nine months to complete, though the time commitment can vary by school and program. Along with gaining a good understanding of the hotel industry, students in hotel management diploma and certificate programs learn about business fundamentals and gain communication, management, and computer skills. Some programs include an internship as part of their curriculum in order for students to gain industry experience.

An associate or bachelor’s degree in hotel management offers more extensive business training. An associate degree usually takes two years to complete, while a bachelor's degree takes four.  Hotel management courses can cover hotel administration, accounting, human resources, travel marketing, and entrepreneurship in the hospitality industry. In addition, many elective courses in hotel management programs also provide instruction in wines, cuisines, and culinary skills for a greater understanding of tourism’s gastronomic side. Some programs will also include an internship as a requirement for graduation – important for applying learned concepts to the real world.

Master’s degrees in hospitality and hotel management are also being offered for working professionals with significant industry experience. Students earning a master’s in hotel management may learn high-level business management skills, such as strategic development, international tourism development, and chain management and franchising in addition to advanced courses in organizational behavior, global economics, quantitative methods and business ethics. Graduates with an MBA in Hotel Management are often strong candidates for management positions in the tourism industry.

Is Hotel Management School Necessary?

Many hotel management positions have qualifications that cannot be taught in a college classroom. For example, hotel managers must be good problem-solvers with a good eye for detail. Also essential are solid communication skills and the ability to organize people and delegate tasks. Some individuals with prior hospitality experience and leadership experience are able to enter hotel management trainee programs without a degree.

However, trends show an increasing importance of a college education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most large hotel chains prefer to employ individuals with a bachelor’s degree in business, hotel, or hospitality management for their management trainee positions. Also preferable are graduates with an associate degree, certificate, or diploma in hotel management who additionally possess prior industry experience. High-level management positions look favorably on individuals with an MBA in Hotel Management in particular.

For students interested in a hotel management career, a degree assuring employers of a broad base of business skills can certainly be a strong asset for moving up in this competitive industry.

Average Hotel Manager Salary

Generally, how much do hotel managers make? In short, the average hotel management salary can vary widely depending on the set of responsibilities, work location, and type of establishment.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2008, the median annual hotel management salary was $45,800, the middle 50 percent earning between $34,970 and $62,880. Among the top industries employing hotel managers, the average annual earnings came to about $53,970 in traveler accommodations and $49,250 in recreational parks and camps. Top paying industries for hotel management included gambling establishments at $76,750 and medical and surgical hospitals at $75,520, although with fewer available positions.

Almost half of hotel managers are salaried employees working in hotels or motels; the remaining half of hotel managers are self-employed, working as owners of small hotels, inns, and bed-and-breakfasts establishments. For those that are salaried, hotel managers may receive complimentary meals, parking, and laundry, along with educational assistance. As an enticing incentive, salaried employees can also earn bonuses of up to 25 percent of their regular salary.

Options for Hotel Management Careers

According to bls.gov, the field of hospitality and hotel management overall is expected to grow by 5 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is slower than other occupations on average. Within the booming tourism industry, most new hotels will be smaller, requiring a smaller number of managers. However, significant numbers of job openings for both trainees and experienced managers are expected to be in larger hotels, resorts, and casinos supplying an array of diverse services to a bigger clientele.

Overall, hotel managers work in a variety of businesses covering the globe. Hotels, motels, casino centers, resorts, bed-and-breakfast inns, lodges, cruise ships, general hospitals, elder care facilities, and college and boarding school dormitories, among others, all employ managers to oversee their hospitality services.

Want to work in a fast-paced, social industry, with a worldwide presence? Consider exploring the world of hotel management.

Additional Resources for Students in Hospitality and Hotel Management
Bureau of Labor Statistics information on careers in hotel management
Occupational Information Network (O*NET) on career skills important to hotel managers

Featured Hotel Management Schools

Check out this directory of Hotel Management schools and institutes to get started!

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