Hospitality Management degree programs are all about a good mix of hospitality operations including customer service, soft and hard skills, plus business administration, management and leadership.
As a member of the Leading Hoteliers Network I constantly receive a tremendous number of announcements calling for general managers positions with leading hotels all over the world. Each time I view a vacancy I think why are there not enough people joining the hospitality industry, especially now with the industry’s exponential growth worldwide?
Simply put, high school graduates are not counseled enough about the huge and varied career opportunities available for graduates of hospitality and tourism management. When young high school graduates tell me they are going to study Business Administration I ask them about the sector of business that they wish to enter upon graduation. Some say sales and marketing, or human resources, or finance and accounting, or operations management, IT or management consulting, in pharmaceutical companies, accounting and finance, banks, computer companies, the fashion industry, or IT companies, etc. Rarely do they think of hospitality which is one of biggest industries in the wide tourism sector, or the service industries!
I think the Travel & Tourism industry doesn’t promote itself enough as one of the world’s largest businesses that creates jobs, drives exports, and generates prosperity across the world. “The sector, comprised of a wide range of industries, aims to serve and support domestic, international, business and leisure visitors” according to WTTC report Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2019. The industries range from accommodation (all types of hotels and lodging, Airbnb, rooms to let) and transportation (airlines, cruise lines, trains, coaches, cars to rent) to food & beverage (all types of restaurants, catering, industrial catering, banqueting at events, cafes, bars, room service) retail and culture, sports and recreation (theme parks, casinos, marinas, sports events). “In its annual analysis quantifying the global economic and employment impact of Travel & Tourism in 185 countries and 25 regions, the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) research reveals that the sector accounted for 10.4% of global GDP and 319 million jobs, or 10% of total employment in 2018”according to the same WTTC report.
Why then does the Travel & Tourism industry that includes hospitality and all the above sectors not appeal to many high school graduates? Firstly, I would say, because of the wrong image portrayed since decades about the industry. “I don’t want to be a waiter, receptionist, cook, or a housekeeper for the rest of my life” some would say. They are sadly not well informed that entering the hospitality industry after gaining a professional and academic education in this field will lead the ambitious ones to senior management positions like hotel general managers, events managers, rooms division managers, food & beverage managers, airline managers, cruise line directors, restaurant managers, tour operators, travel agents, executive chefs, sales and marketing directors, hotel analysts, revenue managers, to name a few. In order to reach those positions business administration, management and leadership combined with hotel operations is what they will study to graduate with a degree! To manage a business, a CEO is expected to have an MBA degree or something similar. Likewise, to manage a hotel an MBA in Hospitality Management or an MSc in Hospitality & Tourism Management is a must.
The hospitality and tourism industries offer such a wide and diverse scope of careers in operations including food and beverage, rooms division, human resources, finance and accounting, sales and marketing, public relations, project management, hospitality law, risk and crisis management, and Information Technology. What our Swiss approach to hospitality education offers is a combination of theoretical and practical learning as well as professional development. The curricular covers operations management as well as business management and leadership that equip graduates with transferrable skills that some might select to use to enter other segments of the service industry.
Advanced economies are experiencing a long-term shift whereby service industries are becoming a larger component of economic output relevant to other industries like manufacturing. Examples of service industries include: Information Technology, Media, Entertainment, Sports, Transportation, Wellness, Healthcare, Insurance, Education, E-Commerce to name a few.
With over 1.3 billion international tourists in 2017 and more travellers crossing borders each year, it’s no surprise that hospitality is one of the most resilient and dynamic industries in the world offering enormous and diverse career opportunities.