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What is Hospitality Management?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Hospitality management is both a field of work and a field of study. In the work sense, it refers to management of hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, and other institutions in the hospitality industry. As a field of study, it refers to the study of the hospitality industry and its management needs. People who are interested in careers in the industry may opt to pursue it as a field of study so that they can start their careers on solid footing.

The hospitality industry is vast and very diverse. Any time people travel, stay in a hotel, eat out, go to the movies, and engage in similar activities, they are patronizing establishments in the industry. The management of such establishments is very challenging, as managers need to be flexible enough to anticipate and meet a wide variety of needs. They must also handle tasks such as training employees, handling staff, setting standards, and so forth.

Some people develop careers in hospitality management by working from the ground up. They get experience in various low level positions before gradually being promoted into supervisory positions, and eventually attain managerial status. For people who plan to work with a single organization for life, this method can be a great way to advance, as it familiarizes them with all of the nuances of the organizations they work for and gives them a better idea of the amount of work involved at all levels to run a facility like a busy resort.

People who attend management training can opt for certification programs, associate's degrees, or bachelor's degrees in the field. Training is designed to prepare people to take on managerial positions immediately, familiarizing students with everything from payment processing systems to what to do when a natural disaster strikes a hotel. People with training can often enter the job market right away and command excellent salaries, especially if they graduate from well known schools.

This kind of work is not for everyone. People who work in hospitality management need excellent customer service skills, but they also need to the ability to be hard, since managers need to be tough, but fair, with employees. It is also important to be able to identify and anticipate needs, ranging from organizing orders of food for a restaurant to preparing for the arrival of an important guest. People who can think quickly on their feet, who like working with the public, and who enjoy solving puzzles may enjoy employment in this field.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a SmartCapitalMind researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon997340 — On Dec 19, 2016

Superb article! I dropped out of school studying Political Science owing largely to the fact that I wasn't interested in the course program anymore. Well, I started out a search in an academic field where I could learn more in my area of passion (protocol). Reading this article today has once again sparked the fire in me to pursue an academic learning in the field. Thanks.

By anon261214 — On Apr 14, 2012

Very nice article. I was searching for such an article since I have to deliver a speech on hospitality management in my school. Good job!

By anon177705 — On May 19, 2011

I really liked this article. I am stuck between the decision of Criminology and Hospitality management! I know two completely different subjects, but reading this was really interesting.

By subway11 — On Jul 05, 2010

Sunny27- I totally agree. People in this field must enjoy the public and have impeccable manners. Extroverted people that enjoy the fast paced nature of the hospitality industry perform best.

It is not easy and although the hours are long and the pay is low customer traffic may decline due to economic factors or weather-related incidents in which the hospitality manager has no control.

Unknown factors like this add to the stress of the job. So anyone contemplating this field must think on their feet and adapt easily to change in order to be successful.

By Sunny27 — On Jul 05, 2010

Good article, but I have to disagree on one point. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most graduates of hospitality programs enter entry level positions with an average starting salary of $25,000.

While many eventually progress in their careers and later earn more money, initially the salaries are not very high. In addition, managers working in this field work many hours often resulting in twelve hour daily shifts. While this career has perks, it is not a glamorous profession like many would assume. I appreciate the work that those in hospitality management do because they are among the hardest working people.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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