Career Paths of a Hospitality Management Student

by Rose Johnson

The hospitality industry is focused on making sure that customers and guests experience the best time possible. Students majoring in hospitality management can choose from a variety of career paths that focus on customer service. Although a hospitality management degree can prepare you for entry-level management positions, non-management career opportunities also exist. Knowing a few of the common career choices for hospitality management majors can help you select the career path that is best for you.

Travel Agent

Travels agents are in the business of selling travel arrangements and accommodations to individuals wanting to visit other places. Most travel agents work in travel agencies, but a small fraction are self-employed. Travel agents determine a customer’s travel needs and reserve accommodations according to the client’s budget. Accommodations may include finding airfare, booking hotels, renting cars, scheduling tour packages and informing clients about the necessary documents needed for their trip. Travel agents often look for the best deal possible, which results in sifting through a vast amount of information. Most of their work is done in offices and they spend a great deal of time on the phone and computer.

Lodging Manager

Most lodging managers works in motels and hotels and are responsible for ensuring that guests visiting their properties enjoy their experience. The specific duties of a lodging manager depend on the type and size of the lodging facility. Some general duties may include inspecting rooms and public areas for cleanliness, keeping track of the company’s revenue, supervising staff and answering questions about the hotel’s policies. In addition, many lodging managers establish room rates, prepare budgets and approve expenses. Lodging managers often work weekends because hotels are open 24 hours a day. Dealing with angry guests, cancellations and trying to make a profit often leads to a stressful work environment.

Meeting and Event Planner

Meeting and event planners work with clients to plan and coordinate a variety of events, such as business meetings, weddings and education conferences. The job of an event planner might sound exciting, but a lot of hard work goes into planning an event according to clients' expectations. Prior to hosting an event, planners meet with clients to discuss the purpose of the meeting, expected attendance and budgets. Planners use this information to search for venues, contract with vendors and coordinate food and transportation services. Planners may also take responsibility for greeting and registering guests on the day of the event.

Food Service Manager

Food service managers work in the kitchen area of establishments in a variety of industries, such as schools, corporations, hospitals and full-service restaurants. The primary goal of a food service manager is to ensure that patrons are satisfied with their dining experience. Their responsibilities typically include supervising kitchen and dining staff, monitoring food preparation, overseeing inventory and ordering food, beverage and supplies as needed. Managers often work with chefs to ensure that food is served in a timely manner. They deal with customer complaints, process payroll and prepare budgets. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, managers of fine-dining restaurants and fast-food chains often work long hours, ranging from 12 to 15 hours a day.

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