The Hospitality and Travel industry is a major global service industry that is comprised of many unique subsets including lodging (e.g., hotels, motels, resorts), food services, event planning, and travel (air, land, and sea). It is also an industry that is cyclical in nature and affected by fluctuations in the economy (e.g., recessions, growth, cost of living) that do not necessarily follow predictive patterns. For example, a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that, in response to the Great Recession, travel spending in the U.S. declined sharply in 2008. However, travel spending is beginning to rebound. In 2011, consumers who reported their travel expenditures revealed that they spent an average of $4,700 on travel for pleasure.
Career and job opportunities in the Hospitality and Travel industry are diverse. Examples of occupations include, but are not limited to: meeting, convention, and event planners, travel agents, and hotel and motel managers and assistants. A highly common element shared by individuals in this industry is an aptitude for personal attention and excellent customer service.
While occupations in this industry have their own requirements for specialized skills, abilities, and attributes, most have the following in common:
Top Careers in Hospitality Management (BLS, 2013)
|Career||Number of Workers Nationally in 2013||Job Description||Degree Requirements|
|Lodging Managers||30,950||Lodging managers are in charge of managing the day-to-day operations of a hotel, motel, or resort. In addition to the overall management of the key aspects of their location, they may also perform hands-on tasks such as assisting customers and preparing for events.||The BLS reports that many lodging managers earn a high school diploma and learn the skills required for this career on-the-job. However, many employers prefer candidates who have a Bachelor's degree in Hospitality or Hotel Management.|
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners||73,290||Meeting, convention, and event planners perform a wide range of tasks in preparation for events and celebrations. Tasks can include organizing and recruiting vendors, preparing the visual presentation of the event, and assisting guests.||According to the BLS, most employers prefer to hire candidates with a Bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management or a travel-related field, in addition to some experience in hotels or planning.|
|Travel Agents||64,250||Travel agents help individuals and businesses select a location for their travel experience, whether for business or leisure. They assist customers as they make lodging choices based on price and other factors.||A high school diploma is typically required for a career as a travel agent. However, the BLS reports that many employers prefer candidates who have taken courses or completed some postsecondary education in a travel-related field.|
Hospitality Management Training and Travel Schools
A career in hospitality management begins with proper preparation at one of many of the colleges and universities that offer hospitality management training. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 400 schools in the United States offer programs that can prepare individuals for a career in hospitality management or hospitality administration. The following table outlines the different degree and certificate options in this field, and what kind of career they may help you qualify for:
|Degree Type||Timeline for Completion||Possible Careers|
|Certificate||Although timelines vary considerably depending on the program you choose, many Certificate programs can be completed in one year or less.||Hotel, Motel, or Resort Desk Clerk; Lodging Manager; Travel Agent; Information Clerk|
|Associate||Associate degrees can typically be completed with two years of full-time study. However, programs completed on a part-time basis may take longer.||Hotel, Motel, or Resort Desk Clerk; Lodging Manager; Travel Agent; Information Clerk|
|Bachelor's||Bachelor's degree programs typically take four years of full-time study to complete.||Meeting, Convention, and Event Planner; Lodging Manager; Gaming Manager|
|Graduate or Professional||Students can earn a graduate or professional degree in 1-2 year after earning a Bachelor's degree.||Meeting, Convention, and Event Planner; Lodging Manager; Gaming Manager|
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," May 2013 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15 Edition," Lodging Managers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/lodging-managers.htm#tab-1
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15 Edition," Travel Agents, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/travel-agents.htm#tab-1
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15 Edition," Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm#tab-1
"National Center for Education Statistics," College Navigator, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=all&p=52.0901+52.0999+52.1910
"Travel expenditures, 2005-2011: spending slows during recent recession," Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-1/pdf/travel-expenditures-2005-2011-spending-slows-during-recent-recession.pdf
Schools for Hospitality And Travel are listed in the column to the left.
This table shows summary data on occupations in the US. Clicking on any occupation name brings you to a page showing job prospects and salaries for that occupation in hundreds of metro areas across the country, with data updated through 2022.(Where data is denoted by an asterisk (*), summary info was not available.
Click each Occupation title for more details.
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners||110,120|