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A hospitality career can often be pursued with a tourism management degree. Two-year colleges and four-year universities may offer these degrees, which are likely to help students find work in planning, managing and marketing. Tourism jobs may be available in many different specialties, such as travel agents who may coordinate travel and lodging for vacations, explorations and business trips. Cruise lines may offer opportunities for directors and marketers, while hotels may hold such positions in project management and catering sales. Event planning at a convention and tourism bureau is another hospitality job in which professionals may plan activities and arrange for out-of-town guest accommodations.
A tourism management degree often teaches students how to coordinate leisure or travel activities and manage such tourist attractions as hotels, amusement parks and historical sites. These degrees may also prepare students for positions in planning and marketing tourism facilities. Such facilities are likely to be found in private, public and government sectors, ranging considerably in location from tropical islands to winter ski resorts. Travel and tourism courses may include such topics as commercial recreation and tourism management, management of park and recreation facilities and supervision in recreation. Both two-year colleges and four-year universities may offer these degrees.
Hospitality jobs, such as those in tourism management, may be found in many different capacities. One example is evident in travel agents, who often oversee, manage and coordinate travel and lodging for personal vacations, group explorations and corporate business trips. Specific functions are likely to include booking airline tickets, lodging arrangements and car rentals, creating or booking travel packages for cruises and tours and managing customer budgets. Travel agents may also work on ticket refunds or exchanges, coordinate international travel and respond to customer concerns or questions.
With cruise lines, a tourism management degree may lead to director or senior marketing positions. The director is likely to have a high level of passenger interaction while also responding to the needs of guests. Functions may include arranging shore tours, onboard entertainment, activities and lecturers. The director may also give passenger presentations, accompany guests on activities and make arrangements for such special activities as biking, kayaking or horseback riding.
The senior marketer is likely responsible for analyzing and growing cruise shoppers. Responsibilities may include driving new business development efforts and identifying new marketing channels, directing the cruise line’s marketing efforts and optimizing efficient traffic sources. Although marketers may not have direct contact with passengers, they likely need to understand the demographics of those people most likely to engage cruise trips.
Positions in tourism and hospitality may also be available with hotels in such positions as project management and catering sales. The project manager is likely to be responsible for assisting customers in creating and delivering audio visual presentations. Serving as the technical expert on each event, this position may be responsible for ensuring the financial and technical feasibility within appropriate time constraints. Specific duties may include coordinating staffing for events, assisting hotel sales associates with proposals and recommendations and identifying needs of the client so the presentation is successful.
The catering sales manager may perform marketing, operational and financial functions to ensure the department meets its business objectives. This is likely to require a thorough knowledge of the banquet menu and understanding of service capabilities for each room and meal proposal. The manager may give sales presentations to potential customers, track sales performance results and models to improve conversion rates and forecast revenue.
A tourism management degree may be helpful for careers in event planning as well, especially at convention and tourism bureaus. These positions often facilitate area activities and coordinate with party or wedding planners at local venues. Event planners are likely to use their extensive knowledge of the town or city to engage vendors and suppliers for events, abide by laws or regulations that may influence activities and coordinate hotel or resort reservations for out-of-town guests.
It might go without saying, but it is definitely best to be in an area with a high degree of tourism if you plan to pursue a degree in tourism management. Many areas otherwise have limited career options in this field. For those who want to stay in their hometowns or live in areas with little tourism activity, hospitality management might be the best option. Jobs in hotels are often available for people with this type of educational background.
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