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.