Hotel management professionals were responsible for more than 50,000 lodging properties with 4.8 million guestrooms in 2010, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association. These managers, including those who don't work in hotels, are in charge of every aspect of running a lodging establishment profitably. Whether they are directing housekeeping, boosting occupancy rates through targeted marketing, or training and scheduling staff, hotel management professionals need specialized training.
Degree options in hotel management
Though an online hospitality degree in hotel management generally suffices for smaller lodging establishments, the full-service hotel chains typically hire people with at least a bachelor's degree, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Degrees in hotel management vary, though all provide a foundation in business skills specific to the hospitality industry:
- Certificate: Undergraduate and graduate certificate programs often cover specialized topics such as timeshare management or supply chain management. These non-degree programs range from 15 to 36 credits and generally emphasize practical, workplace skills.
- Associate: In two years of full-time study, students receive a more comprehensive hospitality education with a 60-credit associate degree than with a certificate. They also have the opportunity to develop communication and critical thinking skills as they learn about industry management principles.
- Bachelor's: With a full core curriculum, these four-year degrees include targeted classes such as hospitality industry finance, strategic management and database management.
While graduate certificates in hotel management offer applied skills, master's and doctoral degrees in the field focus on research and theory. These advanced degrees are required for individuals who want to teach others about hotel management or develop research projects in the field.
Online hotel management degrees
In addition to management and leadership skills, the Department of Labor's O*NET website reports that lodging managers need to be comfortable with a range technology, including software programs that do everything from track revenue and expenses to manage different rate structures for room reservations. Online hotel management courses offer students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with technology and software used in the industry.
According to O*NET, work experience is generally required for lodging managers. Online degrees in hotel management can be an ideal way for individuals working in the industry to get the academic training to complement their on-the-job experience.
Which skills are best for hotel management?
In addition to technical skills, the BLS reports that hotel managers need to have self-discipline, good problem solving abilities, communication skills and leadership qualities. O*NET also notes that hotel management is a social occupation, which means these managers must enjoy helping people and working with others.
Careers in hotel management
The BLS reports that 88 percent of lodging managers worked in lodging establishments such as motels and hotels in 2010. Some managers, especially those who work in large organizations, may oversee one part of the business, such as housekeeping, office administration, security or convention services. Other professionals with hotel management degrees may pursue opportunities at colleges, RV parks and camps, and with real estate and management companies.
Hotel management at a glance
- Common training requirements: Associate degree, certificate, on-the-job experience
- Salary range:$54,570-$85,470 in 2010 (BLS)
- Growth: 5 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the BLS