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What Does Hospitality Mean to You and How Can You Tell If It’s the Right Career Choice?

Hospitality Professional At Work

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Hospitality has the potential to have a big impact on our travel experiences. Consider this: A family leaves home for a vacation. The parents can use miles rewards to upgrade to first class, where a flight attendant ensures their comfort on the ensuing six-hour ride. Upon arrival, a hotel shuttle carries them to their destination, an all-inclusive resort on the beach near a major city.

The family enjoys musical performances, meals at the resort, and a tour of the local attractions. The parents take advantage of youth entertainment services while they get a massage at the spa. By the time they return home, the family has many positive memories –– all thanks to the hospitality industry professionals they encountered.

Keeping travelers happy and cared for is the responsibility of members of the hospitality industry. What hospitality means to you as an industry professional will vary based on specific roles. “To me, hospitality is about making someone feel welcome,” according to Dr. Kevin Murphy, Professor in the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida. “Whether it is your home or business, I believe we should treat the people we encounter as welcome guests.” Working in hospitality can be rewarding, exciting and fun. Read on to learn more about this unique industry.

What Is Hospitality Management?

Hospitality impacts the lives of millions daily. One of the primary goals of the hospitality industry is to provide unique, memorable, positive experiences. Hospitality destinations can include hotels, resorts, cruise ships, museums, catering halls, amusement parks, national parks and monuments. Many people who visit hospitality destinations are tourists –– defined by the U.S. Travel Association as people traveling more than 50 miles from home –– but also include locals who might be visiting a favorite spot or exploring something new in their own town.

Those who enter the hospitality field provide customer service to their guests. That could include providing special accommodations, offering guidance about the area and supplementing the traveler experience with added entertainment. Hospitality experts may share their knowledge about food, history, entertainment, music, art, business, sports and more. The best hospitality professionals ensure that visitors leave inspired to share their experiences with the world.

Empower Others Through Hospitality Management

In the hospitality industry, management jobs are especially important. Most employees at hospitality venues have a specialized job, such as a tour guide at a historical landmark or a performer at an amusement park. Those employees need dedicated management staff with backgrounds in hospitality and leadership, along with an understanding of business. UCF Professor Dr. Kevin Murphy believes, “Hospitality leaders should treat employees as valued, trusted and an empowered part of the guest experience. Without loyal, dedicated employees, service falls short. If you treat your employees well, they will treat your guests well and, in turn, business will flourish.”

Hospitality management coursework teaches courses on business concepts, such as administration, finance, marketing and human resource management, as well as courses in specific areas, such as hotel management and restaurant management.

What hospitality means to you depends on your goals. According to Dr. Kevin Murphy, “The hospitality industry is for those individuals that have a ‘guest-centric’ attitude and a genuine desire to be of service to people under their care. Whether it is for a moment or a week.” With a degree in hospitality and tourism management in hand, you could enter many exciting careers, such as hotel manager, cruise director, event planner, restaurant manager and casino director. All of these jobs will leverage your knowledge of the entertainment and hospitality industry, your experience managing employees, and your ability to think about the big picture while staying detail-oriented. A hospitality and tourism management degree can also help you develop a deeper understanding of industry-related concepts and strengthen the skills necessary for pursuing a career in hospitality.

Is Hospitality for You? Explore the Skills Needed To Succeed

Hospitality managers need to have strong people skills. Tourists often have high expectations, and they look for extraordinary experiences. The best hospitality professionals make every visitor, diner, customer and client feel valued and special. That requires problem-solving skills and working with staff to ensure that everything from transportation and food quality to planned outings and entertainment meets expectations.

Hospitality managers need to have strong leadership skills and attention to detail. For example, hotel managers at resorts and casinos should know their occupancy to meet the specific demands of a client. They also need to focus on hotel operations and customer interactions. Hospitality management can involve working long hours, including nights and/or weekends, but managers can also use their degrees to help them see the world and work in different exciting environments.

Uncover the Rewarding Impact of a Hospitality Management Degree

Entering hospitality and tourism management paves the way for a deep understanding of both hospitality and business. As a result, you’ll be equipped to lead and manage teams of employees in a fast-paced, always changing environment. Hospitality graduates will have the skills to create unforgettable moments for customers and make a profitable living doing so.

For their expertise and efforts, professionals working as hospitality managers earn an average annual salary of $47,646, according to data at the time of writing from PayScale, though education and experience can boost this salary to as much as $74,000. From a long-talked-about family vacation to a quiet respite for the busy couple, the right hospitality program will enable you to make a difference and gain a well-rounded education that includes real-world experience in the form of internships, along with courses that emphasize the business and entertainment sides of hospitality.

Discover how an online hospitality degree from UCF Online could propel you into an exciting career that could help you travel the world and help people make new memories wherever you go.