The hospitality and tourism industry is a broad field as it encompasses hotels, food and beverage, events, luxury travel, and more.
In a nutshell, the industry refers to a variety of businesses and services linked to leisure and customer satisfaction, according to Revfine.
Due to the growth of the internet and travel apps and websites such as Booking.com and AirBnB, the hospitality and tourism industry is currently booming and constantly evolving.
Air travel is also becoming cheaper and more accessible due to the emergence of budget airlines and low-cost carriers, so more and more people are crossing geographical divides for holiday or work purposes.
Since it’s such a broad field with a wide range of opportunities and job positions, how do you adequately prepare to become a leader in the industry?
While experience and industry knowledge play a big part, it all begins with education so you can develop the skills needed to flourish and succeed in a globally competitive industry such as hospitality and tourism.
Working in hospitality and tourism, a customer-driven industry, requires excellent customer service skills, communication skills and interpersonal skills.
They must also be resilient and adaptable to keep up with the ever-changing trends of the hospitality and tourism industry.
Other key traits are cultural awareness and open-mindedness. As the industry involves travel across different countries and continents, those working in this sector will often have to deal and communicate with people from all walks of life.
To become a leader and thrive in the hospitality and tourism industry, students must have a good grasp of these skills, as well as the relevant knowledge and experience.
Business acumen is also imperative in order to understand the workings of the industry, on top of developing business management skills to lead others and climb the ranks.
Here are four business schools in the US that are paving the way for leaders in hospitality and tourism.
The Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management Studies programmes, housed within the School of Business at this university in New Jersey, provide students with plenty of experiential learning opportunities while teaching them valuable management skills.
This fall, four new ‘Areas of Interest’ will be launched whereby students can specialise their required electives. Here, curricula integrates the newest technologies and emerging trends in the respective fields.
These include Event Management, where students are able to gain a broad skill set that prepares them to manage all kinds of events, and acquire knowledge on all aspects of event management such as sales and marketing, finance and logistics.
The Tourism Management focus allows students to explore a variety of destinations to learn geography business basics with tourism, covering cross cultural and social competence.
Under the Food & Beverage focus, students gain the relevant skillsets and learn all aspects of restaurant management. Similarly, for Resort Management, students learn all the different aspects of resort management, including front desk, housekeeping, and revenue and yield management.
Students are required to also undertake an internship so they can gain valuable experience, explore career paths and develop network connections.
Ranked among the top hospitality programmes in the country, the School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University was originally founded in 1927 and holds a strong reputation in launching the careers of thousands of leaders in the hospitality and service profession.
Hospitality courses here are taught by innovative and experienced faculty members, and offer a blend of theory and practical application through hands-on experiences and involving real-world situations.
Course assignments also emphasize teamwork and group projects to prepare students for the working world.
There are also regular visiting leaders from the hospitality and tourism industry who offer industry insights and inspire students.
The school also engages in collaborative theoretical and applied research for the benefit of undergraduate and graduate students, hospitality businesses and the community of hospitality management scholars.
This school recognises Hospitality and Tourism Management as a multi-disciplinary field of study that prepares students with the expertise, commitment and skills for management, marketing and operations positions in the industry.
Graduates here often turn their passion for the industry into thriving management careers and become experts and entrepreneurs in hospitality and tourism.
In addition to comprehensive classroom work, the programme incorporates a variety of experiential learning opportunities such as externships and internships with industry leaders, executive mentoring programmes, and the Marriott Meals programme.
Among other topics, students in the Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management programme will learn Food, Beverage and Food Service Management, Lodging Operations, Casino Management, and Tourism, Event and Club Management, Human Resource Management and Hospitality Law, Accounting, Finance, Marketing and Economics, and Leadership.
The programmes prepare graduates to join the workforce equipped with the skills and experience needed to excel and become leaders in the hospitality and tourism industry.
The Hospitality and Tourism Management programme here prepare graduates for exciting management careers in the industry.
Through internships, field studies, experienced faculty, and frequent interaction with industry experts, students learn from valuable hands-on experience and develop the skills needed to succeed in the field.
Along with providing them with broad business knowledge, specialised courses are available in event management, hospitality finance, catering and restaurant management, tourism destination management, franchising, revenue management, international business, data analytics and security, and lodging operations.
Skills that they’re able to build include market analysis, real-time decision making, leadership and communication, so they enter the workforce as capable and adaptable employees in the industry, which eventually take them on a leadership path.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International