Businesses are, at the fundamental level, built on the service (or product) that they provide to their customers. This is especially true in the hospitality industry. The success of lodging, tourism and food service ventures hinges directly on their ability to provide a positive experience to those they serve. Especially in the world of Yelp reviews and social media, even one unhappy customer in a restaurant or hotel can result in lost business and revenue.
Facing this challenge demands business leaders with an eye for both financial growth and a positive customer experience. Pursuing further education in hospitality business leadership can help develop financial acumen, but the second set of skills is more personal. This specialized sensitivity can be difficult to come by, but offers those who have it a number of unique career paths. Here are some of the distinct, popular job titles for hospitality managers.
Leadership in Hospitality
Event planning manager
Event planning is a major industry, with everything from conventions to corporate meetings to weddings requiring a high level of organization and leadership to plan. As a result, the demand for event planners at all levels is estimated to grow by 33 percent over the next decade, making it one of the most popular job titles for hospitality managers.
Event planning managers interact directly with clients to understand the scope of their vision for the event. They then compile bids and offerings from various vendors to determine the one that best meets both budgetary constraints and their client’s needs. On the day of the event, they oversee all operations to ensure things run smoothly. This makes organizational, logistical and financial skills valuable to anyone in an event planning leadership position. As many event planners operate independently within their own business, advanced business skills can be incredibly helpful.
Hotel and lodging manager
Managing a hotel or resort can involve a number of different tasks, including everything from monitoring staff performance to managing financial records and creating budgets. Larger hotels are sometimes divided into departments with managers in each. General managers, as they’re typically accountable for daily operations and the work of each department, can benefit from a broad business skillset. The departments they oversee might range from HR and finance to public relations and advertising, depending on the nature of their environment. This challenge is well-served by both a strong sense of business operations on several levels and leadership skills to help motivate staff. Managers in hospitality must also be attentive to customer feedback and act swiftly to address any issues.
This isn’t all the hotel and lodging field can offer to those with advanced business expertise. Major hotel chains and franchises may also require managers in their corporate offices to help set policy and drive performance in all of their locations. This is less of a hands-on role, but offers unique leadership opportunities and the chance to shape a larger, multi-national business.
Tourism marketing manager
Attracting tourists to destinations and venues also falls within the hospitality field. To do this, hospitality marketing managers working within state tourism offices, private firms and notable venues shaping messaging and advertising that drives new visitors. In the era of digital media, this can involve creating a social media strategy and crafting new content to reach a broader audience.
In essence, their work is similar to that of marketing managers in other fields. However, in order to bring tourists to the attraction they represent, professionals in destination marketing can benefit from a specialized understanding of the space. The action required of their customers is more substantial than many fields, involving travel plans and sometimes significant costs. It’s helpful to have a specialized sense of how to create a good value for the audience. It’s also useful to have the analytical skills needed to evaluate what makes the attraction they represent unique among other destinations.
Food service managers and leadership
Especially when leading and managing an independent restaurant, well-honed business skills are essential. Managers in food service oversee every element of their establishment – from financial concerns and budgets to health safety. They also lead and supervise their staff, creating a dining experience that encourages a steady, regular base of customers. If running their own restaurant, they also have to be able to identify their niche within the local market and identify ways to keep their business strong. They may even work closely with their executive chef to build new menus that strengthen their product.
Similarly to hotels, national food service chains and franchises also have corporate offices that determine national strategy for their various locations and develop plans to foster growth. This can be an excellent fit for someone with advanced business education that focuses on hospitality.