An introduction to Hospitality Careers

Learn about the extraordinarily diverse range of career paths available to hospitality management graduates, together with tips and advice to make your career journey successful and rewarding.

What kind of careers are available to hospitality management graduates?

Here we highlight some of the sectors which provide quality careers to holders of hospitality degrees:

  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Airline companies
  • Cruise lines
  • Theme parks
  • Event management
  • Hospitality real estate investment
  • Financial and investment services
  • Marketing and communications
  • Digital services platforms

Functional and specialized roles which are open to hospitality management graduates include, but are not limited to:

Functional and specialized roles which are open to hospitality management graduates include, but are not limited to:

Operational management

Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality-related businesses are highly complex organizations, which need skilled and knowledgeable leaders for every constituent department. In a hotel, these include rooms division, front of house, food & beverage (F&B) – as well as the ‘top job’ of General Manager.

 

Sustainability

Probably the most important topic in the world right now. There’s a natural paradox between tourism and sustainability – after all, the most environmentally sustainable action is for nobody to travel at all! However, given that such a scenario plays directly against the human desire to visit new places and experience new things, it is simply not feasible.

Instead, the industry has an obligation to ensure that we travel in the most sustainable manner possible. And the good news is that this generates amazing potential for hospitality management graduates, whether taking roles in sustainability-focused startups or creating new and exciting businesses of their own.

Entrepreneurship

A Nielsen study of 2020 found that 54% of Gen Zs want to run their own company.

A hospitality management degree is a natural stepping-stone to entrepreneurship, because it offers highly applied professional learning which is grounded in the ‘real world’ of business.

Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees will usually feature at least one professional internship, while course content should include topics such as marketing & sales, financial management and accounting, alongside the softer skills such as communication, problem-solving and talent management.

 

Real estate investment specialist

Hotel property is an important component of the international real estate investment markets, with a record €27.1 billion of assets changing hands in Europe in 2019.

This opens up new opportunities for those with an eye for finance who also understand the operational aspects of a hotel asset. Specialized roles include real estate analyst, valuations and investment consulting.

“Careers in the hospitality industry are very diverse and if you study at Les Roches, believe me, doors in lots of businesses will be open to you.”

- Katharina Resch, Talent Acquisition Coordinator, Red Bull (MBA graduate)

Sales, marketing & public relations

How do you influence a customer to become your customer? If this is a question that fascinates you, then you’ve come to the right place. All major hotels and hotel chains have dedicated sales teams to ensure they retain their existing corporate clients, while also winning new ones. Equally, public relations (PR) is the perfect job for hospitality management graduates who want a dynamic, energetic role that allows them to create a wide network of contacts.

Human resources & talent management

The soft skills you learn with a degree in hospitality management include communication (verbal & non-verbal), empathy, listening and problem solving. All of these provide an excellent foundation for a “people” role.

Empower your hospitality career

Equip yourself with the expertise, ability and international network to take your leadership career to the highest level, in hospitality and beyond.

Are hotel careers still a good choice?

The simple answer is yes!

The international hotel industry is huge. And it’s still growing fast, with total hotel stock forecast to grow by 10,000 between 2021 and 2023. This will create up to 200,000 new hotel management positions, given the fact that a hotel requires on average between 15 and 20 managerial staff.

Hotel capacity, by segment – 2020 – 24F
Millions of hotel rooms

Total spend on travel and tourism industry -2017-25F
CHF Billions

The same positive picture emerges when looking at the global travel and tourism industry’s prospects for the next few years.

There’s no doubt that the industry took a significant hit during the worst phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As the chart shows, however, the bounce back is already under way, with expert forecasters predicting that total spend will have recovered to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023. And from there, the predicted trend is up and up!

How do I get into hospitality with no experience?

There are – of course – entry points to most industries at the lower, unskilled end of the spectrum. Hospitality is no different. But it is a long way up from there.

Bachelor graduates from hospitality management schools have an obvious advantage; not just in the knowledge they’ve acquired from their studies, but also from the professional experience gained through the internships which are often included within their program.

However, if you are already a graduate in another field, or you’ve worked in a different industry, and now want to switch careers into hospitality management, the best place to start is with a professional diploma. Think of it as a fast-track course, delivering the industry essentials that will give you a solid platform to make the jump and land higher up the career ladder.

How do I get into hospitality with no experience?

There are – of course – entry points to most industries at the lower, unskilled end of the spectrum. Hospitality is no different. But it is a long way up from there.

Bachelor graduates from hospitality management schools have an obvious advantage; not just in the knowledge they’ve acquired from their studies, but also from the professional experience gained through the internships which are often included within their program.

However, if you are already a graduate in another field, or you’ve worked in a different industry, and now want to switch careers into hospitality management, the best place to start is with a professional diploma. Think of it as a fast-track course, delivering the industry essentials that will give you a solid platform to make the jump and land higher up the career ladder.

Get on the fast track into hospitality

If you are aiming to switch careers into hospitality, the Postgraduate Diploma in International Hospitality Management delivers the knowledge and network you need.

How fast will my career progress as a hospitality management graduate?

To a large extent, the answer to this question depends on you. How fast do you want to progress up the career ladder; and how hard are you prepared to work to make it happen? Much will also depend on the industry, region and role you choose.

As a guide, here we list some typical roles on offer at each stage of the career journey:

As a guide, here we list some typical roles on offer at each stage of the career journey:

Junior positions:

  • Public Relations Officer
  • Front Office
  • Marketing Assistant

Middle management positions:

  • Food & Beverage Manager
  • Export Manager
  • Rooms Division Manager
  • Real Estate Investment Analyst
  • Events Manager

Executive roles:

  • General Manager (hotels, airlines, golf clubs, casinos, conference centers, etc.)
  • Marketing Director
  • Management in Sports Events

What are the secrets to a successful career in hospitality?

There are many factors that will determine your success in the hospitality industry; but right at the top is passion.

What are the secrets to a successful career in hospitality?

There are many factors that will determine your success in the hospitality industry; but right at the top is passion.

It’s passion that gets you up in the morning. Passion that carries you through the toughest challenges and the longest days. There are few short cuts in this industry, and you must be willing to make personal sacrifices if you wish to be successful.

You also have to understand the business of hospitality – intimately. And this combines efficient, high quality operations with the “secret sauce” that will deliver truly memorable experiences to your guests.

Other essential ingredient to success:

Other essential ingredient to success:

Communication

If communication breaks down within an operational team, your well-oiled machine will quickly hit problems, leading to a rapid drop-off in standards. Communication with the guests is equally important, and this includes ensuring that the communication is appropriate to the nature and status of the establishment and its clientele.

Attention to detail

It’s often the little details that add up to a memorable stay, so your mindset should be that nothing is “too small” to make a difference. The same goes for financial performance – is there some detail in the numbers that indicates something you can change in order to enhance performance?

An innovative mindset

Hospitality is undergoing a period of intense digital transformation, revolutionizing the way brands engage with their customer base, the experience within the hotel, as well as in areas such as revenue management and sustainability/waste reduction.


“Hospitality is undergoing a period of intense digital transformation


The successful leaders of the future will be the ones who understand how to embrace and exploit digital transformation, while having the attributes to lead their organizations and teams towards this digital future.

A strong professional network

The network you build throughout your studies is an asset you’ll carry with you throughout your life and career. This can include your faculty, fellow alumni, your colleagues and managers from your professional internships, contacts made during field trips, and all the other connections you’re able to make.

“I graduated from Les Roches in 1982. I like to think of it as the ‘Ivy League’ of hotel schools. It was the place where you could learn your craft; the skills of the trade. Since graduation, I’ve enjoyed a 30-year career in luxury hospitality.”

- Radha Arora, President of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Why a thriving alumni community matters

One characteristic that unites the best higher education institutions is a strong and thriving alumni network. This is important, because

Alumni are proud of their achievements and proud of their alma mater. Many give plenty back in the form of mentoring to current students; sharing knowledge and expertise across the network; choosing other alumni first when recruiting, or simply offering a friendly face in a new city.


95%
of Les Roches Alumni are in touch with another alumni at least once a month


Les Roches Alumni is a global group now numbering more than 13,000 graduates, with its own dedicated Alumni Association plus a members-only platform that includes an online directory, news and insights, a job portal and exclusive alumni benefits.

“You can drop a message in the Les Roches group asking who is in London and a bunch of people are going to come up. You always have friends.”

- Lorena da Silva, Rooms Division Management Program, The Dorchester (BBA graduate)

Learn more about Hospitality Management