What is Hospitality Management?
Hospitality management is the business of making guests and customers feel welcome and comfortable. Industries that rely on hospitality management professionals include tourism, event planning, hotels, and restaurants; virtually anything involving paying guests.
Hospitality management positions require interpersonal skills like employee management and customer service. If you don’t consider yourself a ‘people person,’ an online hospitality management degree probably isn’t your best bet. Hospitality managers should also have a strong grasp of business practices such as accounting, labor costs, project management, and leadership.
What can you do with a Hospitality Management Degree?
Many employees in the hospitality and tourism industry find themselves working in exotic locations, traveling frequently, and enjoying a strong work/life balance. The wide range of available occupations means there are options for all personalities.
Common job titles in the hospitality industry include:
- Hotel and Lodging Manager
- Food and Beverage Supervisor
- Director of Maintenance
- Event Coordinator
- Executive Chef
- Director of Hotel Operations
- Banquet Manager
- Director of Food Services
High paying jobs are available, but they require extensive experience and high levels of education. According to Payscale, event coordinators earn around $40,000, while hotel general managers and banquet directors can achieve six figure salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that lodging managers earn an average salary of $46,810.
The Top Online Hospitality Management Programs
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
East Carolina University
|Greenville||$$$$$||East 5th Street|
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
As the largest hospitality leadership program in the Southeastern United States, ECU’s goal is to build the next generation of leaders in the hospitality industry. Students seeking a BS in hospitality management through ECU can focus in conventions and special events; food and beverage; or lodging. The program offers a wealth of student resources, professional externships and field internships. With the exception of labs and fieldwork, the bulk of coursework is completed online through Blackboard, ECU’s learning management system.
Online hospitality management degree students have opportunities to learn from international professionals in their field via live streams. Degree requirements involve kitchen laboratory courses that need to be transferred from an accredited institution. ECU is unable to offer online courses to students in Alabama, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Maryland and Ohio.
Northern Arizona University
|Flagstaff||$$$$$||1900 S. Knoles Dr, Babbitt Administrative Center|
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-4132
The BS program in hotel and restaurant management (HRM) through NAU prepares students for a multitude of careers in hospitality. Graduates of the online hospitality management degree program are equipped with the skills to coordinate high volume front-of-house, guest services, maintenance and restaurant operations.This program also places an emphasis on the business side of the industry by teaching students to analyze financial statements in terms of operational performance. NAU facilitates online coursework through Blackboard, where students connect with professors, view lectures and turn in assignments.
Graduates must complete 1200 hours of employment in a hospitality related position and demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language other than English by completing eight units of coursework or passing an aptitude test. The school recommends students take a computer information systems course to familiarize themselves with hospitality management software.
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
|Amherst||$$$$$||374 Whitmore Building 181 Presidents Drive|
Amherst, MA 01003
This online BS program in hospitality and tourism management involves multidisciplinary coursework in finance, marketing, lodging operations and food production. UMass places emphasis on learning labs and internships that provide students with real-world experience before entering the industry. There is also a focus on hospitality and tourism law to provide students with an ethical foundation when making management decisions. Outside of internship requirements, students complete the majority of coursework online through Blackboard facilitated learning labs, lectures and assignments.
This online hospitality management degree program offers unique electives in convention sales, club management and gaming and social policy. Students must complete seven business courses in finance, marketing, accounting and management. Although UMass requires students to transfer with a minimum of 27 units and a GPA of 3.0, they will evaluate students on an individual basis and factor in previous employment in lieu of some requirements.
Washington State University
|Pullman||$$$$$||French Administration Building|
Pullman, WA 99164-5910
WSU’s online BS in hospitality business management (HBM) prepares students for career success with the foundational knowledge of service, sales, event planning and hotel operations. Most graduates go on to apply their skills in hotels, restaurants, convention centers and tourist destinations, both domestic and international. The program is part of WSU’s College of Business and requires the completion of core business credits. Students also have the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Switzerland at the Cesar Ritz Colleges. All online coursework is conducted through WSU’s online Blackboard learning portal.
All HBM courses are seven weeks long, as opposed to sixteen for other core classes. Students are required to complete 1,000 paid hours of hospitality work experience for a hospitality management degree online. For students in the second year or more, the HBM program offers more than $125,000 in annual scholarships.
Robert Morris University
|Moon Township||$$$$$||6001 University Boulevard|
Moon Township, PA 15108-1189
This BS in business administration with a concentration in hospitality and tourism management is consistently ranked among the best in the country. In addition to a career in hotel management, graduates are prepared for positions in unique settings such as amusement parks, cruise lines, retirement centers, airlines, country clubs and national parks. RMU stresses the business side of hospitality, requiring coursework in managerial accounting and strategic business management. Online courses through RMU are managed by Blackboard, which offers 24/7 access and support to all students.
The RMU online experience is highly personalized through the assistance of a dedicated career advisor, financial counselor and wellness director. Assignments are comprised largely of relevant case studies and computer-based projects for the hospitality management degree online. Bachelor-level hiring organizations for RMU graduates include big names such as MGM, Norwegian Cruise Line, Sodexo, Eddie Bauer, FedEX and Hyatt Hotels.
California State University - East Bay
|Hayward||$$$$$||25800 Carlos Bee Blvd|
Hayward, CA 94542
CSU-East Bay's Hospitality and Tourism degree is curated to provide students with a comprehensive hospitality professional's skillset. The program places extra emphasis on creative problem solving and people skills to ensure guest satisfaction across all levels of hospitality -- hotels, cruises, conferences and everything in between. Graduates develop a basic understanding of broad business abilities through courses on accounting, project management and finance, while gaining familiarity with specific hospitality issues through courses on lodging, food and beverage management, customer care and hotel management.
East Bay's online courses are archived and accessed through Blackboard. CSU emphasizes their small class sizes, industry-involved faculty and accelerated graduation options as unique benefits that are tailored to employed students. The application deadline is January 6.
North Carolina Central University
|Durham||$$$$$||1801 Fayetteville Street|
Durham, NC 27707
North Carolina Central University's hospitality management degree online is a comprehensive 128-semester hour program with the goal of preparing students for immediate management positions in the tourism industry. The curriculum blends specific hospitality subjects such as food and beverage control, labor management and lodging operations with foundational business skills like accounting, macroeconomics and marketing. Graduates leave the program to work in the industries of lodging, food and beverage service, convention and visitors bureaus, event management, resorts, conference centers, cruise lines and airlines.
NCCU's online courses are accessible through Blackboard, though some face-to-face courses may be required for this degree. Students complete eight, 14-18 credit semesters across four years with a predetermined curriculum plan. CCU boasts an impressive 97-100% job placement rate for graduates of the hospitality management online degree.
Fort Hays State University
|Hays||$$$$$||600 Park St|
Hays, KS 67601-4099
The tourism and hospitality management online degree offered through Fort Hays State University is designed to prepare graduates for immediate managerial employment in most sectors of the tourism industry. Students complete a varied 120-credit curriculum that includes general education core, business & entrepreneurship courses as well as tourism and hospitality management coursework. Course content covers management strategies and international tourism, as well as convention and hotel management. These specified courses are designed to combine with foundational business courses to give graduates a well-rounded skillset directly applicable in most tourism and hospitality positions.
FHSU uses the Blackboard platform to organize and offer their online courses. The general education core requires 55 credits; T&HM core consists of 21 credits, as well as 12 credits in THM electives. Additional credits include 24 business credits and eight free elective credits. An interactive internship in an appropriate tourism industry setting is optional. The admissions deadline is rolling.
University of the Southwest
|Hobbs||$$$$$||6610 North Lovington Hwy|
Hobbs, NM 88240
University of the Southwest's online Bachelor's of Business Administration offers 12 potential concentrations, one of which is hospitality management. The HM curriculum combines standard business practices with specified courses on relevant topics in hospitality and tourism industries. This area of emphasis is designed to prepare graduates for administrative and managerial roles in hotels, trade-show companies, tourism companies, cruises, food service and convention hosting. Students will be well versed in hospitality topics ranging from human resources and project management to food service management and team organization.
USW's online courses are available through Blackboard. This program requires 120 total credit hours split evenly with between general education and foundational business and hospitality management courses. Transfer students must complete 62 credits through USW, and all students must maintain a 2.5 GPA to graduate.
Working in the Hospitality Industry
Finding your specific field of interest within the hospitality industry is essential to enjoying a successful career. With so many different niches available, narrowing your search down can be daunting. Consider the qualifiers: do you enjoy traveling or would you rather have a stable home life? Working on a cruise ship or an airline affords opportunities to travel and work outside a standard office environment, but it comes with a cost. Many traveling employees report high levels of stress. Hotel management offers a stable and secure alternative. Whichever area you choose, a career in hospitality management is guaranteed to be full of exciting moments.