Top Online Hospitality Management Schools
Hospitality is the art of caring for one’s guests, treating them with respect and caring for their needs. They can be the first smiling face a guest sees when they walk into a spa, or the casino floor boss who’s never seen. Hospitality managers can ensure that your flight is booked, your convention is staffed, your meal is served to your liking or your sheets are clean.
As the restaurant and hotel industry downsizes, hospitality managers may find themselves responsible for departments they are not familiar with and as the event planning field expands, the demand for qualified managers with experience in specialty niches will rise. On SchoolsGalore.com, you can search for schools and programs to reacquaint yourself with hospitality management or gain career certification in a branch you have no experience in, all without cutting into your career.
One of the more relaxed and convenient ways to earn a degree in hospitality management is though distance learning. With some previous education, such as an associate degree, you may enroll in an online bachelor's degree program in hospitality management or, if you crave more responsibility, you can enroll in a specialized hospitality MBA program. There are also a number of certification programs available for hospitality managers across all hospitality focuses with previous work experience and a desire to display their professionalism.
Whether you are studying the field of restaurant management, travel and tourism, or hotel and motel management, you may find a variety of online hospitality courses, some of which may suit your personal schedule as well as your goals and aspirations.
Below are some of the hospitality management focuses available from online schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com:
For students already enrolled in a college, but not one with a hospitality management program, substitute programs could include: communications, business, public relations and international relations, as well as a foreign languages and management.
Lodging and Spa Hospitality Management
Lodging managers supervise a hotel’s concierges and support staff in addition to maintaining the décor of the establishment all while keeping track of the finances. In some spas, the manager may act as the concierge and the face of the establishment, ensuring that their guests’ needs are met. Depending on the level of employment and education, the hotel or spa manager’s job description may include understanding their establishment’s maintenance or coordinating promotional events. Lodging managers can supervise the front desk of a roadside truck-stop or orchestrate the staff of a five-star hotel.
Because of the diverse nature of hospitality management, hotel and spa management courses may include classes in business administration, accounting and marketing and management instruction. Online hotel and spa management courses can help students find time to study while without sacrificing their jobs. For some hospitality managers, work experience, not education, has earned them their employment (BLS.gov, 2012). For those managers with experience, online classes can prepare you for the certified spa supervisor (CSS), hotel administrator (CHA) or any of the other numerous certification exams available to hospitality professionals by credentialing agencies.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012) projects the employment outlook of lodging managers to grow up to eight percent from 2010 to 2020, only slightly higher than other general management occupations. The tepid growth prospect is a result of contracting opportunities as lodges and spas shift into more specialized markets and streamline operations. The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) also reports the median yearly hotel manager salary in May of 2011 was $47,450, nationally. Data was not available for spa managers.
Restaurant managers are responsible for the operations of a restaurant, be it a standalone establishment or attached to a hotel, that do not include the kitchen. They must hire staff and a head chef, as well as keep up with local health and safety codes. They ensure the supplies required for serving customers and preparing food are delivered and that waste is disposed. They acquire the restaurant’s liquor license, if it needs one, and implement the restaurant’s marking strategy.
Unfortunately for those looking to jump straight into running a restaurant after school, no previous experience prepares someone for managing a restaurant better than working in a restaurant. Fortunately, restaurant establishments tend to promote heavily from within (BLS.gov, 2012), making a restaurant management degree a possible career advancement opportunity for someone with food-service experience.
Restaurant management classes may include nutrition, sanitation, food planning and prep, business law as well as the standard management courses of accounting and management instruction. Online hospitality management courses and degrees, combined with experience in the restaurant industry, may help you position yourself for a role as a restaurant manager, without sacrificing your career to attend school. It may also help prepare someone with experience in lodging management for expanded responsibility managing a hotel’s restaurant as a hotel restaurant manager.
According to O*NET Online, almost three-fourths of restaurant managers reported that they believe the education level required for their profession unless than a bachelor’s degree. The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) reports that a food service manager’s national median salary in May of 2011 was $48,110 per year. The employment outlook is also projected by the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) to contract by up to three percent from 2010 to 2020 as restaurants get smaller or close.
Convention Coordination and Event Planning
Planning a meeting for a few friends does not scale to planning a meeting where attendees may number in the thousands. Planning for the latter type of meetings often requires specialized training. Event planners, sometimes called event coordinators, may be responsible for orchestrating company parties and large scale corporate events. They are responsible for the logistics of staff, equipment and services during the event and for soliciting bids from providers as well as ensuring the safety of guests. The event planners must also visit the site and assess its viability for the event and the client’s needs.
While meeting and convention planners can come from a wide spectrum of education backgrounds, according to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) event coordinators with a bachelor’s degree may start with greater responsibility than those without. While O*NET Online reports that 44 percent of convention planners reported that they believe an associate degree education level or lower is required for employment, the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) still suggests having between one and two years of relevant experience if their bachelor’s degree is not related to hospitality management.
The median pay for a meeting, convention, event planner in May of 2011 is listed as $46,020, nationally, by the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) and the job outlook is expected to grow 44 percent from 2010 to 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012) as international meetings and events are expected to become more common.
There are also certifications for those with expanded work experience that do not need further education. Obtaining the title of Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) may be helpful with finding employment, as well as experience with virtual meeting software such as iLinc and Watchitoo. For individuals working in the government sphere, certification as a Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) may also be beneficial. Also, don’t underestimate the benefits that knowing multiple languages can bring to the field of event planning.
Event planners also have specialty niches; some planners organize large conventions while others can focus on planning weddings.
If you are lacking on-the-job experience in event planning, consider an internship in addition to an associate or bachelor’s degree. Internships can be found from at a number of planning agencies as well as online, as with InternMatch.com.
Learn more about accredited hospitality management programs from online schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com:
Because there are so many colleges and universities offering hospitality management courses online, consider accredited schools for your online hospitality management education to ensure the quality of your education. There are several agencies that are approved to accredit online schools such as The Distance Education and Training Council which provides a search tool for locating accredited institutions, and the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration which provides a list of accredited schools.
Top Online Schools For Hospitality Management
Silvia Oppenheim, author of Event Planning Careers and founder of Le Concierge SF, said she believes experience trumps education in the world of event planning. However, she did list Champlain College and Grand Valley State University as her top-two recommended schools as they provide the best event planning programs.
The following schools provide hospitality programs that have been ranked, based on their research paper output, as the “Top 25 Hospitality Programs in the Nation” by the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education in 2009.1. Cornell University
2. University of Nevada at Las Vegas
3. Pennsylvania State University
4. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
5. Purdue University
6. Oklahoma State University
7. Michigan State University
8. University of Central Florida
9. Washington State University
10. Texas A&M University
Sources and further reading:Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
The Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA)
Global Spa & Wellness Summit’s list of spa and wellness associations
The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute’s list of professional certifications
The Convention Industry Council’s requirements for certification as a meeting professional
Society of Government Meeting Professionals offer the CGMP certification
InternMatch.com provides a list of event planning internships
Silvia Oppenheim’s Le Concierge SF
Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education