Tourism & Hospitality

(hos-pi-tal-i-tee and toor-iz-uhm) (n.)

The industry of providing customer service to travelers or strangers. Hospitality professionals generally work in administrative or management positions in a service-based environment, and they are responsible for overseeing the operations and success of an establishment, such as a hotel or restaurant. The hospitality and tourism industry is diverse, and includes many locations including RV parks, food establishments, recreational facilities, campgrounds, boarding houses and youth hostels. While the overall goal of a hospitality professional is to ensure that guests and customers have pleasurable experiences, they can also be responsible for operations, such as hiring and training new staff; supervising office and financial administration; housekeeping, maintenance, and security staff; and marketing.

Hospitality professionals also distribute funds, set room rates, and ensure that the service standards of the business are met. General duties for hospitality professionals vary depending on the size of the business and the amount of staff available. In larger operations, there is usually a hierarchy of general managers, assistant managers, and supervisors who work to perform operational tasks relating to their areas of expertise. In a smaller business, the hospitality professional performs these tasks directly.

Sometimes hospitality professional positions are specialized. For example, some focus on managing the front office, while others can be responsible for convention services or financial administration. If a hospitality professional is employed in a specialized position, he or she must have excellent communication skills and the ability to work well alongside coworkers in other areas of the business.

Employers prefer applicants with a bachelor's degree in business or hotel or hospitality management, but a liberal arts degree along with hospitality experience may also be acceptable. Smaller establishments may accept applicants with a certificate or associate's degree in hotel, hospitality or restaurant management.