Hospitality Management is a field that involves managing resorts, hotels, and other tourist destinations. Hospitality Management is a diverse field that requires leadership, communication, logistical, and administrative skills to run properties that are frequented by guests. Hospitality Management Specialists ensure that the guests are comfortable in their stay by overseeing several departments like restaurants, event management, spa, concierges, conference rooms, front desk, room services, pools, and all other guest services. According to the World Tourism Organization, this industry is ever-growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary in this industry is $54,430. Getting a Master’s in Hospitality Management Online will significantly enhance your chances of pursuing careers in this industry. In this guide, we will walk you through all aspects of getting an Online Master’s Degree in Hospitality Management and show you the available best programs.
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Here are the top 10 Online Master’s in Hospitality Management for 2023. We used our custom formula to determine these rankings. The formula includes factors such as – qualify of each program, graduation rates, the strength of curriculum, faculty availability, flexibility of online courses, and other factors.
Understanding an Online Master’s in Hospitality Management Program
Hospitality Management programs will teach you a broad set of skills. Just like most businesses, this field also has two main branches to it: Customer Service and Business Profit. Given that most customers visiting the area of business are most likely on vacation, it becomes essential to make their stay as pleasurable as possible. And this main task involves running several departments within the resort or hotel smoothly. At the same time, the business side of things involves ensuring that every resource is working within a budget, on-time, and highest productivity. Students in Hospitality Management learn a wide variety of skillset. Some students even go for specialization within Hospitality Management.
Common Specializations in Hospitality Management Programs
Area of Focus
Tourism management is a broad specialization that involves all aspects of earning business from people traveling away from their homes. This concentration includes business administration, marketing to attract tourists (either for private business or public services to promote tourism), taking care of tourists by facilitating food & stay, and managing entertainment for tourists. This multi-disciplinary field is attracting many students. Graduates work for cruise-liners, resorts, or for governmental agencies to attract tourists to particular regions.
Event Planning is a concentration where event planning professionals manage all aspects of professional meetings, conventions, trade shows, concerts, and even weddings, etc. Managing an event might come across as simple coordination, but when the participant sizes are large, this can only be handled by professionals to provide a smooth experience for participants. Many corporations and resorts around the world hire professional event planners.
Restaurant Management is a concentration that involves business management with a customer-centric approach. Students learn about public relations, managing inventory, providing customer service, managing finances such as cash flow, marketing & sales, and managing day to day operations. Most graduates find careers in large hotel chains, bars, etc. as food service managers, hospitality managers, etc.
Lodging management concentration deals with managing all logistics in a business where guests can stay. The work involves ensuring that the guests have a pleasant stay in the establishment by facilitating clean rooms, housekeeping, décor, managing staff that perform these duties, budgeting, etc. Some establishments get thousands of guests each year, and a Lodging Manager has to ensure that the facilities are well-maintained to cater to the guests 365 days a year in high traffic circumstances.
Difference between Master’s in Hospitality Management and an MBA in Hospitality Management
Many MBA programs offer a specialization in Hospitality Management. However, they vastly differ from a Master’s in Hospitality Management in terms of area of focus and curriculum. An MBA program is designed to focus on business aspects of an organization such as leadership, managerial skills, running day to day of an organization. And in MBA Hospitality Management concentration, there would be some electives for students can choose from, which teach about Hospitality Management. But Hospitality Management is not the core of the program. A Master’s in Hospitality program provides a deep dive into Hospitality Management with all courses designed to teach students about all aspects of Hospitality Management.
Curriculum for Online Master’s in Hospitality Management Programs
Many schools offer Online Master’s in Hospitality Management, and every program is different. The curriculum also varies based on the school, any concentrations that they may be offering, area of focus, region, etc. However, here are some typical courses that you will see in many programs.
Hospitality and Tourism Global Issues
This course is a study of the evolution and growth of the global tourism and hospitality industry and the issues confronting the industry. Students learn about property management, global lodging management, trends, and overall leadership skills that will help them navigate through the industry.
Strategic Marketing in Hospitality and Tourism
This course is designed to teach students how to market their hospitality businesses to a broader audience. Students learn about various demographics, trends, segmentation, competition analysis, etc.
This course exposes students to various legal aspects of managing Hospitality related businesses. Liability is a big topic in the course, and students benefit from how liability issues work and how to mitigate them. Students also learn about rights and responsibilities, employment law, insurance law, etc.
Economics of Travel and Tourism
In this course, students learn about the impact of economic policies, financial events that impact the hospitality industry, tax policies, etc. Students will also learn about revenue on investment, cost-benefit analysis, and how to measure growth.
Economic Development exposes students to fundamental problems in economic development across the world. This course also discusses how it could be rectified by changing the economic policies of the nations for better economic growth along with analysis.
Business Statistics and Quantitative Analysis
One of the most job duties of managers in the hospitality industry is to forecast the demand and supply of resources correctly. In this course, students are taught how to use quantitative methods to collect, analyze, and forecast all aspects of the business. Datapoints like seasonality and trends are critical factors, and students are exposed to analyzing data using these factors.
Leadership in Hospitality
The course teaches about contemporary theories, research, and practices of hospitality organizations. Students acquire the required skills to lead across various departments in multiple disciplines in hospitality settings. Topics include team dynamics, problem-solving, decision-making, and improved communication, which helps students immensely in the travel industry when language issues are common.
Admission Requirements for Online Master’s in Hospitality Management
Applicants to an online master’s in hospitality management degree must satisfy certain entrance requirements that are specific to the program offering school. Although these requirements might be slightly different from school to school, a significant majority of schools need the following from the applicants.
Applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0.
Applicants must submit transcripts from their undergraduate degree programs or related courses completed. Most schools typically want this submission in an unopened official transcript.
Most schools do not need a GRE or GMAT score for admission, but some schools do.
Some schools require 3-5 years of professional experience.
Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation. Letters should write by other professionals, past teachers, past mentors, seniors, etc. and they should attest to the applicant’s professional skills and character.
Timeline for Online Master’s in Hospitality Management
Many schools offer this problem 100% online, and they have different requirements for graduation. Some schools let students transfer some credits from another university or would waive certain courses if the student has professional experience or relevant coursework from an undergraduate degree. Some schools also have a thesis requirement before graduation. But, most students can graduate from an online master’s degree in hospitality management between 12 months to 24 months.
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Hospitality Management
Accreditation is essential when choosing an online school for your master’s in hospitality management. Several independent bodies accredit schools for their standards. Some of these accreditation bodies are regional. Some of the schools are accredited by the Council for Higher Education. Read more about what accreditation is, why it matters, and how the accreditation process works on our Accreditation guide.
There are several bodies issue accreditation for online masters in hospitality management programs. If a university is accredited by one of the below accreditation bodies, you can be sure about the school and the high standards of their hospitality management programs:
Career and Salary Outlook for Online Master of Hospitality Management Graduates
While many jobs in hospitality management do not require a graduate degree, having a graduate degree in hospitality management acts as an accelerator of growth for professionals. An online master’s degree in hospitality management helps them apply for senior roles in this industry, along with providing a better opportunity to grow careers within this industry. Here some career titles and salaries that hospitality management graduates have seen.
Director of Food and Beverage
Gaming Hospitality Executive
Hotel General Manager
Source: Payscale.com, Glassdoor.com, Bureau of Labor and Statistics
How to Pay for Online Master’s in Hospitality Management
Online Master’s in Hospitality Management, just like other graduate programs, can get expensive. Many organizations offer various kinds of financial aid, scholarships, and assistance for online master’s students. See the Best Financial Aid Guide to find out more about financial aid and paying for online master’s programs in economics using FAFSA and other sources.
Scholarships for Online Master’s in Hospitality Management
Several institutions offer scholarships, awards, financial aid, and other forms of assistance to online master’s students in hospitality management. Here are some of those organizations:
NEWH Scholarships – NEWH, Inc provides several scholarships through their regional chapters across the US. The scholarships are offered annually, and the amount varies from chapter to chapter. The scholarships are awarded to the students that are within the region where the chapter is offering the scholarship. The deadline also varies based on the regional chapters. Read more about NEWH Scholarships.
Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Scholarship – This scholarship is provided to students that are residents of Illinois and pursuing culinary arts and hospitality management degrees. Till date, the Illinois Restaurant Association has issued scholarships worth $3 million over the years. The deadline for the application is April 14. And the award amount varies.
AHLEF Graduate Scholarship Program – AHLEF has budgeted more than $1.3 million for scholarships. AHLEF offers scholarships to students that are pursuing a degree in Hospitality Management. Students are vetted for their GPA, financial need, hospitality work experience, professional activities, and personal qualities. The scholarships come in multiple forms, with award amounts ranging from $500 to $7,500. The scholarship application deadline is February 15.
Carol Chorbajian Scholarship Fund – This scholarship is awarded to students that are pursuing education in restaurants, food service, or hospitality management industries. Although first preference is given to Monterey County students, other California residents can apply. The award amount is $2,500, and the application deadline is March 15.
Harvey & Laura Alpert Scholarship Award– This scholarship is awarded each year to students that are pursuing education in tourism, Hospitality, and travel industry. The award is administered by the International Flight Services Association (IFSA). The award amount is $5,100, and the application deadline is June 20.
Resources for Online Master’s in Hospitality Management Students
While getting an Online Master’s Degree in Hospitality Management certainly enhances your knowledge in the field along with career prospects, it is also essential to network with other people in this industry. This will immensely help in increasing domain knowledge, career prospects but also expose you to the ins and outs of the industry. Here are some resources that will accomplish all of that:
The Lodging Conference– The Lodging Conference is one of the largest conferences for professionals in hospitality management. At these conferences, you will meet top executives of the hotel industry, attend many speaking and interactive sessions, network with other professionals, and learn about their experiences.
Green Hotels Association – Green Hotels Association, is a conglomerate of hotels that adopt policies of less carbon footprint at their businesses. This member of this association receives ways to reduce the carbon footprint along with ways to save operations cost, including utility bills, laundry costs, etc.
International Luxury Hotel Association (ILHA)– ILHA is a non-profit professional association that is 200K strong. They provide certifications, podcasts, whitepapers to their members. ILHA also provides easy to use job search tools that will be helpful graduates and professionals in Hospitality Industry.
Network of Executive Women in Hospitality (NEWH) – NEWH is a women’s hospitality industry network that provides a platform for women to network with other professional women in the hospitality industry. NEWH organizes many association events such as seminars, trade meetings, bulletins, etc. NEWH also provides scholarships, promotes education in the hospitality field, and it is an organization from which women in the hospitality industry can significantly benefit from.
American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) – AHLA is an association that represents the voice of the hotel industry and its professionals. AHLA’s mission is to provide indispensable resource serving, supporting, and advocating on behalf of the American Hospitality Industry. AHLA provides its members with a job board that helps look for new opportunities within the hospitality industry.
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