Hospitality management is exciting, challenging and unpredictable. It will take you across the globe, see you interact with different cultures and offer ample opportunities for career progression. You will lead a constantly evolving industry and have the opportunity to work anywhere in the world.
But what hospitality career skills do you need to become a manager in the hospitality industry? And how do you get them? Matthieu Mioche, global career services and industry placement manager for Les Roches Global Hospitality Education, tells us more.
Which skills do I need?
To be successful in hospitality management, you need to have a mix of soft and hard skills. It’s vital that you can bring strong knowledge and attention to detail, but equally as important are soft skills like communication and teamwork. For example, if you’re interested in a career in hotel management, soft skills can make a positive difference to guest satisfaction, while good communication is also crucial. Creativity is also an essential skill, as people will look to you to create innovative campaigns, products and events.
If you want to succeed as a manager, you need good leadership skills. Hospitality is an industry where teamwork is a key characteristic, but the industry still needs strong leaders who can make vital business decisions. As a manager, you need to be able to set high standards and achievable targets for your departments, inspiring and motivating them to not only reach them, but surpass them.
You also need to know the day-to-day operational tactics that define your workplace. For example, if you aim to be a hotel manager, it is vital you understand the tasks and challenges each department goes through. This applies to departments as varied as housekeeping, marketing, sales, finance and food & beverage. You may find your ascension to management roles halted until you gain a comprehensive understanding of these competencies, so it’s important you choose a path that provides such training.
You should also gain a thorough grounding in marketing. After all, if you’re going to become a leader in hospitality you need to be able to track and anticipate industry trends, conduct analyses of your competitors, build campaigns, drive people to your business and communicate with customers.
Additionally, finance management is another vital skill. You need to ensure you don’t overspend your budget, or that any of the departments you manage are. While it is good to ensure customers have a great experience, you also need to remember you’re running a business and need to make a profit. Being able to read financial reports is advisable, as well as more basic things like cashing up and dealing with deposits.
How do I develop them?
A hospitality management degree will provide you with up-to-date knowledge on the industry, alongside valuable practical exercises (from hands-on modules to exciting, real-world internships with leading organisations).
One qualification that would provide more than adequate hospitality skills training is a diploma. This will provide you with the training needed to be successful within the industry, alongside some theory and introductory hotel management courses. A diploma is an excellent starting point for your hospitality career, as it also enables you to gain real-world experience through a professional internship. People tend to choose diplomas because they are cheaper than degrees, and often make them work-ready faster.
However, there are other routes you can consider. A Bachelor of Business Administration, or BBA, usually takes three-to-four years to complete and provides you with the skills, knowledge and first-hand experience you need to succeed. Alternatively, you could also pursue a Bachelor of Hotel Management (BHM) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree.
You will develop core skills through first-hand experience. Working face-to-face with customers in a real work environment is one of the best ways to hone your skills and build your knowledge and confidence.
Hospitality management requires a broad variety of skills, from more general attributes like teamwork, leadership, creativity and organisation, to more specific skills such as marketing, business, finance, social media and more. However, choosing the right degree program, and gaining significant first-hand experience, will set you on the right path. Employers will look for the right blend of academic and practical, so securing a work placement, a part-time / voluntary position or an internship will help you stand out from the crowd.