Intro to Hospitality Management: Free Online Course

Welcome to the Hospitality Management Stack. This free online course was written to help students build a robust talent stack with an intro to hospitality management.

Students will be directed to free online articles, videos, and podcasts related to the exciting world of hospitality management. Within each individual section, there are two to three hours of material centrally focused on the industry.

In this Intro to Hospitality Management online course, there are five areas we will focus on. While this is a free online course, the conclusion of each section offers students the opportunity to invest in their development.

Build your talent stack in hospitality management!

If you have a heart and passion for the service industry, we are glad that you decided to take this time out to learn more about the hospitality field and build a career in the industry. You have to be passionate to excel in this industry. Here’s the opportunity; let’s prepare for your stackable success!

“Hospitality is simply an opportunity to show love and care”

fictional character, Julia Sugarbaker, Designing Women

The World of Hospitality Management

Hospitality Management

Can professionals pursue a career in hospitality and make a comfortable salary? The answer is Yes! There is a whole world within the hospitality field.

From managing the largest hotel chains in the country and event planning to working on different departments within a hotel brand and managing theme parks, you can find a great career in this field.

Working in the management world comes with a lot of responsibility and sacrifice, and you must be willing to make this commitment.

Hospitality jobs range from the general manager of a hospitality or tourism organization to accounting, marketing, and development. With the current change in our social climate, there are even new titles within this field, such as DEI (Diversity Equity & Inclusion) Vice President. 

Many jobs in this field are entry-level, but as you may be on your way to starting an MBA program, think about your skillset and the areas within the hospitality management field that you would like to work in. Take a look at the current job posting and specifications located on

  • Is there anything that surprised you in this job search list?
  • Is there anything that caught your eye?

Highs and Lows

While many hotels and tourism agencies have suffered during the pandemic, as the country starts to open up, the industry begins to see a rise in sales. Even though the pandemic has caused an economic shutdown, families took to restaurants and hotels for staycations and got away from being at home.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), almost 15 million Americans work in tourism and hospitality—in hotels, art museums, amusement parks, and restaurants—making it the fifth-largest industry in the country. Many of these jobs rely on our immigration and visa systems. International tourists create high demand for the tourism industry.

Meanwhile, many employers have trouble finding enough American workers to staff resorts, hotels, and attractions. Current policies discourage international tourists and business travelers and keep American businesses from finding the workers on which the tourism industry relies. From this data collected, there is a massive demand in the hospitality field. 

The market size of the worldwide hotel and resort sector reached 1.21 trillion dollars in 2019, a decrease over 2018’s 1.24 trillion dollars. The industry was forecast to reach 1.22 trillion U.S. dollars in 2021.

The great thing about working in the hospitality field is if you are near a booking city, you do not have to worry about relocating. All major cities in the United States have hotels and recreational activities for tourists.

Here’s a tourism and hospitality career session hosted by Mount Saint Vincent University. Each one of these industry leaders talk about getting your foot in the door and moving up the ranks. Take this time to consider your resume. If you have experience in the industry, make sure that you are able to highlight your experience and growth in the industry.

If you do not have specific hospitality experience, take a moment to see how you can make parallels and show applicable skills that can be applied to the industry.

Education & Training 

Hospitality Management

You might be interested in the hospitality management field, but you must understand this is a career in management that takes experience and higher education.

While many of the jobs within this industry are entry-level for you to be in the management department, you need to begin thinking about your toolbox and what areas you are strong and weak in.

  • Do you have strong leadership skills?
  • Are you an organized person?
  • Can you multitask and delegate duties?
  • Where do you see yourself in the hospitality industry?
  • Do you see yourself in recreation/tourism, hotel, or food service/culinary management?

The possibilities are endless; you need to know what area you want to work in. 

Do you even know why you want to study hospitality management? Kimarah Isaac discusses that even though the industry is identified as the service industry, she highlights that it is more of an exchange. Listen as she explains that the interaction between the professionals in the industry and the consumers is more of a positive personal connection.

  • Does that change your perspective on your possible role in the industry?

In previous stacks, you have heard us say the more you know, the more you grow. You can receive an undergraduate Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management or Culinary Management. Acquiring an MBA in Hospitality Management will put you ahead of the competition in this competitive field. With an MBA, you have the chance to be in a significant leadership role in hospitality management and take advantage of the salary cap in the area.

  • Do some research on the programs in your area or online programs available. Are there any on your horizon?

Investment Opportunity 

Now here is the time to take your career into your hands and make a lasting investment. Here is a great book titled The Origins of Hospitality and Tourism by Kevin D. O’Gorman. This book takes readers through the origins of the industry, showing how understanding the past can inform current and future approaches to hospitality and tourism management.

The book provides a unique view into the evolution of hospitality and the roles of ‘guest’ and ‘host’ as we recognize them today. It focuses on the social, economic, and geographical influences from Classical Antiquity to the Renaissance.

Foundations of Hospitality Management

Hospitality Management

While we have a preconceived notion of what the oldest profession is, hospitality management has been around since 15,000 BCE at Lascaux caves in France. We are familiar with the Greek and Roman Spas and the Turkish Bath Houses, all of which had staff and owners.

Anytime there are workers, someone is needed to manage the business and the workers. The hospitality management field has a long and rich history that we encourage you to research. 

We are familiar with the hospitality industry and partake in the hospitality industry as a customer many times throughout the year.

  • Take a moment and consider the necessity of the hospitality industry.

From the biblical stories mentioned in the Old Testament, there was no more room at the inn for many wealthy travelers who relied on taverns and inns across the land for lodging on their long quests. In the 18th Century in Europe, buildings called hotels were being built. It was at this time specific buildings were erected for the sole purpose of housing guests. 

Mostly noted in the history of hospitality are the Hammam and the Ancient Grecian and Roman Baths. While this was a luxury in those times, these bathhouses were frequented by heads of state and other townspeople. Although these amenities may seem primitive, they are still staples in Turkish communities.

Of course, the world of hospitality has evolved. We must understand and know the origins of the industry. Take a moment to watch this video with more on the history of hospitality and tourism. The lecture ends with factors that affect the growth of hospitality and tourism.

  • How have you seen those ebb and flow during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Where We Are Today

Hospitality Management

Today the hospitality world has evolved into a multi-million dollar industry, from archaic baths to lavish spas and recreational facilities.

Hotels are catering to Millennials and updating their facilities and entertainment offerings. Pending on where you decide to go, you can curate your experience on the demographic and what that particular city has to offer.

There are many ways to benefit from your stays, such as point programs and memberships. Marketing executives have devised plans to attract more repeat business with these offerings.

Technology has come a long way from the days of calling a front desk to make a reservation. Many online affiliate programs allow customers to make arrangements online and find deals and coupons for their stay. There’s an app for everything, and many restaurants, hotels, and airlines have their app. Many of these apps are formulated for repeat customers and to encourage patrons to frequent their apps. This is another nod to marketing and technology.

If you have traveled to the USA, you have probably stayed either at a Hilton or Marriott property. Click on those two links to see their corporate leadership and the different areas that each hotel has in leadership.

Check out this Hospitality Mavericks Podcast on digital strategy. The hosts discuss technological leadership with an expert in the hospitality management industry.

  • What kind of IT solutions can you grab as a takeaway from this interview?
  • Are there any topics that are relevant to your profession today?

Five Major Components of the Hospitality Industry

In the hospitality industry, there are five specific areas where there are jobs.

  1. Lodging
  2. Assembly and Event Management
  3. Restaurant 
  4. Managed Services
  5. Travel

Read through this article on the successful traits of event managers. Leadership and management within the hospitality and tourism industry takes effort and intention.

  • How do these event management traits compare to management in the different hospitality sectors?

Investment Opportunity

Here’s another opportunity to add more to your toolbox. Enroll in the Hotel Management: Distribution, Revenue, and Demand Management Specialization course offered on Coursera through ESSEC Business School.

As described on the site, students will learn about the basics of hotel demand management, distribution, and revenue management. Students will discover how e-commerce intermediaries, such as online travel agencies, are impacting the already complex hospitality sector.

Students will also explore tools and techniques that will help effectively market hospitality services and maximize business revenue. Students will finish the course in a Capstone Project evaluating the importance of hotel branding in business success.

Changes in Hospitality Management

Hospitality Management

Time brings about change, and we have seen many changes within the hospitality management industry. As stated above, technology has made luxury travel accessible to everyone, and many companies are on the cutting edge of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Companies cater to their consumers’ needs and take diversity very seriously. We see a change in leadership in many companies. Companies want to make sure they are reflective of the world we live in.

Companies have invested money into PR & Marketing for properties, and you can book travel with the click of a button. Technological evolution has swept the industry by storm and has propelled them into the Millennium. 

We were excited to find information on how the hospitality management field is moving towards new trends. On the Smart Meetings website, we found ten trends impacting the industry. Read through the trends and notice how the website has updated them from 2015, 2018, and 2020.

  • Which trends do you find most exciting?
  • How have you seen these trends change in the past year?

Top 10 Trends Impacting the Hospitality Industry

  1. Catering to Millennials – According to the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, those ages 18-34 are expected to represent 50% of all travelers to the USA by 2025. 
  2. Tech Explosion – More tech-savvy travelers are looking for the best accommodations via smartphone or tablet. 
  3. An influx of International Visitors – Travel to foreign companies is more accessible. Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest international airports in the world. 
  4. Increased emphasis on Health & Wellness – People invest in self-care and look for excellent spas and hotels with great amenities. 
  5. Need for seamless technology – Keep it simple and easy to navigate. Companies are integrating their platforms and making it easier to book. 
  6. Sustainability Rules – Is your property eco-friendly? This is a significant sake for some patrons. 
  7. New Roles for staff – Check-in kiosks have been one of the best inventions since sliced bread. Guests like the accessibility, convenience, and less time spent dealing with a representative. This will allow workers the opportunity to focus on other essential duties. 
  8. Destination Promotion – Promoting your customers to live, tweet, and post about the destination makes for great “FREE” promotion. 
  9. Real-Time Damage Control – The double-edged sword of technology can be a thorn in management’s side when a customer is not satisfied. They can use outside entities to complain and rate your service. Being able to solve these issues quickly is a plus. 
  10. Unique Perks – We all love free stuff! Find a creative way to promote free products and services to your patrons. 

Here’s a deeper investigation of the trends within the hospitality management world from ESSEC taught by Professor Nicolas Graf, Academic Director of the MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI) from a few years ago. Here is a webinar on 2021 hospitality trends.

  • What differences can you find in these trend mindsets?
  • What things have changed, and what has stayed the same?

Investment Opportunity

It’s time to invest! We found an excellent book that will help you on your journey to the industry. The Heart of Hospitality: Great Hotel and Restaurant Leaders Share Their Secrets is a great book to add to your arsenal.

The Heart of Hospitality is a guide to creating exceptional customer service and hospitality for guests of all generations. Designed by leading customer service expert and Forbes contributor Micah Solomon, it features top hospitality professionals, including:

  • Herve Humler (Ritz-Carlton),
  • Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Group),
  • Tom Colicchio (Top Chef, Craft),
  • Isadore Sharp (Four Seasons),
  • Patrick O’Connell (The Inn at Little Washington),
  • and many more.

Opportunities in Hospitality Management

Hospitality Management

With an undergraduate and master’s degree in hospitality management, the possibilities are endless; Roles for the technical-minded and the people-minded, for the introverts and the extroverts, for the 9-5 and the 24/7.

Anyone can find a thriving career in this industry. Listed below are the top seven jobs and salaries in hospitality management, along with their national average salary per year.

  1. Event manager –  $52,039
  2. Travel manager –  $63,639
  3. Sommelier$43,742
  4. Restaurant manager$56,240
  5. Hotel general manager – $59,722
  6. Executive chef$75,627
  7. Casino director – $107,275

You must be prepared for the hard work and dedication of each position. While we think about the mainland, there are many jobs within the booming cruise line industry. Now that we can travel, job postings from the major cruise ships see managerial personnel.

  • Do you know what specific area you want to work in?
  • Would you like to run a hotel or restaurant?
  • Maybe work for a cruise line?

Ready for the Challenge?

  • Once you have landed your dream job, what innovative strategies are you bringing to the table?
  • What are you going to do to increase the profit margin?
  • Do you have any incentives for your hotel staff? Many feel overworked and underpaid.
  • What are you going to do to keep a positive rapport among your guests and staff?
Hospitality Management

Let’s check back into the Hospitality Maverick Podcast. They have multiple episodes that give leadership insight and business strategies to navigate a pandemic.

Listen here as they discuss recovering from the pandemic in the hospitality industry.

Investment Opportunity

Here’s a great book titled Operations Management in the Hospitality Industry, edited by Peter Szende, Alec N. Dalton, and Michelle (Myongjee) Yoo. This book takes a deep dive into hospitality management and discusses multiple topics, including key theories, frameworks, and industry examples.

Hospitality Management Stack

I am sure you have heard the saying, to whom much is given, much will be required. This valuable piece of wisdom is needed when stepping into the world of hospitality management. Many want a competitive salary, some want to take their love for food and service to another level, and some are trying to figure out where they fit within this vast and rewarding industry.

Let’s take some inventory, shall we?

  • What is your passion?
  • What skills do you have that you feel will elevate you in this industry?
  • Are you a great listener?
  • What is your leadership style?

Check out this video on the 9 Leadership Traits for hospitality management. Here is a list from that you might want to look over as you investigate more about this career. 

Hospitality Management

Top Hospitality Management Skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Patience
  • Professionalism
  • Multitasking
  • Positivity
  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving
  • Flexibility

What does it take to be a great hotelier? Here’s another excellent video on the traits needed to work in hospitality management. While you build your resume and CV, look at this website for some insight.

Crisis Management

Currently, we are living in a crisis with the high rise of COVID cases and coming off of our world being shut down.

  • If you were working in hospitality management, do you have a contingency plan for a crisis like this?
  • How will you implement your plan?

Here are session one and session 2 of the University of South Florida’s Post-Crisis Hospitality Management Certificate program hosted by the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the Muma College of Business. Dr. Carmer states that “crisis is just another word for opportunity?”

  • Have you seen this to be true in the hospitality industry over the past two years?
  • How can you use this thinking to propel you into a future career in hospitality management?

Investment Opportunity

Cornell University has an online certification course in hospitality management. This certification helps students develop relevant strategies for hospitality managers to use in the workplace. This hospitality management course covers a wide range of content, from food service to finances to team building. There are six courses for this certification. 

To Wrap Things Up

  • You did it! You successfully completed MBA Stack’s Intro to Hospitality Management! This concludes the hospitality management stack. We hope this free online course has helped each student build a solid foundation within their talent stack. We wish you luck, and remember; success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out! You got this!
  • A hospitality management program will include courses in strategic management, hospitality administration, hotel sales, revenue management, hotel management and hotel operations, business management, club management, food and beverage, as well as restaurant management, sustainable tourism, human resources, and many other hospitality skills.
  • Earning a hospitality management degree, particularly an MBA in the field, will help you obtain that job promotion you deserve in a management position.

Before you go, see the following: