A hotel management degree might sound like it’s a course that only prepares you for one job: managing hotels. In reality, a degree in hotel management prepares graduates for a diverse range of career options, including and beyond the accommodation sector. When you invest in world-class education, you’ll see your career take flight.
A hotel management degree teaches transferable leadership skills
Whilst you’ll learn a range of foundational management and hospitality skills specific to operating hotels and resorts from a hotel management degree, you’ll walk away with vital soft skills that will help you progress in any industry.
In fact, when you study to become a hotel manager, you must gain a broad understanding of all the key areas of a typical accommodation business, such as:
- Marketing, sales and social media
- Finance and accounting
- Revenue management
- Food and beverage
- Operations and logistics
- Events and conferences
- Human resources
- Customer services
- Digital sales and mobile ecommerce
- Rooms division
Many of these core areas of an accommodation business function in essentially the same way across a whole range of sectors, including retail, aviation, ecommerce or the rest of the broader hospitality and tourism industry. For example, what you learn about revenue management and digital bookings in hotels can easily be transferred to aviation./p>
A hotel management degree also develops in-demand soft skills
According to the World Economic Forum’s ‘Future of Jobs’ report, 8 of the top 10 skills that global professionals will need to develop in order to meet employer demand by 2025 are soft skills, while the other two are technology focused:
- Analytical thinking and innovation
- Active learning
- Complex problem solving
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Creativity, originality and initiative
- Leadership and social influence
- Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
- Reasoning, problem solving and ideation
Many of these essential soft skills, such as leadership, resilience, communication and active learning, are all skills that you learn, practise and develop through studying hotel management and working in the hotel industry. Hotel managers are more capable of leading under pressure than most professionals in any industry, because of the unique demands of accommodation businesses.
7 career options for Hotel Management degree graduates
International Hotel Brand General Manager (GM)
For many hotel management graduates, the ultimate goal is to become the General Manager of an international hotel brand. The GM is responsible for all aspects of day-to-day operations, the overall business direction and ultimately providing unforgettable guest experiences. The role encompasses a broad range of responsibilities including:
- Manage on-going profitability of the hotel.
- Monitor business reports and make sure all strategies and budgets are in line.
- Develop strategic goals to maximise revenue.
- Hire all key heads of departments (HODs) and other staff.
- Work closely with HODs to oversee all departments.
- Help in the procurement of operating supplies and equipment, and contracting with third-party vendors for essential equipment and services.
The GM role comes with big responsibilities, but it also comes with a salary to match; the average salary of a hotel GM in Australia is around $122,000.
There are many similarities between the aviation and the hotel industries, so it’s a natural sideways step for hotel management graduates to slip into airlines. Aviation and hotels both use a business model built around customer service, revenue management, digital bookings and food and beverage services. There is a broad range of different types of management careers within airlines that can match the skill set of a hotel manager: Staff and cabin crew services manager
- Operations manager
- Revenue manager
- Travel bookings coordinator
The role of Airline Manager is the aviation equivalent of the hotel GM role. It involves being responsible for overall business strategy, profitability, customer experience and every other facet of your airline business, including compliance with safety regulations and working with HODs to oversee the various business departments. Like the GM role it is a senior role that comes with big responsibilities and a big average salary of $190,000 in Australia.
Wellness Retreat or Day Spa Manager
Boutique wellness retreats and hotel day spas are a huge and growing segment of the hotel and accommodation industry. If you have a particular passion for wellness, you can easily steer your hotel management career towards this niche hospitality industry field.
The responsibilities of a wellness retreat or day spa general manager are much the same as those of a hotel manager. Both roles blend strategic and financial decision making for long term profitability with operational day-to-day guest services and staffing management tasks, with the addition of:
- Making strategic decisions around wellness treatments and activities on offer.
- Hiring and overseeing specialist health staff.
- Sourcing equipment, wellness supplies and fitting out specialist treatment areas.
- Ensuring all health and safety regulation compliance across all wellness activities.
Food and Beverage Services Manager
If you discover a particular passion for food, you can easily use all the hospitality skills you learn with your degree in hotel management to become a food and beverage manager. You can do this while still working in the accommodation sector: for example, becoming the manager of a fine-dining flagship restaurant or catering service within a five-star hotel.
Or, you could transition your food and beverage services management career outside of the field of accommodation altogether. Your hotel management training would equally equip you to become the manager of a club, bistro, bar or totally different type of food and beverage business. Similar to a hotel manager, a food and beverage manager is responsible for:
- Business strategy and overall profitability
- Hiring and training of staff
- Shift scheduling
- Revenue management, bookkeeping and accounting
- Purchase and control of inventory
The average salary of a food and beverage manager in Australia is around $70 000.
Boutique Accommodation Entrepreneur
Perhaps your dream when you graduate from your hotel management degree is to start your own boutique hotel business. Boutique hotels and small alternative forms of accommodation are a booming industry right now. If you’ve got some Unique Selling Points (USPs) for a boutique business in a desirable location, there’s definitely space in the market for you to build your own hotel enterprise.
A Bachelor of Business (International Hotel and Resort Management) or similar degree is the ideal place to start your career as a boutique hotel entrepreneur, because this essential course teaches you all the core basics of running a hotel from the ground up, including subjects such as:
- Food and Beverage Operations
- Sales and Marketing
- Hotel Planning and Design
- Business Management and Entrepreneurship
- Business Law
- Human Resources Management
Events and Catering
Hotels and accommodation operators often double up as event venues. Whether you work at a small guesthouse that caters to private weddings or a huge hotel hosting international corporate conferences, as a manager in the hotel industry you will have the opportunity to develop a career in the exciting field of events and catering. Some roles you could consider include:
- Meeting, conference and corporate event manager
- Banquet manager
- Venue manager
- Event planner and director
If you enjoy problem solving, designing decor and menus, logistics, managing food and beverage, creating memorable experiences and working with people, this could be the perfect hotel management career pathway for you. The average event manager salary in Australia is $100 000.
The retail and hotel sectors have always been closely aligned, because both involve customer service and luxury marketing. Hotels often feature the luxury products of corporate partners in suites and restaurants. Now, a growing number of luxury clothing and homeware brands, such as Armani, Fendi and Maisons du Monde, are partnering with hotel brands or opening their own hotels, stocked and furnished with their branded items.
A whole new sector of hospitality retail is on the horizon. There is a world of opportunity for a career in retail management, retail marketing and similar roles, when you come from a background and training in hotel management.
A typical retail manager is responsible for:
- Managing and overseeing all operations of both a digital and/or physical retail store.
- Hiring, staffing and training across all departments.
- Budget preparation, planning and oversight.
- Bookkeeping, stock taking and ordering.
- Making decisions on new stock items and establishing relationships with vendors.
- Customer communications, item deliveries and feedback.
The average salary of a retail manager in Australia is $80,000.
As you can see, a hotel management degree opens up opportunities for different types of careers within hotels and accommodation but also in other unexpected areas.
See here for information about the courses on offer at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School, part of Torrens University Australia and the leading hotel management school in Australia and the Asia Pacific.