15 Careers in Hospitality Management You Can Pursue

Explore the wide variety of careers available in Hospitality Management.

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June 14, 2024 13 min read

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When you hear the word “hospitality,” do you think about the way an all-inclusive resort dotes upon you or how your favorite restaurant creates a warm and inviting vibe?

Those businesses certainly live within the world of hospitality, but they’re just the beginning—the hospitality industry is wide-reaching, spanning dozens of careers across a great number of businesses and appealing to people with a myriad of personalities, backgrounds, and aspirations.

Here’s an explanation of the industry, a description of some of the skills and background you may need for it, and a sampling of possible careers in hospitality management, plus how you can get started on your way to one of them.

What Is Hospitality Management?

The hospitality industry covers a vast array of jobs and careers. This labor sector focuses on operations in restaurants, hotels, resorts, catering companies, hospitals, and more.

Some roles are customer-facing, and some are behind the scenes in administration or operations. Opportunities also exist in everything from small independent operations to multinational chains and corporations and for people looking for a summer job to those pursuing a long-term career.

The industry is typically divided into five sectors: Food and Beverage (F&B); Travel and Tourism; Recreation and Entertainment; Lodging (or Accommodations); and Meetings and Events.

Skills and Background for Hospitality Jobs

Because the industry itself is so wide-ranging, the necessary skills and background are too.

Your baseline will include good time management skills and the ability to adapt and find solutions. Then, depending on the line of work you pursue, you might need good communication skills, an aptitude for finances, or an understanding of operations.

If you’ve already been working, it’s likely that the expertise you’ve picked up in your current and past roles can transfer to hospitality. Consider: an elementary school teacher knows all about planning, relating to different personalities, juggling expectations from people in various roles, and stretching a budget. Imagine how many different hospitality jobs and careers would value that experience!

In addition to on-the-job skills, you might also consider going to culinary school to earn a degree in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management. Escoffier’s coursework covers many of the various skills you may need in the hospitality industry.

15 Possible Careers in Hospitality Management

Ready for some examples? Here are 15 hospitality management careers that you could pursue, nestled within the five sectors.

Food and Beverage

This sector includes jobs and careers related to distribution as well as the typical careers you might envision in restaurants and catering.

Some careers in F&B include:

  • Restaurant owner or manager: These folks know the restaurant business inside and out, from food prep and service to the logistics of ordering supplies and managing payroll.
  • Food truck owner: Maybe you like the idea of running a smaller operation and going out to the people. A food truck might be a good fit. As with any business idea, make sure you do your due diligence about how to run a food truck.
  • Catering company owner or employee: This industry is split between on-site catering, like for weddings and other large events, or off-site catering, where you prep everything elsewhere and then bring it in. There’s a lot of opportunity, whether you decide to start a home-based catering company or work for someone else.

Travel and Tourism

This is a great sector for folks who love to travel or even just love to talk about travel. You can look for a job or career that takes you around the world or find one that keeps you close to home.

Some careers in Travel and Tourism include:

  • Cruise ship or cruise line manager: Cruise ships are sometimes referred to as floating hotels or mini cities out on the ocean. You could be in charge of activities or entertainment, manage the restaurants on board, be in charge of housekeeping, and a number of other roles.
  • Travel agent: In this role, you can help other people plan their dream vacations and business trips while having your own consistent home base. Of course, the perks of the job mean you might sometimes get sent on trips so you can become familiar with the locations.
  • Food Tourism: Culinary tourists travel in search of opportunity to experience locations via their food. This is a unique opportunity for anyone with culinary expertise to help fellow foodies have a great time.
“I’ve visited more than 250 cities and that’s the beauty of the cruise ship industry. I lived in Turkey for more than five years. I spent years in New Zealand. I had the privilege to be in the Galapagos, which is one of the most luxurious destinations in the world, for months.”*
Victor Mancilla
Escoffier Culinary Arts Graduate
*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.

Meetings and Events

As long as there are businesses, there will be meetings. And someone needs to help organize them. If you’re good at handling details as well as communication, you might check this sector out; it includes not only business meetings but events like weddings or bar mitzvahs, too.

Some roles in Meetings and Events include:

  • Event Planner: Event planners coordinate the details of all kinds of special events—a company’s product launch, a charity event, trade shows, or award ceremonies.
  • Entertainment Manager: This role still includes a number of moving parts but is focused on a specific aspect of an event, booking the band or singers or magicians. They’ll handle interviews, bookings, negotiations, and budgets
  • Wedding Planner: If you can juggle a number of moving parts while simultaneously keeping potentially nervous people calm, this could be a job or career for you—and a rewarding one, as you get to help people plan one of the biggest events of their lives.


These roles encompass any of the myriad of positions related to the places people stay when traveling. A few roles here include:

  • Hotel management: A hotel manager can be focused on a particular aspect of the business, like food service or front desk, or they might handle a variety of departments. Often, they recruit and train staff, set budgets, make sure all licenses are up-to-date, lead sales and marketing, and handle complaints.
  • Vacation rental manager: This includes companies that have their own listings—like an agency on a popular shoreline that lists beach houses—and those that manage others, like a company that works as a property manager for Airbnb listings for individuals.
  • RV Park manager: Luxury campgrounds boast many of the same kinds of amenities as a hotel but with a different layout and challenges. But they still have staff, bookings, budgets, food service, and entertainment to take care of.

Recreation and Entertainment

Sometimes, sectors will overlap with each other, and this is a good example—if you’re working in concert planning, you might find crossover between some roles here and in event management.

Some roles here include:

  • Concessions: This can include positions that oversee the concession stands at concert and sports venues or the coordination of food trucks for an outdoor event or pop-up stands for a carnival.
  • Country Club manager: This role can include overseeing food service and guest services as well as budgeting, facilities maintenance, and staffing.
  • Theme park manager: Once again, here’s a role where food service knowledge is necessary, plus expertise in facilities maintenance, staffing, budgeting, event planning, and more.

Hospitality Includes So Much More: 8 Bonus Ideas

This list barely scratches the surface. Whatever your interest and experience, you can probably connect it to a potential career in hospitality management.

Here are some other ideas to help you brainstorm:

  1. Bar or nightclub owner or manager
  2. Airline culinary operations manager or customer service manager
  3. Human resources for a restaurant group, hotel, or other hospitality business
  4. Distribution representative or manager for a food or beverage manufacturer
  5. Buyer or manager for food or beverage retailer like Costco, Sam’s Club, or Total Wine
  6. Manager with major food providers for schools, nursing homes, and hospitals like Aramark or Sodexo
  7. Educator at a culinary school
  8. Consultant for hospitality businesses
“The great thing about the Hospitality Industry is that there are so many different career paths our students can choose to take. The path to a Management position may start in the Front of the House or the Back of the House.”
Vicki Berger
Vicki Berger
Escoffier Chef Instructor, Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management
*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.

Tips for Choosing Your Path

With so many options ahead of you, how do you know which career path is right for you? Here are some tips to help you narrow down your choices.

Write Down What Interests You About Hospitality

What is it that draws you to this field?

Is it helping people to celebrate life’s big moments? Then event planning, catering, or managing a hotel or resort with a honeymoon or anniversary crowd may be good options.

Do you want opportunities to travel? Hospitality management on a cruise ship involves the service of a resort and travel to some of the world’s most beautiful places.

As you evaluate your options, look at where your skills and preferences overlap with the jobs that interest you, and where you identify some gaps. Can those gaps be filled with the right training and education, and are you willing to put in the work?

Two people stand inside of a food truck and face the camera, smiling. The food truck is called “Huevos Estrellados.”

Food trucks are as popular as ever and could provide a flexible business opportunity.

Think About What Work Environments Sound Appealing

The vibe of a Las Vegas nightclub can be wildly different from a wedding venue. And yet, they’re both hospitality businesses.

Are you a night owl extrovert who loves to be in the thick of things? Or do you prefer a more structured work environment that has you at home every evening? There’s a place for both types—and many others—in hospitality management.

A career should play to your strengths. If you’re the sociable type, you may prefer a customer-facing position. If you’re more introverted, you may fare better in an office position that focuses on your employees rather than the customers.

Two people sit at a table facing each other. The person to the right is wearing a black suit and beard and has a laptop and a plate of greens in front of them. The person to the left wears a white chef’s apron and is smiling while holding a fork.

A career in hospitality management can take many forms.

Try It Out

You’ll never really know what a job is like until you try it. A quick way to do this without making a major commitment is to shadow someone for a few days or to do an industry externship.

In Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts’ online Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management program, all students will complete a hands-on industry externship before they graduate with their associate degree. You can use this opportunity to find out what these careers are like and “try it on” to see if it’s a good fit.

If you think you’ve found the organization for you, your externship can be a great way to get your foot in the door. Escoffier Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management Instructor Vicki Berger says, “The externship class allows students—even those with no prior experience—to get their foot in the door. Once they gain that valuable experience, it is easier for them to determine which path they want to take with their careers.”

That initial externship could lead to bigger and better things down the line.

Where to Start with Your Hospitality Management Career

With so many opportunities ahead of you, you may not know where to start.

An education foothold is critical, especially for those who don’t have 20 years of experience. Hospitality management is management. These positions play a large role in the profitability of the business, and they are very often leadership roles as well.

“Our students are taught the financial aspects of running a successful hospitality operation. Being able to apply this knowledge in the workplace will make them valued employees.”*
Vicki Berger
Vicki Berger
Escoffier Chef Instructor, Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management
*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.

An education can also help you to understand your employees’ job descriptions and challenges. This makes for more empathetic and effective managers and gives graduates tools to help resolve staff issues.

With Escoffier’s online associate degree program in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management, students are provided with a foundation for a successful future in hospitality management, in all its many forms. Professionalism and communications, customer service, leadership, and human resources can give students an array of soft skills and management tools. Coursework in menu design, catering and events, beverage service operations, cost control, and facilities operations introduce them to the business side of hospitality.

This bird’s eye view of hospitality and restaurant operations management leaves students prepared for an entry-level management position in any hospitality organization.

And since the program is 100% online (with a hands-on industry externship), students can complete their education while they work full-time or part-time, and still have time for friends and family.

A person sits at a table with a laptop and wears earbuds. A notebook is open on the table next to the laptop, and they hold a pen, ready to take notes.

An online degree can provide you the flexibility to get a degree while still working or tending to other responsibilities.

Is Hospitality Management for You?

Some people just know they’re destined to be leaders. Whether that means opening their own restaurant or bar, keeping things running smoothly in a boutique hotel, or climbing the ranks with a major food and beverage provider like Sodexo, hospitality management can appeal to leaders.

Gain insight into the industry and start from a place of business knowledge by getting your associate degree in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management from Escoffier.


*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.

**This article was originally published on July 23, 2021 and has since been updated.

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