What Is Hospitality Management? Careers, Skills, Salaries, and More

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Hospitality management involves all the tasks and aspects of managing a hospitality business. These businesses focus on welcoming customers and providing them with pleasant experiences through dining, lodging, events, entertainment, or travel.

[Featured image] A person working in hospitality management stands in a hotel lobby holding a laptop computer.

Take a closer look at how hospitality management is different from hotel management and examples of hospitality management career paths. You'll also discover the skills and education needed to succeed in this industry, the job outlook, and how to get started.

Hospitality management vs. hotel management

Hotel management has to do with the lodging industry only, and hospitality management involves a variety of industries. Hotel management is a type of hospitality administration. You'll find that hospitality businesses typically fall under one of five key categories:

  • Food and beverage

  • Lodging

  • Meetings and events

  • Recreation

  • Travel and tourism 

Career paths in hospitality management 

A background in hospitality management may open a variety of job opportunities. Here are some of the career paths you can take.

*All salary data sourced from Indeed as of January 2024

Hotel manager

Hotel managers use business, management, and interpersonal skills to oversee the day-to-day operations of a hotel, motel, lodge, inn, or resort. The various hotel department heads report directly to them, and they must know all areas of hotel management. Depending on size, the departments within a hotel might include:

  • Accounts

  • Food and beverage services

  • Front office

  • Housekeeping

  • Human resources

  • Information technology

  • Kitchen and food production

  • Maintenance and engineering

  • Marketing and sales

  • Purchasing

  • Security

The level of education needed for a hotel general manager depends on the business size. You'll likely need a first university degree in hotel management or hospitality to work for a full-service hotel. Smaller hotels will often hire general managers with relevant vocational training. Luxury hotels may require a second university degree in hospitality management. 

Average annual base salary (IN): ₹4,40,000 

Restaurant manager

Restaurant managers perform all the tasks that ensure a restaurant runs smoothly, such as:

  • Hiring restaurant staff

  • Setting schedules

  • Dealing with customer problems

  • Overseeing food prep and plating

  • Ordering food and restaurant supplies

Special skills that might benefit you in this job include working under pressure, flexibility with your schedule, and good communication skills. 

To become a restaurant manager, you can finish secondary school and work your way up to a position in a restaurant, or you can get a university degree. Many restaurant management positions call for coursework or vocational training in restaurant or hospitality management.  

Average annual base salary (IN): ₹4,20,000 

Front office manager

Front office managers are responsible for the operation of a front office. In the hospitality industry, this might be the front office of a hotel, a casino, an event company, or an eco-adventure business. Some duties may include:

  • Overseeing the front office staff

  • Accounting

  • Record keeping

  • Answering phone calls

  • Interacting with customers 

You'll need workplace skills to communicate in person and in writing, good supervisory skills, and the capacity to work well under pressure. 

You'll need at least to finish secondary school to become a front office manager and some experience working in a front office. Or, you can get a first university degree in communications, business management, or human resources.  

Average annual base salary (IN): ₹2,80,000 

Housekeeping Manager

A housekeeping manager is in charge of the housekeeping department in a business that provides lodging like a hotel or resort. Some duties include:

  • Hiring and training housekeeping staff

  • Managing staff schedules

  • Overseeing housekeeping needs for regular business and events

  • Helping out with cleaning tasks 

To get a position as a housekeeping manager, you might only need to finish secondary school and gain significant housekeeping experience. However, some housekeeping manager positions require a hotel or hospitality management certification.

Special skills needed for this job include:

  • Leadership

  • The ability to work independently or with a team

  • Superior customer service

  • Good time management skills

Average annual salary (IN): ₹3,36,000 


Sommeliers have a deep knowledge of wine and understand how to recommend and serve it to customers. Their knowledge of wine might include:

  • Types of grapes used to make wines

  • Where wine grapes are grown

  • Select wine regions around the world

  • The proper way to taste wine 

Becoming a sommelier helps to have experience in a fine dining restaurant as a front-of-house attendant. Working up to a sommelier position is possible, but an educational programme designed specifically for sommeliers can efficiently learn what you need to know. 

Two institutions offering advanced wine or sommelier education programmes include the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the Sonal Holland Wine Academy. The time it takes to get these certifications can span from three months to three years.

Average annual salary (IN): ₹2,88,000

Catering assistant

Catering assistants work for catering companies, preparing and serving meals for events. Special skills needed for this position include knowledge of food preparation, food service, and food safety. You'll also need good time management and customer service skills

Catering assistant duties include:

  • Loading and unloading food and catering supplies

  • Washing, cutting, and peeling foods

  • Preparing salads and sauces

  • Setting up dining areas and buffets 

To become a catering assistant, you'll usually need to complete secondary school and get experience working in the food industry. 

Average annual salary (IN): ₹2,76,000 

Travel agent

Travel agents plan different aspects of trips for travellers. Duties typically include conducting research and consulting with customers. They're also responsible for booking flights, cruises, car rentals, hotels, tours, restaurant reservations, and event tickets. Special skills valuable to travel agents include good verbal communication, time management, and working under pressure. 

 To become a travel agent, you'll need to finish secondary school and take at least a few courses in travel planning from a college or a vocational programme. 

Average annual salary (IN): ₹2,77,740

Tour guide

As a tour guide, you'll inform visitors or travellers about a particular place or a group of destinations. Examples include museums, government buildings, historic sites, parks, neighbourhoods, and whole towns or cities. Additional job duties might include:

  • Collecting fees

  • Providing maps and brochures

  • Translating for foreign visitors

  • Giving briefings on safety procedures

Special skills that benefit tour guides include:

  • An engaging personality

  • Comfort with public speaking

  • The ability to stay organised

  • Foreign language skills 

Average annual salary (IN): ₹2,76,000 

Event planner

As an event planner, you're responsible for the activities that ensure an event goes smoothly. Your duties often include:

  • Booking event sites 

  • Hiring caterers, entertainment, photographers, and other vendors

  • Consulting with customers

  • Overseeing staff

  • Negotiating vendor contracts

  • Supervising event setup and breakdown 

Necessary event planner skills include time management, working under pressure, and attention to detail.

While some event planning jobs require a first university degree in hospitality management, several certifications may also help you qualify for more positions. Examples of online certificates you can get include a Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM) or the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) credential. 

Average annual salary (IN): ₹6,36,000

Marketing manager

As a marketing manager at a hotel, you're responsible for maximising profits by boosting customer awareness and satisfaction. Duties typically include:

  • Managing hotel marketing staff 

  • Promoting the hotel through print, radio, video, and online marketing

  • Conducting market research to determine the needs of customers 

  • Building good customer relations 

Becoming a hotel marketing manager requires a first university degree in marketing or hotel management and some experience in sales or marketing.   

Average annual salary (IN): ₹14,00,000 

Do you need a degree to work in hospitality management?

Whether or not you need a degree to work in hospitality management depends on the job. While a tour guide may not need a university degree, a hotel general manager often requires a first and second university degree. 

What skills do you need to work in hospitality management?

Good communication skills, attention to detail, and proficiency in the technical skills specific to your job may help you succeed in hospitality management. Here's a look at the workplace and technical skills you will typically need.  

Workplace skills

Since jobs in the hospitality industry focus on giving customers enjoyable experiences, certain people skills are valuable. These often include:

  • Communication

  • Time management

  • Patience

  • Teamwork

  • Ability to multitask

  • Attention to detail

  • A positive attitude

  • Problem-solving

  • Flexibility

Technical skills

The types of technical skills you'll need for a job in the hospitality industry depend on the particular job. For instance, if you have a position as a front office manager, you may need to be good with numbers and have familiarity with accounting software. For an event planning position, you'd want to know about design, and as a hotel marketing manager, you would benefit from having a solid grasp of social media.

What is the job outlook for hospitality management?

The coronavirus pandemic greatly affected the leisure and hospitality industry, but this sector is bouncing back in India. By 2027, experts predict income from India's travel and tourism market will grow to (US) $125 billion as compared to roughly (US) $75 billion in 2020 [1]. Therefore, the job outlook appears bright.  

To pursue your interest in a career in hospitality management, here are a few ways to get started:

  • Consider an internship or an entry-level job in the hospitality industry to determine if it's a good fit for you.

  • Identify if you have special knowledge or skills that would transfer to a hospitality management position.

  • Get a better understanding of the industry by taking a few hospitality courses. 

Next steps

If you're interested in being a hotel general manager, front office manager, or marketing manager, check out this Hotel Management Specialisation offered by ESSEC Business School on Coursera. If the travel and tourism industry is more to your liking, you might be interested in a Sustainable Tourism Course from the University of Copenhagen. 

Article sources

1. India Brand Equity Foundation. “Tourism & Hospitality Industry in India, https://www.ibef.org/industry/tourism-hospitality-india.” Accessed February 4, 2024.

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