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Opportunities in a Resort Management Career the Billion Dollar Tourism Industry

Aug 17, 2007
Tourism and commercial recreation is over an $800 billion industry in the United States. Globally, tourism accounts for approximately 12% of the Gross Domestic Product, employing 10% of the worldwide labor force. It is estimated that by the year 2020, more than half of all employed people in the world will be involved directly or indirectly with the tourism industry. In the United States, travel-related tourism is the first, second or third largest employer in 32 states.

Resort hotels and motels offer luxurious surroundings with a variety of recreational facilities, such as swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts, game rooms, and health spas, as well as planned social activities and entertainment. Resorts typically are located in vacation destinations or near natural settings, such as mountains, the seashore, theme parks, or other attractions. As a result, the business of many resorts fluctuates with the season. Some resort hotels and motels provide additional convention and conference facilities to encourage customers to combine business with pleasure. During the off season, many of these establishments solicit conventions, sales meetings, and incentive tours to fill their otherwise empty rooms; some resorts even close for the off-season.

A hospitality management career is high-energy and social. You'll meet interesting people and work in some of the most beautiful places on earth - anywhere there is a need for resort or hotel management.

The skills and knowledge developed in this field of study are leadership, marketing, qualitative skills, research and evaluation, programming (recreation, leisure and meetings), planning and policy, legal aspects, and communications.

Most hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks receive orientation and training on the job. Orientation may include an explanation of the job duties and information about the establishment, such as the arrangement of sleeping rooms, availability of additional services, such as a business or fitness center, and location of guest facilities, such as ice and vending machines, restaurants and other nearby retail stores. New employees learn job tasks through on-the-job training under the guidance of a supervisor or an experienced desk clerk. They often receive additional training on interpersonal or customer service skills and on how to use the computerized reservation, room assignment, and billing systems and equipment. Desk clerks typically continue to receive instruction on new procedures and on company policies after their initial training ends.

Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks deal directly with the public, so a professional appearance and a pleasant personality are important. A clear speaking voice and fluency in English also are essential, because these employees talk directly with hotel guests and the public and frequently use the telephone or public-address systems. Good spelling and computer literacy are needed, because most of the work involves use of a computer. In addition, speaking a foreign language fluently is increasingly helpful, because of the growing international clientele of many properties.

Resort managers experience the pressures of coordinating a wide range of activities. At larger hotels, they also carry the burden of managing a large staff and finding a way to satisfy guest needs while maintaining positive attitudes and employee morale. Conventions and large groups of tourists may present unusual problems or require extended work hours.

The recreation department's major in tourism management prepares students to work in such diverse sectors of the travel and tourism industry as tour operations, resort management, convention management, meeting planning, and commercial recreation management. It includes courses in management of park and recreation facilities, tourism, tourism systems planning, resource tourism, convention management, meeting planning, marketing of leisure services, and the legal aspects of recreation and tourism. The program requires both field experience and a professional internship.

Careers Specific to the Bachelor's Degree are convention and visitors bureau management, convention services manager, special event coordinator, meeting/conference planner, tour operations management, on-site meeting manager, travel agent trainee, cruise hospitality, hotel management trainee, resort recreation management, tour coordinator, natural or cultural tour guide, and park manager.

With preparation in tourism management, individuals have skills related to management and leadership which would contribute to any type of position sought in the tourism industry. The tourism industry is within the top three industries of most countries in the world and provides numerous career opportunities at a variety of levels of service, production and management.

After finding employment, proving oneself capable and making contacts in the industry, a person finds that a wide variety of advanced career opportunities present themselves.

The Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management requires a minimum of 120 units for graduation. This interdisciplinary program prepares students for careers in the hospitality industry and includes basic core courses and an area of concentration. The areas of concentration are Commercial Recreation and Resort Management from the College of Health and Human Services; Hotel Management from the College of Business; and Restaurant and Institutional Foodservice Management from the College of Health and Human Services. The core curriculum is housed in the Department of Hospitality Management, College of Business.

The Concentration in Commercial Recreation and Resort Management prepares graduates to be entrepreneurs, managers, planners, and program supervisors in the commercial recreation, travel tourism, and resort management career areas. The goals are to assist students to acquire knowledge, skills, practical experience, and job placement in leisure and travel related businesses.

Students learn about the travel and tourism system, economic and social impacts of tourism, resort development and marketing, tourist motivations, special events management, theme parks, transportation used by travelers, ecotourism, incentive travel, tour company operations and sales, spas, conference and meeting planning, destination marketing, and cultural tourism.

The Concentration in Hotel Management prepares students to manage and operate hotels, motels, and other lodging business. Major management functions include various aspects of accounting and cost controls, sales and marketing, property management, and use of hospitality management information systems. Emphasis is placed on problem solving situations and case studies to support the didactic approach to instruction.

The Concentration in Restaurant and Institutional Foodservice Management prepares students for management positions in various branches of the food service industry. The goal is to develop restaurant and institutional foodservice managers who combine knowledge and skills in business, food production, and services in the foodservice industry.

Completion of the core and concentration courses provides students with theoretical knowledge for successful attainment of top-level management positions in the professions of hotel management, restaurant and institutional foodservice management, or commercial recreation and resort management. The curriculum combines strengths in management with technical skills and internship opportunities in each area.
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