Salary Outlook for Hospitality Management

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) can open the way to a broad variety of careers in the hospitality industry. The leisure and hospitality industry supersector, which encompasses arts, entertainment, and recreation, as well as accommodation and food services, was blind-sided by the pandemic of 2020-21. From neighborhood country clubs, hotel chains and cruise liners, to destination spas and resorts, convention centers and amusement parks, no business was immune from the effects of the pandemic and the lock-down orders that followed. It was a tough time for all four sectors of the hospitality and tourism industry (H&T) – travel, lodging, recreation and food service were all reeling.

But even though no one could have predicted that a global pandemic would come along and put the brakes on the industry, but with the whole world eager to get back to a sense of normalcy, everyone anticipated it roaring back as people began to plan for vacations and business trips with a whole new level of zeal.

For MBA graduates, opportunities abound for entrepreneurs investing in businesses related to travel services, tour operators, cruise lines, resorts, airlines, institutional catering and food chains.

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statics job category for meeting, convention and event planners is slated for a much faster-than-average job growth rate of 8 percent for the ten-year period from 2019 to 2029.

A separate survey of occupations with the highest job growth projections for the ten-year period leading up to 2029 gives a sense of what hospitality managers can expect to earn.

#1 Restaurant Manager

The restaurant manager position has an average annual salary of more than $47,000. Additional compensation includes bonus, profit-sharing, and commission. Skills that bolster an MBA graduate’s upward career trajectory in this occupation include people management, operations management, payroll administration, customer relationship management (CRM), customer relations, and inventory control. Perks come in the form of the freedom to make operational decisions, ability to save on personal food bills with the free meals, health insurance, retirement plans, paid holidays, and a share in the restaurant’s profits.

#2 Hotel General Manager

A hotel general manager has an average annual salary of more than $57,000. Additional compensation includes profit sharing, commission, and bonus. Capabilities that are recommended for job growth in this occupation include operations management, leadership, customer service, budget management, team leadership, customer relations, and budgeting. Advantages include travel opportunities within international hotel chains, advancement into executive positions, the abundance of job openings, and the option to live on hotel premises for free or discounted rate, which does impact quality of life for the manager and his family.

#3 Corporate Travel Desk Manager

Someone in the corporate travel desk manager position receives an annual average salary of more than $61,000, which can further increase with commission, bonus, and profit sharing. Practitioners consider travel administration and travel planning as valuable skills that can upwardly push the professional’s pay. Responsibilities include managing a company’s approach to travel expenditure, negotiating with travel providers, credit card administration, and management of travel & expense (T&E) costs.

#4 District Manager, Food & Facilities Management Services

A district manager for food & facilities management services earns an average salary of more than $67,000 per year. Additional compensation comes in the form of bonuses and profit sharing. Operations management, profit & loss statements, budget management, people management, team leadership, and training management are essential skills for upward career mobility.

#5 Resort Manager

A person in the resort manager occupation receives more than $49,000 on average in a year. This can be boosted by bonus and commission. Skills that are valued by practitioners include operations management, customer service, and people management. In the area of job satisfaction, respondents indicated they were extremely satisfied.

#6 General Manager, Food Service

The food service general manager position takes home an average annual pay of just over $49,000. Essential additional capabilities for MBA holders include operations management, inventory management, people management, and customer service.

#7 Cruise Ship Captain

The ship captain position has an average annual salary of over $92,000. Important skills to possess as a cruise ship captain encompass knowledge of maritime protocols and safety regulations, security management, compliance with customs and immigration laws, maintenance and upkeep of the cruise ship, and socializing with ship guests. Perks of the job include the opportunity to visit far-flung ports of call around the world as well as luxurious accommodations and free meals aboard palatial cruise ships during the sea voyage.

#8 Ship Officer

The ship officer position receives an average annual salary of nearly $69,000. In a cruise ship setting, a first officer takes responsibility for navigational and watch-keeping tasks. Valuable capabilities include the monitoring of navigational equipment and electronic instruments to ensure proper working condition, the planning and execution of voyages, and participation in periodic safety drills.

#9 Meeting & Convention Services Manager

Someone occupying the meeting and convention services manager position can expect to receive a salary just under $50,000 in a year. Four capabilities seen as valuable to one’s career in this occupation are customer relationship management (CRM), event planning, customer service, and event management.

#10 Director of Events

The director of events position has an average salary of over $71,000 per year. Skills that bolster an MBA holder’s career movement include event management, budget management, event planning, strategic marketing, project management, fundraising, and sales.

#11 Director of Catering

A director of catering earns an average of more than $61,000 in salary in the course of a year. Important skills are sales management, event management, and event planning. Responsibilities include choosing facilities based on event requirements and size, supervision of staff, operating within budget parameters, regular communication, and coordination with customers, and arranging all the details of a banquet. Advantages include free food and beverages, enlargement of an interpersonal and social network, and advancement to executive positions.