Hospitality Management prepares individuals to serve as general managers and directors of hospitality operations on a system-wide basis, including both travel arrangements and promotion and the provision of traveler facilities.
Employment of meeting, convention, and event planners is projected to grow 33 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “as globalization increases and businesses continue to recognize the value of professionally planned meetings, demand for meetings and events is projected to grow. Job opportunities should be best for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality or tourism management.” At Fisher College in Boston, Mass., Professor Richard Metzger works with students in these fields.
Fisher specifically offers a major in management with a concentration in hospitality. This Bachelor of Science degree has been around a little more than 20 years and Metzger has been at the college since 2008. Metzger entered the collegiate profession after his own 20-plus-year career in the travel industry. He and his wife owned their own travel agency. He is a certified travel consultant, and destinations and lifestyles specialist. “I can speak to what the industry seeks and first and foremost—we need students who enjoy working with people and have good communication skills,” he says. “After all, you are creating a memorable experience that will last a lifetime for them. We need to have students who are outgoing and a little curious about the world around them. Certainly anyone can get into the industry as it’s not a closed industry, but these personality traits help make a student become more successful and I look for those qualities in an individual.”
Along with the personality, Metzger wants students to have a grasp of the social sciences, such as geography, and the social graces. “Students who succeed in knowing where places are will be able to comfortably communicate that destination knowledge in front of a group or one-on-one. I would like to have a student who has good writing skills; a knowledge of math; and some computer skills, which include Microsoft Office, Word, PowerPoint, and e-mailing.”
The four-year program includes courses such as Introduction to Hospitality, an overview course that provides awareness of the variety within the fields of hospitality and tourism. By the second semester, a student in this major takes Introduction to World Destinations. This course explores what makes specific locales popular. “Another popular topic is event and convention planning. It’s a higher-paying profession,” Metzger says. By the sophomore year, the curriculum shifts to hotel and lodging within the hospitality segment. There is also sales and marketing. “In the end, we sell intangible products and that ability to market is key,” he says.
During the junior year, students learn about hospitality law, the risks, and how to mitigate problems. “When students leave Fisher College, I want them to pursue the top jobs. The education Fisher College provides is their foundation.” They also look at the other elements of the hotel industry, such as food and beverage jobs. By the senior year, they are examining contemporary issues in hospitability.
“It’s a capstone course for me. Here we examine current industry-related problems and develop resolutions, or examine and comprehend the solution,” he says. My goal for this class is to engage my students in resolving a real-life Hospitality issue using the knowledge and skills learned at Fisher College. “I look up my contacts and we talk. For example, one local hotel asked my students to help them form a quasi-concierge desk complete with local tourist information. My students also did comprehensive research and made a presentation based on their results, which helped Destination Salem develop its marketing plan.
“I am a big advocate that students get out of their seats; we visit hotels in Boston, tourist attractions, convention centers, cruise lines, tour operators, and participate in unique volunteer opportunities. There are local entertainment venues and historic locations, so I can expose students to what their futures might look like. These opportunities make our classroom discussions and material come alive.”
Metzger also has an advisory board of the movers and shakers in the area. Along with the various classwork, students complete a 120-hour internship. “My students have participated in internships all along the East Coast,” he says. “I have even had students head to Disneyworld in Florida. A world-renowned leader in providing the epitome of entertainment, hospitality, and customer service.”
As for graduates, Metzger’s students have moved throughout the industry, including tourist boards, hotels, airlines, event planning, and cruising. “In our industry, there are so many facets … not just air, hotel, and car … there are theme parks, travel writers, and more. It’s an exciting industry; we are a dynamic, robust, and changing industry, especially in technology and destinations. The industry is not static; a person who chooses this major has to like change. I advise students that their office is not a desk and four walls, it is the world. We not only sell the world, but we get the opportunity to travel and partake in it as well.”
[blockquote source=”Pankhuri Parashar, senior in hospitality program at Fisher College”]You have to become a tourist. Get in the car and travel or take a plane flight. Success comes through hard work. Be malleable as the travel industry changes daily. It’s a business that will be around because people travel each and every day. Hospitality and tourism never go out of style.” [/blockquote]
Senior Pankhuri Parashar was educated in the Middle East, but wanted to come to the United States for college. “Fisher was also one of my first choices so it worked well.” After she graduates from Fisher, Parashar is aiming for graduate school and hoping for a master’s in business administration with a dual degree in international business.
“My family and I have traveled a lot and I decided that I should do something I am passionate about, so I decided to learn about the tourism industry,” she explains. “I have been lucky to have traveled so much and I use that as one of my text books.” While she is looking toward another path, Parashar says her education at Fisher has helped her put the puzzle piece together of what she wants to do. She interned at The Inn at St. Botolph and discovered this aspect of the hospitality field was not for her. Neither was the travel agency internship. “While there were aspects I enjoyed, I realized what I didn’t want to do.”
She credits Metzger for introducing discussions on psychology and the ability to woo clients. “We also have classes on the law of hospitality and tourism. I also appreciated the geography classes. Along the classes that they offer, they provide a lot of business-related courses, which make the decision of choosing occupations and careers easy because of the variety of tools they provide.”
She attended an American high school in the Middle East and graduated with an International Baccalaureate diploma with an emphasis in medicine and science. “Both my parents are doctors. I know I will pursue my Ph.D. but I do not know what my emphasis should be. I have had success in this program because of my time [spent] traveling. That helps with success … the kind of students who aren’t afraid to travel and leave their hometown. You have to become a tourist. Get in the car and travel or take a plane flight. Success comes through hard work. Be malleable as the travel industry changes daily. It’s a business that will be around because people travel each and every day. Hospitality and tourism never go out of style.”
Located in the safe, historical Back Bay neighborhood of Boston, Fisher College has welcomed students from all over Massachusetts, New England, the United States, and the world for more than 100 years.
To learn more about the Hospitality program at Fisher College, visit their website. If you are interested in attending Fisher College, visit their school page to learn more about their campus and degree options.