For graduates, hospitality promises a world of career opportunities
Hospitality is one of the most resilient and dynamic industries in the world. Source: Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

With over 1.3 billion international tourists in 2017 and more travellers crossing borders each year, it’s no surprise that hospitality is one of the most resilient and dynamic industries in the world. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, one in 10 jobs on the planet is supported by travel and tourism. Growing by nearly 4 percent per year, this industry continues to be a powerful generator of career opportunities: one out of every five jobs created in the last decade have been within travel and tourism, and the industry is expected to support an additional 100 million jobs worldwide by 2028.

A common misconception is that the hospitality industry is limited to hotels and restaurants. In fact, this global industry offers hospitality graduates a vast array of job opportunities across the world. While high-end hotels and restaurants provide rewarding career pathways, the reach of hospitality is far broader. Traditionally grouped within the service sector, at its core, hospitality is really the business of delivering experiences. With growing consumer interest in experiences rather than products – and the rise of the so-called ‘experience economy’ – demand for hospitality professionals is widespread and growing fast.

The art of providing exceptional guest experiences is needed not just in hotels and restaurants, but in spa management, event management, luxury brand management, retail, banking, consulting, marketing and the wider business sector. Meanwhile, the travel and tourism landscape has been transformed by technology, making way for new business models and opportunities for entrepreneurs. From online travel agencies and digital concierge services to accommodation-sharing platforms, the hospitality industry encompasses an increasingly diverse range of companies and careers.

This shift towards an experience-driven market has given rise to new creative roles requiring emotional intelligence and the ability to anticipate customer needs. In this regard, hospitality graduates are in a privileged position, as they have often honed the skills that employers seek. For example, after graduating from Glion Institute of Higher Education in 2014, Valentin Tremaud put his hospitality expertise to use at Swiss luxury watch brand Roger Dubuis. Today, as Guest Experience Ambassador, Valentin organises memorable events and behind-the-scenes visits for international VIP clients, press and business partners.

Other roles and business models have also emerged in response to growing demand for unique, memorable experiences. Digital concierge services like Quintessentially and John Paul have successfully used technology to bring the kind of personalised service typically found in top hotels to clients anytime, anywhere. Budget boutique hotels like Mama Shelter and CitizenM immerse guests in authentic neighbourhoods while also hosting social events for visitors and locals. Foodie hotels and experiences invite travellers to savour craft beer, ceviche and more in the places where these products are made. And the rise of such innovative businesses has created new multifaceted career opportunities for aspiring hospitality professionals.

However, as the hospitality industry continues to grow, global employers are increasingly facing a shortage of skilled talent. Graduates with a combination of managerial expertise, soft skills and digital savvy are in high demand and short supply. In 2015, a report by Oxford Economics for the World Travel & Tourism Council indicated that the global skills shortage in hospitality could put over 14 million jobs at risk over the next 10 years.

Hospitality management graduates with the right skillset and knowledge can look forward to a diverse choice of international careers. But business acumen, practical know-how and soft skills are competencies that cannot be developed through classroom learning alone. For this reason, Sommet Education institutions Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches Global Hospitality Education embrace a learning-by-doing approach that integrates academic coursework with practical experience and professional internship semesters, which can be carried out in almost any country. Based on the Swiss model of experiential learning, it’s an educational approach that has earned the respect of employers: both Glion and Les Roches are ranked among the top three hospitality institutions worldwide for employer reputation.

As hospitality offers many different careers, students may wish to focus on a particular area of expertise. Les Roches, with campuses in Switzerland, Spain, the US and China, offers a degree specialisation in hospitality entrepreneurship and hosts an annual start-up bootcamp for students in partnership with talent incubator Seedstars. Glion, with campuses in Switzerland and the UK, offers a degree specialisation in luxury brand management, a first of its kind among hospitality management institutions.

Both institutions offer postgraduate courses and MBAs, designed for hospitality professionals to further develop their business and leadership abilities, while Glion has launched Wellness to Business; a series of executive education courses for hospitality managers and spa directors. These programme innovations enable Glion and Les Roches to provide students with industry-relevant education across a range of topics. But no matter their specialisation, hospitality graduates with management expertise, practical experience and international exposure will discover that their skills can open many doors.

Benoît-Etienne Domenget is CEO of Sommet Education, a group encompassing the prestigious Swiss hospitality management schools Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches Global Hospitality Education. A graduate of HEC Paris, Mr Domenget is a seasoned hospitality professional and has held positions as Senior Vice-President Development EMEA and Managing Director Switzerland with AccorHotels.

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