Online Hotel Management Degree Programs

How to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel Management Online

An online bachelor's degree in hotel management prepares you to pursue exciting roles in lodging at hotels, resorts, and bed and breakfasts. The degree also allows graduates to take advantage of a fast-paced, quickly growing industry with substantial salaries. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that lodging managers earned annual median salaries of $53,390 in 2018. These degrees also transfer seamlessly to distance learning, which affords students the opportunity to further their studies while managing personal or professional responsibilities.

Read on to learn more about available jobs, average salaries, common courses, and various funding opportunities for those pursuing a hotel management degree.

How Much Can You Make in a Hotel Management Career?

Graduates of a bachelor’s in hotel management can pursue a wide variety of professional roles, depending on their particular areas of interest and expertise. Some may be drawn to the professionalism and structure of a multinational hotel chain, while others may enjoy the friendly hustle and bustle of a quaint, one-of-a-kind bed and breakfast. Regardless of your desires, chances are there is a role to fit your needs. When reviewing potential careers in the following section, remember that no degree guarantees a specific career or salary. However, these jobs are commonly held by graduates of hotel management programs.

Lodging Manager

These professionals manage hotels and resorts to ensure that every guest has a pleasant stay and that everything runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis. They inspect public areas to ensure cleanliness; manage groundskeepers, maids, and food staff; create timetables; train front desk staff; and set rates for rooms and conference or event spaces.

Median Annual Salary: $53,390

Job Growth (2016-2026): 4%

Property Manager

Property managers oversee residential and community properties on behalf of the owners. They meet with and process new tenants, handle applications and contracts, collect rent, oversee cleaning and maintenance staff, pay associated bills, inspect facilities when tenants move in or out, handle complaints, and monitor and maintain budgets.

Median Annual Salary: $58,340

Job Growth (2016-2026): 10%

Food Service Manager

Food service managers work in restaurants, hotels, and resorts to manage the day-to-day operations of their establishment. They typically oversee back-of-house staff, but may also be responsible for servers and hosts. They order food and beverage supplies, hire and train new staff, monitor equipment and arrange for maintenance or replacements, create schedules, handle customer complaints, and manage budgets.

Median Annual Salary: $54,240

Job Growth (2016-2026): 9%

Travel Agent

Travel agents work with their clients to plan and arrange trips based on individual tastes and needs. They meet with clients to determine their budget and desired locations, then coordinate with airlines, hotels, resorts, cruise ships, car rental companies, and excursion providers to design a trip that fits their parameters. Travel agents book reservations, advise on required documentation, and answer questions about local customs, exchange rates, and friendliness towards Americans.

Median Annual Salary: $38,700

Job Growth (2016-2026): 12%

Meeting, Convention, or Event Planner

These individuals work in hotels, convention centers, event spaces, and resorts to plan events and meetings. They liaise with clients to understand their needs, provide details on estimated costs, hire vendors, create timelines, organize ad hoc staff to handle all aspects of the event, monitor spending, provide any necessary security, and monitor activities during the event.

Median Annual Salary: $49,370

Job Growth (2016-2026): 11%

When reviewing potential job offers, it’s important for graduates of online hotel management degrees to remember that salaries depend heavily on factors such as level of experience, level of degree attained, industry, and geographic location. For example, lodging managers in Washington D.C. earn annual mean wages of $119,460 -- far above the national average. Other states with high wages in the industry include Hawaii, North Carolina, New York, and New Jersey. States with the highest concentration of jobs include Wyoming, North Dakota, Maine, Hawaii, and Montana.

What Courses Can Be Taken for an Online Hotel Management Degree?

Courses for online hotel management degrees provide a foundational understanding of the industry, as well as tools to respond to common issues. The classes in this section provide you with a glimpse of what to expect, but visiting the website of each individual school you're interested in to review the course of study is the best way to understand the details of the curriculum.

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    Hotel Financial Management: This course familiarizes degree-seekers with common financial procedures and management techniques, including balance sheets, profit and loss margins, forecasting, and banking procedures used in hotel management.
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    Hotel Management Leadership: Students gain skills in managing and leading a diverse group of employees. The class places special emphasis on leading by example, decision-making, problem-solving, and effective communication.
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    Front Desk Approaches: This class familiarizes students with practices that make processes such as reservations, check-in, room service, requests for additional services, and check-out a breeze for the customer.
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    Managing the Guest Experience: Learners explore how to create guest-driven experiences that encourage loyalty, word of mouth recommendations, and multiple visits. Students consider the tenets of hospitality and customer service.
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    Sustainability in Hotels: Students learn how to implement more sustainable policies and practices when managing a hotel, including limiting water usage, using recyclable products, and offering earth-friendly bath products.

How to Choose the Best Online Hotel Management Program

Enrolling in an online hotel management degree at the bachelor’s level is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. As students consider making this large investment of time, energy, and money, they naturally have lots of questions about the process and what it entails. The following section provides answers to the most common questions to help you make an informed and confident decision.

Q. What strategies should I follow in choosing my hotel management courses?

A. It’s important to remember that the vast majority of bachelor’s in hotel management programs require all learners to complete a set number of core courses. These classes provide the foundation upon which you can build advanced knowledge about particular areas of the discipline. When choosing electives and other classes, start by reviewing the available courses to ensure they align with your interests and professional goals.

Q. Should I have any concerns about completing this degree online?

A. In short, no. Given that online programs consist primarily of reading, completing assignments, taking part in group assignments, and sitting for exams, most coursework translates well to digital learning platforms. Students usually have no problem completing their hotel management degree online. Rather than interacting with your peers and professors in person, you’ll simply do this through email, telephone conversations, forums, and internal messaging tools.

Q. How do internships or field placements work with an online hotel management degree?

A. Internships and field placements work similarly to those completed by students at a brick-and-mortar campus. If you live near the school, you may be able to choose from a list of pre-approved internship sites. If you live further afield, you may need to submit a list of potential sites to the program director and/or internship coordinator to receive approval.

Q. What should I pay attention to when reviewing faculty profiles?

A. Faculty profiles can provide significant insight about both the institution and the individual teacher. If none of the faculty members possess training or experience in your particular area of interest, it may not be a good fit. Similarly, if most faculty members moved straight from being a student to lecturing as a professor, they may lack the professional experience necessary to provide real-world examples.

Q. Should I look for a specific curriculum focus?

A. Online hotel management degrees at the bachelor’s level usually do not provide specializations or concentrations; rather, they instill learners with an overarching knowledge of the discipline. That being said, you may be able to customize your degree to some extent by using any available electives to focus on topics of interest (e.g., finance, event planning, hospitality).

Q. How will this degree help me reach my goals?

A. The reality is that most employers require any candidate to possess a bachelor's degree to receive serious consideration. If given the option to hire someone with a degree in hotel management versus a candidate with no higher education, most employers prefer the former.

Q. Should I consider pursuing an advanced degree in hotel management?

A. Online master’s in hotel management programs are a popular option, and for good reason: these advanced degrees allow students to specialize their knowledge in a particular area and help them qualify for roles in research, leadership, policy, and higher education. If you find yourself seeking career advancement after a few years of professional experience, consider looking into these programs.

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Hotel Management Programs

It’s rare these days for students to pay for their bachelor’s in hotel management out-of-pocket. Learners looking to avoid substantial student debt often apply for scholarships and grants, as these sources of funding do not require repayment, provided all terms of the award are met. Review the top scholarships highlighted in this section, but also check with state and local governments, hotel companies, professional associations, and private foundations for additional funding opportunities.

American Express Hospitality Scholarship

This award is available to full- and part-time learners enrolled in hospitality management or related degree. Applicants must work at least 20 hours a week at an approved hotel or be a dependent of a qualified employee. Full-time students receive $2,000 and part-time students receive $1,000. Applications do not require letters of recommendation.

Apply for Scholarship

California Hotel and Lodging Association Scholarship

This scholarship benefits students from California or those working toward a two- or four-year hospitality or hotel management degree in the state. Applicants must take at least 12 credits per semester, possess a GPA of 2.75 or higher, and demonstrate work experience in the hospitality industry outside of required internships. Application materials should include a current resume, official transcripts, and an essay of 500 words or less on why you want to pursue a career in this area.

Apply for Scholarship

Mary Margaret Traxler Scholarship

Awarded through the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, this $2,000 scholarship assists students enrolled in hospitality management or a related program at a North Carolina college or university. Applicants must provide a completed application, evidence of financial need, an essay, letters of recommendation, and an up-to-date resume.

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Timothy S.Y. Lam Scholarship

This foundation offers up to $2,000 for students enrolled in hospitality-related degrees, including hotel operations and management. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and provide a resume, essay, reference letter, academic transcripts demonstrating academic excellence, and a completed application. Scholarships are available for the fall and spring semesters.

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Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Management Students

Hyatt Hotels offers a $3,000 award and plaque to full-time students enrolled in a hotel management degree who identify as members of a minority population (e.g., African American, Native American/Alaskan, Hispanic, or Asian/Pacific Islander). Candidates must be at least a junior when they apply and demonstrate proof of American citizenship or permanent residency.

Apply for Scholarship