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What to Expect as a Leader in Hospitality & Tourism

Lady posing a question to people sitting around a table

February 17, 2017

By: Vince LaRuffa

While the makings of a great leader might seem standard across the board, leadership means different things in different industries. The Hospitality & Tourism (HTM) Master’s Program at San Diego State University prepares leaders for the hotel, restaurant, events, entertainment, and travel sectors by equipping them with a combination of practical and intangible skills. If you are exploring a career in hospitality and tourism, here are a few insider tips from an HTM Master’s alum.

Lead by Example

In hospitality and tourism, leadership entails complete participation. Where in other businesses it is accepted and even expected that leaders will work from behind a computer, the fast-paced nature of day-to-day hospitality operations will keep you involved in many ways. Put simply, our leaders are working leaders. If you’re the type who feeds off the energy around you, there’s no better industry in which to immerse yourself.

Experiences Spread Quickly

Online channels have made it easier than ever for guests to instantly share their experiences with the masses. What that means for leaders in hospitality and tourism is that they need to be able to resolve issues quickly and effectively, while maintaining complete composure. On the flip side, the wildfire works to your advantage when you’re able to create positive experiences. In both instances, the information age instills endless motivation to uphold high standards of service.

Promotions Take Perseverance

Hospitality and tourism is very much a “climb the ladder” industry. There are plenty of opportunities to advance, but it often takes many steps to rise to the top. I specifically use the word perseverance over patience here, because I don’t want to imply that promotions just happen. You have to work with a purpose, position yourself and your team for success, and seize every opportunity you are given. For more perspective in this area, see my previous article on promotability.

Collaboration is Key

Effective hospitality leaders have a knack for making everyone around them feel comfortable and included. You can build organic support for your leadership simply by learning how to interface with everyone in your organization—from the leaders above you, to the ones alongside you, and of course, the countless staff members who keep the day-to-day running smoothly. The more pleasant and seamless interactions with you are, the more your team will realize that you are there to support their efforts rather than simply direct them.

Quiet Time is Essential

The ability to take a step back before you take a step forward will save you from making careless errors. One of the most important pieces of advice I can give you is to designate a time every day—even just 10 minutes—to gather your thoughts, process your priorities, and develop thoughtful solutions. You might also find that this practice sparks new ideas that would otherwise go unrealized.

Learn More About the HTM Master’s Program

The HTM Master’s Program at SDSU is an 18-month program providing a comprehensive overview of the dynamics at work not just in the hospitality and tourism industry, but in virtually any business. There is no better way to learn what’s driving business today and work toward becoming a leader of tomorrow. Click here for everything you need to know about the program in 90 seconds or less.

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