While most people know that they need a hospitality degree to gain the best careers in the hospitality industry, they may question the need to specialize in a certain hospitality category. Plenty of variety exists in the hospitality career field, and jobs are available for those with general hospitality degrees and those with specializations. However, aspiring professionals in this field should note that many job opportunities that fit the generalist category do not require a university degree, and those who have general hospitality degrees at the undergraduate level face fierce competition from experienced workers in the field. Students who know the career path that they want to follow within the industry should consider distinguishing themselves from the competition with a specialization that matches their career goals. Here are some examples of hospitality careers that benefit from university graduates with specializations.

Luxury Brand Manager

Many budget and moderately priced hotels, restaurants and shops that traditionally rely on sales from leisure travel customers saw significant short falls during the recent economic bad weather that affected world wide markets. However, the niche tourism category that features luxury brands in lodging, dining and boutique shops did not seem to miss a beat because it caters to a different customer base than the traditional hospitality industry. Luxury brands require the application of different marketing techniques, operational activities and management functions. Besides the rare apprenticeship, formal training that is gained within a degree program is the way a person who wants to work in this niche market usually gets started.

Sustainable Tourism Manager

The quest for sustainability is in full swing in the tourism industry. For example, senior leaders for hotels at all price points understand that implementing environmentally friendly initiatives within their properties many times equates to long term cost savings. These efforts to green operations include constructing new buildings that reduce the organization’s reliance on grid energy consumption, use less water and are made from sustainable materials. Some hospitality professionals who help to plan these efforts for businesses operating within the tourism industry have a hospitality degree with a specialization in sustainable tourism management. This versatile degree also allows these professionals to cross over into local government jobs with cities that want to grow their tourism industries while considering environmental impacts.

Culinary Artisans

A major part of the vacation experience is the dining options that are available within particular locales. Subsequently, skilled chefs, cooks and bakers are in high demand in areas that depend primarily on tourism dollars for their economic survival. These culinary professionals are always challenged to create new flavors that outshine offerings at competitor restaurant establishments. Some of these professionals learn on the job, but those seeking to work for more upscale restaurants usually have formal training from degree granting colleges or universities. Schools often offer the specialization of culinary arts as part of an overall hospitality management degree program. This type of program helps students to develop restaurant management skills and the cooking techniques that they will need to work for reputable dining establishments or start their own restaurant.


Some areas of the hospitality industry require workers to have customized training, the application of higher levels of problem solving skills and greater job responsibilities. A company that hires for a position in one of those categories are likely to look for a person who has a specialized hospitality management degree over one who has a general hospitality degree or job experience as a general hospitality industry worker.