How to Identify a Good Innovative Hospitality Management Degree Program

  • Sustainability Element
  • Awareness of Travel Trends
  • Digital Strategy
  • Marketing Savvy
  • Focus on Employee Management

Most people are aware that the hospitality industry has to do with tourism, hotels and other facilities and services used by visitors, but fewer might be familiar with the concept of an innovative hospitality management degree program. Innovative hospitality management is a concept that refers to a forward-thinking approach to the field, and there are a few hallmarks of a program that prepares a student for such an approach.

Related resource: Top 15 Hotel and Hospitality Management Online Degree Programs

1. Sustainability Element

“Sustainability” has become a buzzword in many industries, but that is because customers are increasingly demanding it. An innovative hospitality management program will proceed from this assumption and focus on how hotels, tour operators and other hospitality businesses can balance profit with eco-awareness. A program might consider what sustainability means in terms of the industry, look at research and frameworks for sustainability within the industry, cover best practices for sustainable companies and look at practical solutions for energy management among other concerns.

2. Awareness of Travel Trends

The traditional hospitality industry faces a huge disruptive force in the form of peer-to-peer networks like Airbnb, and any innovative hospitality management program must address how this has changed the industry in just a few short years. The gig economy and the prevalence of startups means management at traditional tour operators, hotels and others will need to think about how to add value that will continue attracting customers despite the popularity of these newer approaches.

3. Digital Strategy

Hand-in-hand with an awareness of travel trends is the necessity of learning about digital strategies. Hospitality operators cannot expect to survive without a strong brand presence online and an understanding of how to navigate the digital world. An article in Forbes outlines several critical qualities for success in the digital world of hospitality including building a brand, making use of brand loyalty, responding to negative customer feedback and more. An innovative hospitality management program will emphasize the importance of developing an overall digital strategy.

4. Marketing Savvy

As an article that appeared in the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research explains, some innovative strategies fail because a manager is attached to an idea but has done no market research to find out if it is truly viable. While most hospitality businesses will have marketing departments, it is critical for management to understand the importance of market research and how to gauge what changes will lead to positive outcomes. An innovative hospitality management program must emphasize the role of marketing even though it is not the central focus of the program.

5. Focus on Employee Management

At its core, good management in any field has a substantial component of good employee management, and this is true in the hospitality industry as well. According to the article in the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, strategic human resource management, as opposed to traditional human resource management, is important in successful innovation in the industry. Involving employees at every level, implementing effective training and empowering employees are all elements of innovative hospitality management, and a degree program must instruct students on how to manage with these principles in mind.

As travel and leisure activities become increasingly accessible to more people, applying innovative principles to hospitality management will become critical for the businesses and organizations in the industry to survive. The above elements of a strong innovative hospitality management degree program can help ensure that a student is well prepared for the changes in the industry.