Your Comprehensive Guide to the Hospitality Industry

Your Comprehensive Guide to the Hospitality Industry

Your Comprehensive Guide to the Hospitality Industry banner

The hospitality industry encompasses multiple service industry sectors, including restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, and other components of the tourism industry. It serves as one of the most prominent job creators in the U.S. and provides a massive economic contribution.

Although hospitality was one of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic, everyone was ready to visit their favorite bars and restaurants and invest in the travel industry once the worst had passed and lockdowns were lifted.

If you are interested in studying hospitality at Johnson & Wales University and want to learn as much as possible, we have created a guide to help.

Let’s learn more about the hospitality sector to supplement your undergraduate degree with current and real-world information.


According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) 2022 report entitled The Year of the “New” Traveler, “Hotel occupancy is expected to continue trending upward from the historic lows of 2020, averaging 63.4% for the year.” With that, it might take a while to return to pre-pandemic numbers, but it’s important to note that the food and lodging industry numbers are trending upward.

According to the report, the employment factor in the hotel industry is especially positive with hotels projected to employ 2.19 million people by the end of 2022, which puts it at 93% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The food service and catering industries are forecast to reach $898B in sales in 2022, per the National Restaurant Association. The workforce is expected to grow by 400,000 jobs by the end of 2022, resulting in total industry employment of 14.9 million.

Even with these positive developments in the restaurant industry, recovery remains slow after taking such hard hits during the pandemic. Additional factors that have impeded progress include the supply chain crisis and the conflict in Eastern Europe. However, a positive note is that people still want to go out and enjoy a good meal with friends and family. It’s a matter of time and patience until everyone returns in pre-Covid numbers.

After this brief overview of the most representative sectors in the hospitality industry, we want to go into more depth on those and share the other crucial sectors in this industry.


Throughout modern times, people have traveled and sought accommodation while en route or once they reach their destinations. Before the 19th century, there were small inns available. But early in the 1800s, inns and other lodgings became increasingly available and accessible to weary travelers on the road. Guests increasingly enjoyed the comfort and luxury factor, which led to the creation of hotels where fluffy pillows and firm mattresses became the norm.

The beginning of the 20th century introduced the era of modern hospitality, when architectural and interior design became as much a part of the experience as turned-down sheets. Hotels became the gold standard of pampering and luxury during travel or even as a destination.

The 21st century has introduced various technologies, such as AI and IoT, to add even more comfort and convenience, while businesses like Airbnb revolutionized the bed and breakfast and homestay experience.


The hospitality industry is broad, covering multiple customer satisfaction-based sectors focused on providing leisure, food, and comfortable accommodation. Once you start exploring this industry, you’ll find multiple subcategories, including lodging, theme parks, transportation, event planning, hostels, and cruise lines. These and other areas that require top customer service often fit into the hospitality industry.

Let’s look closely at each of the four main sectors in this multibillion-dollar industry.

Food and Beverage

The food and beverage industry is large and varied, offering everything from healthy meals, snacks, and lunch-on-the-go, to five-star restaurants and your favorite fast-food stop.

The industry’s supply chain includes food processing, packaging, and distribution, although it is not involved with raw food production, which is a part of the agricultural industry. The types of foods include:

  • Fresh foods
  • Packaged foods
  • Beverages – alcoholic and non-alcoholic
  • Food sold at the grocery store for home meal preparation or to serve in restaurants, institutions, or events

Here are some different types of food and beverage businesses:

  • Fine dining restaurants
  • Fast service restaurants
  • Traditional restaurants
  • Steak houses
  • Mom and pop restaurants
  • Bars and pubs
  • Bistros
  • Cafes
  • Food trucks
  • Themed restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Pizza restaurants
  • Vegan/Vegetarian restaurants
  • Restaurants in shopping centers or mall food courts
  • Catering businesses

Here are some common job titles in the food and beverage industry:


Lodging means accommodation, whether in hotels, motels, or hostels. It provides you with a place to sleep while traveling. Lodging businesses market and rent out spaces to leisure, business, budget, and long-term stay travelers and for people who work for the airlines, government, and military.

Here are some examples of lodging businesses:

  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Hostels
  • Vacation rentals
  • Airbnbs
  • Resorts
  • Inns
  • Extended stay hotels
  • Bed and breakfasts
  • Guest houses
  • Farm stays
  • Camping cabins

Common lodging job titles include:

  • Hotel or motel manager
  • General manager
  • Sales manager
  • Purchasing specialist
  • Night auditor
  • Hotel receptionist
  • Concierge
  • Spa manager


Recreation is an important component of hospitality, offering a fun and exuberant angle to customer service. This sector includes things like concerts, sporting events, and other major entertainment events.

Here are some examples of recreation events in the hospitality industry:

  • Stadium and arena events
  • Festivals and fairs
  • Amusement parks
  • Global hotels and resorts
  • Sports events

Common recreation job titles include:

  • Sports center manager
  • Aquatics manager
  • Community manager
  • Fitness manager
  • Athletic director
  • Risk management supervisor
  • Ticket sales manager

Travel and Tourism

As noted earlier, this vital industry is making a steady comeback in the wake of the pandemic. People are traveling more frequently for business and pleasure, so it’s an excellent field to consider for anyone who wants to travel and help the industry rebound.

Let’s look at the top travel and tourism businesses:

  • Travel agency
  • Hotel, motel, hostel, bed, and breakfast
  • Taxi, van, and shuttle company
  • Vehicle rental
  • Online ticketing and reservation business
  • Ecotourism company
  • Eco-retreat business
  • Private security and tour escort firm
  • Travel and tourism software applications
  • Language translation service
  • Luggage delivery business

Job titles you might explore if you want to work in hospitality include:

  • Tour guide
  • Hotel manager
  • Flight attendant
  • Water sports leader
  • Theme park manger
  • Travel consultant
  • Souvenir salesperson
  • Travel insurance sales agent
  • Destination specialist or travel agent
  • Travel writer or influencer
  • Concierge or visitor information officer
  • Pilot
  • Cabin crew
  • Train or bus driver
  • Taxi, lorry, or limousine driver


While the damage done by the pandemic and the associated measures taken in response to it are still fresh in everyone’s minds, it’s important to look forward and take the necessary steps to recover. There are some factors to consider that might affect the ongoing recovery and growth, including:

  • Changed consumer behaviors
  • Wellness
  • Digitalization
  • Consumption and spending
  • Remote working
  • Sustainability

Businesses in the hospitality industry are indeed working in a “new normal” paradigm, trying to attract a changed populace. It’s hard to imagine people not changing after two years of lockdowns and restrictions. It’s not surprising that people’s priorities have shifted to things that provide comfort, balance, time-saving, and sustainability.

The fact is, people are itching to travel and dine out to enjoy customer experience and amenities in person, so it’s important to let everyone return to standard operating procedures at their own pace.

Projected Growth

According to Deloitte, travel and tourism are back on the rise, as hotel occupancy rates pick up and travelers return to resorts and beaches.

However, there is still a long way to go, so many leaders in travel and hospitality are trying to find new ways to thrive in an ever-evolving landscape. While COVID changed things in a heartbeat, the changing world has been inevitable for several years. It’s important for the travel industry to rise to meet the numerous technological and societal changes on the horizon.


Here are some examples of changes coming to hospitality:

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

As AI has become increasingly reliable and familiar, hospitality businesses are increasing their adoption and usage of this technology to carry out customer service tasks. Using AI to conduct these tasks is especially important in hotels and resorts, which run on a 24-hour schedule.

Look at the businesses like Airbnb that use AI to their advantage. The success of this homestay lodging service wouldn’t be nearly as attractive if property owners had to visit the site each time a guest arrived. Hotel, motel, and resort owners are hopping on board to reduce overnight staffing costs and let AI do the work.


People are increasingly aware of the toll that rampant waste is having on the planet, and they want to live more sustainably on a daily basis. However, they don’t want to abandon their principles in exchange for a vacation, so they increasingly seek vacations that feature sustainability as a selling point.

Travelers, adventurers, and diners want to engage with hospitality companies that engage in robust and transparent sustainability practices.

Sustainability is essential on a practical front for hospitality businesses since guests frequently want to visit local cultural and natural attractions. It’s a matter of business preservation to ensure that guests will visit sites and see them in pristine condition, how they’ve always imagined them.

If a business focuses on sustainability, it will stand out and likely receive positive written and word-of-mouth reviews; another reason it is a vital practice.

Safety and Hygiene

Although the worst of the pandemic is behind us, variants continue to arise. With that in mind, safety and hygiene should always stand front and center for hospitality businesses to keep customers healthy.

The top hospitality companies continue to practice stringent cleaning and sanitation practices.

Smart Hotels

Smart hotel technology via the Internet of Things (IoT) is exciting and new for guests. IoT offers guests an extremely comfortable, convenient, efficient, and luxurious experience. Some things IoT can assist guests with are controlling the thermostat, adjusting the lights, and calling the front desk from the comfort of their beds, using their TV or another mobile device.


Personalization entails tailoring a service, product, or marketing strategy to a specific customer, patron, or guest. It is an essential way to improve the customer experience and answer their needs more effectively and in a shorter time.


If you love working with new people and enjoy seeing people have fun and experience new adventures, it makes sense that you would choose to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. Add to that the variety of jobs you can pursue, and it’s an easy decision. It’s a field that offers diversity, room to grow and advance, and opportunities to travel.


If you decide a career in hospitality is right for you, there are several undergraduate and graduate degree options you could choose from.  

Hospitality Management Degrees

If you’re looking to develop your career in the hospitality industry, a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management may be the perfect program for you.

If you’ve already earned your bachelor’s degree and are looking to advance your hospitality career, you could earn your Master’s degree in Hospitality Management or an MBA in Hospitality Management.

Food & Beverage Hospitality Degrees

If you’d like to pursue a career in the food & beverage sector of the hospitality industry, there are a few degree options you could choose from.

If you’re interested in a management career in the food and beverage industry, consider earning your Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts & Food Service Management

If you’re interested in starting your own food and beverage business — such as opening a restaurantowning a bar, or starting a food truck — a Bachelor’s degree in Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship is a great choice.

Another option in the food and beverage sector would be to pursue a career in food safety compliance by earning a Bachelor’s degree in Food Industry Compliance Management. This degree program prepares students for certifications such as the National Restaurant Association Foodservice Management Professional (FMP), U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Defense Awareness, OSHA Outreach, National Restaurant Association ManageFirst, and TAPSeries.

If you’d like to pursue a leadership position in the food and beverage sector, consider earning an MBA in International Beverage Management. Through this program, you’ll learn about beverage products and production, beverage management, beverage distribution, current, new, and emerging markets, consumers, and the value chain for global beverages.

Lodging Hospitality Degrees

If you aspire to manage a hotel or resort, or oversee a hospitality chain at the corporate level, you can customize your degree program through a number of specializations with JWU’s bachelor’s in hospitality management


If you’re interested in event management, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Sports, Entertainment, Event – Management can set you up to succeed in this exciting hospitality sector.

This program allows you to specialize your studies in major elective classes that will directly impact your chosen career path, such as professional sports management; event planning within the corporate, nonprofit, and hospitality industry; sports and entertainment marketing; tournament management; concert and event production; and more.


As a global leader in hospitality education, Johnson & Wales University offers multiple hospitality degrees designed to help you build a career that can take you wherever you want to go.

Across our hospitality programs, our alumni work for Marriott International, Inc., Aramark Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Sodexo, Compass Group, and many others.*

For more information about completing your degree online or on-campus, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

*Source:  Lightcast™ Analyst 2022

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