Online Associate Degree in Hotel Management

By pursuing an online associate degree in hotel management, students can open the door to a variety of career options in the hospitality industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median income for lodging managers was $53,390 in 2018.

With a broad curriculum covering topics in business, communications, law, and ethics, online associate degree programs in hotel management prepare students to obtain the career of their choice or to advance to a four-year degree program. This page explains the ins and outs of online hotel management associate degree programs, including career options, salaries, and further education opportunities.

What Will You Learn in an Online Hotel Management Associate Degree Program?

Students who pursue an online associate degree in hotel management can expect to gain the skills they need to succeed in the hospitality industry. Hotel management degree programs focus on the basics of tourism and hospitality, often underpinning business, marketing, and leadership principles with fundamental written and oral communication skills, mathematics, and professional etiquette.

Since most hotel managers are involved in some level of budget management, students pursuing an associate degree in hotel management can expect to learn business and financial principles as a part of their program.

Common Courses

While specific courses and titles vary by program and school, those listed below represent possible offerings within a hotel management associate degree program.

Event Planning

This course covers factors involved in hotel event planning, such as conventions and trade shows. Students learn to make a profit on hotel events by applying the fundamentals of venue selection, timelines, budgets, menu development, contracts, and marketing techniques for single- and multi-day events.

Business Etiquette

This class introduces students to customer and employer business etiquette expectations. Topics may include general etiquette (e.g., table manners, personal appearance), and professional conduct (e.g., phone etiquette, communication skills, cultural sensitivity).

Business Management

Business management topics may include fundamentals of entrepreneurship, including pricing structures, marketing techniques, purchasing, and employment. Basic financial principles may be covered, along with legal aspects involved in beginning or managing a business.

Hospitality Law

This course explores international, federal, state, and local laws related to the hospitality industry. Topics may include staff selection and employee rights, crisis management, loss prevention, safety and security, risk management, and government structures that oversee legal operations of hotels.

Leadership

This class introduces students to methods of leadership and supervision in a hotel environment, covering various management styles and using hands-on training to improve leadership skills. Other topics may include staff training and orientation, understanding salaries and benefit packages, delegating, and conflict resolution.


Core Skills

By pursuing an associate degree in hotel management, graduates can confidently work toward the skills they need to achieve their career goals. In mastering the skills and competencies that an associate degree offers, students can work toward bachelor's-level studies or advance to higher positions within their organization.

Management Skills

Graduates hoping to manage general operations, front desk, or housekeeping staff must develop leadership skills and learn how to motivate staff and supervise operations.

Business Skills

Managers in any area of a hotel may be called upon to budget for staff and equipment needs. Business skills are necessary for general and revenue managers who must understand how to make a profit on day-to-day hotel operations.

Interpersonal Skills

Managers need strong interpersonal skills to deal directly with guest issues and manage hotel staff. Hotel managers must be able to apply problem-solving skills, sometimes under stressful conditions.

Event Planning

Hotel managers must be versed in the many moving parts of client communication, vendor relationships, and budget planning. Event planning represents a major moneymaker for the hotel industry.


 

What Can You Do With an Associate Degree in Hotel Management?

The list of available careers for hotel management associate degree-holders varies. Many graduates work in traditional hotel or motel environments after completing their degree, but the options within those settings allow for diverse interests.

As general managers, hotel management graduates may supervise staff and oversee operations, or as revenue managers, they may focus on budget operations. The section below lists potential careers for graduates of online hotel management associate degree programs.

Potential Careers and Salaries

With an online associate degree in hotel management, along with the proper level of experience for the job, hospitality employees can pursue positions as general, revenue, front-office, convention, and housekeeping managers. Experience is crucial to advancement in the field, and associate degree-holders with the right work experience can qualify for any of these management-level positions.

About 63% of lodging managers work in traditional travel accommodations like hotels and motels, but some may also be self-employed or work for RV parks and recreational camps.

Hotel General Manager

General managers oversee all hotel operations, including staff management, event planning, and budget operations. They audit financial statements to ensure the hotel is operating efficiently, and they plan for any improvements that need to be made to the building(s).

Average Annual Salary: $55,623

Revenue Manager

Revenue managers are responsible for maintaining a hotel's financial viability, including cash flow. They monitor reservations and adjust rates based on projected occupancy at a certain time.

Average Annual Salary: $64,011

Front-Office Manager

A hotel front-office manager supervises front-desk staff, training them in company procedures and overseeing the reservation process. When a guest has trouble with his/her bill, the front-office manager can make the necessary adjustments according to company policy.

Average Annual Salary: $42,487

Convention Services Manager

The convention services manager for a hotel arranges the details for conferences taking place in their location. They work with conference organizers to select appropriate venues, arrange equipment, and plan menus.

Average Annual Salary: $49,232

Housekeeping Manager

The housekeeping manager in a hotel oversees housekeeping staff to ensure that the hotel maintains a clean and orderly appearance. The manager may be charged with some budgeting duties related to staff and equipment needs.

Average Annual Salary: $42,728

What's Next After an Online Associate Degree in Hotel Management?

Students who graduate with an associate degree in hotel management may choose to continue their postsecondary education, depending on individual goals and interests. Those who wish to transfer credits to a four-year institution may end up pursuing a bachelor's degree, while others may continue on to complete an MBA. The following section summarizes educational pathways available to associate degree-holders.

Transferring to a Four-Year Degree Program

Graduates can use an associate degree in hotel management to kickstart their education in a four-year degree program. Students interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree should evaluate their options early in the process, researching transfer requirements and speaking with academic advisors who can recommend guidelines for GPA minimums and other expectations. Also, some states have automatic transfer agreements between community college and state university systems. Understanding expectations up front can save you time and money.

What Degrees Can You Pursue After Earning an Associate in Hotel Management?

After completing an associate degree in hotel management, graduates may wish to pursue a bachelor's degree in hotel or hospitality management or a master's of business administration in hotel administration. This section outlines careers that may accompany these degrees.

Bachelor's Degree in Hotel Management

A bachelor's degree in hotel management is a natural follow-up to an associate degree. It provides deeper knowledge of the subject area that may aid in your search for employment.


Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management

For those whose interests lie in the business side of hotel management or in another area of hospitality (e.g., club, casino, or restaurant management), a bachelor's in hospitality management may be the right option to follow the associate degree.


MBA in Hotel Administration

Associate degree graduates who want to become leaders in the field could go on to finish their master's degree.