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EIU Hospitality and Tourism


Career Paths

Whether you want to live and work in Illinois, the Midwest, or travel the world, a degree in Hospitality or Tourism prepares you for success. 

Every hospitality and tourism major graduates with at least two career-related work experiences, or internships, on their resume. The first experience can be any job in the hospitality, tourism, or service industry and is typically completed by the end of the sophomore year. The second experience, generally completed during the senior year, involves rotating through a number of positions and gaining leadership experience. Students typically attend a Hospitality Industry Career Fair in Chicago every year to network with multiple employers.

While students can expect to be prepared to assume managerial positions in the traditional career paths described below, they would also be prepared for fullfilling support positions in industry related organizations. These career paths include human resources, employee training, franchisee relations and support, consulting, sales and sales management, public relations, real estate and site selection, information technology, social media management, data analysis, revenue management, purchasing, and others in an ever changing environment. Employees in these career paths often complete basic operational training before moving into a support position.

Career Paths

Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. Meeting, convention, and event planners organize a variety of events, including weddings, educational conferences, and business conventions. They coordinate every detail of these events, including finances. They negotiate contracts with suppliers and coordinate plans with the venue’s staff. They may also organize speakers, entertainment, and activities. They often travel to attend events and visit prospective meeting sites. During meetings or conventions, planners may work many more hours than usual. Employment of meeting, convention, and event planners is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations.

Salary Range United States: $38,460-$67,250

Industry Growth Rate 18%

Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. Food service managers work in restaurants, hotels, school cafeterias, and other establishments where food is prepared and served. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, and they manage the business to ensure that it is profitable. They often work evenings, weekends, and holidays. The work can be hectic, and dealing with dissatisfied customers can be stressful. Employment of food service managers is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.

Salary Range United States: $43,580-$73,330

Industry Growth Rate 15%

Lodging managers ensure that traveling guests have a pleasant experience at their establishment with accommodations. They also ensure that the business is run efficiently and profitably. At large hotels with several departments and multiple layers of management, the general manager and several assistant managers coordinate the activities of separate departments. These departments may include housekeeping, human resources, room operations, marketing and sales, purchasing, security, maintenance, recreational facilities, and other activities. Because hotels are open 24 hours a day, evening and weekend work is common. Most lodging managers work full time and are often on call. The work can be pressure filled and stressful. Employment of lodging managers is projected to grow at the same rate as the average for all other occupations.

Salary Range United States: $42,430-$76,660

Industry Growth Rate 9%

Travel and tourism managers operate in many different industries and sub-industries, including services such as retail travel, currency exchange, tour operators, destination management companies, conference center management, convention and visitors bureaus, and state or national tourism departments. These careers may be in government or the private sector. This area also encompasses passenger transport including coach, aviation, rail and waterways and visitor attractions such as museums, theme parks, zoos and heritage sites. Corporate travel agents, also called travel coordinators, primarily make travel arrangements for businesses. They book transportation and accommodations for an organization’s employees who are traveling to conduct business or attend conferences. A good understanding of business and what drives business success is a great advantage for people working in tourism, especially for those in administrative, management, or data analysis positions. Research suggests that every one out of 10 jobs in the world is backed up by travel and tourism.

Gaming managers operate in gambling establishments such as casinos and race tracks. Gaming and casino managers plan, coordinate, or direct operations, interact with customers to ensure they have a pleasant experience, enforce safety rules and gambling regulations, train new employees, coordinate with security personnel, and oversee dealers and slot supervisors. Most casinos are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Employees are often scheduled to work nights, weekends, and holidays, which are typically the busiest times for casinos. Managers and supervisors spend limited time working in an office, they frequently monitor activities by circulating among areas on the floor of the establishment. Employment of gaming service workers and managers is expected to grow much faster than average for all occupations.

Salary Range United States: $58,640 - $99,350

Industry Growth Rate 20%

The Significance of the Pineapple

American colonists began importing the pineapple from the Caribbean in the 17th century. Due to its seemingly exotic qualities and rareness, the pineapple soon became a symbol of hospitality in early America. Because trade routes between America and Caribbean Islands were often slow and perilous, it was considered a significant honor for a host to procure a ripe pineapple for guests. Because of their scarcity and price, pineapples were originally served only to most-honored guests. That idea was translated into pineapple images so that those who could not afford the fruit itself could still share the sentiment.

Due to its association with warmth and friendliness, pineapples in America were often used as the center piece in large displays. Known as the “King of Fruit,” the pineapple symbol was also used frequently in the 18th and 19th centuries to decorate bed posts, tablecloths, napkins, and anything associated with welcoming guests.

Today, the pineapple remains a fitting symbol for the hospitality and tourism industry, and pineapple-themed products still abound. 





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