The mainstay of the hospitality sector, the US hotel, motel and resort sector comprises about 40,000 companies that operate about 50,000 properties, with combined annual revenue of approximately $120 billion, according to Hoovers. Large hospitality firms include Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Wyndham Worldwide. The lodgings industry is fragmented: The 50 largest companies generate about 45 percent of revenue. These enterprises, including their restaurant and other food and beverage operations, offer a wide variety of jobs in hospitality.
Hospitality Job Market
More than 51,000 people held jobs as lodging managers in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Food-service managers numbered 320,600, but their ranks are projected to decline by 10,600 by 2020. Meeting, convention and event planners, who typically work for or with the hospitality industry, held more than 71,000 jobs in 2010, and these occupations are projected to grow 44 percent over the forecast decade, much faster than the average occupation.
The hospitality industry, depending as heavily as it does on business travel and discretionary personal spending, was hit hard by the 2007-2009 recession. But Americans have been spending again, and hospitality jobs have mounted a slow but significant recovery. Still, hospitality companies are more cost-conscious than ever, so new employment in hospitality must be justified with hard numbers. One of the bright spots in hospitality careers is the events business, which still enjoys relatively high profit margins.
Common careers in hospitality include concierge, room-service manager, front-desk clerk, housekeeper, cook, chef, hostess, server, bartender, food-service manager, sales representative, events manager, director of operations and general manager.
The median lodging manager salary was $47,450 in May 2011, with the top 10 percent earning $89,330, according to the BLS. The median food-service manager salary was $48,110, with the top 10 percent making $81,410. The median event planner salary was $46,020, with the top 10 percent coming in at $78,530.