Dr. Fred J. DeMicco, Executive Director of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, the Northern Arizona University with Mick Blasik, Collaborative Strategies and Jackie Guzman, NAU HRM

May 13, 2020

In April 2020, Northern Arizona University’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) sent out a survey regarding the future of the hotel and restaurant industry. There were 27 participants total, a mix of mainly students in Hospitality Management. Overall, the outlook is quite positive, with the majority of participants stating that the hospitality industry will continue to be a strong career path for HRM graduates. Below are the results.

In a post-COVID19 economy, changes in training hotel industry professions are expected. Some of the participants predict training needs when it comes to marketing, especially social media marketing. Along with that, there may be training needs for online ordering. It is expected an online presence will be increasingly important for businesses and so business may have to create more virtual tours and videos. Another participant stated that “…heightened sanitation procedures and processes will become our new norm” (#43).  This could include improved air quality. Standards of procedures when it comes to food ordering, receiving and securing could use improvement, including the possibility of some sort of certificate showing that hotels and restaurants are working smartly and cleanly. Finally, there could be training needs in regard to leadership and communication (especially remote communication).

The participants who responded seemed to agree that in the near future (around 2025-2030), all or most of the current hotel and restaurant management positions will still be needed, but there could be some additions. Other hirable hotel and restaurant management careers of the future could be focused on sanitation and cleanliness, information technology, and virtual reality. Similarly, participants believe that hotel and restaurant management careers with the most growth are in the areas of sanitation, marketing and sales, technology and virtual reality, logistics, and leadership (with emphasis on risk assessment and planning). Along those lines, participants believe that new careers could arise in regard to sanitation, quality assurance, virtual reality, remote learning, recruiting, risk management, and supply chain safety.

Finally, participants were asked to predict changes to future business operation practices. They responded that there will be a greater focus on sanitation and health –both employee health and customer health/safety. They also stated that there should be better mechanisms for feedback and communication, both with employees and customers. Participants also stated that in the short-term, companies will likely put in place more cost-saving measures.

In summary, student optimism for careers in the hospitality industry and their outlook is quite positive, with the majority of students stating that the hospitality industry will continue to be a strong career path for HRM graduates.

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