Hotel Management Vs Hospitality Management | Key Differences

Hotel management and hospitality management are the two words that are used interchangeably quite often. This has made a lot of people think that the words are the same. In an actual sense, the two words have a lot of things in common, but there are some differences between the two words in a practical sense. The ability to spot the differences will depend on the knowledge you have about the two fields of management.

Let us start by defining each term one after the other. From their definitions, our readers can start to see the differences that exist between them. But the definitions alone cannot reveal the key difference, which is why we have to provide further explanations after the definitions. 

What Is Hotel Management

Hotel management involves the management and supervision of the daily activities of a hotel. 

Hotel management is a field of study that covers how a hotel is managed. A hotel manager is called a hotelier. A hotelier has to acquire a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, or a high school diploma before he or she can become a certified hotelier. 

Hotel management is offered in major universities in the United States of America, Great Britain, Finland, Canada, Switzerland and a whole lot of other advanced countries.

Hotel Management study needs revolves around the following areas:

  1. Front Office
  2. Housekeeping
  3. Food and Beverage (Restaurants, Kitchens, Outlets, Coffee shops, Bars etc.)
  4. Reservations
  5. Room Divisions
  6. Valet
  7. Tour agents

and so on.

Hotel management is limited to functioning on hotels alone and is thus limited to one sub industry of the overall hospitality and tourism sector. 

What Is Hospitality Management

Hospitality management is a wider field compared to hotel management. Hospitality itself is an industry that has various sectors. 

There are many sectors of the hospitality industry which are:

  • Accommodation 
  • Adventure and Recreation 
  • Attractions like Theme parks 
  • Events and Conferences 
  • Travel Trade 
  • Tourism Services 
  • Food and Beverages  
  • Casinos
  • Timeshare
  • Cruises
  • Aviation

These are clubbed together to form 5 major sectors of the hospitality industry that includes the hotel industry as a sub sector. 

Hospitality management is the supervision of the daily managerial, functional, and promotional activities in the field of hospitality.

Just as we pointed out in the introductory aspect of this article that the definitions of these two terms will give us insight into some of their differences, our readers can now have a feel of what we meant by taking up the definitions of the two terms. That is why there is a need for further explanations to explain the difference between the two.

Key Differences Between Hospitality Management and Hotel Management

In this segment of the article, we will examine four key differences that exist between hotel management and hospitality management. 

The interesting thing is that these differences are unanimously agreed upon by major actors in both fields.

1. Hotel Manager Vs A Hospitality Manager– What to expect

As similar as hotel management and hospitality management can be, they both have their areas of specialization. 

The job of a hotel manager starts and ends within the hotel. 

Their job is to make sure every activity within the hotel is running smoothly. They have to make sure that each department within the hotel is not lagging. 

In simpler terms, a hotel manager is the guardian of the hotel supervising all the activities. They take the credit when everything within the hotel is running smoothly, and when there is a breach, they take the blame. Their job is similar to that of a football coach. 

Hospitality management on the other hand is wider than hotel management. A hospitality manager might be looking after multiple hotels, multiple restaurants, Casino, Theme park and more.

Hospitality manager would need to manage people from different sectors. 

While a hotel manager manages a hotel, a hospitality manager manages people that operate in the hospitality industry.

2. Employment Opportunities in the hotel industry vs the hospitality industry

The employment opportunities that exist for the hotel management people are slim compared to that of a hospitality management graduates.

Hotel management has a multitude of jobs that includes Chefs, Hotel Manager, Operations Manager, Housekeeping Manager and associates, Front Office Manager, Supervisor and associates as well as Food and Beverage Manager, Restaurant Manager and more.

The Hotel industry also has jobs in the engineering department, gardening and landscaping as well as IT. 

While these options are great and offers variety, the career paths within the hospitality industry offers even a bigger range.

The Hospitality Management graduates have greater options to move beyond the hotel industry.

These jobs outside the hotel industry open to hospitality professionals include and are not limited to:

  • Events Management Jobs
  • Tours and Travel Jobs
  • Cruise Line Jobs
  • Opportunities in the Aviation
  • Career Opportunity in Theme Parks
  • Career opportunities in Travel agencies and Booking channels.

And the options are truly limitless in the hospitality industry.

3. Training and Education

A lot of top hospitality institutes surprisingly use the two terms interchangeably as well.

Most of the top hospitality education providers ensure that both hotel management studies as well as hospitality management studies cover key areas of the overall hospitality and tourism studies.

However, hospitality management opens up more options for bachelors’ and Masters degree. Areas like Events, Tourism, Wellness, Entrepreneurship etc. are more relevant to hospitality management studies.

On the other hand most of the Hotel Management Diploma education would limit itself to focus on Front Office, Culinary Education, Housekeeping, Food and Beverage and Cost control. They would often also skim through other areas like Tourism, Business Communication, Wine and Beverages and more.

In a nutshell a hospitality degree is for those who would in future plan to venture out to multiple sectors within or outside the hospitality industry. Hotel Management on the other hand is for those passionate out hotels, food, customer service and travel.

4. Sector Dependence in Hotel Industry vs the Hospitality industry

Sector dependence is another major difference between the hotel industry and the hospitality industry. 

While hotel management is dependent on some other sectors, hospitality management is not dependent on any sector as it is the super set of all the smaller dependent sectors. 

In countries like the United States of America, Great Britain, Canada, Spain, Italy, and Saudi Arabia that receive huge numbers of travelers daily, the hotel industry is thriving, while in the third world countries where they are not much influx of people, the hotel industry is not thriving.

The hospitality industry is a self-dependent sector. It is thriving in advanced countries and in third world countries too.


Hospitality is the umbrella terms of all the associated industry. Hotel industry is arguably the biggest among the many sectors within the hospitality umbrella. This leads to confusion and both the terms being used interchangeably. However, with education systems bridging the gap between the two terms, it would be easier for hotel management professionals to move outside the hotel sector as well. The future is bright indeed.