When it comes to college majors, hotel management sounds pretty self-explanatory: You’re learning how to run a hotel. But as anyone in the business could tell you, that’s easier said than done. The best colleges for hotel management teach their students the general principles of business and the specific techniques of the hotel and tourism industry and provide them with hands-on experience in a fast-growing industry. And America’s most hospitable universities for hospitality run the geographic gamut from north to south and east to west.
5 Central Florida
The University of Central Florida is home to the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, which offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Located in the tourist hot spot that is Orlando, Fla., the university offers specializations in managing such Sunshine State hotel staples as theme parks—think Walt Disney World—and golf courses.
4 University of Denver
The University of Denver offers the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management, part of its Daniels College of Business. This school offers multiple concentrations on the way to a bachelor’s degree from one of the nation’s oldest programs. Students must study abroad and learn a second language, the better to handle the international elements of the tourism industry. The Daniels College itself has won accolades, meaning general business courses should have the same quality as specific ones.
3 Michigan State
Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business is also among the world’s best—and, like Cornell, among the world’s oldest. A heavy focus on internships provides students with that firsthand experience that can be the difference between success and failure, and students can earn either a bachelor’s degree or go on to a master’s. Regular event planning also provides prospective students with a distinctive reason to choose the university.
2 University of Nevada, Las Vegas
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is home to the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. Like Cornell, UNLV is considered one of the top hotel management schools in the world, and offers degrees ranging from the humble bachelor’s on up to a doctorate. In addition, students can take advantage of the university’s location in the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, learning about the gaming and even golfing elements of the business.
Cornell University dominates the rankings for hotel management, with its School of Hotel Administration considered one of the best in the world by the “Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research.” Students can earn any type of degree, from a bachelor’s to a master’s and even a doctorate in Hotel Administration. The program is also one of the oldest in America, meaning it has history and tradition on its side. Finally, of course, Cornell is an Ivy League institution, meaning the entire university is also one of the best in the world.