Hospitality and tourism are growth industries.  Millions of people travel back and forth across the globe every year, both for business and pleasure.  Regardless of their reasons for traveling, people expect a certain level of service and professionalism—a skill that is not obtained over night.

Most universities offer degrees in hospitality management, from bachelors to masters.  Although the specifics for each school may vary slightly, the program requirements themselves are generally the same.

Students are required to take a variety of classes including; math, statistics, intro to hospitality management, hotel operations, food management, hospitality law, and corporate accounting.  Like many other degree programs students can choose an area of emphasis; such as casino management, club management, hotel management, food management, and corporate and event management.  With each of these areas comes a set of courses geared for each specialty.  Foreign language is also highly encouraged as more and more people are traveling outside their native regions.

food programAn important part of education process for those in hospitality management is an internship.  This can be accomplished in a couple different ways.  No matter where they are living there are sure to be local internship opportunities and professionals in the field to begin networking with.  Another option is studying abroad.  With hospitality schools around the world—including Germany and Switzerland, home to some of the top hospitality schools in the world—there are limitless opportunities for students to expand their education and future career prospects, as well as get first hand experience with those foreign language skills.

Upon graduation students will be equipped to work for restaurants, hotels, resorts, airlines, cruise lines, and much more.  Although they may start out as lower level, or assistant, managers, they will be in position to earn the experience they need to work their way up the ladder and one day be at the top.

Thanks to modern technology and the growing global tourism industry, travel can be more than just a hobby or a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Hospitality management can help you see and experience the world in a whole new way.

 

contributed by Eve Steele, a reporter and blogger who covers education and careers for a variety of websites.  She has written about everything from 4th grade math to graduate school programs as well as analyzing long-term educational trends.

Anyone who eats out on a regular basis knows that restaurant bills can quickly eat up a large portion of a household’s budget.  Most people probably can’t afford to eat out nearly as often as they would like, let alone try new restaurants or dining concepts that might be offered in their city. Some even spend hours on money management websites looking for ways to squeeze more out of their monthly budgets.

restaurant dinersThe solution is dining plans that offer package discounts for one price.  In some cases this takes the form of a discount card that, when swiped, takes a set amount of the diner’s bill.  In some cities, companies are selling a “deck” of cards that offer individual deals at select restaurants to be used throughout the year.  The idea being that diners will eat at a different restaurant each week, using up the entire 52-card deck.

Generally these deals offer a set amount off. Some are graduated offers, such as $10 off a $50 meal and $20 off a $100 tab. Other offer restaurant specific deals such as 15% off at a neighborhood bistro and 25% off at an uptown diner.  These are usually city-specific plans, but there are national ones as well.  For example, AAA offers member discounts all over the country, so that travelers can search for deals on local restaurants wherever they go.

Some of the cities offering dining plans include Nashville, Pittsburg, Boston, San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Chicago, Boston, Kansas City and Cleveland.  There are even state-wide plans in smaller states like Rhode Island.  And these deals are going international as London now offers its own dining deck.

The cost of a deck could range from $20-50 depending on the number of cards and the base discount offered.  Most are sold at the end of the calendar year for use in the following year. That means that 2014 decks should be going on sale soon.

Amy Lawrence writes financial tips about everything from coupon clipping to lending networks like moneymutual.com.

Auto racing, like football or any other sport, is exciting to watch; the thrill of cars speeding around the track at 200+ mph and not knowing who is going to win until the very end.  Of course the ideal situation would be to experience the race in person—really embrace the sights and smells of the track—but if that doesn’t work out the next thing is to gather a group of fellow fans and friends to watch the race together.

sports bar in NYCOne option is to have everyone over to your place for the race; however that brings with it the responsibility of providing food, playing host, and cleaning up after.  For a real night out experience that everyone can enjoy stress free, make plans to meet up at your favorite local sports bar.  Everyone can order their own food and drinks, big screen TVs will show the race in high definition glory, and you can sit back and enjoy it.  With only a few races left in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the Championship still up for grabs, most sports bars will probably be showing the races; however you could request it if it’s not being shown.  That is true of many other races as well.

It’s hard to imagine but if you are the only racing fan in your group don’t be dismayed, there are still options for you.  A quick search online can give you a listing of racing fan meetup groups in your area.  Whether you are a fan of Formula 1 leader Sebastian Vettel or ALMS racers, there are groups out there for you to join.  If that’s a little too structured or formal, consider hitting up your favorite sports bar on race day and you’re sure to find some fellow fans to enjoy the race with and perhaps even share a drink or two.

While nothing is quite like being at the race in person, sports bars are known for creating a fun and competitive atmosphere that allows sports fans to cheer, chant, boo, and yell just like they were at the race.

Eddie Andover is a professional sports writer and fan.  He especially enjoys covering top auto racers and innovations in race car design. You can find his work on numerous racing websites and blogs.

SbarThe dream of owning a bar or pub seems to be nearly universal amongst men of a certain age. It is even a running joke on hit sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” that the guys want to open a bar that does everything that other bars don’t – until they turn their apartment into a bar for New Year’s Eve and quickly discover that they have to do all those things like raising drink prices, in order to stay open for just one night.

If you are thinking of investing in a bar or opening and running a bar yourself, be professional about it.

Dream vs Reality

If you don’t have any experience in the food and beverage industry, then get some.  This may mean getting a job at a local bar for a few months, doing extensive research on the industry or taking on a partner who has worked in bars for several years — preferably at a management level.  You need to do what you can to turn that idea of a year-round party into a more realistic picture of what the day-to-day operations of a bar actually involves. Only then can you make an honest decision about whether a bar is the right investment for you.

Legal Considerations

Opening a new bar rather than buying an existing one comes with a whole host of legal considerations.  Find a lawyer with experience in bar and restaurant business.  You’re going to need to know about zoning laws, alcohol licensing, local ordinances pertaining to serving alcohol, and the special rules about who you can, and can’t, hire to serve drinks.  Then there are all the liability issues regarding DWI or DUI laws.  In some state you can be held financially and criminally negligent if someone leaves your bar and gets into a car accident while drunk.

Financial Bottom Line

If you decide that you have a realistic understanding of bar operations and are ready to step up to the legal responsibilities of owning or running a bar, there’s still one final area to consider: will it be profitable.

As with any other investment, you need to look carefully at the bottom line. Is it red or black? If you’re investing in or buying an existing bar, make sure you get an independent audit of their financials and do an analysis of market trends in that area.  If you’re going to start a new bar, or invest in a bar start up, you need a detailed business plan that takes into account the current and future demand, all the expenses of building and opening, and the operating expenses for the first year — including paying out a salary to yourself if you plan to quit your current job and run the bar.

Once you have all these facts in hand, you will be able to decide whether the costs and responsibilities of investing in a bar are worth whatever financial and emotional profit you can expect to receive.  It does not matter where in the country you aim to set up your bar, whether California, Kansas or New York City, there considerations will help you get started.

If you are considering buying a bar or restaurant you may have driven around your favorite neighborhoods looking for the perfect place.  Perhaps you have seen one you really liked and perhaps attended an open house at it.  You love the space but are unsure of your next step.  Do you look for a loan?  Do you put on offer on it?  What is your next step?

Well the obvious next step is to find a realtor to work with.  He will guide you through the process of finding a property and be your representative in all transactions.  He will do research, keep you updated of developments, and provide feedback based on his experience in the field.  They will help you find properties and arrange showings.  They will track whats happening with the property.  And when the going gets tough they will put a positive light on things!

He can also provide information on getting a loan.  Most realtors have close ties with lender institutions and can guide you through the process.  They will probably require you to get pre approved so that they know the price range of homes you can afford.  From this they can forward a list of possible homes you may be interested in.  You can decide on the ones you want to see – or the realtor may pick some out with the idea of getting your feedback and narrowing down the possibilities.

Once you have found a property they will produce the paperwork that goes in with your offer along wth any amendments you may include.  They will work with the seller on your behalf and act as a communication channel.  If the offer is accepted then they will work with the lender to complete the loan agreement and arrange for the finalized paperwork to get signed.  Of course the realtor gets paid for all this and that payment is included in the closing costs which you will pay.

Lionel Redmon is a real estate columnist and popular guest blogger. He writes about commercial and residential real estate issues for various financial sites covering topics such as investing, money, mutual funds, mortgages etc.  

poolProhibition couldn’t end it and a recessed economy can’t deter us from partaking in it. One of the nation’s most consistent, and favorite, pastimes, is having a drink with friends. And it’s even accepted that a glass of red wine is actually good for us and as long as we drink alcohol in moderation and responsibly, then it can be a healthy part of our lifestyles. In addition to the tannins in red wine that can be good for heart health, a moderate amount of alcohol can relax us and help us to let go of a particularly stressful day. The point of acknowledging all of this is not to provide a public service announcement regarding the health benefits of alcohol consumption, but rather to emphasize it’s enduring popularity in all types of social climates and the ability of bars and clubs to retain a strong clientele even when all ‘respectable’ forms of businesses collapse under the weight of the recent economic disaster.

If you’re planning on opening a small business of your own, it’s always a good idea to look into what has the strongest chance of surviving. And while many bars and clubs fail outright, others become popular local favorites surviving decades and others even become something of a local landmark or cultural icon of a city. Of course if you happen to be a celebrity sports figure or musician your chances for success or increased greatly. Just look at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Florida and Dan Majerle’s Marjerle’s Sports Grill in Arizona. Buffet will of course be forever known for his hit single of the same name and Majerle is one of Phoenix’s all-time favorite Suns. So, if you happen to be a celebrity in one field, it can increase your chances of success in others. Meanwhile, a similar perspective applies to business success in one field, transferring to another. And any successful business has a great deal of research and effort put into its development.

Regardless of the amount of celebrity beyond you or your name, or the particular gimmick that might be your overall bar theme, there are certain structural elements to any bar and or nightclub that will increase your chances for success. .  Now if you put a pool in your bar (yes, this is becoming popular in warm climates!) then you will have to follow general summer pool safety regulations.  And just as it is true that having a celebrity name attached to your bar will not guarantee that it is successful, reviews indicate that having a technologically up to date database and conducting the necessary research will greatly increase your chances of success.

Freezing temperatures are the worst time to discover that the heating system in a home is broken. No one wants to have to call for repairs during a cold spell let alone completely replace the heating system. Anyone who finds themselves in this position will want immediate relief, but they do need to take several things into consideration before purchasing a new system.

The most important point to remember is that all the HVAC units in a home work together. This means that if the problem is in the outdoor unit, homeowners shouldn’t succumb to the temptation to replace only that component. Failing to replace the entire system — both indoor and outdoor units — may void manufacturer warranties, result in higher energy bills, and may keep the system from working properly. It may also cause the system to break down more quickly.

The next step is to get the home assessed by a qualified contractor, like those at heating Phoenix or Virginia Beach Heating and Cooling. They will be able to ascertain the proper size needed to effectively heat a given house. It is not merely a matter of square footage. Calculations should take into account insulation, number and size of windows and doors, and the sizes of individual rooms. Contractors should also measure the location of the heat pump to make sure the new model will fit. Lastly, they should inspect the duct system to see if it needs cleaning or repairs in order to effectively deliver warm air from the new unit.

One final thing to consider is the energy rating of the new system. Many localities are eligible for tax rebates and credits for installing energy efficient heating systems or replacing less efficient components. A little bit of research should reveal if any programs apply to a given installation.

On my last trip to New Orleans, while my friend was out and I was trying to get some sleep, I had a telephone call from downstairs, the hotel management asking for my help with a problem in the phone lines.  They asked me to keep the phone off the hook as they dealt with it; after a moment, I could only hear breathing on the other end of the phone, and so I hung up.  They called back and insisted I keep the phone off the hook.  I unplugged the phone and then got a call again; there was a second phone in the room.  Again, they asked I keep the phone off the hook, but something didn’t feel right about all this.  I got dressed, went downstairs, and asked at the desk.  The clerk was puzzled, then checked, and explained the calls were coming not from them, but from some other guest inside the hotel.  It was like a little horror movie.  The next time I travel to the Big Easy I know I’m going to look for one of the best luxury hotels New Orleans offers and avoid a repeat of that situation.  There are also several  websites which list some of the best deals in New Orleans to check out before you go.

With the certainty of a fine hotel in which to stay, I can relax and enjoy the city the way it was meant to be enjoyed…  walking around the French Quarter, resting in Jackson Square, having a cup of coffee and a sugar powdered beignet from the original Cafe du Monde Coffee Stand, watching the Mississippi River roll past one of the country’s unique cities.  I can take advantage of the cities many great parks and museums, such as City Park, where jazz really began, and the amazing Audobon Museums, such as the Audubon Zoo, the Audubon Aquarium, and the Audubon Insectarium.  At night, I can stroll the French Quarter, take in a ghost tour, or listen to the jazz in any number of bars on Bourbon Street.  And then return at night, without fear of any more mysterious phone calls from unknown guests!

At least, not for the majority of people.  Sure, the drivers spend countless hours preparing for the event, but what about all those people in the crowds?  There is a lot more going on at a given race than the thunder of engines and the scream of tires—there’s also the party.  So what is a party at the racetrack like?  Well, it’s a lot of fun.

Tailgating is a time-honored American tradition where spectators at a sporting event show up early—sometimes as early as dawn—to set up their RV’s, grills, coolers and camping chairs.  It’s a great opportunity to relax, have some good food, a few drinks, and enjoy hanging out with like-minded fans.

Race fansHours before a race begins is the time which brings an extremely strange combination of somberness and exuberance, the former for waking up at such an odd hour and the latter for the day to come.  This is the time when you can see groups parking, smell charcoal igniting, and hear folding chairs unfolding.  But that all changes as go-time approaches.  People file inside to take their seats and follow their favorites, whether it’s Danica Patrick or Jimmie Johnson, stomachs full and livers working at full capacity.  At big series’ like NASCAR and F1 the atmosphere is pure excitement.

But the on-location festivities aren’t the only things to pay attention to.  A lot of the time local bars and restaurants will have big races on, and if you’re lucky enough to find a good bar, the clientele will be completely enthralled in the event.  It doesn’t involve the same cheering and trash talk that, say, a football game involves, but there is still some excitement, even if it is dimmed by the distance from the racers.

Sometimes the festivities around a race don’t involve bars and partying.  Take races at Monte Carlo, for instance.  One of the most famous F1 tracks, spectators can sit in the stands or, if their wallets are big enough, rent a hotel room that overlooks parts of the track (which is all city streets!).

One way or the other, racing is big, and along with a big sport comes a lot of revelry.  Sure, you can enjoy the race by yourself or in a small group without partaking, but if you do—well, it’s all there to be enjoyed.  So then, what happens after the race?  Well, that’s up to you!

If you own a smart phone, you already know what they are capable of and you likely have apps for a variety of things from maps to news apps and more. But what about restaurants? Restaurant apps have exploded in the past few years, and there are literally thousands of restaurant apps out there that allow you to find out where to dine, what to eat, and what looks good – especially if you are in unfamiliar territory or don’t know the nearby restaurants.

Here are just a few of the most highly rated and high quality restaurant apps on the market, so that the next time you’re in the mood to dine out, or looking for the perfect restaurant in your area, you can find exactly what you need.

LocalEats

LocalEats is a web site that also offers apps for both iPhone and Android, and provides focus on only local restaurants, and no chains. According to Apple, LocalEats was the most popular paid dining app in 2010, too, as it prompts you to choose what city you are in, and what style restaurant and more you are searching for, providing you with information, price ranges, reviews, descriptions, web site links, and more.

hamburger mealFoodspotting

Foodspotting features a Google-powered map that works to help you with photos and locations, as you search for restaurants in your area and more. You can choose nearby restaurants to your location, new restaurants that have just been added to the map, or even the most popular and best restaurants as rated by Foodspotting users as you figure out what’s good, local, and open in the area, no matter where you might be.

Zagat

The Zagat Survey isn’t new, of course, having been around for more than 30 years, but now you can get it online with Zagat’s new mobile app. Here, you are given a trusted list of reviews and ratings for countless restaurants as you enjoy Zagat’s service and research not only restaurants, but hotels, nightlife establishments, and even local shops. Clearly, Zagat is an information seeker’s dream!

Urbanspoon

Urbanspoon gives you countless choices and spins to choose a random restaurant recommendation, and scroll through their choices in a more specified way with restaurant information based on categories. For people who have trouble deciding what to eat, randomized results from Urbanspoon may just be the best option when it comes to picking some place truly unique!

Yelp

Yelp is one of the hottest apps on the market today for general reviews and reaction from customers, and for good reason, as it provides an unbelievable array of choices and user reviews that you can sift through and learn exactly how good a restaurant really is to the people. Use Yelp to hear from real users and customers as you decide on what works, and what doesn’t, in your restaurant search around town, complete with stars and ratings categories for thousands of local businesses and more.

Guest contributor Mitchell Carpenter writes about gaming and software for tech sites and blogs as well general news and specialty sites.  He also writes about software for sites like clickpointsoftware.com and technology sites.