Travel services management programs prepare people to manage travel agencies, tour companies, and other travel-related services. Students learn marketing and promotion strategies. They also study domestic and international travel and tourism policies.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Not too long ago, answering this question meant indulging in fantasies. Travel was a luxury, often impossible not only because of limited money but also limited means of transportation.
In the latter half of the 20th century, advances in technology have changed this situation. Faster and cheaper modes of transportation have developed. In addition, many people are doing business in the global community.
Currently, tourism stands as the third largest and ever-growing industry in the U.S. This certainly creates a need for professional management, marketing, and development.
In order to provide these services, students of travel services management programs examine the industry on both economic and sociocultural levels. You might tackle questions such as, In what ways have electronic travel services affected the economics of the industry? Or, how can we avoid cheapening native cultures and traditions when developing tourism programs in other countries?
You also study travel services in terms of business and management skills. You learn to analyze market trends and promotional techniques. You study accounting principles. You learn to run travel-related hospitality services such as tour programs and visitor information booths.
A background in travel services management prepares you for a wide range of careers. For example, you could work in advertising and public relations for an airline. You could develop programs celebrating cultural heritage for a visitor's bureau. Or you could develop information systems for travel agencies and tour companies to use.
Many schools offer programs in travel services management, also sometimes known as travel management, travel administration, or tourism management. You can earn an associate, a bachelor's, a master's, and a doctoral degree in this program. After high school, an associate degree generally takes two years of full-time study and a bachelor's degree four years. A master's degree typically takes between five and six years and a doctoral degree between nine and ten.
At some schools, you can also earn a certificate, which usually takes about a year of full-time study. These certificates are often intended to be earned in conjunction with another program of study, such as recreation marketing or hospitality management.