Hospitality & Event Management
- The UK is the fifth largest tourism destination in the world. In 2019 the sector employed 3.3 million people
- The travel and tourism industry accounts for 7.2% of UK GDP
The event management and hospitality sectors are very broad in the UK, covering transport operations to social and leisure attractions and everything in between.
Heritage is a critical part of UK hospitality and events. Many historical locations and memorials in the UK draw visitors from across the globe. The most popular heritage destination in the UK is London, and the British Museum as is the most visited attraction. Outside of London, the National Museum of Scotland attracts the most visitors. Hospitality is also a key sector in the South West.
The event management and hospitality market in the UK is split between multinational brands and independent companies and SME’s.
- 241,000 businesses in the UK tourism industry
- Almost 90% of tourism and hospitality businesses employ fewer than 25 people
- This sector has been incredibly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the full effects of which are yet to be seen
What could I do in hospitality?
Jobs in hospitality are increasingly popular choices, especially in the South West. Industries you could explore include:
- Food service companies
- Hotels, bars, restaurants
- Catering contractually
- Service industry management
- Nightclubs or leisure activities
What could I do in events?
Jobs in events involve fast-paced environment with changing priorities, and something new every day! You could work in the public sector or a corporate company, or for specific events-based companies. Possible areas include:
- Corporate team building and conferences
- Launch events
- Management in creative arts e.g. art exhibitions, galleries, theatre productions
- Charity sector i.e. raising money for an event sponsoring a specific cause
- Celebrations; birthday parties, weddings, graduation ceremonies
For sector statistics, please visit the Travel & Tourism Industry Report on My Career Zone Digital.
Career Zone Employability Schemes
These employability schemes can help increase your work experience and networks in this area.
- Career Zone Internship schemes: Internships are a great way to gain experience and insight into a career area.
- Ask an Alum: A fuss-free way to connect with University of Exeter alumni to ask careers questions.
- Career Mentor Scheme: A popular employability scheme which matches a student or graduate with an experienced professional, for sector insight and one-to-one careers advice and guidance, over a 6-month period.
- The Exeter Award and Exeter Leaders Award will help you develop skills in team work and management in order to better prepare yourself for your career.
- Part-time work: Career Zone provides support with finding casual work alongside your studies.
- There a number of Guild societies to get involved with during your time at University that could provide you with the necessary skills for your first role. Balancing your time between part-time roles, study and/committee contribution in a society can really show employers how flexible and organised you are. You may be able to gather relevant experience in team work, customer service or communication by contributing to clubs and societies during your studies.
If you would like to do further research into this sector, the following webpages may be useful:
- Hospitality and Events Management from Prospects - An overview of the hospitality and events sector in the UK and an exploration into jobs in the sector
- Hospitality, Leisure and Travel from Target Jobs - An overview of what’s trending in the industry right now, advice on how to apply for roles in this sector, and job adverts
CareerScope - Information from a collaboration of hospitality groups, including an overview of the industry, a "meet the employers" section and webinars
- Careers In Hospitality | Jobs With Britannia Hotels - The reasons why people choose to work in hospitality as well as job vacancies from Britannia Hotels
- HospitalityJobsUK - Jobs as well as careers advice and suggestions around career areas, CV advice, and details of recruiters
- Bright Network Information on salaries, types of roles, work-life balance and typical employers
- Jobs in Tourism Blog - Contains advice about getting into tourism, as well as job vacancies
Help With...Finding a Graduate Job explains the range of help Career Zone can provide with your job search. Handshake advertises many graduate opportunities. Outside of Handshake, there are other sites you can use in your job search.
For sector specific job listings, the following resources may be particularly helpful:
- Association of British Travel Agents
- Institute of Tourism Guiding
- Institute of Travel and Tourism
- Visit Britain
- Tourism Alliance
- Tourism Management Institute
As jobs are not always advertised, it can be useful to develop your networking skills and also apply speculatively. Book onto one of our LinkedIn Lab or networking sessions via Handshake. Networking is a useful strategy in your job search and the Career Zone provides lots of help to develop your networking skills.
If working for a large company, or SME isn’t for you, you may wish to consider self-employment, i.e. running your own events company, food truck or tour guide start-up.
Many well known companies have hospitality departments and employ graduates. Here are some companies that you have probably heard of, as examples.
The Institute of Hospitality provides a list of Graduate Management Programmes in the Hospitality Industry
You may also find graduate jobs at assistant level, rather than a scheme. Jobs roles such as "assistant manager" may appeal.
Any of Career Zone's internships with an element of customer service or strong communication will be useful experience if you want to work in event management or hospitality. Similarly, many voluntary positions exist within events and hospitality- for example volunteering at a zoo or National Trust property.
It is relatively easy to find part time work in this sector. Many hospitality and events venues / companies will recruit extra staff during the summer or Christmas seasons. You can get help with finding casual work from Career Zone.
Equally valuable experience can come from activities which are also fun. For example, getting involved in organising the events for a student society, helping out on an open day or volunteering for a charity would all develop skills which are valuable in events and hospitality.
Team work is crucial for this sector. Listen to our CareerZone Podcast on collaborating with others.
If you have studied a related degree, check if your course is accredited by one of the professional bodies. Being a member of a professional body is voluntary however, it can be valuable for developing networks, continuing your professional development, and generally keeping up to date with what's happening in the sector.
If you would like to pursue postgraduate study before entering your chosen sector, please visit our Postgraduate Study information page for more information about choosing further study.
It can often be useful to gain postgraduate qualifications in the relevant subject area if your undergraduate degree is in a different topic but, beware, there are many courses on the market, and they are not all equally successful in getting you that "dream job". You can always complement your degree with professional qualifications to show your commitment towards the industry (see Professional Bodies section).