USF School of Hospitality and Tourism Management to offer free certificate program to help businesses ‘navigate the COVID-19 pandemic’

Classes to begin Nov. 2 and continue through Dec. 18

Image from the USF Sarasota-Manatee website

The University of South Florida School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is offering a free certificate program to help hotels, restaurants and other hospitality businesses navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the post-pandemic environment, the university has announced.

Consisting of seven classes, the Post-Crisis Hospitality Management Certificate program will be taught virtually, a news release points out.

The classes are set to run Nov. 2 through Dec. 18, the release notes. Visit to register and learn more about the program, the release says.

“This was something that we felt was necessary given what is happening in the hospitality industry and from what we are hearing from our industry partners,” said Cihan Cobanoglu, director of the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation (M3 Center), in the release.

The National Restaurant Association reports that nearly one in six restaurants has closed permanently or long-term, with nearly 3 million employees still out of work and the industry on track to lose $240 billion in sales by the year’s end, the release points out.

A separate survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association showed that nearly 68% of hotels “have less than half of their typical, pre-crisis staff working full time, the release continues. Without further governmental assistance, the release adds, 74% of respondents will be forced to lay off more employees.

“This crisis is one of the most devastating that all sectors of the hospitality and tourism sector have faced in a century,” said Pat Moreo, dean of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, in the release. “Our program will be very important in preparing all members of the industry to move forward with excellent preparation,” Moreo added in the release.

Faculty of the hospitality school, which is part of the USF Muma College of Business and based at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, will volunteer to present the seven virtual courses, the release continues. Participants may attend the interactive sessions live or visit to view recorded sessions, the release adds.

To sign up for the class, a person may visit the registration page.

A certificate of completion from the hospitality school will be provided to the attendees after they finish the sessions and complete an assessment, the release notes. A digital version of this certificate will be sent to participants by email, it adds.

No books or materials are required for the sessions, which have been scheduled on Mondays at 5 p.m., starting Nov. 2. Each module will last about two hours and include opportunities for participants to ask questions of the facilitators, the release says.

The program will explore such topics as marketing, human resources management, technology management, hospitality law and contracts, financial management and hospitality operations in an effort to answer such questions as the following, the release notes:

  • “How can I restore demand and drive revenue?
  • “How can I develop new ‘off-the-beaten-path’ opportunities?
  • “Technology in hospitality: Can it become a savior?
  • “Legal challenges: What to look for?
  • “How to deal with remote workers, low employee morale and digital exhaustion?
  • “How to optimize operations to be prepared for a similar crisis in the future?”

The sessions are intended for anyone working in the hospitality industry, including those who lost their jobs and are looking to add new skills, mid- and senior-level professionals who want to prepare for a successful reopening of the economy, team leaders who want to become more effective, junior employees who want to position themselves as leaders, and entrepreneurs and small business owners who want a fresh perspective toward managing their businesses, the release explains.

“Our faculty members are donating their time to do this, and they are all doing this with one goal in mind, to help this important industry to recover,” said Cobanoglu, also a professor in the USF Muma College of Business, in the release.

For more about the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, visit