How to Become a Hotel Manager

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"Are you traveling for business or pleasure?" It's a question you are likely to hear when you check into a hotel... No matter how you answer, you should expect your stay to be pleasant and the staff providing top accommodation. That's just one thing to keep in mind when you consider how to become a Hotel Manager!

The role of a general manager is to ensure that your visit best meets those expectations. For hotel chains, repeat business is essential to their success and growth.

Hotel management is an industry dedicated to running hotels, motels, and other lodging establishments. This management division ensures that travelers' needs are met and the establishment runs efficiently and profitably.

How to Become a Hotel Manager - How Much Do Hotel Managers Make

What do hotel general managers do?

Depending on the size of the establishment and types of services offered, hotel management typically involves a layered management team, with the general manager overseeing the entire operation and facility. In addition to the general manager, this management team may consist of those in charge of the following areas:

  • Reservations and reception desk management

  • Housekeeping and janitorial services

  • Catering and food services

  • Concierge and valet services

  • Recreational facilities

  • Marketing, advertising, and public relations

  • Safety and security

  • Facility maintenance

  • Financial management

  • Human resources and personnel

Whether hotel guests are vacationing or traveling for business, the managerial staff and their departments work together to make sure the guests have an enjoyable home-away-from-home experience.

What traits and characteristics are found in great hotel managers?

When thinking about how to become a hotel manager, you should keep in mind that the general manager of a hotel can expect to handle a number of situations, both long-term and short-term; being able to prioritize is key. Managing a five-star hotel—even a three-star hotel—is a demanding role with a great amount of responsibility. General managers should be:

  • Good administrators with a strong ability to delegate and follow through.

  • Able to handle stressful situations diplomatically and with the highest degree of professionalism.

  • Courteous and able to work alongside different personality temperaments.

  • Excellent problem solvers and have grace under pressure.

  • Highly detail-oriented.

  • Familiar with the typical business model for hotels and lodging facilities as well as having an understanding of a hotel's financial operations.

  • Well-spoken, present well to clients and guests, and communicate effectively.

  • Knowledgeable of the industry standards for hotels, as well as being very familiar with a hotel's internal operations and its guidelines.

What is the work environment like for general managers of hotels?

Travelers need hotels to be open at all hours. Individuals can be stranded from cancelled or missed flights, taking emergency trips, or pulling in after a long night of driving. So what is the work of hotel management? Because hotels are open around the clock, hotel managerial services are needed on a constant basis.

It is not uncommon for hotel managers to work more than 40 hours a week and a variety of shifts that include nights and weekends. They may also have periods of time when they are on call. Some hotel managers may be on their feet the entire time.

A hectic work pace is not uncommon, especially during peak seasons.

How to become a hotel manager

By now you're probably saying, OK, great - so how do you become a general manager of a hotel?

  1. Earn a Degree
  2. Get an Internship
  3. Get a Job
  4. Advance Your Skills
  5. Get Certified

What education is necessary to become the general manager of a hotel?

So exactly what subjects are needed to become a hotel manager? Some form of advanced schooling is often a requirement for a hotel manager education.  Larger hotel chains that offer a variety of services usually require a bachelor's degree in business or hotel or hospitality management for management trainee positions. Larger upscale establishments may even require a master's degree.

At times a liberal arts degree combined with significant work experience in the hospitality field may also be sufficient. Smaller lodging establishments may find an associate's degree or certificate in hotel, restaurant, or hospitality management sufficient for their hotel managers.

Many colleges, universities, and education providers offer hotel and hospitality online degrees and certificate programs in hotel management. There are also technical institutes, as well as vocational and trade schools, that offer courses leading to formal recognition in hospitality management.

Most degree programs also include formal internships or work-study opportunities, which provide important experience.

Additional certification and education is often necessary for advancement. Larger hotel chains provide more opportunities for career advancement than smaller, independently owned establishments. Advancement is accomplished largely through certification programs which utilize a combination of course work, examinations, and work experience. These programs are often offered by various hotel and lodging associations. After completion of the certification program, managers can more easily move up the career ladder, although this does often require relocating to another establishment within the hotel chain.

What courses are usually part of a hotel management certificate program?

Typical courses in hotel management programs include:

  • Hotel Administration

  • Accounting

  • Economics

  • Marketing

  • Business Writing

  • Management

  • Catering

  • Computer Training

What is a Typical Hotel Manager Salary?

A question we hear a lot is, "How much does a hotel manager make a year?" Compensation in the field of hotel management can vary widely depending on some of the following factors:

  • Nature of the responsibilities

  • Geographical location

  • Segment of the industry in which they work

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for lodging managers in 2016 was $51,840.

Additional compensation can be in the form of bonuses, at times up to 25 percent of the base salary. Managers may also receive additional perks such as free parking on the premises of the hotel, free laundry services, and meals. Some hotels also offer profit-sharing and tuition assistance for educational expenses. [i]

What is the outlook like for hotel management?

A steady growth of 8% is expected in the hotel and lodging industry. Between 2014 and 2024, there will be an addition 3,700 jobs added. Learn more at this page about how to become a hotel manager.