If you enjoy working with people, organizing events, and leading employees, a career in hotel management may be for you. It’s an exciting career — no day is exactly the same — and the skill set you develop can even take you to related industries like hospitality, management, or event planning.
But, how do you get started in a management position? And what is the best way to work and pursue professional development at the same time? Here is a quick guide to pursuing a successful career as a hotel manager.
What Does a Hotel Manager Do?
As the manager at a hotel, you will not only manage people, you’ll manage situations. Beyond managing the daily operations of the property, you will also handle a host of other concerns and issues. You’re the one who answers angry customers and helps juggle maintenance and packed floors for local events. There may also be managers for a number of other departments, like human resources or food service managers, that report to you.
When hotel guests have a problem, you’re the one that smooths it over and finds a solution. If you manage a boutique hotel, you may be expected to provide a more personalized guest experience than you might find at a chain hotel. You might be put in charge of marketing and public relations for that location, as well. For larger hotel chains, there are general managers that supervise a number of locations—and their managers—for a whole region. Conversely, if you work in a small hotel or lodging establishment, you might be one of a very select few managers, or even the only manager, with only the owner to answer to.
No matter the size of the hotel, you will likely be in charge of hiring and training staff to work within the hotel. You may also be responsible for the financial management of the hotel, including payments, promotions, and room charges. Overall, it is your job to ensure that guests have an enjoyable experience during their stay.
Typical Hours and Salary
The entry-level salary (less than a year of experience) for hotel manager positions is around $40 to $45k. Highly experienced hotel managers are likely to earn closer to $60k, according to Payscale. According to Salary, the average hotel management salary might be as high as $109k for those who manage a five-star hotel or luxury hotel. The overall median salary for the position is $54,430 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Many hotel managers work from 9 am to 5 pm, covering the hours when most customers would expect them to be available. During busy weekends and certain evenings, there may be times where extended hours are expected to meet guests’ needs. You might also be expected to travel for conventions, suppliers, or to meet with corporate clients.
Hotel management might sound like a desk job, but that’s not often the case. Many hotel managers primarily work on their feet, staying on top of issues, making important decisions, and providing solutions as problems arise. So, if you are looking for a job that is active and ever-changing, then becoming a hotel manager could be a great fit.
Skills and Qualifications
What does it take to be a good hotel manager? There are a number of important skills you should have:
- Excellent customer service
- Outstanding communication
- Great budgeting skills
- An ability to oversee employees
- Leadership skills that create willing followers
- Being a “people person”
- Outgoing and extroverted
- Organizational skills
- Effective time management
- Quick problem-solving skills
- Passion and dedication
- Persistence and drive
Many lodges and hotel chains appreciate—and hire—professionals with relevant degrees to fill their leadership roles. At the very least, you'll need a high school diploma. Most full-service hotels require an undergraduate degree for the position, but earning your master's degree could help with career advancement. They’re often looking for someone with the following hospitality degrees:
- Hotel & Lodging Management
- Tourism & Hospitality Management
- Event Management
- Hospitality Management
- Hospitality Management master’s degree
One of the best ways to get your foot in the door is to start working at a hotel while you earn your degree. It is possible to earn a hotel management degree online while working full-time; sometimes, preferable. After graduating, your prior work experience in the hotel industry will help you as you pursue hotel management opportunities, whether it’s an opening with your current employer or with a competitor.
Increasing Your Skill Set
Are you interested in a job as a hotel manager, event planning, or another career in the hospitality industry? These are just some of the skills you’ll need:
Clear and concise communication is a vital skill for hotel and lodging managers. Focus on listening to issues and problem-solving to find resolutions to customer complaints. A professional manager will remain calm and collected, even if insulted or treated rudely. Practice professional ways to be a leader on a team, how to remember names and greeting strangers with a warm smile. Effective communication skills can really set you apart from other management prospects.
Focus on the little things. Don’t overlook any aspect of the hotel. If you are a procrastinator, now is the time to shift your mindset and get on top of your schedule. As a manager, you should set the tone and not be scattered. From keeping track of a detailed budget to noticing the good work done by your co-workers and staff, you will have a lot on your plate to track and oversee.
Being good with money is important in this job because upper management (or the hotel owner) will trust you with rates, charges, and expenses. You need to be quick with math skills and have a good mind for numbers because customers will often need to know costs or savings on the spot. A great relationship with vendors and guests also helps in this regard as the subject of costs and money, in general, is an area ripe for tension and misunderstanding.
To become a top employee and manager, you need to be driven, focused, and loyal. Work hard and never ask an employee to do a task you aren’t willing to do yourself. Learn from the bottom up and you will have more respect as a leader. You’ll have earned those stripes. And speaking of earning, earn a relevant degree and you add in a lot of technical knowledge that helps you keep up-to-date with industry trends and best practices.
If you’re interested in becoming a hotel manager, earn your bachelor’s degree in Hotel & Resort Management from JWU. We also have a number of other hospitality degree programs to choose from. For more information, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].