In a hotel management job you’ll be in charge of businesses that rent rooms to travelers. Although the common mental image of a hotel manager is the person in charge behind the welcome desk, front office management is only part of the picture. Everyone from the general manager to management trainees play a critical role in keeping the business running efficiently.
What You’ll Do in a Hotel Management Job
Ultimately, every hotel manager must keep in mind the needs of customers. Different types of lodgings cater to various groups of people, from vacationing families to business travelers. The demands of a hotel management job vary accordingly:
- In larger establishments, assistant managers and department managers are in charge of a specific area within the hotel: front office management, human resources management or food service management, for example.
- Smaller establishments may have only a few managers with a broader range of hotel management job duties.
- In both cases, the general manager is in charge of operations for the entire hotel, supervising assistant managers and other staff as well as overseeing the budget, setting quality standards and, increasingly, organizing information technology services.
Important job skills for hotel managers include the following:
- Impeccable customer service and communication skills
- Managerial know-how
- Mathematical and accounting skills
- Basic clerical knowledge
Hotel managers should also be prepared to work long hours: after all, whether a lodging operates year-round or only seasonally, it's still open 24 hours a day.
How Do I Start a Career?
Typically, those who are interested in a hotel management job pursue a 2-year or 4-year degree from a community college, university or vocational school.
If you've completed a certificate program or 2-year degree in hospitality, or if you've been working at a hotel for a while and have shown leadership potential, then you'll probably start out as a trainee for a hotel management job. The next step up is assistant manager or department manager—at that point you'll be put in charge of hotel front office management, convention management, or some other area where you have specific expertise. Those with bachelor's or master's degrees may start out at the assistant manager level. Eventually, an assistant or departmental manager might work their way up to general manager, or gain enough experience to open their own hotel business.
Alternatively, a hotel management degree might lead you to work in less traditional settings than a regular hotel: front office management for a casino or cruise ship, catering management, RV park or campground management, and restaurant management are also possibilities for hotel management degree holders. It's an exciting field with a wide range of career opportunities, whether you want to stay close to home or expand your horizons.
Sources: HospitalityGuild.com; Hosteur.