On a typical day, hotel management professionals act as supervisors, budget administrators, negotiators and crisis managers. In the midst of balancing these complex roles, they maintain the utmost composure—a positive, energetic attitude matched with a strong work ethic and expert organizational skills.
Utilizing their business training, hotel managers run entire hotels, motels and resorts, or they manage specific departments within these establishments. They set hotel policies, plan employee schedules, and determine budgets from the back office while making time to walk the public parts of the hotel, greet and talk to guests, inspect facility conditions and fill in at the front desk.
Graduates of hotel management programs can enter the field as assistant managers or managers in small hotels or motel chains. In large hotels or resorts, hospitality managers often start as management trainees or assistant managers before advancing to department management roles where they oversee specific areas of hotel administration, such as guest services, food and beverage, conferences and events, and marketing.
Qualifying for Hotel Management Jobs
Individuals can enter the field in a number of ways:
- With an associate's degree in hospitality management or a related specialty field
- Advancing to a position as department manager in a large hotel or resort typically requires a bachelor's degree in hotel or hospitality management and specialized training in a particular area
- Those with master's degrees in a specialty area or an MBA have the best chances of finding executive management hotel jobs
Perks of Working in Hotel Management
Managing a hotel can offer exclusive advantages:
- Some establishments provide hotel managers with meals, laundry service and parking
- Depending on the hotel, managers may receive medical benefits, profit-sharing and educational assistance
- Some establishments offer exceptional bonus packages of up to 25 percent of their base salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for lodging managers is $46,810. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Challenges of the Work
Throughout the stages of their careers, hotel managers typically endure long hours, including night, weekend and on-call work. The job also brings with it high levels of stress associated with handling guest complaints, coordinating extensive activities, turning a profit and solving problems at a fast pace. Furthermore, advancing in the field often means relocating to a different hotel or branch in a chain, which, in turn, could require large-scale moves with a family every few years.
Finally, those early years spent working as a trainee or assistant manager usually mean all the long hours and stress but only a fraction of the pay. Surviving this period, however, can lead to better hotel job opportunities and earning potential for the managers who meet the challenge.