Careers

Learn About Being a Hotel Manager

What does a hotel manager do?

A hotel manager, or lodging manager, is a hospitality professional who oversees the functions of hotels, motels and resorts. They maintain operations and ensure guest satisfaction. In many environments, a hotel manager will review their facility’s budget and revenue to increase profitability. Additionally, they evaluate each department manager’s performance and offer constructive feedback for improvement. 

Hotel managers may also perform the following functions: 

  • Oversee employee hiring, onboarding and exit processes
  • Assist with scheduling continuous management coverage 
  • Maintain relationships with external vendors
  • Create reports and presentations for the hotel owner or board of directors
  • Develop and execute hotel policies

Average salary

Most hotel managers are full-time employees, but in some instances, they may be contract workers with a shorter tenure. Hotel managers often receive a yearly salary instead of an hourly wage. Salaries will depend on the type and size of the facility and the location. For example, a hotel manager who works for a large luxury vacation resort may earn a higher salary than one who works for a small hotel in a mid-sized city. 

  • Common salary in U.S.: $48,776 per year 
  • Some salaries range from $14,000 to $120,000 per year

Hotel manager requirements

Most hotels employ managers with a combination of higher education and hospitality experience. Hotel managers can also obtain a variety of hospitality certifications. Here are the usual requirements to be a hotel manager:

Education

Though there are no specific education requirements to become a hotel manager, many facilities prefer a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality or a related field. Some lodging managers have an associate’s degree or higher. 

High school students can enroll in the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program offered by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI). This two-year program helps students learn hotel management fundamentals.

Training

Hotel managers usually have at least five years of on-the-job hospitality experience in varying departments, such as housekeeping, front of house, engineering or food and beverage. This experience provides a thorough understanding of hotel functions.

Some hotel managers may also receive off-the-job training through seminars and conferences. For example, a hotel manager could attend a hospitality conference regarding new technology or best hotel practices. These conferences can be useful as a form of ongoing training to help hotel managers remain up to date on industry trends. 

Certifications

The AHLEI offers several hospitality certifications that can help advance your hotel manager career:

Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA)

A CHA demonstrates your ability to perform advanced management functions. To earn a CHA, you must have two years of experience as a hotel manager or related position and pass an online exam. You will need to renew the certification every five years. During this period, you need to maintain your position in the industry and earn experience points by attending conferences or completing related online courses.

Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS)

Similar to a CHA, earning a Certified Hospitality Supervisor certification shows you have basic knowledge of hospitality management. To qualify for a CHS, you need 90 days of experience in a supervisory position within the hospitality industry. You’ll also need to pass an online exam consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions.

Certified Hospitality Department Trainer (CHDT)

With a CHDT, you can show you understand all hospitality departments and can train a variety of employees. To earn a CHDT, you must complete a training program, pass a 50-question online exam, and be a hospitality employee with training duties. The renewal period for the CHDT is every five years, in which you’ll need to provide proof of your continuing hospitality education and employment.

Skills

Hotel managers should possess the following key skills: 

Customer service

Since hotel managers operate in the hospitality industry, they usually need excellent customer service skills. They should be able to resolve difficult guest issues smoothly and efficiently. To communicate with guests, they need emotional intelligence so they can listen to and understand customers’ needs with ease.

Critical thinking

The hospitality industry is a fast-paced environment, so hotel managers should have the ability to think critically and make informed decisions quickly. Not only do hotel managers review and solve difficult customer issues, but they also attend to all internal functions. They must ensure each department operates smoothly to create a satisfactory guest experience.

Time management

Efficiently managing time is another valuable skill most hotel managers should possess. They oversee all departments, which requires extensive planning and coordination. Most lodging facilities never close, so it’s important to ensure sufficient staffing at all times. They should be able to plan their schedules to spend enough time with each department and manage others’ time as well.

Hotel manager work environment

Hotel managers typically work regular business hours in an office setting. They often visit and survey other departments in a non-office setting, such as housekeeping. Since hotels operate continuously without closing, some managers may work nights, weekends or holidays. Most hotel managers are available at all times for emergencies. 

Most hotel managers should be able to sit for extended periods of time in front of a computer and interact with a variety of employees and customers regularly. 

How to become a hotel manager

You can become a hotel manager by following these steps:

1. Earn a hospitality degree

You can get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in hospitality to learn the necessary knowledge. You can also obtain a degree in a related field, such as business administration. Though most lodging facilities prefer a degree, you may be able to substitute experience for education.

2. Gain hospitality experience

Most employers prefer at least five years of experience to become a hotel manager, though you may need more in some luxury hotels and resorts. You can gain experience in different positions, such as front desk clerk, housekeeper, maintenance technician or catering coordinator.

3.Obtain certifications

While not required by most employers, you can obtain many different hospitality certifications that help you specialize and increase your earning potential. You can become a Certified Hotel Administrator, which shows you have extensive knowledge of the hospitality industry. You can also earn certifications in hospitality sales, marketing, supervision, revenue and customer service, all of which could prove valuable. 

Hotel manager job description example

Our luxury resort is seeking a hotel manager to oversee all hospitality functions. In this position, you will manage day-to-day operations for each department, including food and beverage, event planning, maintenance, housekeeping, front desk, accounting and human resources. The successful candidate will be able to promote our brand through marketing campaigns and increase our profitability by carefully managing the budget. Additional duties include: 

  • Manage daily meetings to ensure a smooth transition between shifts
  • Conduct regular training sessions with employees
  • Dedicate time and effort to improve guest relations and satisfaction
  • Engage employees to encourage a comfortable work environment

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