What Is Hotel Management? Definition and Duties

Updated August 1, 2023

Image description

A person in an apron with a tablet is talking to another person pointing at a piece of paper. There is a list titled "Roles in Hotel Management" with the bullets:
• Housekeeping manager
• Sommelier
• Catering manager
• Food service manager
• Special events manager
• Conference center manager
• General manager

The hospitality industry includes many career paths and options for those who enjoy interacting with people and providing them with the support they need. One of these options is a career in hotel management, which involves operating and overseeing a hotel location.

If you are considering this option for your career, it is helpful to understand more about what to expect when working in the role. In this article, we discuss hotel management as a career, how it differs from hospitality management and how you can build the skills you need to become successful in this field.

What is hotel management?

Hotel management is an area of the hospitality industry that involves overseeing the operations of a hotel location. When working as a hotel manager, you may manage the operations of a motel, resort or another similar establishment that provides lodging and other services for guests.

The title, "hotel manager" often refers to a hotel's general manager, who serves as the head executive at a specific property. The duties assigned to the manager depend on the size of the hotel, as well as its purpose and the expectations of its owners. A general manager at a hotel receives support from department heads, who oversee their own employees and report on the key functions.

Some of the most common departments at a major hotel include the front office or front desk, reservations, housekeeping, revenue, sales and marketing, events and catering, finance, food and beverage, security, human resources and engineering. A career in hotel management may involve working in any of these areas within the industry. In a smaller hotel, the departments may include housekeeping, guest services, engineering, food and beverage, accounts and sales and marketing.

Working in hotel management often requires you to gain experience in a hotel, whether you are working at the front desk or in housekeeping. Many hotel management professionals work their way up through the industry because the relevant experience is often highly valued in hospitality.

Some positions may require applicants to hold a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management, Business or another related field, although it depends on the hotel and the requirements of the job. If you want to move up further in the hotel management industry, such as working as a regional vice president or director, you may need a graduate-level degree.

Related: 15 Entry-Level Jobs That Pay Well

Hotel management vs. hospitality management

Hotel management is often mixed up with hospitality management, and the two career paths do share some similarities. Hospitality management includes the full scope of the hospitality industry, such as restaurants, convention centers, cruise ships, country clubs, destination marketing companies and amusement parks, in addition to hotels and other lodging establishments.

If you want to increase your potential career opportunities, studying hospitality management can benefit you. Those who want to advance their careers in hotel management may also benefit from pursuing a degree in hospitality management.

A hospitality management program at a higher education institution will prepare its students for working in this fast-paced, growing industry. The curriculum often includes courses focused on accounting, human resource management, administration, public relations, finance, strategy and people management. In some programs, the coursework may also include culinary training.

Related: How To Find the Best Jobs For You

How to improve hotel management skills

A hotel manager is responsible for making sure that all areas of the facility operate and work together as smoothly as possible to ensure a positive experience for guests. To succeed in this field, consider following these steps to improve your skills:

1. Learn financial management

Financial management is a key skill because the general manager and department heads are responsible for managing and sticking to the hotel budget. The manager of the hotel is in charge of the overall budget, while each department head is usually responsible for tracking expenses. By taking finance and budgeting courses, you can learn more about the financial aspect of operating a hotel and the funds that come in and out.

2. Improve your leadership skills

Leadership is also an essential skill for a manager because they have to lead a team that can include hundreds of people at a large lodging establishment. Hotel managers should be willing to listen to feedback from employees, take steps to improve morale, delegate tasks to members of various teams and make decisions quickly and confidently. Improving your leadership skills often comes through experience, although skilled leaders offer leadership training courses and seminars.

3. Gain a better understanding of marketing

Although a hotel may have a designated marketing department, hotel managers are generally quite involved in all the different departments to ensure smooth, efficient operation. Marketing involves generating awareness about a brand or company, as well as creating positive interactions for those who engage with the brand. You can learn more about marketing a business by taking courses online or through a higher education institution in your area.

4. Strengthen your communication skills

A hotel manager will use written and oral communication skills when performing a variety of tasks in this role. They may produce written communication to distribute to the various department heads or team members regarding new policies or process changes. Hotel managers also interact directly with guests at the hotel, so they need to be able to listen effectively and respond to concerns efficiently.

Communication skills are also vital when learning how to interact with guests who are unhappy with their service, as managers are responsible for addressing and resolving concerns. Experience will help you improve your communication skills, as will training and education in related areas.

5. Be flexible

Flexibility is another key skill for a hotel manager. In this role, you will often face unexpected and unforeseen issues that must be managed as quickly as possible. Issues often arise at inconvenient times, such as when the hotel is hosting a major event or a large group of guests. A potentially negative experience can be turned around by a hotel manager who is flexible and willing to adapt to any situation and who is empathetic toward the guests and truly wants to find a resolution that satisfies all involved parties.

Related: Guide To People Management: Definition, Tips and Skills

Hotel management jobs

If you want to pursue a career in hotel management, you can choose from a wide range of job opportunities. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link for each job title below:

1. Housekeeping manager

National average salary: $13.23 per hour

Primary Duties: A housekeeping manager is responsible for ensuring compliance with cleanliness and hygiene standards within a hotel. Common duties include hiring and training staff, working with hotel guests to ensure their individual needs are met, creating and overseeing schedules, managing inventory and coordinating with other departments.

2. Catering manager

National average salary: $48,310 per year

Primary duties: In a hotel, a catering manager works directly with members of the catering staff to handle a variety of tasks related to food preparation and service. Some of these tasks include coordinating and managing operations, managing a team of catering professionals, entering food orders, coordinating with other departments within the hotel and overseeing food preparation to ensure quality standards are met.

3. Conference center manager

National average salary: $50,044 per year

Primary duties: A conference center manager oversees the operations of a convention or conference center. Some of the tasks may include booking events, preparing and managing contracts, reporting on financial information, managing inventory, supervising staff members and other department heads, troubleshooting any issues that arise and inspecting the facility pre-event and post-event.

4. General manager

National average salary: $49,268 per year

Primary duties: The general manager of a hotel is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations, overseeing other department heads and managers, making sure all policies and processes are carefully followed, handling complaints, managing service recovery procedures, maintaining hotel budgets and managing all property issues that may arise.

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