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Hotel Manager Career Guide

What is a hotel manager?

A hotel manager is a key figure in any hotel setting, responsible for managing the entire operation of the establishment. This role encompasses the economic, customer service, and strategic aspects of running a hotel. Their purpose within any organization is to maintain the smooth running of all hotel operations, ultimately contributing to the success and financial profitability of the business. They work to provide an outstanding guest experience by creating a comfortable and pleasant environment.

Duties and responsibilities

A hotel manager plays a diverse role, requiring a broad range of responsibilities. Key responsibilities may include managing hotel staff, overseeing financial processes, and ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction. They have to coordinate with the different departments of the hotel, like housekeeping, food and beverage, and the front office. Assessing operational performance and implementing necessary changes also fall under their duties. In addition, they are responsible for addressing any customer complaints or issues promptly and professionally, maintaining the hotel’s reputation.

Work environment

Typically, a hotel manager’s work environment may be within a hotel or a corporate office, depending on the size and structure of the establishment. The job can be quite dynamic, requiring the manager to move between various areas within the hotel, such as the front desk, reception, restaurant, and housekeeping department. Their environment can be bustling, especially in bigger hotels or during peak season. These professionals may also be required to travel occasionally, especially if they oversee a chain of hotels.

Typical work hours

The work hours for a hotel manager can be highly unpredictable and often extend beyond the general 9-to-5 schedule. Hotels operate round the clock, and therefore, there could be situations that require their attention at any hour of the day or night. Additionally, they might need to work on weekends or during holidays, as these are typically the busiest times for hotels. The job requires a high degree of flexibility regarding availability and commitment.

How to become a hotel manager

This career guide section outlines the steps to become a hotel manager. Discover the key factors of education, experience, and skills required to excel in this role.

Step 1: Get a high school diploma

Your first step is getting your high school diploma. It’s the minimum educational requirement for this entry-level profession. It provides a solid foundation in basic reading, math, and communication skills.

Step 2: Obtain a bachelor’s degree

While not always mandatory, many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in hotel management, hospitality, or a related field. These courses offer specialized training in food and beverage management, hotel law, facilities management, hospitality finance, and marketing.

Step 3: Gain relevant experience

Most managers have several years of experience in the hospitality industry. You can start with entry-level roles like front desk clerk, reservation agent, or event coordinator to learn about the business and understand the workings of a hotel. Progression to management is usually from these positions.

Step 4: Consider getting a master’s degree

For those aspiring to manage high-end or luxurious hotels, a master’s degree in hospitality or business administration could be beneficial. These degree programs provide advanced instruction in business operations, human resources, and leadership strategies, along with an option for internships at top hotel chains.

Step 5: Develop necessary skills

Besides academic qualifications, you should also develop the necessary skills for efficient hotel management. These include customer service skills, communications skills, leadership skills, organizational skills, problem-solving skills, and financial management skills. Familiarity with property management systems and computer literacy would be advantageous.

Step 6: Obtain professional certification

Professional certifications are available from recognized bodies like the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI). Such certifications can enhance your credibility and employability in the industry. These programs often require a combination of education and experience and may require passing an exam.

Step 7: Apply for hotel manager positions

Once you have the necessary qualifications, relevant experience, and demanded skills, you can start applying for positions. Use online job portals, company websites, and professional networking platforms to find vacancies.

How much do hotel managers make?

Hotel manager salaries will vary by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size. Additionally, salaries can also be influenced by factors such as the size of the hotel, its location (whether the hotel is situated in a city or a rural area), and various performance bonuses.

Highest paying industries

  • Traveler Accommodation – $108,230
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises – $105,800
  • Other Amusement and Recreation Industries – $101,160
  • RV Parks and Recreational Camps – $100,250
  • Office Administrative Services – $99,650

Highest paying states

  • Massachusetts – $109,570
  • Delaware – $105,660
  • Virginia – $104,920
  • New York – $104,780
  • New Jersey – $102,890

Browse hotel manager salary data by market

Types of hotel managers

Below, we explore common career types and areas of specialization for hotel managers. This section will provide you with a thorough understanding of the various roles and specializations within this profession.

General manager

The general manager position is one of immense responsibility and leadership. This professional is often in charge of the whole establishment, overseeing all operations on a high level. They are accountable for ensuring that the hotel meets its financial goals and that the service offered by staff meets the highest quality standards. Strong leadership, effective decision-making skills, and an understanding of hotel operations are essential for this position.

Resident manager

Always on-site, a resident manager’s main responsibility is the day-to-day running of a hotel. They often live on the premises and provide a visible management presence for both guests and employees. Their responsibilities include handling lodging issues, food and beverage maintenance, security, and guest services. Quick, effective problem-solving skills and a customer service-focused approach are vital in this role.

Front office manager

Overseeing the work of receptionists, reservation clerks, and information clerks is the main role of a front office manager. They aim to ensure the efficient management of the front desk at a hotel. They play an important role in the guest check-in and check-out process and train the front office team to provide excellent customer service. Organizational skills and an aptitude for managing staff are crucial in this role.

Executive housekeeper

One of the main roles within any hotel is that of an executive housekeeper. They are entrusted with the cleanliness and maintenance of the hotel rooms, common areas, and equipment. They lead the housekeeping staff, planning duty rosters and ensuring the hotel meets regulatory sanitation standards. Attention to detail, effective leadership, and time management are essential skills for this position.

Food and beverage manager

Overseeing the hotel’s dining operations, the food and beverage manager must deliver top-notch guest dining experiences. From planning and managing the menu to ensuring that food service meets all regulatory standards, their role is vital. They also manage budgets, coordinate events, and supervise food and beverage staff. An understanding of food service, budgeting, and staff management is necessary for this role.

Top skills for hotel managers

This career guide section outlines the skills and abilities that will help you find success as a hotel manager.

Leadership skills

The ability to lead, motivate, and manage a team is essential. Leading a hotel team includes setting the hotel’s vision, delegating responsibilities, making key decisions, and managing team performance. As the person responsible for the hotel’s overall operation, your leadership ability can significantly impact service quality and financial performance.

Customer service skills

A key element in managing a hotel is providing exceptional guest service. This means you must be empathetic, have excellent communication skills, and resolve customer issues expeditiously. Your goal should be to ensure that every guest leaves the hotel with a positive experience and a desire to return.

Financial management skills

To operate a profitable hotel, you must be proficient in financial management. This includes budgeting, revenue forecasting, cash flow management, and financial report analysis. A sound understanding of finance helps to drive strategic decisions that contribute to the hotel’s profitability and growth.

Problem-solving skills

Working in a hotel often involves dealing with unpredictable situations. These can range from staff shortages to customer complaints, technical issues, or logistical problems. Therefore, the ability to think on your feet, develop effective solutions promptly, and prevent small issues from becoming major problems is extremely valuable.

Knowledge of the hospitality industry

A deep understanding of the industry, including trends, competition, and the needs and expectations of hotel guests, is critical. This knowledge can inform your business and marketing strategies and help you anticipate the needs of your guests, exceed their expectations, and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving market.

Hotel manager career path options

The future opens a broad spectrum of career opportunities for a hotel manager. With more extensive industry exposure, progressive roles and management opportunities await you across various hospitality sectors. The career progression will rely predominantly on your experience, skills, and competencies you’ve honed over the years.

By progressively taking on more complex challenges and functions, you could advance your career from managing a small property to overseeing multiple hotels as a regional manager. This opportunity carries a greater deal of responsibility, requiring strong leadership and robust strategic planning abilities.

Additionally, you might want to specialize in a specific aspect of the hospitality industry, like sales and marketing, human resources, or finance. These specialized roles often lead to executive positions such as director of sales or human resources director, which are considered significant stepping stones toward the top-notch executive role- the general manager. Here, you’d oversee all operations, ensuring the hotel’s profitability while maintaining an outstanding guest experience.

Given your extensive industry knowledge and practical experience, you could also transition into a role as a hospitality consultant. In this role, you would offer strategies and solutions to other businesses in the hospitality sector, leveraging your thorough understanding of the industry.

If you have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, utilizing your skills to start your venture, like opening your hotel, a restaurant, or a boutique inn, can be an exciting prospect. This pathway would enable you to leverage the operational insights and industry connections you’ve established during your managerial role, providing you with a substantial advantage in your endeavor.

The hospitality industry is witnessing significant changes in the role of a hotel manager. With an increasing emphasis on technology and sustainable business practices, these professionals are finding a greater need to adapt to the changing dynamics of the industry. Automated services and online booking platforms are shaping how hotels operate, leading to a shift in the required skill sets.

As technology continues to evolve, this role’s emphasis on data analysis is prominent. The ability to interpret and use data to enhance guest experiences is becoming a key skill. Sustainability practices are also rising as the industry moves toward more eco-friendly operations, changing the job landscape significantly.

Globalization and emerging markets also bring new sets of challenges. In this regard, diversified cultural norms and customer preferences are increasingly important. Managers with intercultural competence and proficiency in foreign languages are finding themselves ahead in the industry.

Employment projections

As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of lodging managers is projected to grow 18% through 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in hotel or hospitality management are expected to have the best job opportunities.

Hotel manager career tips

Understand your clientele

Knowing the type of guests that frequent your establishment is important. Different guests have unique needs and preferences. For instance, business travelers might prioritize fast, efficient service and quiet rooms, while families on vacation could see added value in recreational and children-friendly facilities. Understanding your clientele will help you make better decisions about services, promotions, and even room furnishings and decor.

Adopt technology

Technology is rapidly changing the hospitality industry. As an individual in management, you should embrace platforms that increase efficiency and improve the guest experience. This could include online booking systems, mobile check-in/out processes, digital concierge services, or virtual reality tours. Staying up-to-date with emerging technologies will give your hotel a competitive advantage.

Invest in staff training

Well-trained staff can significantly enhance the guest experience. Regularly investing in comprehensive training programs not only improves the quality of service but also increases staff morale and retention. Topics could cover a range of essential areas such as customer service, communication skills, safety procedures, and knowledge about the local area.

Build a professional network

Connect with industry peers, join professional associations, and attend industry events. Networking can offer opportunities for partnership, collaboration, and learning from others’ experiences and best practices. Consider becoming a member of:

  • American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)
  • International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IHRA)
  • Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA)

Consider continuous learning

The world of hospitality is continually evolving, making it essential to pursue ongoing education and professional development. You may consider:

  • Enrolling in hospitality-related webinars or workshops
  • Reading industry-specific publications
  • Earning additional certifications in hotel management

Emphasize sustainability

Consumers are increasingly concerned about environmental issues. As a result, adopting sustainable practices can make your hotel more attractive to potential guests. This extends beyond just reducing waste or conserving water and energy. Think about sustainability in a broader context, including sourcing local organic food for your restaurant, using eco-friendly cleaners, or supporting local community projects.

Where the hotel manager jobs are

Top employers

  • Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.
  • Marriott International Inc.
  • Hyatt Hotels Corporation
  • InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Top states

  • California
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • New York
  • Colorado

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Hcareers
  • Simply Hired


What education is needed to become a hotel manager?

Most employers in this field prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in hotel or hospitality management. Some might accept an associate’s degree or a certificate in hotel management or a related field, especially if coupled with relevant work experience. Understanding foreign languages and cultures can also give an edge in this global industry.

What skills are necessary for success as a hotel manager?

Good interpersonal skills are crucial as they must interact with guests, staff, and suppliers daily. Other critical skills include leadership, problem-solving, multitasking, and an understanding of hospitality industry trends and technologies.

Are there any internships available for hotel managers?

Yes, many hotels and hotel chains offer internship programs. These may be offered during the summer or throughout the year, allowing aspiring managers to learn the ropes under the guidance of experienced professionals. The experience gained from an internship can boost your career prospects.

What responsibilities do hotel managers typically have?

You would typically oversee all operations, ensure guest satisfaction, manage staff, set budgets, handle complaints, and regularly inspect facilities. Additionally, the role often involves marketing and promotional activities.

How glamorous is work in the hospitality industry?

While the job might appear glamorous because it often involves working in beautiful locations, it’s also incredibly demanding. Long and irregular hours are common, especially during peak seasons. However, there are also many rewarding aspects, like creating memorable experiences for guests and working with a diverse team.

Is being a hotel manager stressful?

While rewarding, hotel management can also be stressful due to the 24-hour nature of the business. Dealing with unhappy guests, managing staff, handling emergencies, and meeting revenue targets can all contribute to heavier stress. However, if managed correctly, this stress can be balanced with the satisfaction of providing excellent services to guests.

What kind of workforce challenges does a hotel manager face?

A few common challenges include staff recruitment and retention, managing different generations in the workplace, dealing with employee commitments outside of work, and ensuring staff is adequately trained to deliver high-level customer service.

What’s the difference between a hotel manager and a resort manager?

The primary difference is the type of facilities they oversee. While both are focused on guest satisfaction, a resort manager typically manages more extensive properties and additional recreational facilities and often needs to coordinate activities and events. Hotel management might focus more on managing the property, staff coordination, and maintaining service excellence.

What are the opportunities for advancement as a hotel managers?

Advancement opportunities can vary greatly depending on the size and type of the hotel. Smaller hotels may offer limited advancement options, while bigger chains present more growth opportunities. With experience, they can advance to managing larger properties or become a regional manager or corporate staff member in charge of multiple properties.

How can hotel managers ensure high levels of guest satisfaction?

They can ensure high levels of guest satisfaction by training staff thoroughly, properly managing customer complaints, maintaining high standards of cleanliness, regular facility audits, offering personalized service, and understanding and meeting guest expectations. Knowing your guests and prioritizing their comfort always pays off in guest satisfaction.