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Hotel Manager Career Guide

Exploring a career as a Hotel Manager is among the highest and most rewarding paths in the hospitality industry you can take. If you’re interested in hotel management, this guide will provide the information you need to get started and excel.

What Is a Hotel Manager?

Hotel Managers, also known as Front Desk Managers, Front Office Managers, Guest Relations Managers or Night Managers, are employees who handle the daily operations of a hotel or facility.

They guide their teams, delegate tasks and supervise all operations. To be successful in hotel management, you must have ambition, leadership skills and excellent customer service.

 

What Is the Role of a Hotel Manager?

A Hotel Manager’s responsibilities vary depending on the size of the establishment’s operations. Hotel Managers for large establishments focus on delegating tasks. Meanwhile, those in smaller establishments, like a boutique hotel, are more hands-on with their staff.

Hotel Manager responsibilities

Hotel Managers are assigned a mix of operational and strategic responsibilities as follows:

  • Oversee daily hotel operations and manage front desk, reservations, check-ins and check-outs
  • Hire, train, schedule, supervise and communicate effectively with hotel staff
  • Maintain high service standards and resolve guest complaints
  • Prepare budgets, monitor expenses and analyze financial management reports
  • Develop marketing strategies based on industry trends to build client relationships
  • Coordinate with maintenance and manage renovations for guest rooms and other facilities
  • Adhere to health and safety laws and other regulations
  • Manage supplies and negotiate contracts with vendors
  • Create programs to improve guest experience and handle VIP requests
  • Oversee hotel management software and implement new systems
  • Generate reports for owners or senior management
  • Coordinate with department heads to ensure smooth operations
  • Implement eco-friendly practices and manage energy use

For more information on the role of Hotel Managers, check out our Hotel Manager job description.

What Are the Requirements To Become a Hotel Manager?

Most hotels require a mix of education, credentials and experience when hiring Hotel Managers. Becoming a Hotel Manager would likely require up to five years of hospitality industry experience.

Hospitality management and business administration courses can also equip you with important skills for hotel management.

However, although 35% of Hotel Managers reported having a bachelor’s degree, higher education is not mandatory. A high school diploma or equivalent is normally required for Hotel Managers.

[Source: CareerOneStop]
This chart is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the chart to see detailed data. 

 

What Skills Does a Good Hotel Manager Need?

A successful Hotel Manager needs a combination of hard and soft skills to perform their roles effectively. Here are some of the most highly valued skills in hospitality management.

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Attention to detail
  • Customer service
  • Empathy (especially for conflict resolution)

For interview tips, check out our Hotel Manager interview guide.

What Is the Average Salary of Hotel Managers in the United States?

As per the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average Hotel Manager salary in the United States (U.S.) is $76,790 per year or $6,399.17 a month, making it one of the best-paying jobs in the hotel industry.

The mean annual wage for Hotel Managers has been on an increasing trend, rising by almost 21% since 2019.

Year Annual Mean Wage
2019 $63,570
2020 $65,270
2021 $67,770
2022 $73,230
2023 $76,790

For more information on Hotel Manager salaries, check out our breakdown of Hotel Manager salary trends.

What Is the Career Path for a Hotel Manager?

The hospitality industry offers many career growth opportunities, especially for Hotel Managers. Here are four career paths to consider whether you’re new or already looking to climb:

  1. Advancing to larger properties: Start by managing a small hotel and, with experience, move on to larger hotel chains or luxury resorts. Each step up usually comes with increased responsibilities and higher compensation.
  2. Specializing in a specific department: Gain expertise in a department such as food and beverage or sales and marketing. This can lead to higher-level hospitality positions within that department, such as Director of Food and Beverage or Director of Sales.
  3. Pursuing corporate roles: Transition from on-property to corporate positions within a hotel chain. These positions involve overseeing multiple properties and implementing company-wide strategies. Some corporate roles include Regional Manager, Area Manager or Corporate Director of Operations.
  4. Continuous education and certifications: Enhance your qualifications through degrees or certifications. This can open up opportunities for more executive roles, such as Hotel General Manager or even CEO, within the hospitality industry.

Hotel management org chart sample

Although hotel management is a feat in itself, there are still more specialized and higher-level positions that you can aspire for.

Example Career Paths for Hotel Management

Explore the possible moves to advance your career below, and compare the average salaries to know your potential earnings.

Hotel Management
Assistant Hotel Manager
Avg Salary $ 55,736
Hotel Manager
Avg Salary $ 76,790
Hotel General Manager
Avg Salary $ 93,384
VP of Hotel Operations
Avg Salary $ 143,943
Executive Housekeeper
Avg Salary $ 53,412
Housekeeping Manager
Avg Salary $ 56,865
Hotel Manager
Avg Salary $ 76,790
Hotel General Manager
Avg Salary $ 93,384

Is Hotel Management Right for You?

Take this free quiz to assess your potential as a Hotel Manager and test your knowledge of hotel management.

Results

Congratulations! 

Based on your quiz results, you would be an ideal candidate for the Hotel Manager position. Your skills and preferences align well with the job’s demands.

Embrace this opportunity and consider gaining hands-on experience by applying for Hotel Manager Jobs. 

Cheers to a promising future in the hospitality industry!

There’s great potential!

While your results indicate that you may need to develop more skills to be an effective Hotel Manager, there’s great potential for you to excel with dedication and effort.

You can start by visiting our Hotel Manager Job Description page to learn more about what this role entails.

#1. How many years of hospitality experience do you have?

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#2. Do you have leadership experience in your previous role/s?

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#3. How do you handle guest complaints or conflicts?

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#4. Let’s say a supplier tells you that they’ll be having a price increase for their hotel supplies. How would you minimize the impact on the hotel’s budget?

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#5. How do you motivate your team of hotel staff?

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#6. What is your experience in budgeting and financial management responsibilities?

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#7. A guest’s room upgrade request was approved, but because of a room assignment error, they didn’t receive the upgraded room. What would you do to ensure the guest is happy?

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#8. Do you enjoy interacting with different people?

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#9. How do you manage a budget to maximize profitability?

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#10. Can you handle immense pressure at work?

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What Are the Different Types of Hotel Managers?

Given the various tasks involved in the hotel industry, multiple departments need strong leadership. This results in several types of Hotel Managers.

Each of these lodging managers has its pay grade, so consider which position is the most suitable and rewarding for you.

Housekeeping Manager

Housekeeping Managers supervise the cleaning activities of all Housekeepers on the hotel premises. They also assist in the recruitment of housekeeping personnel and lead their training and supervision.

Front Desk Operations Manager

Front Desk Managers guide and mentor all front desk staff. They manage all front desk operations such as registration, room assignments and other guest services.

They play a crucial role in managing guests’ first impressions and ensuring guest satisfaction.

Food Service Manager

Food Service Managers oversee food service, including kitchen, in-room dining and banquet operations. Food Service Managers also ensure food safety standards, cost control and quality management.

Marketing Manager

Marketing Managers develop communication strategies for guests, partners and other stakeholders. They are also in charge of building partnerships and organizing events and campaigns both within and outside the hotel.

Sales Manager

Sales Managers are responsible for prospecting clients and building partnerships. They are in charge of creating sales proposals, negotiating contracts and meeting sales targets.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Hotel Management?

Leadership in hospitality might not be for everyone. But if you do choose to become a Hotel Manager, strike that balance between rewards and responsibilities.

Pros

  • A clearly defined career path
  • Variety of responsibilities
  • Flexible schedules
  • Networking opportunities
  • Personal development

Cons

  • Long and irregular hours
  • High-pressure situations
  • Physically and mentally demanding workload

See What Hotel Managers Have to Say

Sebastian Ploss quote

Check out our complete interview with Sebastian here.

Hotel Manager Career FAQs

Check the list below for answers to the most frequently asked questions in hospitality management.

While working as a Hotel Manager can be rewarding, it also comes with its challenges. Hotel Managers often oversee teams of varying sizes and handle dissatisfied guests. They also need to prepare for emergencies at any hour of the day, making the job difficult and stressful at times.

Although the role of Hotel Manager is already at a high level, it’s not the highest. Hotel General Managers usually have the highest role as they oversee all departments of hotel operations, including the front desk, housekeeping, food service and maintenance.

Courses like Business Administration and Hospitality Management can be helpful given their scope.

Yes! Practical experience makes you more qualified than any course, bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. Keep in mind that 54% of current Hotel Managers got their jobs with an education level lower than a bachelor’s degree, like a high school diploma.

If you’re starting in the hotel industry, it’s best to build valuable experience with entry-level positions. These include a hotel job as a Housekeeper, Concierge, Porter or Front Desk Clerk.

Put customers first. Remain calm, address complaints head-on and aim to de-escalate tensions from the get-go. Demonstrate empathy, as this allows you to actively listen to customers and encourage them to trust you to make the situation better.