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Great Opportunities in a Hotel Manager Career

Aug 17, 2007
Though the industry is likely to do well in the long term, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there won't be very much growth in the number of jobs for hotel managers. A lot of new hotels will be economy class and extended-stay hotels, and these kinds of accommodations don't hire as many managers as shorter-stay, more upscale ones. However, increasing business travel and domestic and foreign tourism will drive employment growth of hotel managers and assistants.

Hotel and motels rent rooms to customers. These businesses need employees to clean rooms and check in guests. Larger hotels also need employees to plan conferences, set up rooms for events, and prepare meals for guests. Hotel and motel managers oversee all these departments and make sure employees do good work. Duties vary with the size and type of the business. In small hotels and motels, one manager may be in charge of all departments. In large hotels, each department may be run by an assistant manager. General Managers are in charge of the entire hotel. They often help create budgets, policies, and advertisements. They also may set room rates and fees.

There are several types of assistant managers. Executive housekeepers are in charge of the workers who clean the hotel. They inspect the hotel to make sure that all areas are clean. Front office managers are in charge of reservations and room assignments. Food and beverage managers oversee restaurants and banquets. They plan menus, set prices, and order supplies. Convention services managers coordinate all hotel activities related to meetings. They meet with clients and plan schedules. Then they work with the food service and front office managers to serve and lodge the visitors.

Assistant managers hire, train, and supervise the members of their staff. They assign duties to workers and schedule their shifts. They also solve customers' complaints and answer questions about their departments. In addition, managers write reports about their department. They also order food or supplies and may negotiate contracts with vendors. Assistant managers meet and talk with the general manager several times a week. They also talk to other assistant managers when coordinating large events, such as weddings.

In general, managers of small hotels and motels have more duties than managers of larger businesses. This is because there are fewer employees in smaller hotels and motels. Thus, managers are likely to fill in for absent workers. For example, managers may occasionally clean rooms, take reservations, check guests in and out, or make general repairs. Managers of small hotels and motels have many administrative tasks. They interview, hire, and train new staff. They schedule laundry service deliveries and order supplies. In addition, they keep track of income and expenses.

In short, hotel managers wear a million different hats and juggle a million different tasks. As managers who oversee the running of entire hotels or motels, they must have an incredible eye for detail, enormous organizational ability, and lots and lots of energy. Initiative, self-discipline, effective communication skills, and the ability to organize and direct the work of others are also essential for managers at all levels.

In the course of the day, hotel managers face all sorts of crises. They must make many quick decisions with grace and aplomb. They must have a good sense of business and know how to promote their hotel through advertisements, promotional events and special offers.

Twenty years ago, hotel managers came up through the ranks, usually starting out at the front desk. This is less likely today. An associate's degree can qualify someone to be an assistant manager or manager of a small hotel, but in a large hotel, it's difficult to rise beyond assistant manager without additional education. Most department managers have a bachelor's degree, preferably from a hotel-school program. These programs usually require extensive internships, and this is how future managers get their initial work experience. Hotel executives often have advanced degrees in a specialty or an MBA.

In chain hotels like Sheratons or Marriotts, new managers, even those with hotel school degrees, are usually put through a year-long management trainee program before being assigned to an assistant manager position.

Because hotels are open around the clock, night and weekend work is common. Many hotel managers work more than 40 hours per week. Managers who live in the hotel usually have regular work schedules, but they may be called to work at any time. Some employees of resort hotels are managers during the busy season and have other duties during the rest of the year.

Salaries of hotel managers and assistants vary greatly according to their responsibilities and the segment of the hotel industry in which they are employed. Managers may earn bonuses up to 25 percent of their basic salary in some hotels and may also be furnished with lodging, meals, parking, laundry, and other services. In addition to typical benefits, some hotels offer profit-sharing plans and educational assistance to their employees.

A well-run hotel or restaurant is the result of carefully choreographed teamwork and specific knowledge and training in the administration of such places. A Master's degree in hospitality administration will prepare the student for a career in the aspects of the hospitality industry that are nothing less than vital for the success and growth of these kinds of businesses. The coursework is often quite similar to that undertaken by students in MBA programs, but in this case they focus in on the hospitality industry, as opposed to other aspects of the business world. Courses may include marketing, negotiation techniques, asset management, entrepreneurship, systems analysis, and restaurant and spa development.

The Master of Science Program (MS) taking about 1 1/2-year is geared toward hospitality professionals who wish to continue their careers in an academic or research setting and is designed to help students develop solid graduate-level research skills within a focused hospitality research area. The majority of the student's course work is tailored to the student's area of hospitality research interest and academic and professional background. Students plan their concentration area courses as well as thesis research with their thesis committee.

If you are in high school, find out about CTE courses in Hotel/Motel Marketing, Hospitality Management, Hospitality Services and Travel and Tourism Marketing. These courses can lead to hospitality skills certification from the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute.
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