Creating an atmosphere of relaxation, being accommodating to travelers and business people, and providing a wonderful customer service experience, are all part of being in the hotel & lodging management careers. The diversity of accommodations (hotels, motels, lodgings, resorts, and recreational sites) offers a wide range of management positions and opportunities.
The number of management opportunities depends on how big the company is, the number of services being offered, and the kinds of facilities that exist. In major hotels and large motel chains there are a wide range of positions like janitorial supervisor, front office manager, human resources manager, or general manager, whereas in smaller motels or lodgings there may be only one manager who oversees most of the operations.
Working in the hotel management industry can be stressful, but it also offers quite a few perks and benefits. Employers may dole out generous bonuses or assist with tuition for education and training. To be considered for higher positions, employees will be required to relocate every two years, so for those who enjoy traveling, this career is an ideal way to experience living in other locations.
Lodging and hotel managers can earn anywhere from $40,000 to $63,000 according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The top management positions are able to pull in $85,000 annually. At the low end of the scale, salaries start at $28,000. Managers at larger chains or top hotel brands can also receive 25% bonuses or profit sharing.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Managers and supervisors have a variety of positions to choose from in the lodging industry. The nature of the hotel business requires 24 hour operation times and therefore staff and management may be asked to work weekends and night shifts. During peak seasons a surge in business translates to a very pressured environment where constant orchestration and organization is required to ensure customers are happy. Ultimately, managers will be responsible for seeing that their company reaches acceptable levels of lodging standards for occupants and for achieving consistent profitability.
General Managers are in charge of running the entire operations of a hotel. The General Manager must supervise and coordinate subordinates who are responsible for all activities related to the day to day operations. However, it’s common for management staff to lend a hand whenever and wherever needed. In large companies, assistant managers will be available to help with the various duties. Areas of responsibilities include overseeing housekeeping, managing employees, carrying out administrative tasks, training staff, creating schedules, dealing with security, handling purchases, providing input on marketing and sales, and a host of other duties as needed to run a profitable business.
Managers must also show they have effective people skills. Being able to cooperate with others and to lead them in a fast paced environment are strongly desired. Good communications skills are also needed along with the ability to complete a multitude of tasks quickly. A solid understanding of accounting and the financial aspects of running a hotel business are essential to ensure a healthy profit.
The outlook for hotel and lodging managers is not as strong as other careers. Jobs are forecast to grow only 5% in the next 8 years. Changes in the industry are tending towards smaller, efficient, and more specialized hotels which decreases the number of jobs available. Those who have a hospitality degree and desire the most coveted positions face stiff competition.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
In general, employers will look for applicants who have a business, hotel management, or hospitality degree. Associate degrees from two year community colleges and training from trade schools or vocational colleges are all acceptable. Over 400 programs exist to provide training and education for prospects throughout the United States. Other degrees are acceptable when coupled with some kind of related experience. Those with no degrees should provide relevant internship or work experience.
Certifications provide opportunities for entry into the lodging management industry as well as advancement to higher positions. Over 40 states offer the Lodging Management Program (LMP). LMP prepares high school juniors and seniors for careers in the lodging industry. Academics and classroom material are combined with practical skills and experience to help students gain the skills necessary for a successful career. Completion of this program leads to the Certified Rooms Division Specialist, a professional certificate for hotel management.
The following associations provide further information on education, certifications, and general industry information:
- The American Hotel and Lodging Association provides a wide range of information in the lodging industry including training, education, programs, and initiatives.
- Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association provides career, training, and professional development.
- International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education provides educational information in the management of hotels and restaurants.
- Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration provides information on accreditation standards and educational programs.