How to Become a
Hotel Manager

Businesswoman using a tablet at a hotel lobby

Are you seeking a demanding, rewarding career in the hospitality industry that requires a great deal of customer service, a desire to meet people and the opportunity to oversee various managerial tasks? If so, then you might consider a career as a Hotel Manager. Read on to find details about the education, training and other requirements needed to pursue this career.

What Does a Hotel Manager Do?

Hotel Managers essentially oversee the daily operations of a large or small hotel. They manage all aspect of the hotel, from front-desk operations to housekeeping. Their responsibilities include ensuring guests are accommodated, creating budgets, setting room rates, inspecting rooms and grounds, hiring employees and conducting staff meetings. A Hotel Manager can work for either a large, chain hotel or a smaller, independent establishment.

A Hotel Manager must have strong organizational and leadership skills. Common Hotel Manager duties and responsibilities include:

  • Communication tasks, such as reviewing hotel policies with guests and directing employees

  • Administrative tasks, such as overseeing various departments and areas

  • Clerical tasks, such as creating budgets and generating reports

Hotel Manager Skills

Strong oral and written communication, leadership, organizational and problem-solving skills are essential for successful Hotel Managers. It is also helpful to possess strong listening, crisis management and interpersonal skills. A Hotel Manager should be able to work closely with people of diverse cultural backgrounds while also possessing the ability to work independently to make managerial decisions.

Other key Hotel Manager skills include:

  • Math proficiency

  • Knowledge of basic accounting procedures

  • Familiarity with fundamental marketing strategies

How Do You Become a Hotel Manager?

Education and Training

We have reviewed several online job postings for Hotel Managers and have concluded that many employers require that job prospects hold a bachelor's degree in hospitality or business administration. In some cases, an associate's degree is acceptable.

Some degree programs in hospitality offer areas of concentration in hotel management or hotel and restaurant management. Courses you might take in these types of programs include front office procedures, housekeeping management and food and beverage management. Classes might also be taken in business communications, accounting and marketing. Many programs offer an internship or externship wherein students can work alongside professional Hotel Managers.

While no license or certification is required to become a Hotel Manager, voluntary certification is available from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), which is affiliated with the American Hotel & Lodging Association. These credentials can reflect a mastery of managerial skills needed to be a Hotel Manager. You can choose to pursue credentials as a Certified Hotel Administrator or Certified Hospitality Facilities Executive.

Finding a job

As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected employment growth rate for Hotel Managers is 8 percent through 2024. This growth will be fueled by an expected continued growth in tourism. However, some hotels have cut back on full services, which could result in a reduction of staff that would include management positions. Job candidates holding a degree would have the best prospects, the BLS states.

A quality resume is your most important tool when seeking a job as a Hotel Manager. Our library of Hotel Manager resume samples is a great resource to help you develop an effective resume.

Once your resume is complete, search online for Hotel Manager job opportunities. Draw on your network of professionals you might have met while completing an internship.

Another important tool you will need is a strong cover letter. When developing a cover letter for a Hotel Manager position, outline your interest and qualifications in this field and how you feel you can contribute to the establishment you are applying for. Refer to our cover letter samples if you need help in crafting this letter.

Insights from a Hotel Manager

In order to present more details about this profession, we spoke with Angela McLaughlin, a Hotel Manager at Silverton Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our question-and-answer session with Ms. McLaughlin follows.

What is the common career path for a Hotel Manager?

Most Hotel Managers start as line employees in a division of a hotel, for example, sales, room reservations or front desk, at some point in their career.  Although this line of work is open to all graduates from hospitality and those with an HND degree, many employers place a lot of emphasis on relevant experience.  A general standard of education is expected, but you can work your way up to management through on-the-job training and external qualifications.

What should someone consider before becoming a Hotel Manager?

Much of the time is spent with customers and staff.  Hotel management requires total commitment, as the work is exacting and demanding, with erratic hours and constant pressures.

What type of person excels in this job?

A person that has a friendly personality and genuine desire to help and please others will excel in this type of job.  You have to be able to make quick decisions on the fly.  You have to have the ability to balance the guests, as well as the business priorities.  You have to have high energy and patience.  People who have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, especially with all demographics, truly excel in this field.

What are some of the most important skills for Hotel Managers to have?

These are the hard skills:  numbers, numbers, numbers - numeracy and logistical planning skills.  Managing budgets and financial plans as well as controlling expenses.  Recruiting, training and managing staff.  Compliance and safety regulations a tall times.

Here are some soft skills: Meeting and greeting customers, addressing problems and troubleshooting.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Hotel Manager?

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing and making guests experiences enjoyable and fulfilling.  Guests have hundreds of hotels in Las Vegas to choose from.  Giving guests a memorable stay from the time of the booking, to the moment they arrive, to their departure with the best customer service and accommodations keeps the guests wanting to return in the future.  When guests want to say thank you and meet you in person to tell you what an amazing job our team fulfilled for their vacation or business trip leaves the heart full of warmth.

How Much Do Hotel Managers Get Paid?

Hotel Managers earn a median hourly wage of $23.91. Those at the lower end of this pay range earn $13.60 per hour, while those at the top end make an hourly wage of $45.35.

Top 10 States for Hotel Manager Salary

Hotel Managers in the following states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.

    District of Columbia

    $45.70

    New Jersey

    $44.64

    Arizona

    $40.31

    Nevada

    $38.24

    Virginia

    $37.89

    Maryland

    $35.34

    New York

    $35.03

    Massachusetts

    $34.62

    Rhode Island

    $34.30

    Nebraska

    $33.84

    Hotel Manager Resources

    We have assembled the following resources to further help you as you explore details about a career as a Hotel Manager. These resources can assist you as you decided whether this is a career you would wish to pursue.

    On the Web

    Hotelogix Blog
    Covering everything from important conferences to management strategies, this blog offers an extensive inside look at what it is like to be a Hotel Manager.

    Revinate Blog
    Hosted by a company in the hospitality industry, this blog explores news and current trends in the hotel business.

    Lodging Magazine
    Published by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, this online magazine covers industry new, Hotel Manager career tips and more.

    Industry Groups

    American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)
    The only association of its kind, the AH&LA provides Hotel Managers with networking opportunities, conventions, regulatory information and industry news.

    International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IHRA)
    This worldwide organization offers Hotel Managers conferences, webinars, marketing news and more.

    Hotel Manager Books

    Hotel Management and Operations 5th Edition
    An extensive look at how Hotel Managers manage each department within the hotel they are running.

    How to Run a Great Hotel: Everything you need to achieve excellence in the hotel industry
    From customer interaction to employee satisfaction, this book covers strategies and habits of successful Hotel Managers.

    100 Tips for Hoteliers: What Every Successful Hotel Professional Needs to Know and Do
    Written by a former professional in the hotel industry, this short book provides helpful information about the role of a Hotel Manager at each step of a hotel's development and operations.