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Hotel and Lodging Management Careers, Jobs and Training Information

Hotel and Lodging Management Career Overview

This is a fun and exciting industry, and job growth is forecasted to be lower than the average, and so competition will be keen. Jobs will most likely go to applicants with college degrees in hotel management and restaurant management. Also, it is important to remember that working nights and weekends is common.

People traveling for business or leisure reasons look for a home away from home when they travel. A competent staff, good food, and a secure and restful room can go a long way toward making people enjoy traveling, and lodging managers ensure all those things. Lodging managers work at all kinds of establishments from traditional hotels, to camping areas, inns, motels, ranches, and resorts. Lodging managers have many different duties as well. They make sure guests’ needs are taken care of by providing amenities like television and fitness rooms, and making sure everything is kept in order. They may also provide services for business travelers like helping arrange conferences and providing meeting rooms and electronic equipment.

Lodging managers have many responsibilities. They make sure that their establishment is run efficiently and productively. In order to do this, they have many different responsibilities depending on job title and type of establishment. They may oversee everything personally in small hotels, or they may have a whole team of support staff at a large resort with many services and hundreds of staff.

Types of Hotel and Lodging Management Positions

  • General Managers: They have responsibility for all operations at a hotel. They exercise a lot of authority within parameters set by the hotel owner or the executives of the whole chain. This authority can extend to setting prices, creating budgets that allocate resources to different departments, approving spending, and setting standards for the quality of service, including quality of staff, food, amenities, décor, and event planning. They may also develop modes of operation from scratch for new hotels, or reorganize hotels that are being renovated or that are unprofitable. They are also involved in hiring.
  • Resident Managers: These are on-call all day because they live in the hotel. They are called on to resolve problems and respond to emergencies. However, they sometimes work a normal forty-hour workweek and make sure the hotel runs smoothly. General managers can also be resident managers.
  • Executive Housekeepers: They make sure that everything in the hotel, from the foyers and fitness rooms to the guest rooms to the conference rooms are maintained and clean. They are also in charge of the housekeeping staff, including training and scheduling, and keeping supplies stocked.
  • Front Office Managers: They are responsible for the front desk. They check customers in, make reservations, and assign rooms. They also take care of guest’s needs, deal with complaints, and make adjustments to the bill. They are in charge of the front desk even when they aren’t present, so they oversee and train the front desk staff.
  • Convention Services Managers: Many hotels host business conventions, special events, and conferences. Convention Services Managers work with the client company and the various operations of the hotel to make arrangements, like the number of rooms needed, scheduling conference rooms, and helping plan itineraries. They are also on hand during the event to make sure that everything goes as planned and to make adjustments when they don’t.
  • Assistant Managers: They help the general or resident manager manage the hotel’s daily operations. There might be a number of assistant managers who are responsible for any number of things from managing staff, accounting, taking care of paperwork, hiring, marketing, making sales, purchasing, coordinating security, keeping up with maintenance, and caring for recreational facilities.

Nature of Work and Lifestyle

Lodging managers of all types use computers to organize and simplify many guest services like making reservations, assigning guest rooms and conference rooms, and calculating bills. Computers are also used to order stock supplies, communicate with other hotels in a chain, or send reports to corporate offices or owners. Computer specialists are often called in to help set up programs and make sure they run well. However, computers can be unreliable and managers should be able to function should they fail.

Often being a lodging manager requires more than the traditional forty-hour workweek. Guests have demands twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and so hotel managers often work weekends and nights. Resident managers might not have a set schedule but are on-call at all times. Some establishments, especially resorts, have extremely high workloads certain times a year; the rest of the year managers might have other duties.

Special events or conventions provide another set of responsibilities for lodging managers. They are often held accountable for making sure the convention runs smoothly and are blamed when it does not. Organizing and managing large groups of any kind can be stressful and demand long hours. Managers have to make sure that during peak seasons or conferences guests can check in and out quickly and have all the amenities of the hotel available to them.

Hotel and Lodging Management Training and Qualifications

Advanced schooling is an asset and often a requirement for most positions. It is also important to have specialized training in hotel management. Practical knowledge gained by experience is extremely important. Formal schooling, like a bachelor’s degree in hotel management, is preferred though a liberal arts degree might be acceptable if the applicant also has experience at a hotel or resort. Many courses of study involve internships. These are extremely important as they provide both experience and opportunities for networking, and so will increase chances of getting a job significantly.

Degrees in hotel management are offered by many different educational institutes. Colleges and universities usually have programs to get a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in restaurant or hotel management. Many vocational schools, technical schools, and adult education programs also have programs in hotel or restaurant management. All of these programs usually include courses in economic principles, accounting practices, administration, marketing, catering, maintenance engineering, housekeeping, food service management, and using computers for making reservations, billing, and managing housekeeping.

The Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association has instituted the Lodging Management Program at more than 450 high schools in the United States. This program is offered to upperclassmen, takes two years to complete, and instructs students in principles of management. Upon completion of the course students receive the designation of Certified Rooms Division Specialist. Often colleges and universities will give certified applicants semester credits that count toward an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Being a lodging manager requires some personal attributes. Firstly, they need to be good administrators. This requires self-discipline, organization, meticulousness, and the ability to coordinate the work of others. They spend a lot of time working with people, and so they need good communication skills. Also, managers are called on to solve problems, so they need to be patient, understanding, decisive, and quick-thinking.

In previous years many managers were promoted from existing staff. Some hotel personnel are still promoted to high-level positions without formal schooling, but it is more usual for people with post-secondary degrees to be hired. Experience or education in restaurant management is also helpful because a lot of a hotel’s operations involve food service.

Entry-level positions for graduates of hotel management programs generally consist of trainees to be assistant managers. Many hotels have training programs for new employees that involve a rotation through all the operations of the hotel. Other hotels help pay for employees to get more schooling. New or recently-expanded hotels usually don’t offer much training and so they value managers with experience.

Career tracks differ greatly based on size and type of establishment. Large hotels chains have more established chains of command and give managers better opportunity for advancement, as managers can transfer to another hotel in the chain or to the corporate headquarters. However, this can involve frequent relocations. Small or privately-own hotels may not have as many opportunities. Any hotel manager, however, can maximize their opportunities by becoming certified by professional organizations. These often involve classes, tests, and experience.

Job Outlook for Hotel and Lodging Managers

Job growth is expected to be slower for hotel managers than the national average. Most job openings will be the result of managers retiring or transferring to other occupations; few new jobs will be created. Applicants with college degrees in hotel or restaurant management will have the best prospects.

Job growth will arise from the increasing amount of all travel as more businesses are expanding and more people are traveling for recreation. However, the growth of managerial jobs will be slower than the hotel industry as a whole. More privately-owned establishments are being bought out by big chains. Also, more hotels and motels are specializing in economy-rate rooms which don’t offer the amenities of luxury hotels. As a result, fewer managerial positions are needed. Also, more growth is occurring in extended-stay hotels which don’t require twenty-four hour service. Finally, more front-desk clerks are assuming more of the duties of managers. All of these factors are leading to decreasing demand for managers.

Earnings Information

The majority of hotel managers in 2002 earned between $26,000 and $45,000 with a median of $34,000. Earnings differ based on experience, level of responsibility, type of establishment, and location. Salaries are often supplemented by large bonuses. Some managers may get benefits like housing, food, and other services provide by the hotel like laundry and fitness centers. Some hotels offer other benefits to their employees like compensation for education or profit-sharing.