How to become a Hotel Manager

By ACS Distance Education on November 14, 2022 in Careers & Jobs Success | comments
To be successful in Hotel Management, you need more than just a good knowledge of the hotel industry. You need to develop excellent management, interpersonal and research skills. An effective hotel manager knows how to delegate, but always keeps a close eye on every aspect of the business and is always moving, always in touch with staff and guests.Let’s look in more detail at what the role entails, and where it can take you. 

Scope of the Hotel Sector

The hotel sector is vast, and exciting. It is continually developing alongside customer needs but also technology. Being a hotel manager is more than a job, it is a vocation. It is a very exciting career with many opportunities for personal and professional growth.

There are opportunities all over the world ranging from working within the budget hotel sector, right up to luxury hotels, not to mention resorts and leisure facilities. There really is a hotel for everyone. You might want to consider a few aspects to find which suits you best:

  • Size – this might change as you become more experienced
  • Clientele type – do you want to work with leisure or business guests? Couples or families? 
  • Facilities – the more facilities a hotel offers, the more responsibility you may have in terms of managing departments. 
  • Style – are you looking for a more contemporary setting, or something more traditional? 

So, whether you’re interested in looking after travellers in a hostel, couples on honeymoon in an adult only resort, or business delegates within a conference hotel, there are many opportunities available.

Being successful

To succeed in this career there are several key skills which will help you to be successful. These include:

  • Being a great communicator – the ability to talk with guests, staff, and contractors, understanding the differences between the different groups and how they prefer to communicate. 
  • Ability to adapt – the hotel industry is fast moving, no one day (or customers) is the same and as a hotel manager you need to be able to quickly move from one situation to another. 
  • Having an eye for detail – depending on the role you may have responsibility across multiple departments. You need to have an eye on all these areas, ensuring that they are always ready to welcome guests.
  • Developing relationships – the success of a hotel is based on the relationships that are developed within it. Whether this is with guests, staff or the local community, relationships are at the heart of delivering effective customer service. 
  • Not shying away from problems – conflict can be intimidating for some, but as a hotel manager it is your responsibility to resolve issues to ensure that guests leave with a positive image of your business. 

Typical Jobs or Career Paths

Within the hotel industry, there is no ‘one size fits all’ purely because the scope of the sector is so broad. This means that there are various ways in which you can become a hotel manager. 

Many people within the industry start at the bottom and work their way up over a period of time. There are many examples of hotel managers who started work as a waiter, or housekeeper, and over time were promoted to supervisor, assistant department manager, department manager, assistant general manager, and finally general manager. Depending on the size of the hotel, this progression may be very quick. In a smaller business with a very flat hierarchy there will be less steps on the ladder to the top. 

During this progression, you can develop knowledge and skills in a specific area e.g., housekeeping, food and beverage etc, as well as building up transferrable skills. In this context transferrable skills could be related to:

  • Teamwork
  • Customer service
  • Multitasking
  • Time management
  • Flexibility

It may also be possible that progression can be via job opportunities in other sectors. For example, working in tourism or other parts of the service sector. These are all supporting the development of the skills needed of a hotel manager. 

Another common career path is through education, such as a qualification in hospitality or sometimes, in management. Studying can provide you with the skills and knowledge which are then applied by gaining relevant experience. The acquisition of this qualification can reduce the time it takes to progress to the top management position. 

What are the key roles of a hotel manager? 

This could be seen as a very challenging question to answer, since the scope of the job role is broad and the sector equally wide ranging. However, these are the key areas that are generic to many hotel settings:

  • Ensuring that the business meets the needs of its users or clients through provision of appropriate products and services
  • Overseeing marketing efforts to ensure that the hotel is promoted effectively to deliver required sales
  • Developing and implementing an efficient and effective sales process across all departments
  • Overseeing the maintenance of the hotel to ensure that all legal responsibilities are met
  • Ensuring the care, comfort, satisfaction and goodwill of the guest or customer
  • Planning and managing the business strategy, in the current, short, and long term
  • Motivating and supporting managers in their roles to filter down to their staff

Depending on the size of the hotel, and structure of its personnel you might also be required to do all, or some of these:

  • Carry out human resources functions including recruiting, inducting, and training staff
  • Supervise staff
  • Develop procurement procedures for selecting supplies or suppliers
  • Create financial budgets and forecasts
  • Establish standards for quality control


Whilst the hotel industry can be very exciting, each hotel can be likened to a small kingdom. The detail required in so many different areas, can make running it very hard work. There is therefore a need for a level of both physical, and psychological stamina to maintain it.

The hotel sector can be very unpredictable. For many this is the draw, the fact that one day is very rarely the same as the previous, or the next. This can also bring about its challenges, with many factors out of your control. Whether this is the weather, economic trends, VIPs and their never-ending demands, irate customers, or unexpected supply shortages. 

The role of the hotel manager is by no means a boring job, yet the excitement and challenge can be addictive.

Distinguishing Yourself from the Competition

Whilst the industry may be vast, the job market is also fiercely competitive particularly for those jobs at the higher end of the sector.  Therefore, as you progress through your career towards your ultimate goal it is always worth remembering a few things:

  • Always do your job to the best of your ability – the industry may be large, but it is also well connected. Everyone seems to know one another, and reputation is consequently very important. 
  • Take opportunities to develop skills – each area of skill that you can deliver consistently becomes an area on which to differentiate yourself. The more strings you have to your bow, the better. 
  • Keep informed – hotel management is as much about what is happening inside the business, as it is about what is happening outside of it. Keeping up to date to with both internal, and external news will help you to show interest.
  • Remain professional – the way in which people view you will have an impact. Being polite, courteous, and respectful go a long way when considerations are being made about promotions or opportunities. 

What next?

There is no one route to becoming a hotel manager.  Start by considering your interests, experiences and skills - and what you need to learn more about.

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