Lodging managers ensure that guests on vacation or business travel have a pleasant experience at a hotel, motel, or other types of establishment with accommodations. They also ensure that the establishment is run efficiently and profitably.
Lodging managers typically do the following:
- Inspect guest rooms, public areas, and grounds for cleanliness and appearance
- Greet and register guests
- Ensure that company standards for guest services, décor, and housekeeping are met
- Answer questions from guests about hotel policies and services
- Keep track of how much money the hotel or lodging facility is making
- Interview, hire, train, and sometimes fire staff members
- Monitor staff performance to ensure that guests are happy and that the hotel is well run
- Coordinate office activities of hotels or motels and resolve problems
- Set room rates and budgets, approve expenditures, and allocate funds to various departments
A comfortable room, good food, and a helpful staff can make being away from home an enjoyable experience for guests on vacation or business travel. Lodging managers try to make sure that guests have that good experience.
Lodging establishments vary in size, from independently owned bed and breakfasts to motels with just a few rooms or to hotels that can hold more than 1,000 guests. Services can vary from providing a room to granting access to a swimming pool; from offering a free breakfast to having a full-service restaurant; from having a lobby to operating a casino and hosting conventions.
Though specific duties vary by size and type of establishment, increasingly, many lodging managers use online social media for marketing purposes.
The following are examples of types of lodging managers:
General managers oversee all lodging operations at a property. At large hotels with several departments and multiple layers of management, the general manager and several assistant managers coordinate the activities of separate departments. These departments may include housekeeping, personnel, office administration, marketing and sales, purchasing, security, maintenance, recreational facilities, and other activities. For more information, see the profiles on human resources managers; public relations and fundraising managers; financial managers; advertising, promotions, and marketing managers; and food service managers.
Revenue managers work in financial management, monitoring room sales and reservations, overseeing accounting and cash-flow matters at the hotel, projecting occupancy levels, and deciding which rooms to discount and when to offer special rates.
Front-office managers coordinate reservations and room assignments and train and direct the hotel’s front-desk staff. They ensure that guests are treated courteously, that complaints and problems are resolved, and that requests for special services are carried out. Most front-office managers also are responsible for handling adjustment to bills.
Convention service managers coordinate the activities of various departments, to accommodate meetings, conventions, and special events. They meet with representatives of groups to plan the number of conference rooms to be reserved, design the configuration of the meeting space, and determine what other services the groups will need, such as catering or audiovisual requirements. During a meeting or event, they resolve unexpected problems and ensure that hotel operations meet a group’s expectations.
Lodging managers held about 50,400 jobs in 2012. More than half were employed in the traveler accommodation industry, which includes hotels and motels.
Most of the remainder worked in other lodging establishments, such as recreational vehicle (RV) and recreational camps, youth hostels, inns, boardinghouses, bed-and-breakfasts, and resorts. About 39 percent were self-employed.
The pressures of coordinating a wide range of activities, turning a profit for investors, and dealing with dissatisfied guests can be stressful.
Most lodging managers are employed full time. Because hotels are open around the clock, working evenings, weekends, and holidays is common. Some managers must be on call 24 hours a day, particularly if they reside at the lodging establishment.
Many applicants can qualify as a lodging manager by having a high school diploma and several years of experience working in a hotel. However, most large, full-service hotels require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. Hotels that provide fewer services generally accept applicants who have an associate’s degree or certificate in hotel management or operations.
Currently, 26 states plus the District of Columbia offer high school academic training for prospective lodging managers.
Most full-service hotel chains hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality or hotel management. Hotel management programs typically include instruction in hotel administration, accounting, marketing, housekeeping, food service management and catering, and hotel maintenance and engineering. Computer training is also an integral part of many degree programs, because hotels use hospitality-specific software in reservations, billing, and housekeeping management. The Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration accredits about 60 hospitality management programs.
At hotels that provide few services, candidates with an associate’s degree or certificate in hotel, restaurant, or hospitality management may qualify for a job as a lodging manager.
Also, many technical institutes and vocational and trade schools offer courses that are recognized by the hospitality industry that may help in getting a job.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Hotel employees who do not have hospitality management training, but who show leadership potential and have several years of related work experience, may qualify for assistant manager positions.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Aspiring high school students can enroll in the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program (HTMP) created by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute. The HTMP is a 2-year program that teaches management principles and leads to professional certification: Certified Hospitality & Tourism Management Professional (CHTMP). Currently, 26 states plus the District of Columbia offer the program.
Large hotel chains may offer better opportunities than small, independently owned hotels for advancing from assistant manager to manager or from managing one hotel to being a regional manager. However, these opportunities usually involve relocating to another city or state.
Business skills. Lodging managers address budget matters and coordinate and supervise workers. Operating a profitable hotel is important—as is the need to motivate and direct the work of employees.
Customer-service skills. Lodging managers must have good customer-service skills when dealing with guests. Satisfying guests’ needs is critical to a hotel’s success and helps to ensure customer loyalty.
Interpersonal skills. Lodging managers need strong interpersonal skills because they interact regularly with many different people. They must be effective communicators and must have positive interactions with guests and hotel staff, even in stressful situations.
Leadership skills. Lodging managers must establish good working relationships to ensure a productive work environment. This objective may involve motivating personnel, resolving conflicts, and listening to complaints or criticism from guests.
Listening skills. Lodging managers should have excellent listening skills. Listening to the needs of guests allows managers to take the appropriate course of action, ensuring guests’ satisfaction. Listening to the needs of workers helps managers keep good working relationships with the staff.
Organizational skills. Lodging managers keep track of many different schedules, budgets, and people at once. This task becomes more complex as the size of the hotel increases.
Problem-solving skills. The ability to resolve personnel issues and guest-related dissatisfaction is critical to the work of lodging managers. As a result, they should be creative and practical when confronted with problems.
The median annual wage for lodging managers was $46,810 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,290, and the top 10 percent earned more than $89,530.
In May 2012, median annual wages for lodging managers in the top four industries in which they worked were as follows:
|Administrative and support services||$58,670|
|RV (recreational vehicle) parks and recreational camps||48,460|
|Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar
Most lodging managers are employed full time. Because hotels are open around the clock, working evenings, weekends, and holidays is common. Some managers must be on call 24 hours a day.
Employment of lodging managers is projected to show little or no change from 2012 to 2022.
Despite expected growth in tourism and travel, fewer managers will be needed as the lodging industry shifts to building more limited-service hotels and fewer full-service properties that have separate departments to manage.
In addition, some lodging places are streamlining operations to cut expenses, by either eliminating some managers or scaling back the total number. Chain hotels, for instance, are increasingly assigning a single manager to oversee multiple properties within a region. Still, some large full-service hotels, including casinos, resorts, and convention hotels that provide a wide range of services to a larger customer base, will continue to generate jobs for experienced managers.
Those seeking jobs at hotels with the highest level of guest services are expected to face strong competition, as these positions are highly sought after by people trained in hospitality management or administration.
Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality or hotel management are expected to have the best job opportunities, particularly at upscale and luxury hotels.
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