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So you are interested in becoming a hotel manager! I think hotel management is probably one of the most fascinating careers, and if you have a knack for hospitality and management, this could be the perfect career fit for you!

Exploring the practical steps to get into the hotel manager position can be a great way to confirm if this career choice suits you. I will try my best to walk you through the process of becoming a Hotel Manager and the key things to consider when building your experience and management skills.

What Is A Hotel Manager

Hotel Managers - they have the “suiteest” job! ….See what I did there? 

But honestly, the role of Hotel Manager or Hotel General Manager as it's often referred to- is a pretty exciting career path. No day is ever the same in a hotel management career, and I guarantee you will always have an interesting scenario or crazy story to share. This is not surprising as the Hotel Manager oversees all aspects of a hotel's operations, from supervising hotel employees and maintaining facilities to ensuring guest satisfaction and managing budgets.

Ultimately, their role revolves around creating a smooth and enjoyable experience for both guests and staff within the hotel environment.

What Does A Hotel Manager Do

A Hotel Manager really is ultimately the one who is keeping a watchful eye on the day to day operations, from guest services and staff coordination to maintaining the facility's functionality and ensuring a pleasant stay for visitors.  Other aspects the will over see but are not limited to are:

Beyond the business management responsibilities, a Hotel Manager also plays a critical role in fostering a welcoming environment, ensuring the comfort and satisfaction of both guests' interpersonal relationships with hotel employees.

Working with the department managers within the hotel operations, the Hotel manager will often oversee:

Hours & Salary

The typical hours for the Hotel Manager are full time weekdays from 9-5, as this is the hours that most hotel guests would expect them to be available. But of course there may be the exception during a busy weekend or evening event there may be extended hours for the hotel manager to work to meet guests needs and expectations. There are also times when a Hotel Manager needs to travel for work to meet with corporate clients, or travel to a conference or the hotel chain's head office.

Although the title Hotel Manager may sound like your typical desk job, it is often not the case. Many hotel managers primarily work on their feet, staying on top of the operations of the hotel, keeping an eye and visiting all departments, providing solutions for guests and hotel employees should issues arise.

In regards to annual salary, the typical hotel manager salary in the United States averages $115,391 according to Salary. This figure, though, can stretch between $94,034 and $138,073, encompassing a wide range. The extent of this salary range is often dependant on pivotal factors like your education, training programs, additional skill set, and the years of experience.

You can also take a look at a more in depth article we wrote speaking on the Hotel Managers Salary.

Required Hotel Manager Skills 

Whether you want to work in a small hotel or a luxury hotel, becoming a successful Hotel Manager requires some key management skills. Having work experience, job training and excellent customer service skills is great, but to be really successful in this career choice, here are other important management skills needed!

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Discover What’s New In The Hotel Managing World.

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Strong Leadership

Hotel Managers really are the ones who are setting the work environment and direction for the entire hotel. That being said, Hotel Managers need solid management skills and leadership skills. Their strong leadership and effective communication skills ensures that all hotel employees know their roles, and are feeling motivated to work together to create excellent customer service for the hotel guests!

Customer Service

Customer service skills are incredibly important for the hotel manager as they directly shape the guest satisfaction. Hotel Managers with strong customer service skills foster a friendly hotel environment that resonates with guests and hotel staff. These excellent customer service skills enable hotel managers to handle guest inquiries adeptly, transform challenges into resolutions, and guarantee that each guest's hotel experience is memorable! 

In essence, it's about having excellent hotel services that are leaving guests with a favourable impression of your hotel, and instilling in them the desire to return to your property again and again! 

Problem Solving Skills

Having quick problem solving skills is a major part of this role. Being able to think on your feet, foresee results, and swiftly make choices comes in handy. 

Hotel managers often rely on their quick and creative problem solving skills and time management skills to keep things running smoothly. When issues come up, and they will - the Hotel Manager can spot multiple solutions, pick the best that fits, and collaborate with the hotel staff to put it into action without delay!

Multitasking Skills 

Multitasking is a crucial skill for Hotel Managers. With the Hotel being a 24/7 business they must efficiently manage a vast array of responsibilities, ranging from guest services and team supervision to event planning coordination and financial oversight. 

There are times they will simultaneously address guest needs, ensure smooth day to day operation, handle staff emergencies, and engage in marketing efforts - this requires incredible (and calm) multitasking.

Effective multitasking enables managers to optimize time management, adapt to the hotel industry trends, maintain excellent guest services, and achieve hotel operational efficiency!

Team Building Skills

When Hotel Managers focus on strong team building, they are creating a sense of belonging among their hotel employees and teams. This will ultimately result in improved productivity, and collaboration among hotel departments, and will foster a positive work atmosphere around the hotel. 

A united team does not only handle conflicts more effectively but will adapt to any changes with greater ease. This cohesiveness throughout the hotel will ultimately contribute to a much smoother day to day operation, ensuring a memorable guest experience! 

Progression Towards A Hotel Manager Role

Beyond a passion for the Hotel Industry, becoming a Hotel Manager involves a combination of education, work experience, management skills development, and networking. Here are some steps you can take to pursue a career as a Hotel Manager:

Education Requirements

While a formal degree is not always mandatory, many hotel management positions prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree or undergraduate degree in Hospitality Management, Hotel Administration, or a related field.

 A formal education in these fields, equips aspiring hotel managers with knowledge of: 

  • guest services
  • operations
  • finance
  • marketing
  • organizational behaviour

Receiving education in this area can help enable you to make informed decisions, manage diverse teams, navigate industry challenges, and ensure exceptional guest experiences within the dynamic and competitive landscape of the hospitality sector. 

Other important course topics will include:

  • service management
  • managerial accounting
  • human resources
  • marketing for hospitality
  • restaurant management

Here are a couple schools hospitality degrees that are worth checking out:

Florida State University

Cost for undergrad program - $5000 USD (within state) $19,000USD (out of state)

Ranked the top tourism & hospital program in 2022. The hospitality management program also includes a 6 month internship with Walt Disney World. The hospitality management and tourism bachelor's program also links students with tourism industry knowledge and skill sets essential for excelling in the field of hospitality management. 

The insights and competencies acquired through these studies can prove advantageous for students pursuing a career in hospitality management or for those seeking to advance their education.

California State University, Long Beach

Cost for Grad Program - $7000 USD (within state) $17,000 USD (out of state)

According to their website, “the Hospitality Management program offers students the option to participate in various professional and extracurricular activities and provides many opportunities for work experience and job placement in the surrounding area. Various internships, student clubs, and guest speakers provide students with assistance in obtaining knowledge about the many varied careers in hospitality management. Activities include networking, guest lectures, attending professional meetings, and touring various industry sites, such as hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, amusement parks, country clubs, catering operations, etc.”

Experience-working from the ground up

I can almost guarantee you that you will not become a Hotel Manager without first starting with the basics. Gaining years of experience in all positions within a hotel is a major asset for potential hotel managers. Not only does this offer comprehensive understanding of the whole hotel, but it can foster major insights to all in depth workings of each department. 

By starting into the industry at entry level and working in roles spanning front desk, housekeeping, food and beverage, and more, you can gain hands-on familiarity with each department's intricacies, challenges, and guest interactions. 

This experience promotes staff empathy, sharpens problem-solving abilities, and nurtures seamless cross-departmental communication and cooperation. Furthermore, managers with these diverse role exposures, especially if its’ with different hotel chains can help you get a better grasp on the operational understandings of decisions that are made.

Gain Management Experience

Gaining managerial experience is key for those interested in becoming Hotel Managers. So as you work your way up through the hotel, apply for the supervisor or assistant manager positions. This will help gain vital skills for effective Hotel Management leadership.

Through prior management roles, you can learn to lead teams, manage resources, tackle complex issues, and make strategic decisions. This experience will also help you grasp details like staff supervision, problem-solving, and operational improvement. 

With continued developed leadership and management  abilities, aspiring Hotel Managers can confidently learn the balance on handling the diverse demands of the job, fostering a positive workplace atmosphere, while ensuring the success of the hotel! 

Apprenticeship programs

An often overlooked opportunity to gain hands-on experience is apprenticeships. There are numerous apprenticeship programs offered by major hotel chains. These training programs typically require a four-year degree and  will immerse you in various hotel operations like front desk, food and beverage, IT, guest relations, and sales and marketing. 

Lasting on average 6 months, this experience in the different departments gives you broader understanding and experience, and of course tightens your skillset! A few of the notable programs to consider include Hilton Hotels, Marriott Hotel and Apprenticeship USA.

Unlike internships that usually offer little or no pay in exchange for experience - Hotel apprenticeships come with a fair wage as you learn the ropes. In general with apprenticeships you are paid on par with other employees in comparable roles at the Hotel. Keep in mind if you choose an apprenticeship in another part of the world, you’ll be responsible for covering your travel and relocation expenses.


Keith Ferrazzi has a great quote in his recent book; “I’ve come to believe that connecting is one of the most important business—and life—skill sets you’ll ever learn. Why? Because, flat out, people do business with people they know and like. Careers—in every imaginable field—work the same”

Don't underestimate the power of networking, especially in the hotel industry. LinkedIn has a great article on why networking is so important for your career. Surprisingly, networking is a big deal if you want to become a Hotel Manager because it opens up opportunities, insights, and collaborations in the hospitality field. When you build a solid professional network, you can connect with experienced pros, mentors, and peers in the hotel industry who can offer guidance, share industry knowledge, and give valuable career advice.

Through networking, you can get exposure to different aspects of hotel management, expand your skills, and stay updated on the latest happenings in the hotel industry. And, speaking from experience, the connections you make through networking can often lead to recommendations, referrals, and partnerships that can really boost your career and fast-track your journey to becoming a Hotel Manager.

By the way, here are a couple of interesting conferences you might want to check out sometime.

HD+ Expo

Located in Las Vegas, this comprehensive conference showcases over 600 suppliers withing the hospital and design industry. Not only are attendees learning about the latest designs and products for hospitality they are educated on the latest trends in the rapidly changing world of hotels and hospitality. 

American Hotel & Lodging Association

This is actually a traveling conference that is hitting up a lot of major American cities, coast to coast. And the best part, the conference is free! At this conference you can expect to network with local hoteliers and industry leaders, liisten to speakers within the industry, but also learn some valuable information like updated policies and recruitment practices from Hotel Experts. 

Don’t Stop Learning!

Like I mentioned earlier, the path to becoming a Hotel Manager might seem challenging, but it's filled with years of experience, excitement, and stories. You'll have the chance to meet amazing guests, collaborate with incredible colleagues, and gain a wealth of knowledge on how to handle any situation that comes your way.

This is what truly defines an exceptional hotel manager!

So, as you work your way up in the hotel industry, savor each moment, and view every success and challenge as an opportunity for personal growth and learning.

If you're a Hotel Manager, please share a piece of advice that has stayed with you throughout your career—I'd love to hear it! And if you haven't already, remember to subscribe to our newsletter!

Ashley Vaughan
By Ashley Vaughan