September 15, 2021

Hotels are fascinating hubs where people from all over the world converge. These travelers need a comfortable, clean place to sleep, as well as food and beverage options. They need advice on what to do while they’re in town, and they need services like dry cleaning and safe storage of their valuables. In other words, they need a temporary home.

In a few days, they’ll be on their way, and an entirely new set of travelers will “move in.”

Hotels have innumerable moving parts, and each department must run smoothly day in and day out to give each guest a great experience. Capable hotel managers are key to holding it all together.

If you’re thinking about becoming a hotel manager, here’s what you need to know.

What Does a Hotel Manager Do?

Hotel managers have a lot of responsibility, but they’re well-compensated for their work. The average hotel manager salary in the US is just under $112,000!

Some hotel managers are specialized, focusing on a specific department like Food & Beverage or the Front Desk. Others, especially at boutique hotels, will be responsible for a bit of everything. These responsibilities could include:

  • Recruiting, training, and managing the rest of the staff
  • Setting budgets, determining sales goals, and forecasting income
  • Maintaining required licenses and permits for the property and its staff members
  • Addressing guest requests and complaints
  • Organizing building maintenance work
  • Overseeing private events like conferences and weddings
  • Leading sales and marketing activities
  • Maintaining health and safety standards

And through all of that, they must also be a frequent presence throughout the hotel to be available for staff and guests for various questions or requests.

“In my experience as a hotel manager, it is so rewarding to welcome guests to your property and ensure they feel like they are at their “home away from home”!”Professor Ashley Godfrey, Escoffier Core Instructor

So how can you learn all of this in your quest to become a hotel manager? An education that focuses on hospitality management can be a great place to start.

At Escoffier, we’ve developed an Associate of Occupational Studies in Hospitality and Restaurant Operations Management that you can complete 100% online with an in-person industry externship. Getting your degree online can let you study from your home town without commuting or relocating. Complete your coursework on your own schedule as long as you meet program deadlines. This means you can continue to work full time or meet family obligations while you get your education.

Female student taking notes while looking at computer with earphonesIntrigued? Let’s dig in deeper to the different hotel manager’s responsibilities and where education fits in.

Types of Hotel Managers

Small and large hotels will have very different management hierarchies, with the biggest spreading the work over a huge managerial staff.

But most hotels will at least have managers in the following roles.

General Manager

The General Manager (GM) oversees the rest of the management team and handles the hotel’s operations and finances. They are the captain of the ship, so to speak.

Food & Beverage Manager

Most hotels have some kind of food service. This may include a lobby bar, hotel restaurant, and room service. The Food & Beverage (F&B) Manager oversees the hotel’s dining and drinking options. Since F&B can make up an average of 25% of a hotel’s revenue, a focus on the food is an important part of a hotel’s success. At Escoffier, students will complete a course in Menu Design & Management to help them develop profitable menus.

Banquet Manager

If a hotel has conference rooms or ballrooms for private events, they may be under the jurisdiction of the banquet manager. This person will manage catering and operations for weddings and corporate events. Escoffier’s Catering & Event Operations course can help students to manage successful and profitable private parties.

Hotel manager stands in a banquet hall holding a tablet

Front Desk Manager

This manager supervises the front desk staff. Their job is to ensure excellent customer service during check-in and check-out, oversee room assignments, and respond to guest requests. They may also be responsible for managing concierge and valet staff.

“The Front Desk is the catch-all for complaints at a hotel so managers must be able to problem solve quickly. Students will learn guest service techniques on how to deal with complaints throughout their classes.”Professor Ashley Godfrey, Escoffier Core Instructor

Sales & Marketing Manager

The Sales & Marketing Manager is focused on bringing in more guests and increasing revenue. Every empty room is lost potential income! So they may come up with marketing campaigns and special deals to boost slow times of year. They may also be responsible for private event bookings or meeting room rentals.

Housekeeping Manager

Hotel rooms must be lightly cleaned during a guest’s stay, and fully “turned over” between each group of guests. The Housekeeping Manager will oversee the housekeeping staff and make sure they’re cleaning rooms to a high standard.

Hotel service housekeeping workers and manager in a hotel room

Boutiques vs. Value Hotels vs. Luxury Hotels

While all hotels have the same basic function, there are major differences between different hotel markets, offerings, and price points. You could work at many of these different establishments throughout your career, learning new skills at each.

Boutique Hotels

Boutique hotels are usually intimate, offering between 10 and 100 rooms. They are also unique. Even if they belong to a boutique chain, each hotel offers its own distinct atmosphere and amenities.

Since boutique hotels are small, they have fewer staff members. Therefore, hotel managers may have housekeeping, front desk, and sales responsibilities all rolled into one role! So those who want to work in boutiques should have an education that covers the fundamentals of customer service, F&B, cost control, facility operations, and more.

“Escoffier’s program is ideal for learning all the necessary skills you need for owning and operating a boutique or bed and breakfast. While learning the restaurant side you also get the management classes that are essential as well!”Professor Ashley Godfrey, Escoffier Core Instructor

Getting an associate degree from Escoffier can help you develop the range of skills you’ll need to work in a boutique hotel. Coursework helps students to become effective leaders and communicators, while keeping a close eye on the hotel’s costs and income.

Escoffier’s online courses in Cost Control and Purchasing will provide an education in managing inventory, creating sales forecasts, and managing product and labor costs. A smooth purchasing flow can prevent over-ordering or wasted product.

In Foodservice Math & Accounting, students will begin to explore income statements and analyze profit and loss sheets. Understanding the balance of controllable costs, non-controllable costs, and revenue can help future managers develop the skills needed to eventually run profitable hotels.

Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor“Our students are taught the financial aspects of running a successful hospitality operation. Being able to apply this knowledge in the workplace will make them valued employees.”
Chef Maria Davenport, Escoffier Food & Beverage Operations Instructor

Young woman working on a laptop at the check-in desk of a hotel

Value Hotels

Value hotels are part of large national chains. They don’t offer luxury amenities, focusing instead on providing a comfortable, pleasant guest experience at a reasonable price. The hotel’s corporate office will often make marketing and major brand decisions, while the GM will focus on the day-to-day operations of the hotel.

These hotels find success in highly efficient and cost-effective systems. Leadership will be key here, so you can keep the entire staff running like a well-oiled machine.

In the Business and Professional Communications course at Escoffier, students can explore listening skills, verbal and nonverbal communication, conflict resolution, and more. These skills could help in communication with both employees and guests. The Leadership and Development course discusses additional methods of coaching and motivating employees.

These hotels (and indeed, ALL hotels) must be kept in good running order without overspending on maintenance and improvements. Plus, managers will have to keep their hotels in compliance with state and local laws. These concepts are discussed in Escoffier’s Facilities Operations and Compliance course.

Luxury Hotels & Resorts

Luxury hotels and resorts are defined by the way they pamper their guests. These high-end establishments may have golf courses, multiple pools, spas, and several fine dining restaurants. They have to accomplish the same tasks as a value hotel, but must do it to a very high standard. You’ll have to be a customer service master to become a luxury hotel manager, with highly effective communication skills.

In Professionalism and Service Standards, students will study guest service and communication, to help them provide the high standard of service luxury hotel guests are used to. Introduction to Psychology in the Workplace helps students to predict employee and guest behavior so they can prevent conflict before it starts.

Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor“A strong educational background can help someone with limited experience become a valued contributor to their employer. They can utilize the skills taught at Escoffier to work their way into a management position.”
Chef Maria Davenport, Escoffier Food & Beverage Operations Instructor

The lobby at Austin’s Driskill Hotel

The lobby at Austin’s Driskill Hotel

Getting Your First Hotel Management Job

Education lays a solid foundation for your future in hotel management. When it’s time to start working, you’ll build on what you learned in school and start to explore possible career paths.

For their final block, Escoffier students will complete an in-person industry externship. This is their chance to get a look at how a hotel really operates, and put what they’ve been learning in class to the test. These real industry jobs let students make connections with more experienced colleagues. An associate degree from Escoffier prepares graduates for their first entry-level management job, and may even help them progress through the ranks more quickly.

Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor“The externship class allows students–even those with no prior experience–to get their foot in the door. Once they gain that valuable experience, it is easier for them to determine which path they want to take with their careers.”
Chef Maria Davenport, Escoffier Food & Beverage Operations Instructor

After your externship, you can consider your next steps. Job sites like Monster and Indeed are top places to start looking. You can also check hospitality-specific sites like HCareers or Hospitality Online. Chat with colleagues from your externship or fellow hospitality school alumni to see if they know of any openings.

At Escoffier, we work closely with our graduates to help them reach their goals, even after graduation day. With Career Services support, grads can find help with resume writing, interview preparation, and networking opportunities.

If your dream job isn’t available right away, don’t fret. Hotels often promote from within. So if you can get your foot in the door with another position, you’re one step closer to that hotel management job you’re after.

Hotel receptionist smiles while talking on the phone and looking at the computer at the front desk

Turn Your Dreams into Plans

Managing a hotel is fast-paced and customer-focused. If you’re a problem solver who loves to think on your feet, this could be the career for you!

“No two days are ever the same at a hotel! I enjoyed meeting different guests from all around the world and ensuring they had a wonderful stay at my hotel.”Professor Ashley Godfrey, Escoffier Core Instructor

Escoffier graduates have worked with well-known brands like Hyatt Hotels, Omni Hotels, and the Ritz-Carlton. Some have even worked at national park lodgings. Imagine making your living at Grand Tetons or Yellowstone!

Whatever your goal, it starts with a foundational education and that first job. Whether you begin as a manager or answering phones at the front desk, your commitment to your education will prove that you’re serious about hotel management.

If you’re feeling that pull, it’s time to explore it! Contact us today to see how an Escoffier education could turn your dreams into plans.

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