How to Become a Hotel Manager

Like many careers, there are many different paths to becoming a hotel manager. The best path however, is to have a combination of work experience in hotel operations at various levels combined with an education in hotel/hospitality management or general business. 


This work would involve overseeing staff, managing budgets and financial plans, resolving customer complaints, ensuring functions run smoothly, and ensuring compliance with relevant legislation and by-laws. 


This field also offers diverse opportunities for advancement, as well as potential opportunities for hotel or related accommodation facility ownership, due to the skills and competencies it can help you develop.


If hotel management sounds like a promising career field so far, then read on below; we’ll fill you in on the details, such as how you can get into this profession, how much you could earn, and of course, what you’d be doing once you get there.



Education and Experience You’ll Need 

To become a hotel manager, you need to be familiar with all areas of hotel operations. Specifically, you will need financial management skills, staff management skills, and a working knowledge of hospitality law and safety standards.


Because of this, most employers look for applicants who already have related post-secondary education such as a degree or diploma in hospitality management or in general business. 


However, the best background for gaining the necessary skills, is a combination of experience and education in hospitality management. For this reason, it’s common for new graduates to get into hotel management as assistant, junior or departmental managers before becoming the general manager.


Alternatively, you can work your way into the position without relevant formal education by starting in an entry-level position in any department, and working your way into positions of increasing responsibility as opportunities become available. This strategy works best if complimenting your work experience with continuing education in hospitality or hotel management.


In Summary: Experience OR education is good. Experience AND education is great.





Types of Employers

Who Owns the Hotel?: As a hotel manager, you could be the employee of a hotel or related accommodation that’s owned by an individual, a family, a large organization, or a publicly traded organization. You could even be self-employed, and own the hotel yourself. 


Type of Accommodation: You could work in any type of hotel or other short-term accommodation facility, which could include, but is not limited to:


• Large chain hotels

• Small hotels

• Motels

• Campgrounds

• Trailer parks

• Camps





Is This Career Right for You?

You should have the following attributes if you wish to become a hotel manager:


• Leadership and decision making skills

• Tact, diplomacy and communications skills

• The ability to remain clam in stressful situations 

• You enjoy leading and motivating others

• You are willing to be accountable and responsible for the performance of the hotel

• You’re well organized and can develop and manage a budget

• You have strong commitment to customer service

• You’re willing to be on call and work long and irregular hours if necessary



Career Advancement Possibilities 

If you display competence and dedication in your work, career advancement opportunities will open themselves up to you. Examples of career opportunities in this field include (but aren’t limited to):


• An increase in wage, salary or bonuses

• Partnership in the hotel

• Opening your own hotel

• Moving to a bigger, busier or more profitable location

• Moving into a regional or district manager role

• Moving into a corporate-level executive management position with a large organization

• Moving into a specialized area of the business in a head office function (if applicable), such as customer service, training, purchasing, finance, marketing and operations management


Success Tip: Having an education related to hotel or hospitality management, or general business management, can usually help you advance your career more quickly, especially in corporate-level positions.





Details of the Career: General Job Description

As a hotel manager, it would be your responsibility to direct and control the operations of a hotel, motel or related accommodation establishment. This would involve overseeing all aspects of hotel operations, from housekeeping and general maintenance to budget management and marketing.



Typical Job Duties

Although your specific job duties would vary, you could expect to be responsible for the following as a hotel manager:


• Managing budgets and expenditures, as well as financial plans

• Maintaining various forms of records, including financial and statistical

• Dealing with customer comments, feedback, suggestions and complaints

• Ensuring conferences, exhibitions and events that take place on the hotel grounds run smoothly

• Ensuring compliance with all bi-laws, including those relating to licensing, health and safety

• Setting and achieving sales results via room and conference bookings, as well as through other revenue sources

• Analyzing sales figures and determining best marketing strategies

• Liaising with all department heads



What Kind of Salary Can You Earn?

The salary level you could earn as a hotel manager can vary greatly, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your professional qualifications (levels of education, experience, etc.)

• The size and budget of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties and responsibilities

• Whether you are a salaried employee or paid by the hour

• The type of remuneration package you are offered (such as if you are entitled to bonuses, sales commissions or partial ownership)


Hotel Manager Salary in Canada: According to the 2017 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working as part of the Accommodation Service Managers occupational group earn an average salary of $58,110 per year. According to WorkBC, those in the same occupational group earn an annual provincial median salary of $52,000. 


Salary in the United Kingdom: According to the National Careers Service, the salaries of Hotel Managers start at around £19,000 a year for trainees. Managers of small hotels or deputy managers of larger ones can earn from £20,000 to around £35,000, while senior or general managers can earn £60,000 or more.


Salary in the United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of Americans working in the Lodging Managers occupational group is $53,390 per year (May, 2018 figures).



Current Job Postings

Our job board below has "Hotel Manager" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available:




Work Environment as a Hotel Manager

Hours: As a hotel manager your hours could vary; you might work normal, weekday working hours, or your hours might include evenings, weekends and public holidays. Since most hotels and related accommodations are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you may be required to work long, irregular hours in addition to being on call for emergencies.


Conditions: In general, this work can be fast-paced and hectic. Since you would oversee many departments, such as food service, finance, marketing, and others, you would constantly be involved in operations, and spend much of your time in meetings and supervising operations. It’s worth noting that in a smaller hotel, you may have the option to live-in at the hotel.



Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or are in the same sector of industry, as "hotel manager":


Bar Manager

• Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

• Controller

• Operations Manager

• Restaurant Manager

• Retail Manager




The following resources were utilized in the preparation of this career path guide:


Occupations in Alberta:Accommodation Manager.” (March 10, 2017). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved December 20, 2019.

Management:Lodging Managers.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved December 20, 2019.

Explore Careers:Accommodation service managers.” (January 18, 2018). WorkBC website. Retrieved December 20, 2019.

Explore Careers:Hotel Manager.” (n.d.) American Psychological Association website. Retrieved December 20, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Hotel Manager

The "Applicable Majors" section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a hotel manager. You can search for scholarships matched to that/those fields of study on the following pages:


Finance Scholarships

Management Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Applicable Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful (or necessary, depending on the requirements of the employer) for working in this field. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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