How Can I Become a Hotel General Manager?

Research what it takes to become a hotel general manager. Learn about degree requirements, job outlook and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Hotel & Restaurant Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Hotel General Manager?

As a hotel general manager, you can provide services to guests and help make your hotel an award-winning facility. Hotel general managers also oversee the daily activities of their establishment, such as supervising and evaluating the staff. These professionals also inspect rooms for cleanliness, hire staff, handle any problems at the front desk and answer any guest questions. Hotel general managers may also be responsible for the business side of things by monitoring the budget. They may also be involved in marketing strategies or promotion through social media. Overall, their primary responsibility is to ensure the satisfaction of each guest. Get more details about this career in the table below.

Degree Required Associate's or bachelor's degree; on-the-job training is typically provided
Education Field of Study Hotel and restaurant management, tourism
Key Skills Problem-solving, leadership, physical stamina, customer service
Certification Voluntary
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (for all lodging managers)*
Median Salary (2015) $49,720 (for all lodging managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Earn a Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hotel general managers typically need an associate's degree to manage small hotels (www.bls.gov). Large, full-service hotels may require that you hold a bachelor's degree, and upscale hotels may require that you hold a master's degree. Associate's degree programs in hotel and restaurant management and hospitality and tourism typically include courses in management, hotel operations and reservation systems.

Bachelor's degree programs in hospitality management consist of similar courses, such as food production management, facilities management and revenue management. Most undergraduate degree programs related to hospitality management include an internship component, in which you will gain hands-on training at a hotel.

Master's degree programs in hospitality management focus more on interpersonal leadership skills, such as crisis communication, group dynamics, negotiation and mediation. Another educational route you might consider for career advancement is a graduate certificate program in hospitality management or hospitality marketing. Certificate programs may offer a combination of courses similar to those in a degree program, such as hospitality marketing and team dynamics.

Search For a Training Program

Most large hotel chains offer management-training programs in which you could receive on-the-job training in your area of specialty. Eligibility requirements to participate in these programs include current enrollment in an undergraduate degree program or a bachelor's degree and six months of relevant work experience. The length of training for these programs is typically 6-18 months.

You may receive training in finance, front office, food and beverage sales, housekeeping, hotel maintenance, human resources and revenue management. Training for a hotel general manager career usually includes rotating through several departments as an assistant manager. After you have completed the program, you may be placed as an assistant or general manager at the location where you trained or at a location where there is a job opening.

Develop Your Skills

Because you may be interacting on a regular basis with customers of diverse backgrounds, you'll need to have exceptional customer service and interpersonal skills. You may also have a staff of front desk representatives and facility workers who report to you, so being able to delegate tasks and motivate your team are important.

Being self-starting, proactive in finding solutions to problems and able to work in stressful situations is also required. Managing a hotel entails dealing with finances, reservation systems, security and maintenance issues, so having good math, accounting and technical skills, and the ability to remain calm during emergencies is also essential.

Get Certified

Certification that you may obtain includes the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) designation, offered by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute. The CHA designation is designed specifically for hotel general managers, and you can earn this designation if you have a 2-year hospitality degree and two years of work experience (ahlei.org). An early entry option allows you to work toward CHA certification as you complete a degree program and gain work experience.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A similar career that requires a high school diploma or equivalent is that of a food service manager. These managers perform many of the administrative duties as a hotel general manager, but specifically oversee the activities of an eating establishment and its staff. Human resource managers are also related, but require a bachelor's degree. These professionals are responsible for the administrative duties of an organization or business. Their work includes hiring staff, providing communication from the executives to employees and more.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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