Hotel manager: Job description
A hotel manager is responsible for the day-to-day management of a hotel and its staff. They have commercial accountability for budgeting and financial management, planning, organizing and directing all hotel services, including front-of-house (reception, concierge, and reservations), food and beverage operations, and housekeeping. In larger hotels, managers often have a specific remit (guest services, accounting, and marketing) and make up a general management team. While taking a strategic overview and planning to maximize profits, the manager must also pay attention to the details, setting the example for staff to deliver a standard of service and presentation that meets guests' needs and expectations. Business and people management are equally important elements.
Typical work activities
Work activities vary depending on the size and type of hotel, but may include:
· planning and organizing accommodation, catering and other hotel services;
· promoting and marketing the business;
· managing budgets and financial plans as well as controlling expenditure;
· maintaining statistical and financial records;
· setting and achieving sales and profit targets;
· analyzing sales figures and devising marketing and revenue management strategies;
· recruiting, training and monitoring staff;
· planning work schedules for individuals and teams;
· meeting and greeting customers;
· dealing with customer complaints and comments;
· addressing problems and troubleshooting;
· ensuring events and conferences run smoothly;
· supervising maintenance, supplies, renovations and furnishings;
· dealing with contractors and suppliers;
· ensuring security is effective;
· carrying out inspections of property and services;
· Ensuring compliance with licensing laws, health and safety and other statutory regulations.
The manager of a large hotel may have less contact with guests but will have regular meetings with heads of department to coordinate and monitor the progress of business strategies. In a smaller establishment, the manager is much more hands-on and involved in the day-to-day running of the hotel, which may include carrying out reception duties or serving meals if the need arises.
Although this area of work is open to all graduates and those with an HND, a degree in the following subjects may increase your chances:
· hotel and hospitality management;
· business or management;
· business with languages;
· travel, tourism or leisure studies.
Entry to manage a particular environment within the hotel or hotel group, for example advertising or accounting, may require a relevant qualification or professional accreditation.
Some of the management training programmes run by large hotel groups are for graduate entry only, for which a minimum 2:2 degree is usually required. It is possible to enter hotel management without a degree, HND or foundation degree, since employers place a lot of emphasis on relevant experience. A general standard of education is sought and many people then work their way up to management through on-the-job training and external qualifications.
A postgraduate qualification is not normally necessary for entry unless your first degree is in a non-relevant subject or you lack work experience. Masters, diploma and certificate courses in hotel and/or hospitality management are offered at various institutions. Many of these courses are open to graduates from any discipline with little or no experience, as well as non-graduates with significant hotel or managerial experience.
Employers often ask for relevant work experience, not all of which needs to have been in a hotel, although this is particularly helpful. Other experience might include any customer-focused work such as catering, bar or retail work. Language skills may also be an advantage, especially for hotels which are part of an international chain.
Candidates will need to show evidence of the following:
· a friendly personality and genuine desire to help and please others;
· ability to think clearly and make quick decisions;
· numeracy and logistical planning skills;
· a professional manner and calm, rational approach in hectic situations;
· ability to balance customer and business priorities;
· flexibility and a 'can do' mentality;
· energy and patience;
· excellent communication and interpersonal skills, especially when dealing with speakers of other languages.
It is important for anyone planning to specialise early on in their hotel management career to select a first job with care, as some hotel groups offer wider opportunities including events, sales, marketing, human resources and training.
Some large hotel groups operate graduate recruitment programmes for managers, although they are not the only route to top management posts. The length of training varies but is usually between one and two years, with the aim being to create future operations managers.
Graduate programmes differ depending on the employer but, as a general guide, hotels seek to provide graduates with as wide an understanding of the operation as possible. Trainees spend time posted in operational roles such as food and beverage management, which includes restaurants, bars, room service, conference and banqueting. Another typical role is in rooms management, where trainees cover reception, reservations, guest relations, the concierge desk and housekeeping.
Accommodation managers are employed in both the private and public sectors, by conference centres, hotels, halls of residences, NHS hospitals and health worker housing, government-run care homes, housing associations and youth hostels.
It is the accommodation manager’s responsibility to ensure that their establishment is run efficiently, that standards of cleanliness and maintenance are upheld (in rooms, bathrooms and public areas), that budgets are controlled and that their teams of staff are well trained and managed.
Job titles vary depending on the sector: in hotels, accommodation managers may be known as housekeepers or housekeeping managers; in education, such as in halls of residences, they may be known as domestic bursars; and in hospitals as domestic services or facilities managers.
Typical work activities
Accommodation managers across all sectors and establishments have similar managerial responsibilities that often cover people and the building. Common tasks include people management and training, budget control, business planning and administration. Exact duties and levels of responsibility vary from position to position. For example, in a large hotel chain an accommodation manager’s role may be restricted to housekeeping and be more clearly defined than in a smaller independent hotel. Domestic bursars within the education sector sometimes assume responsibility for catering operations.
In hotel accommodation, typical activities include:
· ensuring that accommodation is clean, well maintained and attractively presented;
· controlling a budget, managing stock levels and ordering supplies;
· liaising with reception services to coordinate the allocation of accommodation;
· liaising with other departments within the organisation, e.g. catering or conferences;
· planning staff rotas and covering duty roster slots;
· arranging repairs and maintenance of rooms and reception areas;
· inspecting the accommodation to ensure that hygiene and health and safety regulations are met;
· recruiting and supervising teams of room attendants;
· training staff to ensure that the organisation’s high standards are maintained;
· arranging laundry and linen supplies.
Many of the above activities are also common for accommodation managers in hostels, but work will usually be on a smaller scale.
In educational/hospital accommodation, typical activities include:
· planning the availability of accommodation for students or conference delegates (education) or for nursing and medical staff (hospitals);
· budgeting and controlling finances;
· managing maintenance and arranging repairs of the facilities;
· supervising the work of cleaning staff and ensuring standards are maintained;
· ensuring the smooth running of accommodation facilities, including the safety and well-being of students (or nursing staff);
· involvement in the building and refurbishment of residential accommodation.
Accommodation managers may be involved in some practical or hands-on work depending on the establishment, but their role is mainly supervisory, with people management constituting a significant proportion of their role. Increasingly, they are required to manage staff employed by contractors, as opposed to in-house teams, and therefore need to be able to handle rapid staff turnover and ensure all new staff are fully aware of policies and procedures.
On successful completion of the programme, trainees will be placed as heads of department or assistant managers.
Throughout the programme, graduates are supported and coached by senior managers and personal development plans are mutually agreed. Regular progress reviews are conducted.
Much of the training is in-house but external qualifications may also be taken, including S/NVQs. Specialist courses in customer service, finance, revenue management, marketing, human resources and food safety are likely to form part of the training where required.
An MBA qualification is an increasingly popular way for managers to improve their business skills. Many senior managers have also obtained financial and accounting qualifications or experience.