I have ambitions of managing a hotel. My background puts all the pieces together that covers the services of a luxury brand. I have worked in restaurants as a host, busser, and trainer for all front of house positions such as serving and bartending as well. I have worked for a home cleaning maid service, so I understand that aspect. And now I work the front desk at two different hotel chains, so I’m building my experience on that end as well. While my experience is being built in Vermont, I have plans to move out of state upon attaining my degree.
Hotel management has a wide variety of options open to me. Hotels have various markets and brands, from economy level for the budget conscious, to the luxury and five star levels. Hotels can also vary from motels (where cars are parked outside of individual guest rooms) to casinos, to managing guests on a cruise ship. Many hotel management companies also mange apartment rental properties. The American Hotel And Lodging Association, a trade association for hotels and the lodging industry claims that in 2013 there were nearly 53,000 hotel properties in the industry. Each one of those properties has anywhere from one to several managers, depending on corporate chain standards to independent hotels that only need a single manager. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the range of hotel management positions that are available. As hotels are more clustered in urban areas, this is also where most positions are available.
Hotel management is less strict about requiring a college degree to perform the job functions. Instead, a bachelor’s or master’s degree would give me the option to negotiate a higher salary with the company that I would work for. The higher I climb in the organization, the more academic skills are necessary to accomplish the job requirements. While a low-level manager or supervisor might be expected to write the staff schedule and train staff, a general manager would be more responsible for accounting and financial management and marketing of the property. Many of these skills can be attained through on-the-job training in lieu of a formal degree. Payscale.com indicates that the education and experience that is most valuable to increasing salary is budget management. Hotel managers whose strength is budgeting, and more than ten to fifteen years of experience are the managers who push the higher end of all salaries, in the $90,000 to $100,000 annual salary.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2014 median pay for a lodging manager was $47,680 per year or $22.93 per hour. Entry level-education was only at a high school diploma or equivalent. There were more than 48,000 jobs with that title available, and the outlook for job growth 2014-2024 was 8%, which is average for all occupations.
Because hotels are generally open 24 hours, evening and weekend work is very common for a hotel manager. Stress is common in this field because of the hours worked, and the pressures of having a manager title. What lays the foundation for my skillset in this field is my background of doing stage management in high school, at my first college for 2 years, and my experience in stage management at a semi-professional theater just outside of Milwaukee for 4 years. Stage management teaches the basic management skills such as time management, effective communication, and file organization. Academically, I am building on that with an associate’s degree in Business management, and plan to contiune on that at the Hilton College of Hotel Management in Houston, TX. When I think of a luxury hotel, it generally has a bar and restaurant inside of the building with the rooms and pool and other amenities.
In addition to my work experience, I plan to be certified by for general management. Having the trade association stamp of approval gives more depth to what potential employers would be looking for from me.
What’s the best way to stay abreast of hotel trends? I follow several prominent travel bloggers, who all utilize the reward programs offered by not just hotel chains, but airlines as well.
I’ve become very familiar with utilizing the following on a 24 hour notification basis:
- Direct Bookings using Branded Apps
- TripAdvisor as the #1 Hotel Review Website
- Online Travel Agents such as Expedia and Priceline
- Admin Apps for Expedia Reservations (EPC) & Booking.com Admin app (Pulse)
- Hotel Meta Search Engines such as Kayak and Trivago
- Hotel Coupon Sites, namely hotelcoupons.com