What does a hotel manager do? (Plus duties and skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 10 April 2022

Hotel managers are key employees in the hospitality industry, performing a range of functions that are vital to the functioning of a hotel. Overseeing hotel operations can be challenging and the duties of a hotel manager vary depending on the exact location in which they work. It's helpful to gain a comprehensive overview of the role of a hotel manager before making an informed decision about the progression of your career. In this article, we answer the question 'What does a hotel manager do?', explore the meaning of the role and discuss the skills that help hotel managers succeed.

What is a hotel manager?

The role of a hotel manager is a general management role. It describes the professional who serves as an executive overseeing the operations of a hotel or other property in the hospitality industry. The tasks you can perform as a hotel manager may vary depending on the size of the property in which you work, the standards of the property and the expectations of the guests. As a hotel manager, you can direct employees and department heads to perform their duties to a high standard. You may oversee departments including reservations, marketing, sales, reservations, customer service, human resources and finance.

It may be necessary in the role of a hotel manager to develop in-depth knowledge of the functioning of each of these departments. You can gain experience in the hotel industry before considering a management position to ensure you have the necessary skills and knowledge to work across all departments. This experience can include working at the front desk, in housekeeping or in customer service. Working your way up through the rankings of hotel positions can be an effective way to progress in the hospitality industry.

Read more: What does a manager do (plus skills and responsibilities)?

What does a hotel manager do?

Given the diverse nature of the role of a hotel manager, the answer to the question 'What does a hotel manager do?' can vary widely. There are key tasks you may complete daily as a hotel manager, regardless of the type of property in which you work. These tasks include:

Daily operations

As a hotel manager, you're responsible for overseeing the daily operations of a hotel. Ensuring the hotel operates effectively can involve:

  • ensuring reservations, guest accommodations and catering services are operating successfully

  • overseeing public events or conferences taking place at the hotel

  • anticipating issues with hotel operations and troubleshooting these as they arise

  • planning hotel maintenance and liaising with contractors or vendors to ensure they perform work effectively

  • ensuring employees adhere to security, safety and quality standards.

Financial planning

A hotel manager is also responsible for the financial planning aspects of the business. Ensuring the hotel operates at its maximum capacity is good for profits but can mean that the financial planning for a manager is more challenging. These tasks can include:

  • planning budgets, overseeing income and expenditure

  • monitoring the revenue of the hotel, ensuring they meet sales targets to optimise profits

  • analysing profit figures and reports, while planning price tiers and strategies for distribution

  • maintaining comprehensive financial records and recording data accurately.

Staffing

To ensure a hotel can function efficiently, adequate staffing numbers are essential. It's your role as a hotel manager to anticipate the need for staff and ensure you fill these positions. It's also important to identify staff who may not be performing at a high level and offer training and support. Other staffing tasks can include:

  • recruiting new staff and organising training sessions

  • organising the staff roster and planning for expected or unexpected staff absences

  • monitoring the performance of staff and giving constructive communication where necessary

  • fostering a positive work environment

  • defining collective staff goals and targets

  • investing in employee morale, engagement and retention.

Customer service

Hotel managers can also set the standard for customer service in a hotel. You can ensure guests have a positive stay, placing a focus on improving the customer experience. Tasks related to this goal can include:

  • greeting hotel guests in a positive and welcoming way

  • paying attention to guest requests and identifying opportunities to improve their experience

  • ensuring you solve guest complaints effectively

  • maintaining knowledge of competition in the area and identifying opportunities to relate to customers.

Read more: Guide to customer service (improve your customer service skills)

Public relations

The public relations image of a hotel is also the responsibility of the general manager. You can cultivate positive reviews, ensure positive branding and maintaining the public image of the hotel. The tasks related to this responsibility include:

  • maintaining a positive online reputation by building the hotel's online presence

  • managing special offers and promotions

  • ensuring you respond to customer reviews

  • pursuing branding opportunities for the hotel.

Work environment of a hotel manager

The work environment of a hotel manager can vary depending on where they work. As a hotel manager, you can work typical hours from Monday to Friday. There is also a possibility that you may be working weekends, longer hours or even night shifts, depending on the needs of the hotel. As a hotel manager, you can remain 'on call' and available to respond to emergencies. You can perform much of your tasks in an office setting. You can also perform observations of other departments in the hotel, including housekeeping and catering.

How to become a hotel manager

There are various paths you can follow to become a hotel manager. It's not necessary to obtain a third level education for all routes into this career. Many hotel managers use their industry knowledge and experience to achieve executive-level positions. You can use the following steps as a guide to becoming a hotel manager:

1. Increase your industry knowledge

Increasing your industry knowledge can help you apply this to the duties and tasks you perform, ensuring your work is of a high standard. You can gain this knowledge through experience or by participating in a formal hospitality education course. The Irish Hospitality Institute offers education and training for those interested in the sector.

2. Gain experience in the industry

You can add to your knowledge by gaining further experience in the industry. Years of experience can make you a more attractive candidate for potential employers, especially when you pursue a management position. Gaining experience in various types of hotels and resorts can be a bonus, allowing you to increase your knowledge of service and management of these properties. Relevant experience can be as a front desk receptionist, housekeeper or general hotel assistant. As you gain more experience, you may become eligible to apply for a junior hotel manager position.

3. Obtain a hospitality certification

Obtaining a hospitality certification can also improve your value to potential employers. Certifications can include higher certificates in Hospitality Management Studies or a master's in Business and Hospitality. It's not necessary to hold these certifications to work as a hotel manager, but they can increase your value as an employee and improve your earning potential.

Necessary skills to be a hotel manager

There are also a variety of hard and soft skills that hotel managers can benefit from developing. These skills can help you perform your role as a manager more efficiently and include:

Customer service

Given that a hotel manager functions in the hospitality industry, customer service skills can help you relate to hotel guests. Customer service skills can also help you create a more positive experience for hotel guests. These skills are essential to help you resolve issues for guests, understand their needs and communicate with them effectively.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking skills can also add to your performance as a hotel manager. The environment can be intense and fast-paced, meaning you can benefit from the skills to think critically and make informed decisions. This can help you solve customer or management issues and ensure smooth operation of the hotel's functions.

Related: Management skills (examples and how to improve them)

Time management

Time management skills are also valuable for hotel managers, as they allow you to manage effectively each hotel department as needed. Time management can also help you plan and coordinate tasks to perform, ensuring they're completed at the optimal time. Time management can help you as a manager to design an effective, productive schedule that benefits all staff.

Other skills that can benefit you as a hotel manager include:

  • communication skills

  • interpersonal skills

  • organisational skills

  • teamwork skills

  • analytical skills

  • diversity management and entrepreneurship skills

  • business acumen skills

  • motivational skills

  • ability to work under stress

  • financial, bookkeeping and budgeting skills

  • knowledge of industry standards.

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