Student Advice - Career Search - Hotel Manager - Hospitality
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Hotel/Hospitality Manager

Hotel/Hospitality Manager

Tell me about it
Hotel managers keep everything in a hotel running smoothly, from ensuring that staff are working well to keeping control of supplies and budgets, looking after the accommodation, food and drink and perhaps the entertainment and conference facilities. Managers have to ensure that guests are comfortable and enjoy their stay.

In a large hotel, the hotel manager may lead a team of managers, each responsible for a section such as housekeeping, maintenance, or food and beverages. In a small hotel, the manager is more involved in the day-to-day running of the business, coping with whatever arises, from carrying guests' luggage to pouring drinks or dealing with minor repairs.

Entry level
To join a management trainee scheme with a large hotel or hotel group, you would normally need an HND, foundation degree, degree or postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject. Relevant degrees include hospitality management and international hospitality management, hotel and catering management, and hotel, tourism and licensed retail management. Business degrees - perhaps including hospitality, tourism or marketing - are another option.

The minimum qualifications for a degree are usually two A levels/Advanced Highers/three H grades and five GCSEs/S grades (A*-C/1-3), or equivalent. For the HND, one A level/Advanced Higher/two H grades and four GCSEs/S grades (A*-C/1-3) or equivalent qualifications would normally get you in. It is vital to check each institution's entry requirements and it would help to obtain work experience before applying. 

If you already have a degree in another subject, you could take a one-year conversion course in hotel and catering management or a graduate apprenticeship.

Some people start work lower down the career ladder, working towards a range of part-time qualifications. See the UKSP website for details of the many options available.

Making the grade
Much of the training is on the job, and involves gaining experience in different areas of the business. You may be encouraged to take specialised courses in areas such as finance, marketing, human resources, food safety and training.

Some hotel managers take postgraduate courses, which can help with career progress. If you want to develop your business skills to a very high level, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a popular option in the hospitality industry.

Personal qualities
As a hotel manager, you would need a good head for business, the ability to motivate and lead staff, an aptitude for figures and excellent organisational skills. You must be able to work well in a team, to think on your feet and to be friendly, helpful and tactful with guests.

A smart appearance and an outgoing personality would be essential, and some foreign language skills would certainly be an asset.

Looking ahead
Although there is fierce competition for the best posts, there are usually lots of opportunities for hotel managers in what is still a growing industry. Your promotion prospects would depend on the size of the hotel and your skills and experience: it could take several years to work through posts such as assistant front-of-house manager to deputy manager and then manager.

With suitable experience, there is always the prospect that you could eventually open your own hotel.

Alternative suggestions
You might also consider catering manager, chef, events and conferences manager, human resources officer/manager, leisure services manager, marketing executive or public relations officer.

Take-home pay
You might start as a trainee manager on about £17,000 to £22,000. This could rise to around £25,000 to £35,000 as a deputy manager and £60,000 to £100,000 plus for an experienced manager in a top international establishment. There is a wide range of salaries, according to the size and type of hotel you would be working in and the level of management responsibility you achieve.  Some managers can receive profits or performance bonuses, and there could be financial advantages to living in (although there could be obvious disadvantages as well).

Hotel managers tend to work long hours, including evenings, nights, weekends and public holidays. They may work shifts.

The advantages of living in the hotel itself can be outweighed by the inconvenience of being called on to help with problems or make decisions even when you are not on duty.

Sources of information
Institute of Hospitality:
British Institute of Innkeeping:
British Hospitality Association:  
Jobs in Hotels:

Irish Hospitality Institute:





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