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Hotel Managers and Assistants

Hotel Managers are responsible for the profitable operation of their establishments. They manage front office, housekeeping, food service, and recreational activities, and oversee management of the accounting, marketing and sales, personnel, security, and maintenance departments. Satisfying guests, handling problems, and coping with the unexpected are important parts of the job.

In a small hotel or motel with a limited staff, a manager may directly supervise most, if not all, departments. Large hotel and motel chains often centralize some activities, such as purchasing and advertising, so that individual hotels in the chain may not need managers for these departments. Managers who work for chains may be assigned to organize a newly built or purchased hotel or to reorganize a newly build or purchased hotel or to reorganize an existing hotel or motel that is not operating successfully.

Working Conditions

Since hotels are open around the clock, night and weekend work is common. Hotel employees frequently must work on shifts. Managers who live in the hotel usually have regular work schedules, but they may be called for work at any time. Some employees of resort hotels are managers during the busy season and have other duties the rest of the year.

Hotel managers sometimes experience the pressures of coordinating a wide range of functions. Conventions and large groups of tourists may present unusual problems. Dealing with irate patrons can also be stressful. The job can be particularly hectic for front office managers around checking and checkout time. Employment

Hotel managers and assistant managers held about 97,500 wage and salary jobs in 1990. An additional number--primarily owners of small hotels and motels--were self- employed.

Training Other Qualifications, and Advancement

Experience generally is the most important consideration in selecting managers. This especially applies to food and beverage managers who require many skill. The hotel restaurant and cocktail lounge are often of great importance to the success of the entire establishment.

However, employers increasingly seek managers with college or specialized post secondary education. A bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant administration provides particularly strong preparation for a career in hotel management. In 1990, over 100 colleges and universities offered 4-year programs in this field. Several hundred junior colleges, technical institutes, and other academic institutions also have courses in hotel work that provide a good background. However, because a greater number of aspiring hotel managers are seeking formal training, applicants to these programs face increasing competition.

Included in many programs in hotel management are courses in hotel administration, accounting, economics, marketing, housekeeping, food service management and catering, hotel maintenance engineering, and data processing--reflecting the widespread use of computers in hotel operations such as reservations, accounting, and housekeeping. Part- time or summer work in hotels and restaurants is encouraged because the experience gained and the contacts made with employers may benefit students when they seek full- time employment after graduation.

Managers should have initiative, self-discipline, and the ability to organize and direct the work of others. They must be able to solve problems and concentrate on details.

Sometimes large hotels sponsor specialized on-the-job management training programs which enable trainees to rotate among various departments and gain a thorough knowledge of the hotel's operation. Other hotels may help finance the necessary training in hotel management for outstanding employees.

Most hotels promote employees who have proven their ability. Newly built hotels, particularly those without well-established on-the-job training programs, often prefer experienced personnel for managerial position. Large hotel and motel chains may offer better opportunities for advancement than small, independently owned establishments. They have more extensive career ladder programs and offer managers the opportunity to transfer to another hotel or motel in the chain or to the central office if an opening occurs. Career advancement can be accelerated by completion of certification programs offered by the associations listed below. These programs generally require a combination of course work, examinations, and experience.

Job Outlook

Employment of salaried hotel managers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2000 as more large hotels and motels are built. While career travel will continue to grow, demand for additional hotels and motels is expected to stem primarily from increased domestic and foreign tourism. Most openings are expected to occur as experienced managers transfer to other occupations, retire, or stop working for other reasons.

Opportunities to enter hotel management are expected to be very good for persons who have college degrees in hotel or restaurant management.


Salaries of hotel managers varied greatly according to their responsibilities and the size of the hotel in which they worked. In 1990, annual salaries of assistant hotel managers averaged about $32,000, based on a survey conducted for the American Hotel and Motel Association. Assistants employed in large hotels with 600 rooms or more averaged over $42,500 in 1990, while those in small hotels with less than 200 rooms averaged about $24,500. Salaries of assistant managers also varied because of differences in duties and responsibilities. For example, food and beverage managers averaged $40,000 according to the same survey, whereas front office managers averaged $24,000. The manager's level of experience is also an important factor.

In 1990, salaries of general managers averaged about $56,200, ranging from an average of about $40,000 in hotels and motels with less than 200 rooms to an average of more than $80,500 in large hotels with 600 rooms or more. Manager may earn bonuses ranging up to 20 percent of their basic salary in some hotels. In addition, they and their families may be furnished with lodging, meals, parking, laundry, and other services. Most managers and assistants receive 5 to 10 paid holidays a year, paid vacation, sick leave, life insurance, medical benefits, and pension plans. Some hotels offer profit sharing plans, educational assistance, and other benefits to their employees.

Related Occupations

Hotel managers and assistants are not the only workers concerned with organizing and directing a career in which pleasing people is very important. Others with similar responsibilities include apartment building managers, department store managers, and office managers.

Sources of Additional Information

For information on careers and scholarships in hotel management, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:

The American Hotel and Motel Association (AH&MA), 888 7th Ave., New York, N.Y. 10019.

For information on certification requirements and educational programs in hotel management, send a self-addressed, stamped envelop to:

The Education Institute of AH&MA, 1407 S. Harrison Rd., Suite 310, East Lansing, Mich. 48823.

Information on careers in housekeeping management may be obtained from:

National Executive Housekeepers Association, Inc., 1001 Eastwind Dr., Suite 301, Westerville, Ohio 43081.

For a directory of colleges and other schools offering programs and courses in hotel and restaurant administration, write to:

Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education, Henderson Human Development Building, Suite S208, University Park, PA. 16802.


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