Hotel managers are responsible for the planning, finance and organisation of a hotel or similar establishment. They need to make sure that everything runs smoothly so that guests enjoy their stay.
Video: - Richard: Hotel Manager
Hotels are big business. Wherever you go in the world, you'll probably never be very far away from one. There are country hotels, luxury hotels, city hotels, motels and other establishments serving the needs of all kinds of people. Running a hotel is demanding and varied work.
As the Manager of an international hotel in a large city, you might work differently from the Manager of a small seaside guest house. But whatever kind of establishment it is, you will be responsible for making it successful. This means making sure that the standard of service is what the guests expect and that relevant laws (health and safety, for example) and business procedures (accounting, for example) are followed.
The manager of a large hotel is usually known as a General Manager. In your team, you might have a Restaurant Manager, a Domestic Services Manager, a Front Office Manager, a Human Resources Manager and possibly a few others reporting to you.
Together you will all have regular management meetings, in which you'll discuss problems and possible solutions. As the General Manager, you will check the progress made on projects that other Managers are doing and authorise any special actions that need to be taken.
Through these meetings and by talking to guests and staff, you'll get a great idea of how well the hotel is doing.
In a small hotel, you might have to take a more hands-on approach. This could involve recruiting, training and supervising staff, checking and ordering stock, getting repairs done and sometimes even serving meals.
Big national chains own many hotels. In these cases, a lot of business strategy, policy and planning is done at the head office. In this situation, you'll be responsible for making sure that the head office business plan is carried out effectively.
In an independent hotel, or one that is part of a smaller chain, you might have more input and authority to decide on policy and strategic matters. You might also carry out activities for marketing the hotel.
Sometimes, you might actually live in the hotel, so that you can be on-call at all times.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Hotel Manager, you need:
- excellent business skills
- planning and organisation skills
- good communication skills
- good 'people' skills, for example, dealing with staff and customers
- to be tactful and diplomatic
- problem-solving skills
- lots of energy and enthusiasm
- the ability to co-ordinate lots of things at once
- a smart appearance
- good negotiation and marketing skills
- to use your initiative
- to be quick thinking
- to work to budgets and targets
IT skills are also useful. Foreign language skills might also be useful in tourist areas.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £18,000 - £20,000
- With experience: £22,000 - £29,000
- Senior Hotel Managers earn £31,500
Hours of work
As a Hotel Manager you can expect to work 38-40 hours a week; however, long hours are usual and you will be working shifts, weekends and public holidays.
Where could I work?
Employers are hotels of all sizes, and leisure facilities that provide accommodation.
Opportunities for Hotel Managers occur in towns and cities throughout the UK, as well as at airports, in some rural areas, and around the coast.
Larger hotel chains offer opportunities to work in other countries.
Opportunities exist for experienced Hotel Managers to open their own small hotel or bed and breakfast establishment; however, this requires considerable financial investment.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, trade magazines such as Caterer and Hotelkeeper, on Find a Job and at Jobcentre Plus.
Vacancies can also be found through specialist recruitment agencies and internet job boards.
The Institute of Hospitality also advertises management vacancies on its website.
Hotel chains and larger hotels have their own website, and advertise vacancies as they arise.
Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.
Take a look at our General Information Article
Entry Routes and Training
A common way of reaching management level in this industry is to work your way up, while studying for relevant qualifications. As you progress, it's a good idea to get experience in different areas - for example, reception, kitchens, administration or finance.
An Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start. You may be able to take a vocational qualification, such as an NVQ, as part of your apprenticeship
Another way to enter the career is to get onto a management trainee programme with a large hotel chain. You'll need A levels at least, though most companies will ask for a degree, foundation degree or HND, in hotel or hospitality management, for example.
Various vocational BTEC and City & Guilds qualifications are available and could help you to get into this career.
If you would like some training, City & Guilds offer a level 3 qualification in hospitality supervision and leadership. This course has a range of units, which include:
- setting objectives and providing support for team members
- developing working relationships with colleagues
- supervising functions
- supervising food and drink services
- supervising the housekeeping operations
- managing the receipt, storage or dispatch of goods
- improving the customer relationship
- managing the environmental impact of work activities
- leading and managing meetings
Other courses could be available in your area.
The Institute of Hospitality also offers relevant training courses, such as the diploma in advanced hospitality and tourism management.
Previous experience working in the hotel industry, for example, in room service or as an Attendant or Receptionist would be useful for this career
Some Hotel Managers progress to managing a chain of hotels or specialise in other areas such as hotel marketing. Some Managers go on to open their own guest houses or bed and breakfasts.
There might be opportunities to work in hotels abroad.
You can become a Hotel Manager by working your way up. However, it's more usual to study for relevant qualifications first.
Relevant vocational qualifications include:
- BTEC level 2 or level 3 - hospitality or travel & tourism
To get onto an Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least five GCSEs at A*- C or 9 - 4, including English and maths, and possibly two A Levels.
For entry to a degree course in a subject such as hotel or hospitality management, the usual minimum requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects
Alternatives to A levels include:
- BTEC level 3 qualifications
- the International Baccalaureate Diploma
However, course requirements vary, so check college/university websites very carefully.
A good standard of English and numeracy is also required. Foreign languages might be useful.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Some entrants have relevant skills and abilities gained in the hotel industry, for example, in room service or as an attendant or receptionist.
Intermediate Level Apprenticeships and Advanced Level Apprenticeships in Hospitality and Catering might be available in your area.
If you are working in the industry or have gained relevant skills, you can attend college part-time to study for qualifications such as the HNC in Hospitality Management.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course could be the way in. No formal qualifications are usually required, but you should check individual course details.
They can lead to relevant degree/HND courses.
A number of universities and private training providers offer MBAs and HNDs in hospitality via part-time study or by distance learning.
The University of Derby offers a top-up degree in Hospitality Management, by distance learning. This one-year or two-year year course enables students to convert their HND or foundation degree into a full BA (Hons) in Hospitality Management.
The Institute of Hospitality offers introductory, intermediate, advanced and management qualifications for the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries. These can be studied by distance learning, part-time or in a short-course format at local centres.
Business studies degrees are also available to study via distance learning.
The Open University offers various undergraduate and postgraduate business and management qualifications.
Candidates can apply to the Savoy Educational Trust for financial support for study of courses related to the hospitality industry.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 9178000
Open University (OU)
Tel: 0845 3006090
Retail, fashion and hospitality industries
Tel: 020 8340 3366
Hospitality Guild (People 1st)
Springboard UK Ltd
Tel: 020 7529 8610
British Hospitality Association (BHA)
Tel: 020 7404 7744
Caterer: Hospitality careers
Publisher: Totaljobs Group Ltd
Institute of Hospitality (IoH)
Address: Trinity Court, 34 West Street, Sutton, Surrey SM1 1SH
Tel: 020 8661 4900
Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF)
Northern Ireland Enquiries
Address: The McCune Building, 1 Shore Road, Belfast BT15 3PG
Tel: 028 9077 6635
University of Derby
Address: Kedleston Road, Derby DE22 1GB
Tel: 01332 590500
Cambridge International College (CIC)
Address: Heron House, Jersey JE3 7BY
Tel: 01534 485485
Savoy Educational Trust
Address: Queens House, 55-56 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BH
Tel: 020 7269 9692