Career Spotlight: Hotel Manager

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An online MBA can give aspiring hotel managers the skills to manage a complex, 24-hour-a-day business.

Hotel managers are professionals who oversee the daily operations of a hotel. According to, they manage all aspects of the facility, from front-desk operations to housekeeping and everything in between. A hotel manager can work for either a large chain hotel or a smaller, independent establishment.

Few people start their careers as hotel managers. They begin lower down the ladder. “Most hotel managers start as line employees in a division of a hotel, for example, sales, room reservations or front desk, at some point in their career…Many employers place a lot of emphasis on relevant experience,” explains Angela McLaughlin, hotel manager at Silverton Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.

While experience is desirable for a hotel manager position, however, education is equally important. Hotel manager candidates, particularly for larger hotels, are generally expected to have degrees in hospitality or general business management and administration. Programs such as Washington State University’s Online Master of Business Administration can provide such degrees. Pursuing an online MBA degree can give candidates the background and skills to manage a complex, 24-hour-a-day business such as a hotel operation.

5 Areas

Hotel manager responsibilities vary according to the type and size of the hotel, the location, the clientele, and many other factors. According to the website Hotelogix, however, all hotel managers have 5 core duties:

  1. Managing the guest experience and customer relations. In the hotel industry, keeping the guests happy is job number 1. Although each and every hotel employee plays a part in this effort, the buck stops with the hotel manager, who bears the ultimate responsibility for visitor satisfaction. He or she is expected to:
  • Pay close attention to guests’ requirements
  • Review customer feedback in the form of positive and negative reviews
  • Spend time addressing issues, lending his or her personal touch
  • Use innovative methods to enhance the guest experience
  • Be aware of the latest hospitality technology trends and use them to build customer relations
  1. Reputation management and branding. Hotelogix points out that online hotel reviews have become increasingly important in recent years. According to 1 study, websites that display genuine hotel reviews get 200 percent more traffic than sites without reviews. Additionally, an estimated 92 percent of travelers trust the reviews of family and friends. Making sure the hotel is well presented online, and that any feedback received is as positive as possible, is therefore a top concern of the hotel manager. Specific duties include:
  • Tracking reviews and managing a hotel’s online presence
  • Responding to every negative review in an amicable manner
  • Creating a buzz online with offers and promotions
  • Ensuring that guest queries receive a timely response
  • Reinventing branding strategies to help people notice and remember the hotel
  1. Being an excellent role model. There is a direct relationship between happy employees and happy guests. Hotel managers must therefore go out of their way to foster a professional atmosphere where employees are interested, engaged, and respectful of guests and their needs. Ways to do this include:
  • Helping employees develop skill sets, identify talent, and hone their skills
  • Building a positive work environment to keep motivational levels high
  • Communicating with the team, asking about career goals, and setting targets
  • Working with human resources, if applicable, on areas of employee retention and employee engagement
  • Being the kind of role model employees would want to emulate
  1. Revenue and budget management. Number-crunching is a huge part of the hotel manager’s job. On any given day, the manager might tweak room rates, source and order food for the dining room, set employee salaries, or research needed renovations. Just a few of the hotel manager’s responsibilities might include:
  • Optimizing the hotel’s revenue based on demand
  • Overseeing the hotel’s distribution strategy and managing daily operations
  • Creating pricing strategies, including doing competition analysis
  • Tracking hotel revenue and managing budgets
  • Analyzing market segment reviews, reports, and more
  • Analyzing sales figures
  1. Focusing on the latest hotel technologies. Technology is rapidly changing every industry, and the hospitality field is no exception. Hotel managers must lead the charge in finding and adopting the latest technologies to make their operations run as smoothly and successfully as possible. Duties in this area include:
  • Searching out knowledge about the latest in hotel technologies
  • Keeping a watchful eye on competitors
  • Implementing cloud-based technologies to improve hotel management
  • Updating employees and ensuring training for software updates
  • Exploring new technology to support goals

The Right Personality

Being a good hotel manager is not just about learning the required skills. The best hotel managers have the right personality for the job, too.

“A person that has a friendly personality and genuine desire to help and please others will excel in this type of job,” McLaughlin says. “You have to be able to make quick decisions on the fly. You have to have the ability to balance the guests, as well as the business priorities. You have to have high energy and patience. People who have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, especially with all demographics, truly excel in this field.”

In order to succeed, candidates with the right personality for the job must also act in a way that lets these traits shine. The website sums it up in 4 points:

  • Hone your communication skills. Good customer service skills are vital in a role like this. Hone them to absolute perfection by dealing with complaints efficiently and quickly, and by making sure you greet each and every guest.
  • Be meticulous. A great hotel manager is an organized one. Keeping everything running like clockwork is important.
  • Learn to love budgeting. Estimating costs will be a daily responsibility for you, so make it an enjoyable one and your job will never feel like a chore.
  • Put in the work. Never be afraid of a hard day’s work, and never assign a job that you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself. Understanding and experiencing hard work will boost your empathy toward your team.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), hotel managers usually take 1 of 3 educational paths: a bachelor’s degree in hospitality or hotel management, an associate’s degree or a certificate in hotel management, or a high school diploma combined with several years of experience working in a hotel. Advanced degrees that supplement management skills, such as an MBA, can boost a candidate’s desirability, especially for jobs with major hotel chains or high-end facilities.

The BLS projects growth in hotel manager jobs to be 4 percent between 2016 and 2026. Median pay as of July 2019 was $53,390, with 80 percent of all hotel managers earning between $30,860 and $102,410. Factors contributing to individual pay rates include education, certifications, additional skills or areas of specialization, location, size of hotel, and years of experience.

About WSU’s Online Master of Business Administration Program

Washington State University’s Carson College of Business delivers one of the top-ranked MBA programs in the nation. WSU prepares students to take advantage of MBA career paths and opportunities by equipping them with the tactics, knowledge, skills, strategies, and other resources utilized by today’s high-profile business leaders.

WSU’s Online MBA degree program offers four concentrations—marketing, finance, hospitality business management, international business, and a general MBA. For more information, visit WSU’s Online MBA website.


Recommended Reading:

Budget Evaluation and Decision Making

5 Ways Managers Can Build Relationships that Matter with Their Team Members

The Rise of the Blue-Collar Executive 



Hotel manager definition and experience –

Five areas – Hotelogix

Personality –

Four points of personality –

Salary and job outlook – Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics