Most full-service hotel chains prefer candidates with a degree in hospitality or hotel management.
Lodging managers usually take one of three education 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.
Most full-service hotel chains hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality or hotel management. Hotel management programs typically include instruction in hotel administration, accounting, marketing and sales, housekeeping, food service management and catering, and hotel maintenance and engineering. Systems training is also an integral part of many degree programs, because hotels use hospitality-specific software in reservations, billing, and housekeeping management. The Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration accredits about 60 hospitality management programs.
At hotels that provide fewer services, candidates with an associate’s degree or a certificate in hotel, restaurant, or hospitality management may qualify for a job as a lodging manager.
Also, many technical institutes and vocational and trade schools offer courses that are recognized by the hospitality industry that may help in getting a job. Currently, some states and the District of Columbia offer high school academic training for prospective lodging managers.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Hotel employees who do not have hospitality management training, but who show leadership potential and have several years of related work experience, may qualify for assistant manager positions.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
High school students can enroll in the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program (HTMP) offered by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI). The HTMP is a 2-year program that teaches management principles and leads to professional certification. College students and working professionals can also obtain the Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA) through AHLEI.
Large hotel chains may offer better opportunities than small, independently owned hotels for advancing from assistant manager to manager or from managing one hotel to being a regional manager. However, these opportunities usually involve relocating to another city or state.
Business skills. Lodging managers address budget matters and coordinate and supervise workers. Operating a profitable hotel is important—as is the need to motivate and direct the work of employees.
Customer-service skills. Lodging managers must have excellent customer-service skills when dealing with guests. Satisfying guests’ needs is critical to a hotel’s success and helps to ensure customer loyalty.
Interpersonal skills. Lodging managers need strong interpersonal skills because they interact regularly with many different people. They must be effective communicators and must have positive interactions with guests and hotel staff, even in stressful situations.
Leadership skills. Lodging managers must establish good working relationships to ensure a productive work environment. This objective may involve motivating personnel, resolving conflicts, and listening to complaints or criticism from guests.
Listening skills. Lodging managers should have excellent listening skills. Listening to the needs of guests allows managers to take the appropriate course of action, ensuring guests’ satisfaction. Listening to the needs of workers helps managers keep good working relationships with the staff.
Organizational skills. Lodging managers keep track of many different schedules, budgets, and people at once. This task becomes more complex as the size of the hotel increases.
Problem-solving skills. The ability to resolve personnel issues and guest-related dissatisfaction is critical to the work of lodging managers. As a result, they should be creative and practical when confronted with problems.