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Lodging Manager

Lodging Manager

Education and Training: Bachelor's degree in hotel management and manager trainee programs

Salary: Median—$39,100 per year

Employment Outlook: Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Lodging managers are responsible for the overall operation of hotels, motels, inns, and resorts. Managers see that guests receive first-rate service so that they will come back to their establishments. They also manage finances and see that their business earns a profit without sacrificing service. Lodging managers who create a reputation for excellence are likely to attract new guests through referrals and industry-wide quality ratings.

The top executive in the hotel business is the general manager. In a small hotel, motel, inn, or resort the manager may also be the owner. Managers in small establishments greet guests, keep records, handle mail, assign rooms, and serve as the front desk clerk. They may also do the bookkeeping, advertising, and purchasing for their establishment.

Large hotels, motels, inns, and resorts have many facilities. In these establishments general managers direct and coordinate the work of department managers such as the executive housekeeper, the personnel manager, and the food service manager. General managers must be able to delegate responsibility to these middle managers, who pass the orders along to others. Superior leadership abilities and financial decision-making skills are vital to individuals who work in this position.

Lodging managers need the ability to interpret their establishment's financial condition. They receive valuable information on financial matters from hotel controllers (also known as money managers) who supervise the accounting department. Lodging managers must understand credit policies, banking methods, and financial statements provided by hotel controllers so they can accurately judge when to make budget cuts or when to spend money for advertising or remodeling.

Sales managers market the services of a hotel, motel, or resort. They direct members of the sales staff who contact prospective customers and persuade them to use their establishment and its services. Sales managers are either in charge of advertising and public relations or work closely with the department managers of those areas. Because sales managers have constant contact with customers, they know which selling points appeal most to the public.

Education and Training Requirements

A college degree in hotel management is preferred for lodging management positions, especially for those in large hotels and hotel and motel chains. Programs in hotel administration often require students to work in hotels to gain practical experience. Some chains offer manager trainee programs that last about three years. Part-time or summer work in a hotel, motel, or resort is considered valuable by prospective employers.

Lodging managers must have good communication and supervisory skills and must be able to make decisions on their own. They should be sympathetic to the needs of others and enjoy working with a variety of people. Many general managers acquire experience working in other managerial positions such as hotel sales manager or controller. Individuals interested in becoming hotel sales managers should take courses in business, marketing, advertising, and hotel administration. Prospective hotel controllers need a bachelor's degree in accounting.

Getting the Job

School placement offices, private employment agencies, trade journals, Internet job banks, and newspaper want ads can provide leads on jobs for lodging managers. Interested individuals can also apply directly to the hotels, motels, resorts, and chains in which they would like to work.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Lodging managers hold top positions in their establishments. Some controllers and sales managers become general managers. Managers who work for a chain may advance by transferring to a larger facility. Moving to a larger establishment often brings more responsibility and higher pay. Some managers go to work for the chain's corporate headquarters.

Steady growth is expected in the hotel, motel, and resort industry. Employment of salaried managers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2014, but competition for these jobs will be keen. Some openings will also occur as experienced managers retire or leave for other reasons.

Working Conditions

The physical surroundings of hotels, motels, inns, and resorts are generally very pleasant; however, managing one can be stressful and demanding. Work schedules are generally regular, but managers are on call twenty-four hours a day. Some managers work in resorts that are open for just one season each year. Ski resorts, for example, may operate only during the winter months; managers in these positions may have to find jobs in summer resorts for the rest of the year.

Where to Go for More Information

American Hotel and Lodging Association
1201 New York Ave. NW, Ste. 600
Washington, DC 20005-3931
(202) 289-3100
http://www.ahla.com/

The International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education
2810 N. Parham Rd., Ste. 230
Richmond, VA 23294
(804) 346-4800
http://www.chrie.org/

Earnings and Benefits

Salaries vary depending on education, experience, and the location of the work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for lodging managers was $39,100 per year in 2004. General managers of large establishments reportedly earned more than $80,000 per year. Some managers earn bonuses of up to 25 percent of their base salaries. They may also receive free meals and free lodging in the hotel in which they work. Health insurance, paid vacations, and continuing education are generally provided to lodging managers regardless of the size of their establishment.

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