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Hotel managers are responsible for every aspect of their hotel, from ensuring everything runs smoothly and guests are satisfied, to budgeting, marketing and overseeing housekeeping and general maintenance.
Depending on the size of the hotel, specific management duties are likely to include:
- purchasing and stock control
- developing marketing and publicity strategies
- recruiting and managing staff
- ensuring staff and guest health and safety
- meeting food safety and licensing laws.
In a large hotel, the hotel manager may lead a team of managers. In a small hotel, managers are more involved in the day-to-day running of the business.
Hotel managers work long hours, sometimes through the night and often at weekends and holidays. They may work shifts. Some managers live in the hotel. They may also travel to meetings, which could mean being away from home.
Hotel managers may earn between £17,000 and £55,000 or more a year.
Hotel managers need:
- business skills
- to be excellent organisers and problem-solvers
- the ability to motivate and lead staff
- a friendly, helpful and tactful manner
- an interest in providing a good level of customer service.
There are 12,000 establishments within the UK hotel industry, employing 248,700 people. This is a growing industry and there are lots of opportunities, but there is competition for jobs, especially in prestigious hotels and large hotel groups.
There are a number of routes into becoming a hotel manager, including:
- working up from junior posts to management level, sometimes via a structured fast-track training scheme or an Apprenticeship
- completing a BTEC Higher National Certificate/Diploma (HNC/HND), foundation degree, degree or postgraduate qualification prior to entry and joining a management training programme.
Relevant subjects include hospitality management and international hospitality management, hotel and catering management and hotel, tourism and licensed retail management. The Diploma in hospitality may also be relevant for this area of work.
Most training is on the job, and involves gaining experience in different areas of the business. The Institute of Hospitality and Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (CTH) offer relevant qualifications in hospitality management. A Level 3 Diploma in hospitality supervision and leadership skills is also available.
It is possible to work up from assistant front of house manager to deputy manager and then manager. With experience, managing several hotels or a specific aspect of the business is achievable.
What is the work like?
Hotel managers oversee all aspects of the running of their hotel. They usually have overall responsibility for the housekeeping, budgeting, marketing and general hotel maintenance, ensuring everything runs smoothly and that guests enjoy their stay.
Specific duties are likely to include:
- customer (guest) relations
- setting budgets and targets
- putting together a business plan
- purchasing and stock control
- deciding on marketing and publicity strategies
- recruiting, training and, when necessary, dismissing staff
- ensuring the health and safety of guests and staff
- meeting food safety and licensing law requirements
- making sure security systems are effective
- analysing information and making improvements.
In a large hotel, the hotel manager may lead a team of managers, each responsible for an area, eg housekeeping, maintenance or food and drink. In this kind of management role, there is less direct contact with guests. A lot of time is spent in meetings with members of the management team, in working out and analysing finances and in writing reports.
In a small hotel, the manager is more involved in the day-to-day running of the business, coping with whatever arises, from greeting guests, to pouring drinks or dealing with minor repairs.
Hours and environment
Hotel managers often work long hours, including evenings, sometimes through the night, at weekends and during public holidays. They may work shifts.
Some managers live in the hotel. They could resolve problems or make decisions even when not on duty.
There are many different types of hotels. Some are large resorts with indoor and outdoor leisure facilities; others are smaller, sometimes in historic buildings. Budget hotels also tend to be small and usually have fewer facilities. Hotel managers usually have their own office, but will spend time in each different area of the hotel, including reception, the kitchens, storerooms and leisure areas.
They may also need to travel to meetings or to meet suppliers. This could involve being away from home for a few days.
Part-time work or job sharing may be possible. However, this is a demanding job and is more likely to require working overtime. Smaller hotels may close out of season.
Salary and other benefits
These figures are only a guide, as actual rates of pay may vary, depending on the employer and where people live.
- Trainee and assistant hotel managers may earn around £17,000 a year.
- A deputy manager may earn from £21,000 to £35,000 a year.
- A general manager's pay could be in a range from £21,000 to £55,000 or more, depending on the type and size of hotel.
Hotel managers in London tend to earn more than elsewhere in Britain. Larger hotels and groups might offer a package of benefits, including pension, healthcare, discounts or shares. Some posts may include accommodation and meals.
Skills and personal qualities
Hotel managers need:
- business skills
- excellent organisational skills and an aptitude for problem-solving
- the ability to motivate and lead staff
- tact and diplomacy
- good negotiation skills
- initiative, energy and enthusiasm
- good written and spoken communication skills
- marketing ability
- to be able to think on their feet and stay calm in a crisis
- foreign language skills when working in some of the larger hotel chains.
It is important to have an interest in:
- running a business successfully
- providing a good level of customer service.
The UK hotel industry consists of 12,000 establishments, employing 248,700 people. It includes large branded operators (the largest ones being budget hotels Premier Inn and Travelodge), smaller branded hotels, independent hotels and a large number of independent bed and breakfast or guesthouse accommodation.
Hotels are situated in all parts of the UK, including cities, near the coast, in the countryside and in small towns. Many chains also require managers to work in their hotels overseas.
There are lots of opportunities for hotel managers, but there is competition for jobs, especially in prestigious hotels and large hotel groups.
Jobs and training positions are published direct on hotel group websites or in trade magazines, such as Caterer and Hotelkeeper. Vacancies are also advertised in Jobcentre Plus offices, by specialist hotel recruitment agencies, in the local press and on websites such as www.caterer.com and www.hcareers.co.uk The Institute of Hospitality website also advertises management positions.
There are a number of ways of becoming a hotel manager:
- Working up from a more junior post to management level. Some hotel companies have structured fast-track training schemes open to existing employees.
- Entering management after completing a BTEC Higher National Certificate/Diploma (HNC/HND), foundation degree, degree or postgraduate qualification. Some hotel chains run graduate management training schemes, offering high levels of responsibility early on.
Relevant subjects can include hospitality management and international hospitality management, hotel and catering management and hotel, tourism and licensed retail management. Business degrees, perhaps including hospitality, tourism or marketing, are another option.
Entry requirements for a degree course are usually at least two A levels and five GCSEs (A*-C), usually including English and maths, or equivalent qualifications. People with a degree in another subject can take a one-year postgraduate course in hotel and catering management. Those without the usual academic qualifications can take an Access course.
Prior experience working in catering or retail can be useful, as can knowledge of a foreign language.
It may also be possible to enter this work via an Apprenticeship. Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer and, from August 2009, pay at least £95 per week. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available on the Apprenticeship page on this website, from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk
The Diploma in hospitality may also be relevant for this area of work.
Initial training is likely to be in-house. Formal training programmes can take several years. Most trainees work in different parts of the hotel, including food and drink management, accommodation management, conferences and banqueting, financial control, human resources and marketing and possibly in a number of hotels across a chain.
The Institute of Hospitality offers qualifications in hospitality, leisure and tourism, including:
- Level 2 Business Skills Certificate
- Level 3 Certificate
- Level 4 Diploma in Management.
The Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (CTH) also offer management-level qualifications, including:
- Level 4 Diploma in Hotel Management
- Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Hotel Management
- Level 7 Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management.
There is also a Level 3 Diploma in hospitality supervision and leadership skills. Alternatively, hotel managers may undertake postgraduate courses, full or part time.
Promotion prospects vary between hotels. It is possible to work up from assistant front of house manager to deputy manager and then manager. Being flexible and willing to relocate can increase promotional opportunities.
With experience, a manager could manage several hotels within a large hotel chain or specialise in an aspect of the business, such as group marketing or training. This may involve studying for extra qualifications.
There may be opportunities to work abroad. Experienced managers can open their own hotel.
Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (CTH), 13-16 Manchester Street,
London W1U 4DJ. 020 7258 9850. Website: www.cthawards.com
Institute of Hospitality, Trinity Court, 34 West Street, Sutton, Surrey SM1 1SH. 020 8661 4900. Website: www.instituteofhospitality.org
People 1st, 2nd Floor, Armstrong House, 38 Market Square, Uxbridge UB8 1LH. 01895 817000. Website: www.uksp.co.uk