What Is Hospitality Management, and Is It the Career for You?

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There’s something magical about a well-run hotel.

You walk into a gleaming lobby and are greeted by a smiling receptionist. You hand over a few personal and financial details, then take your card up to your room, swipe it, and flop down on the bed. You order room service, turn on the TV, and settle in for a relaxing evening.

Not everyone is cut out for hospitality management, but there are few careers more rewarding than one that allows you to make everyone who walks through your doors feel valued and appreciated.

But, what about you? Is this a career you’re considering getting into? Does it pay enough, and fit into your life? Is it interesting enough, and do you have the personality for it?

Let’s tackle those questions—and more—below.

What is hospitality management?

Hospitality management involves overseeing the administrative tasks of a hotel or resort. Your goal as a hospitality manager is to ensure your hotel is warm, welcoming, and makes guests feel like they’re at home.

“Lodging managers ensure that guests on vacation or business travel have a pleasant experience at a hotel, motel, or other types of establishment with accommodations,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “They also ensure that the establishment is run efficiently and profitably.”

Photo of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore via Pixabay

Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, via Pixabay

What daily activities does hospitality management involve?

As manager of a hotel or resort, you’ll need to oversee various departments. For a hotel, that often includes the front desk, housekeeping, concierges, a restaurant and / or room service, budgeting and finances, maintenance, spa services, conferences, and guest services.

It is the hospitality manager’s job to organize and seamlessly integrate these departments and any other services your hotel offers (something that good hotel management software can help you with). After all, you don’t want the front desk checking someone into a room that housekeeping hasn’t cleaned yet.

What kind of hours does a hospitality manager work?

It’s certainly not your typical day job—after all, many hotels are open around the clock, and the busiest times are in the evening when most guests are checking in and ordering room service.

As a hospitality manager, you probably work odd hours and often be on-call to handle situations as they arise. It can be stressful, and it’s not ideal if you’re looking for a 9-to-5 job.

Stock photo of hotel bed via Pixabay

Hotel room via Pixabay

Does the job pay well?

The median annual wage for lodging managers was $51,840 as of May 2016 ( according to the BLS), but your salary will depend on a number of factors.

You’ll get paid more to manage a hotel in a city than a bed-and-breakfast in the countryside, for example. Geographic location also matters; managing a big hotel in Des Moines won’t be as lucrative as managing a similar-sized hotel in Manhattan.

Your experience will come into play, as will your education. A degree in hospitality or hotel management can give you an edge, but a lack of one doesn’t preclude you from securing a good salary.

Is the hotel industry a growing one?

It is indeed: employment is expected to grow by six percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS. That’s a similar average to all occupations, so while it’s not exploding in growth it’s a safe bet for a solid career. However, expect a lot of competition for upper management jobs.

Stock photo of restaurant table via Pixabay

Restaurant space via Pixabay

What personality traits do good hotel managers have?

Even if the pay is right and you can handle the hours, being a hotel manager is still not the right career for everyone. There are a few specific traits you should have if you want to succeed in the industry.

Motivation: You’ve got to be a top-notch motivator. Hospitality management is all about putting the guest first and making them feel special, which is a team effort. As a guest gets passed from the front desk to the concierge to room service, your team needs to be united in creating a comfortable and seamless experience. That takes organization and inspiring leadership from you.

Communication: You need to be a stellar communicator. You have to actively talk to and with your staff, and get them to open up to you in return. When you aren’t communicating, someone’s going to drop the ball, and your customer will be the one picking it up (and often attaching a complaint or bad review). You don’t want that.

Decisiveness: There’s no room for waffling in this business, so a good hospitality manager must be quick and decisive. Your staff and guests will be looking to you for guidance when problems arise. Do you see a guest complaining at the front desk about not getting a king-sized bed? Step in and offer a discount, or free room service to apologize for lacking an available king bed. Everyone feels more happy and secure when someone is taking responsibility to solve a problem as soon as it arises.

Stock photo of hotel room via Pixabay

Hotel room doorway via Pixabay

How do I become a lodging manager?

Are you convinced this is the career for you? Then it’s time to learn even more about the industry, and what it takes to become a hotel manager. We’ve got plenty of resources to help you collect the tools and skill set you need to succeed.

Looking for Hospitality Property Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Hospitality Property Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Dan Taylor

Dan is a content writer at Capterra, specializing in hotel management, construction and real estate. Outside the office, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, catching up with the latest offering from HBO or paying a visit to a new place.

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