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Become a Hotelkeeper: Education and Career Information

Learn how to become a hotelkeeper. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in the hospitality management field.

Should I Become a Hotelkeeper?

As a hotelkeeper, who might also be referred to as a lodging manager, you'll ensure the profitability and smooth functioning of daily hotel operations. The duties and requirements vary based on a hotel's size and level of service, but typically, you'll be responsible for a variety of tasks, including providing customer service, managing hotel staff and training new employees. This job can be stressful at times, as you try to keep both customers and investors happy. To meet the needs of the establishment, you could work nights, weekends and holidays. You might also be on call.

Career Requirements

Degree Level For some positions, only a high school diploma is necessary; however, many employers require an associate's or bachelor's degree
Degree Field Hospitality or hotel management
Certification Certification is available, but not mandatory
Experience 1-5 years of experience are typically required
Key Skills Hotelkeepers must have excellent customer service and interpersonal skills; leadership, problem-solving, organizational and listening skills are also important; experience with Microsoft Word and Excel, point of sale software and hotel reservation system software may be useful; hotelkeepers may use credit card processing machines and telephone switching systems
Salary (May 2014) $57,230 per year (Mean annual salary for all lodging managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net Online

Step 1: Earn an Associate's or Bachelor's Degree

For some small hotels offering limited services, it is possible to obtain a management position through work experience alone. However, larger, full-service hotels, resorts and lodges typically require management staff to have earned a college degree in a relevant field, such as hospitality or hotel management.

Many colleges, universities and trade and vocational schools around the country offer associate's and bachelor's degree programs in hospitality management. These programs teach students how to successfully operate hotels, resorts and restaurants with courses in economics, events planning, sales, marketing, hospitality law and business communications. Associate's degrees, which are typically required by smaller hotels, take about 2 years to earn, while bachelor's degrees can be earned in about 4 years.

Success Tip:

  • Gain practical experience while earning a degree. Many hospitality and hotel management programs offer the chance for students to gain hands-on experience through internships, cooperative experiences and practicums. Student should take advantage of these opportunities to hone key skills and become familiar with common computer programs.

Step 2: Obtain Certification

Obtaining voluntary certification allows a potential hotelkeeper to exhibit his or her qualifications and experience to potential employers. Various options for certification exist; one such option is the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) designation, which is available from the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI). A candidate may qualify to take the certification exam with experience or a combination of education and experience. Certified individuals must seek recertification every 5 years to maintain the credential.

Step 3: Gain Experience in the Field

Several years of experience is generally required to obtain a position as a hotelkeeper. Aspiring hotelkeepers may begin their employment within a hotel in a number of different positions. They may work behind the front desk, taking reservations and assisting guests, or within a hotel restaurant. They may find employment providing support for hotelkeepers as assistant managers. After becoming familiar with the industry and building a resume with experience, they are considered eligible for hotelkeeper positions.

With a degree and certification a hotelkeeper may be a candidate for a management or regional management position within a hospitality company. With smaller, independently-owned hotels experience may be the only requirement, but a degree and certification makes an aspiring manager more appealing for promotional opportunities

Success Tip:

  • Join a professional organization. Hotelkeepers may find valuable membership benefits from organizations devoted to the hospitality field. Perks of membership may include access to industry publications, continuing education and networking opportunities.

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