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.
For some positions, only a high school diploma is necessary; however, many employers require an associate's or bachelor's degree in hospitality or hotel management. Certification is available, but not typically mandatory. Hotelkeepers should typically have 1-5 years of experience. 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. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015, lodging managers made an average of $49,720 per year.
Step 1: Earn a Degree
For some small hotels offering limited services, it's 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 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 two years to earn, while bachelor's degrees can be earned in about four years.
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 five years to maintain the credential.
Step 3: Gain Experience
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're 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
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.
To recap, hotelkeepers, or lodge managers, can earn an average median salary of $49,720 according to the BLS in 2015. It's best to earn an associate or bachelor's degree in hotel management or hospitality before seeking certification and employment.