Hotel managers anticipate, prepare for, and manage guest expectations, requests, and complaints. The position requires meticulous attention to detail, savvy business management tactics, and excellent interpersonal communication skills. Many do not hold formal degrees in hotel management, but instead begin their careers with entry-level positions working the front desk. This type of day-to-day operations experience may lead to a career in hotel management.
Individuals with bachelor's or master's degrees in hotel management will have more opportunity for advancement. Some hotel chain franchises require hotel managers to have at least an associate or bachelor's degree, plus several years of experience prior to employment.
Associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees in hotel management are all available. For admission, students must have a high school diploma or GED for an associate or bachelor's program, and a bachelor's degree for a two-year master's program. Work experience also beneficial and internships may be required.
Associate of Arts in Hospitality Management
Many hotel managers complete associate degree programs in hospitality management. This primary degree program trains students for entry-level supervisory roles in hotel management. Excellent interpersonal communication skills are also emphasized. Many degree programs combine traditional classroom learning with practical hotel management internships. Upon completion, students are capable of supervising various operational departments within hotels. Some courses include:
- Business math
- Hospitality management
Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management Program
A bachelor's degree program for hotel managers offers traditional, comprehensive business management knowledge, and skills. The courses covered in the program enable future hotel managers to not only supervise daily operational staff but also advance short-term and long-term operations, finance, sales, and marketing initiatives. Courses may include:
- Foodservice management
- Sanitation and safety
- Facility planning and management
- Managerial accounting
- Interior Design
Master of Management in Hospitality Program
Graduate degree programs in hospitality are geared toward senior-level hotel administrators, such as general managers, district managers, and hotel developers. This degree program strengthens entrepreneurial acumen and emphasizes a stream-lined approach to advertising, marketing, and sales goals. Some courses are:
- Hotel management
- Facilities design
- Human resource management
- Business law
The American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute offers various professional certifications for the hospitality industry. These certifications are voluntary and offer credibility for hotel executives. Larger hotel chains are requiring many general managers and hotel managers to complete professional certifications upon employment.
Hotel managers may obtain and use the designation Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) upon successful completion of the CHA examination. Certifications for CHAs are broken down according to eligibility requirements, such as education, experience, or early entry. Those with formal degrees in hospitality adhere to different certification criteria than individuals with just job experience. Recertification is necessary every five years.
According to the BLS, hotel managers may need additional training in culinary arts, food and beverage management, and executive housekeeping. These areas are key components of day-to-day hotel operations. Extensive training helps hotel managers and administrators to better understand departmental needs, strategies, and goals.
While hotel managers are not required to have a formal education in the field and can start from the bottom up, many employers prefer them to have a degree. More advanced degrees provide more specified coursework and open up additional career paths.