Hotels are everywhere. Whether that be the motel or hotel chains that line the Interstate for travelers’ convenience, small boutique B&Bs designed for intimate get-aways, large full-service chains that cater to national and international conferences, or luxury resorts built for all-inclusive vacations. Each of these needs multiple employees to run day-to-day operations and fulfill customer’s needs. But who manages those employees? Who ensures that the hotel is operating at peak performance and coordinates between departments and managers? Who balances the demands of hotel guests, employees, potential events, budgets, company standards, and many aspects in between? More than likely, the person who does all of those things is the Director of Hotel Operations. With key skills in organizational planning, human resources, and administrative services, Directors of Hotel Operations are key players in any hotel’s success.
Job Responsibilities and Future Prospects for Directors of Hotel Operations
Directors of Hotel Operations function much like other Directors of Operations in other industries, but depending on the size of the hotel, job responsibilities vary widely. Some Directors will be involved with day-to-day operations of the hotel, and others will oversee other managers and coordinators to ensure hotel operations run smoothly. Typically, Directors of Hotel Operations work closely with Chief Financial Offers and a Board of Directors. Regardless of size of hotel, most Directors of Hotel Operations have a core set of responsibilities that include the following:
- Hire, manage and evaluate hotel employees to ensure maximum productivity and customer support
- Implement, manage, and evaluate hotel processes and procedures according to company and industry standards
- Collaborate in the development of strategies and their implementation to improve and standardize hotel operations
- Effective communication and negotiation skills to collaborate with other directors, CFOs, CEOs, and Board of Directors, as well as translate hotel strategies to employees.
- Communicate in a professional and timely manner with guests about hotel policies and services
- Coordinate front-office activities of hotel and resolve problems encountered therein
- Set or collaborate with financial offers to set room rates, budgets, approve expenditures, and allocate funds to various departments
The median salary for Directors of Hotel Operations is about $75K a year, but that depends heavily on the size of the hotel and its location. Similar to the variety in salaries, the opportunities to advance into higher positions also depends on the size and organizational layout of any given hotel or hotel chain. Many Directors of Hotel Operations may advance into positions like the Vice President of Operations, Chief Operating Officer, President, Executive Director, or General Manager. Keep in mind that at smaller hotels, Directors of Operations are often one-in-the-same with General Managers. However, getting experience at smaller hotels in upper management is often a great way to move into larger hotel chains and from their to upper management for the entire region.
Types of Directors of Hotel Operations Positions
Hotels vary in size from small boutique hotels with a few rooms to world-wide chains with standardized procedures. In smaller establishments, Directors of Hotel Operations would likely be synonymous with Hotel Manager and would be more intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of the hotel. In large hotels, Directors of Operations will manage large scale events, like conventions, or coordinate lower-level managers who oversee everyday hotel tasks and employees. At larger hotels, Directors of Operations might also be known as General Managers, who oversee multiple departments like room operations, marketing and sales, purchasing, and security.
Using Your Education to Become a Director of Hotel Operations
Most of the time Directors of Hotel Operations will have an advanced degree in addition to several years of experience in the hospitality industry.This is especially true of large, full-service hotel chains or resorts. Typically, Directors of Hotel Operations will have at least an Associate’s degree or certificate in hospitality, but they will more likely have a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality or Hotel Management. Often larger chains will also require some sort of graduate degree or certificate, like a Master’s in Hospitality Management, especially for directors looking to advance their careers.
Using Your Experience to Become a Director of Hotel Operations
Smaller hotels that provide fewer services might higher Director of Hotel Operations or Hotel Managers that have high school diplomas or associate’s degrees when combined with at least 5 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Relevant experience, like food service management, marketing management, and customer service management, could all easily translate for people looking to shift careers into the hospitality industry. Such lateral moves are most possible for people with skills in the following: budgets, customer-service, communications, leadership and motivation, organizational, and problem solving. As with many management positions, without a college degree, additional years of experience in the industry are expected. For people already in the hospitality industry looking to move up into Director positions, they might consider one of many online hospitality degree programs that are rapidly increasing in availability or certifications offered through the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.
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