How Do I Become a General Manager?

The hospitality industry is currently experiencing a resurgence now that the global economy has recovered from the 2008 recession. Hotels and resorts are seeing an increase in customers and necessary employees to meet those customers’ needs. Whether big or small, every hotel needs a team of employees to run day-to-day operations and fulfill customer needs, and all of those employees need qualified managers to ensure the entire hotel is running at maximum proficiency. The task of the General Manager is to ensure all of the hotel’s departments, managers, and employees are organized and performing to the best of their abilities. Not only are General Managers responsible for the hotel operations and staff, but they also ensure quality customer relations, including quality control standards and best practices. With all there is to manage, there’s no question that Hotel General Managers are key players in any hotel’s success.

Job Responsibilities and Future Prospects for General Managers

A Hotel General Manager is responsible for overseeing the entire workings of the hotel, including keeping finances in order, planning events, and budgeting for improvements or expansions. Additionally, General Managers also ensure employee and customer satisfaction including reviewing employee performance and work standards. Typically, General Managers at large establishments work closely with upper management, like Vice Presidents and Boards of Directors. Regardless of the size of a hotel, most General Managers have a core set of responsibilities that including the following:

  • Oversee all aspects of hotel operations
  • Resolve guest and employee concerns in an effective and timely manner
  • Develop an operational budget and manage cost controls, including completing daily, monthly, and end-of-year audits
  • Hire, review, and terminate employees in keeping with hotel’s standards
  • Budget for and implement a security system, including surveillance and relevant employees
  • Inspect guest rooms, public areas, and grounds for cleanliness, appearance, and identify potential areas for improvement
  • Coordinate front-office activities, including resolving problems
  • Implement, manage, and evaluate hotel processes and procedures according to company and industry standards
  • Collaborate with marketing staff to develop and implement marketing procedures including the use of social media
  • Coordinate with departmental managers including housekeeping, room operations, marketing and sales, purchasing, and security to ensure maximum productivity and revenue

The median salary for Hotel General Managers is $55K a year, but that depends on the hotel size and location. For instance, in hospitality destinations like Los Angeles or New York City General Managers can make 80-100% above the national average. The opportunities for advancement also vary depending on the size of the hotel. At smaller boutique hotels or motels, the General Manager may be the top position, or may need to relocate to advance to Regional General Manager if the hotel is part of a larger chain. At large, full-service hotels and resorts, General Managers will most likely move up into positions like Vice President of Operations, Property Manager, Regional General Manager, President, or Chief Operating Officer. Keep in mind, getting experience at smaller hotels in upper management is a often a great way to move into larger hotel chains and full-service resorts and from their into upper management.

Types of General Manager Positions

Since hotels vary in size from small, boutique hotels to global chains with standardized policies, General Managers and their responsibilities will vary as well. In small hotels and overnight-traveler focused chains, General Managers would be more intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of the hotel. Meanwhile, in large full-service hotels and resorts, General Managers will oversee multiple departments, including teams of managers, as well as large events. At some large hotels, General Managers might also be synonymous with Directors of Operations and share in those responsibilities.

Using Your Education to Become a General Manager

Becoming a Hotel General Manager usually requires a combination of education and experience, most typically a degree in hospitality management. At large or full-service hotels, most General Managers will have at least a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, and more recently, will also have a Master’s or MBA in Hospitality. Smaller hotels may only require an associate’s degree, but typically that will be combined with more years of experience in the industry.

Using Your Experience to Become a General Manager

Even with a degree, most Hotel General Managers will normally have at least 5 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Without a degree, General Managers would need closer to 10 years of experience within the hospitality industry, including management roles. 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 experience in budget management, customer-service, communications, and business administration. 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 General Manager positions, they might consider one of many online hospitality degree programs that are rapidly increasing in availability or other certifications offered through the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.

Posted in FAQ.

Posted in FAQ