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What is a Hospitality Manager?

A career as a hospitality manager is an extremely rewarding profession. The good news is that becoming a hospitality manager can be achieved in just a few simple steps. In most cases, future hospitality managers need to obtain an education and on-the-job training. For career advancement, certifications may be needed. Once these things are achieved, future hospitality managers can begin searching for jobs. And there are a variety of places or environments in which hospitality managers can work such as cruise ships, hotels, resorts, etc.

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Steps to Become a Hospitality Manager

When people visit a hospitality facility, they expect to be treated well. A hospitality manager is a professional who monitors the daily activities of a facility in the hospitality industry, ensuring that guests’ needs are always met. The overarching goal of these professionals is to provide guests with the best possible experience. In order to accomplish this goal, a hospitality manager must perform various important tasks, which may range from ordering inventory to scheduling.

Here some steps to take in order to become a hospitality manager.

  • Step 1: Get an Education

  • Step 2: Receive A Certification

  • Step 3: Gain Practical Experience

  • Step 4: Find Entry-Level Jobs


Step 1: Get an Education

The first step to becoming a hospitality manager is to earn a degree in hospitality management. The type of degree to earn will depend on where a person wants to work. A bachelor’s degree will definitely lead to more career opportunities in this field. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, students will learn all about advertising, revenue management, accounting, information technology systems, customer service, food preparation, maintenance, and much more.

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Students who are enrolled in a bachelor degree programs for hospitality management are expected to complete an internship domestically or abroad. The primary goal of the internship is to provide students with hands-on experience in the hospitality management industry.

Prospective students who are interested in career advancement may also want to check out the number of master degree programs available. A master’s in hospitality management program is designed to teach students important concepts such effective conflict resolution and how to be a leader. Many luxury hotels require that candidates hold a master’s in hospitality management degree.

When choosing a hospitality management program, make sure that it has received accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration. Colleges who receive this accreditation will offer courses that meet the highest standards.

Step 2: Receive A Certification

In order to secure more employment opportunities, it’s also a good idea to become professionally certified. There are a number of certification options including the Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics, Tourism Management Program, American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, Certified Hotel Administrator, and the Food Service Management Professional. Most certificate programs cover topics like hospitality advertising and team dynamics.

Step 3: Gain Practical Experience

The next step on the path to become a hospitality manager is to participate in a management training program and gain real experience. During this training program, professionals will learn the ins and outs of the hospitality management industry. The on-the-job training can take six to eighteen months to complete.

Generally speaking, these types of specialized training program are extremely competitive. To qualify for a management training program, candidates may need to have an undergraduate or graduate degree in hospitality management. In addition, candidates need to prove that they have worked in the hospitality management industry for at least six months.

After completing this on-the-job training, participants will be knowledgeable in front desk protocols, food preparation/delivery, human resources, and much more. Candidates may need to pass a written example to successfully complete a hospitality management training. Working in almost any customer service field will provide great relevant experience for future hospitality managers. Always remember this key phrase during any on-the-job training: The guest is always right. Obtaining on-the-job training can also provide you with insight about great places to work and may help you decide where you would prefer to work if you haven’t already chosen an area of focus for your career.

Step 4: Find Entry-Level Jobs

Even if professionals have a college degree and on-the-job experience, they are unlikely to be hired for a senior level position without working in an entry-level position first. Before obtaining a position as a hospitality manager, professionals may need to work in a concierge position to perfect their people skills. Make sure to decide what sector of the hospitality management industry to pursue before you strike out to find your first position. Future hospitality managers may choose to work in a hotel, casino, airplane, or cruise ship. The possibilities are practically limitless.

Don’t discount entry-level opportunities in the hospitality management field. When professionals accept an entry-level position, they will have their foot in the door. The key is to obtain an entry-level position with a top-notch employer or within an industry that particularly interests you, such as the cruise industry.

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As a professional is working in an entry-level position, they should focus on learning as much as possible about their particular department. Senior management may recognize their efforts, which could earn them an internal promotion.

What Does A Hospitality Manager Do?

Most hospitality managers can be found at the following types of facilities: hotels, restaurants, airports, cruise ships, casinos, bars, etc. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported that the vast majority of hospitality managers work in traveler accommodation. Almost 25% of hospitality managers are self-employed. Some work in RV parks and recreation camps.

Although the specific job responsibilities of hospitality managers will vary slightly by the facility, these professionals are always expected to provide top notch service to customers. By offering an incredible experience, hospitality managers are able to promote optimal customer satisfaction.

In virtually every facility, these professionals are responsible for communicating with vendors, ensuring the proper preparation of food, managing the budget, maintaining the facility, addressing customer complaints, and supervising staff. They may also celebrate staff performance, improve a company’s décor, implement policies and services, as well as recruiting, hiring, training, and firing employees. Such employees may include servers, bar tenders, house keepers, and receptionists.

Skills to Acquire

  • Customer Service Skills:
    Must ensure that guests are always satisfied with the hospitality service by going above and beyond
  • Organizational Skills:
    A keen ability to manage many aspects of a facility, from the staff schedule to purchasing orders
  • Detail-Oriented Skills:
    Must pay attention to even the smallest details related to food preparation, revenue management, and health and safety protocols
  • Leadership Skills:
    Should be a powerful team leader, possessing an excellent ability to lead employees and resolve issues quickly
  • Communication Skills:
    Must be able to communicate professionally with vendors, customers and employees - Maintaining exceptional verbal and written communication skills is definitely key
  • Interpersonal Skills:
    Should be able to interact diplomatically with everyone in the hospitality field - Must always be pleasant and accommodating, even in extremely stressful circumstances
  • Problem Solving Skills:
    An ability to solve problems in a way that appeases guests - Any problem that arises should be resolved quickly and efficiently
  • Multitasking Skills:
    Should be able to juggle multiple responsibilities in the hospitality management industry even in a high-stress environment
  • Specialized Skills:
    Speaking many languages and being good at public speaking are great specialized skills - Bonus points for managers who have advanced computer skills
  • Networking Skills:
    Must be able to build a large client base through networking - An exceptional ability to develop close, professional relationships with clients
  • Business Skills:
    Should possess powerful business skills related to marketing, administration, human resources, and more
  • Cultural Awareness:
    Must know how to work with people from diverse backgrounds - The goal is to make everyone feel comfortable
  • Adaptability Skills:
    Must maintain a positive attitude when things don’t go as planned - Should know how to appropriately respond to rude customers, employee call ins, and other unpredictable situations

Alternative Paths

When it comes to becoming a hospitality manager, there are alternative paths outside of earning a bachelor’s degree. For those who would like to pursue a career in small hospitality establishments, an associate degree may be sufficient. A degree from a vocational or trade school may be useful for those who have worked in the hospitality management field before. Depending on the employer, many years of experience in the hospitality industry may be valued more than whatever education you’ve had. In this industry, it’s not uncommon for experienced professionals without degrees to be promoted internally. One of the first promotions may be assistant manager.

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Where Might You Work?


Many hospitality managers maintain positions in the restaurant and food service field. In addition, hospitality managers can be found in hotels and resorts. As a hospitality manager, you can expect to work full-time. There may be some part-time positions available, but these are likely going to fill off-normal work hours. After all, when you run a hotel, someone has to be there at all hours to assist guests. People also tend to travel and take vacations over holidays. Hospitality managers are likely to work on nearly all major holidays.

Career Outlook

These days, many travelers are relying on short term rentals instead of hotels and bed-and-breakfasts. As a result, job prospects for hospitality mangers are expected to decline by as much as 12% in the next 10 years or so. There will still be hospitality manager positions available in the travel industry, but candidates should be prepared for competition. More often than not, professionals with a bachelor’s or master’s in hospitality management are likely to be the most sought-after candidates.

However, for a hospitality manager in the food service industry, now is a great time to pursue this profession. In the future, these professionals will be crucial because an increasingly number of people are buying takeout meals. In fact, job prospects of food service managers are expected to increase by 1% in the next 10 years, and employers will need to replace professionals who are saying goodbye to the food service industry for good.

In order to qualify for a position, future hospitality managers in the food service industry should have many years of experience working in a fast-paced restaurant-like setting. They should also be able to manage food preparation and promote optimal customer service. Job prospects for hospitality mangers in the food service industry aren’t growing really quickly because many employees reply on chefs and head cooks to manage a facility.

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A hospitality manager can expect to make roughly $50,000 a year.

Advancing from Here

Many professionals wish to advance to a top-level position in their field, hospitality management is no different. Hospitality mangers can advance to a senior level position known as Director of Operations. A Director of Operations is expected to oversee daily operations to promote optimal productivity at some of the best hotels, cruise lines, and casinos in the world. The specific job duties of these senior level professionals include setting room or food rates, present hotel strategies to employees, and reviewing policies and procedures.

To qualify for this prominent position, candidates need several years of experience working as a hospitality manager. A Director of Operations can play a major role in a company’s overall growth and success. Here are some other senior level positions in the hospitality field: Vice President Marketing, Vice President of Human Resources, Vice President of Sales, and Director of Finance.


  • Hotel General Manager:
    A hotel general manager handles the different aspects of a hotel’s operations including the budget, customer satisfaction, policies, and sales.
  • Casino Manager:
    A casino manager is a professional who significantly improves a casino’s bottom line while ensuring that some customers still win money. These professionals typically work in full-time casinos, though some establishments have smaller gambling operations on-site.
  • Catering Manager:
    A catering manager oversees the operations of a catering business. These professionals plan menus, ensure top notch meals, manage kitchen staff, and create budgets.
  • Sales Manager:
    These professionals oversee a company’s sales department. They also develop sales strategies to get customers to purchase products and services.
  • Hosts:
    Hosts work directly with guests and may be responsible for greeting guests, keeping the guest area clean, serving food, and processing payments.
  • Bartenders:
    A bartender create delicious drinks for customers to enjoy. This employee is often found at a hotel, restaurant, bar, or casino.
  • Front-Office Managers:
    These professionals typically oversee front-desk staff. They make sure that guests receive the best possible treatment while ensuring that there is always someone there to greet and assist guests with whatever they need.
  • Executive Chef:
    As an executive chef, these professionals are supposed to supervise kitchen staff, manage all culinary tasks, implement hygiene protocols, and possibly create innovative recipes.
  • Concierge:
    A concierge is responsible for presenting incredible customer service to guests. This professional may execute the following tasks: booking reservations, arranging sightseeing excursions, and recommending great restaurants.
  • Housekeeping Manager:
    A housekeeping manager ensures that a facility always stays clean. This includes monitoring cleaning staff, creating staff schedules, and purchasing cleaning supplies. They may also hire, train, and fire housekeepers.
  • Spa Director:
    A spa director ensures that a spa is operating appropriately. These professionals are responsible for placing orders for spa supplies, overseeing employees, implementing safety protocols, and setting prices for treatments.
  • Event Manager:
    An event manager is expected to plan and run many different types of events. The job responsibilities of these professionals include communicating with clients, booking venues, supervising employees, and managing the budget.
  • Restaurant Manager:
    The primary goal of a restaurant manager is to ensure that a restaurant runs without any problems. These professionals need to know how to handle financial matters, ensure proper food preparation, and control reservation and scheduling systems. A restaurant manager should be able to work calmly in a hectic environment.
  • Customer Service Manager:
    Customer service managers are supposed to ensure optimal satisfaction among customers. They may manage customer support staff, implement customer service policies, and resolve customer complaints.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do restaurant managers do?

Restaurant managers are responsible for the daily operations of the restaurant. Restaurant managers are in charge of hiring, training, handling customer complainants and concerns, event planning, and scheduling.

How much do restaurant managers make?

Restaurant managers make around $56,000 per year.

What is the job outlook for hotel management?

Restaurant managers make around $57,000 per year.

Where do hospitality management graduates work?

Hospitality management graduates work in restaurants, travel agencies, health centers, spas, tourist attractions, event planning, and many other places.

What kind of jobs can you get with a hospitality management degree?

With a hospitality management degree you can work in the following areas:

  • Food and beverage management
  • Resort management
  • Restaurant management
  • spa and wellness management
  • wedding coordination

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