Hotel managers are employed by large hotel chains, independent hotels and motels, residential clubs, inns and leisure groups. Tasks and customer contact vary according to the size of employer: hotel managers in larger organisations can be mostly office based, whereas managers of smaller establishments often have frequent contact with both customers and employees. In addition, very large hotels often employ staff who specialise in areas such as revenue management, process improvement, marketing, health and safety, finance, human resources (HR) or events organisation.
Rapid career progression into higher managerial roles is possible, both within the UK and overseas. Promotional opportunities are generally best for employees who are willing to relocate, specialise in one aspect of management, or move into related areas of employment. There’s also scope in this field to set up your own business.
This article was last updated before the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. As a result of Covid-19, it's likely that you will find it difficult to get work or experience in this area for the time being. Rest assured, however, that future employers will not view this period as a 'gap' in your CV – as this article makes clear. If you do want to take this time to improve your CV, however, you could gain inspiration from some career-friendly activities you can do while social distancing.
There are more than 45,000 hotels across the UK, in a wide variety of locations. And overseas opportunities range from ski resorts to Caribbean island retreats. However, the work can be demanding with regular long hours and evening, weekend and public holiday work. The majority of roles will require you to get out and about, either within your own hotel or to a number of hotels in a specific region. You might be required to check out the competition’s hotels to see how your business can remain competitive or market itself more effectively. Some jobs can be purely office-based, for example, in finance and HR.
Getting in and getting on
Previous hotel, catering, retailing, waitressing or bar work experience is commonly required for entry into the profession, often combined with a hospitality-related or management qualification. A postgraduate diploma in hotel management is useful for graduates from degree disciplines unrelated to the sector, although many employers will accept HND holders or graduates of any discipline on to their management training schemes. In addition to their own training schemes, some major hotel chains support their staff in the completion of external qualifications, such as NVQs and specialist hotel or catering qualifications. Employees working in HR may be encouraged to complete Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) qualifications.
Reliability and stamina are key to getting on in this area. You will also need excellent numerical, verbal and written communication skills. Numeracy is particularly important for finance-related roles. Knowledge of foreign languages can be an advantage for any role in the business.