While the requirements for hotel management vary from limited service to full-service properties, and by region, all hotel managers possess one or more of the following attributes.
Many hotel managers have learned through on- the-job training. Whether their career path began in other areas of hospitality such as food & beverage, travel & tourism, or recreation, hotel managers usually have five or more experience in all departments of hotel operations. Hotel managers with well-rounded experience in departments such as front of house, housekeeping, food & beverage and engineering have profound knowledge of all hotel functions. Some hotel managers began their career as an entry-level hotel staff and worked their way up to hotel management.
While you can obtain a hotel management position with on-the-job training and a high school diploma, candidates with a degree often have a higher potential for career growth. While many hospitality professionals have a bachelor’s degree in hospitality, entertainment management, hospitality and tourism management, or a related field, it is not uncommon to find candidates with varying backgrounds. In fact, it is not uncommon to come across a hospitality manager with education from degree programs like political science, public administration, educational administration, computer engineering, visual communications, business management, international business, criminal justice, or information systems.
In the US, there are hundreds of schools that offer training in hotel management. Some limited-service properties and hotels with less complicated operations, may consider hotel manager candidates with an associate’s degree, however, a bachelor’s degree in hospitality or hotel management are typically most fitting for a hotel manager position. A management degree or degree in related fields such as finance, business administration, or even marketing are also common.
There are also graduate programs where candidates can receive a master’s degree and additional continuing education with doctoral programs, most notably from Cornell University or the University of Central Florida. Most undergraduate and post graduate programs in hotel management include studies in courses such as accounting, property management, economics, business administration, sales & marketing, food & beverage, maintenance, organizational behavior, human resources, property management software, and more.
There are various hospitality certifications available designed to advance a hotel manager’s career. These certifications add prestige to your resume and provide a competitive advantage to hospitality professionals. Some common certificate programs include: Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS), and Certified Hospitality Department Trainer (CDHT). One of the most well-known certificates for hotel management positions is the Certified Hotel Administrator.
Certified Hotel Administrator is certification provided from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI). It is the highest certification for positions such as General Manager, Assistant General Manager, Director of Operations, Corporate Executive or Owner/Operator. To obtain the certificate, individuals must complete a 200 multiple-choice exam within a 4-hour period of time. There are 6 key areas designed to test competencies such as leadership management, financial management, sales & marketing, human resources management, food & beverage management as well as rooms management.
Acknowledging skills in leadership, time management and communication, the Certified Hospitality Supervisor certification is recognized worldwide for superior supervisor skills. This certificate can be obtained through American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) or another affiliated professional organization.
American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) also offers their certification for Certified Hospitality Department Trainer (CDHT). The certification is a 50-question multiple choice exam to be completed within 2 hours that demonstrates the leadership to train others to excel.
There are several options available to hospitality professionals to obtain certifications. The most important thing to keep in mind is to choose a certification that aligns with your long-term goals.