Hotel managers rely on their excellent people skills and calm, professional and approachable manner when managing the daily operations of a hotel

As a hotel manager, you'll be commercially accountable for budgeting and financial management and will need to plan, organise and direct all hotel services, including front-of-house (reception, concierge, and reservations), food and beverage operations and housekeeping.

In larger hotels, you'll often have a specific remit, such as guest services, accounting or marketing, and your role will form part of a general management team.


As a hotel manager, you'll need to:

  • plan and organise accommodation, catering and other hotel services
  • promote and market the business
  • manage budgets and financial plans and control expenditure
  • maintain statistical and financial records
  • set and achieve sales and profit targets
  • analyse sales figures and devise market and revenue management strategies
  • recruit, train and monitor staff
  • plan work schedules for individuals and teams
  • meet and greet customers
  • deal with customer complaints and comments
  • address problems and troubleshoot accordingly
  • ensure events and conferences run smoothly
  • supervise maintenance, supplies, renovations and furnishings
  • deal with contractors and suppliers
  • ensure security is effective
  • carry out inspections of property and services
  • ensure compliance with licensing laws, health and safety and other statutory regulations.


  • Starting salaries for assistant general managers range from £20,000 to £40,000.  
  • If you manage a small hotel or are the deputy manager of a larger hotel, you can expect a salary in the region of £25,000 to £50,000.
  • As a general manager, you’ll typically earn around £50,000 to £60,000, though there is the potential for significantly higher earnings in prestigious hotels in London or other major cities abroad.

Salaries rise with performance and progression but will be lower in small, independent hotels. For managers employed by large, global hotel groups, where there are opportunities to work overseas, the financial rewards are considerable.

Additional benefits can include pension and life assurance schemes, private healthcare, shared-ownership schemes, live-in accommodation, meals on duty, clothing allowance or provision of uniform, a flexible working pattern and discounted hotel accommodation worldwide.

Working hours

Your working hours will vary according to the type of hotel you're working in and its location, but typically the role includes regular unsocial hours - late nights, weekends and bank holidays will all be part of your shift pattern. Working hours can be long and could restrict your social and family life.

What to expect

  • Although some of the work is office-based, much of your time will be spent with customers and staff.
  • Around 50% of hotel managers are self-employed in small hotels, motels, inns and residential clubs.
  • Women continue to be under-represented in senior management roles in the hospitality industry.
  • Hotel management requires total commitment, as the work is exacting and demanding, with erratic, unsocial hours and constant pressures.
  • Managers must dress smartly when on duty and must remain diplomatic, polite and patient at all times.


Although this area of work is open to all graduates and those with an HND, a degree in the following subjects may increase your chances:

  • business with languages
  • business or management
  • hotel and hospitality management
  • travel, tourism or leisure studies.

Some of the management training programmes run by large hotel groups are for graduate entry only, for which a minimum 2:2 degree is usually required.

It's possible to enter hotel management without a degree, HND or foundation degree, since employers place a lot of emphasis on relevant experience. A general standard of education is expected but you can work your way up to management through on-the-job training and external qualifications.

Apprenticeships such as the Hospitality manager (level 4) one, may offer an alternative route into hotel management.

A postgraduate qualification is not normally necessary for entry unless your first degree is in a non-relevant subject, or you lack work experience. Masters, diploma and certificate courses in hotel and/or hospitality management are offered at various institutions. Many of these courses are open to graduates from any discipline with little or no experience, as well as non-graduates with significant hotel or managerial experience.

Search for postgraduate courses in hotel and catering management.


You'll need to have:

  • a friendly personality, with a genuine desire to help and please others
  • the ability to think clearly and make quick decisions
  • good organisational and leadership skills
  • numeracy and logistical planning skills
  • a professional manner and a calm, rational approach in hectic situations
  • the ability to balance customer and business priorities
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills, especially when dealing with speakers of other languages
  • proficiency in another language - this is not essential but could be an advantage, especially for hotels which are part of an international chain
  • energy and patience
  • a smart well-presented appearance.

Work experience

Employers often ask for relevant work experience, not all of which needs to have been in a hotel, although this is particularly helpful. Other experience might include any customer-focused work, such as that gained in a catering, bar or retail setting.

Find out more about the different kinds of work experience and internships that are available.


You can find employment as a hotel manager (also commonly known as a general manager) in a range of establishments, including:

  • bed and breakfast accommodation
  • inns
  • large multinational chain hotels
  • motels
  • residential and country clubs
  • small family-owned independent hotels
  • travel lodges.

Each type of establishment offers a different kind of experience for staff and guests, and you can decide which suits you best. In smaller, privately-owned town hotels, for example, the manager (who may also be the owner) deals directly with all business issues. Whereas, in international global hotel groups, hotel managers usually have a large team of staff, each with their own specific responsibilities.

Further variations are that international chain hotels offer a huge variety of catering, entertainment and leisure facilities, while smaller hotels often have limited facilities and may be of a lower standard.

Look for job vacancies at:

Specialist hospitality recruitment consultants such as Berkeley Scott advertise hotel manager jobs.

Hotels often advertise specific vacancies locally. Larger hotel chains may advertise vacancies on their own websites. You can easily research to see if a particular hotel is part of a wider chain and check their careers section for vacancies or instructions on how to apply to work for them.

Professional development

Some large hotel groups operate graduate recruitment programmes for managers, although it is also possible to progress to top management posts through experience alone.

The length of training on recruitment programmes varies, but is usually between one and two years, with the aim being to create future operations managers.

Graduate programmes differ depending on the employer and may be specific to certain aspects of hotel work or more general covering all operations.

Hotels usually aim to equip graduates with as wide an understanding of hotel management as possible, and training will cover some or all of the following elements:

  • restaurants
  • bars
  • sommelier training
  • room service
  • conference
  • banqueting
  • reception
  • reservations
  • the concierge desk
  • guest relations
  • night management
  • housekeeping.

During the training programme you'll be supported and coached by senior managers and a mutually agreed personal development plan will be put in place. Regular progress reviews are also conducted.

Employers often require graduates to be geographically mobile, particularly within larger hotel chains. If you choose to work for a larger chain you may need to be prepared to relocate during your training. This could involve spending time at hotels abroad or in other parts of the UK. On successful completion of the programme, you'll be placed as a head of department or assistant manager.

Much of the training will be carried out in-house but you can also take qualifications externally, including City & Guilds courses and the Level 4 Diploma in Hospitality Management.

Specialist courses in customer service, finance, revenue management, marketing, human resources and food safety may form part of your training.

You could complete a Master of Business Administration (MBA) to improve your business skills. Or study for financial or accounting qualifications to enhance your skillset and specialise in a certain area of hotel management.

Career prospects

As the hospitality workforce is generally young and staff turnover is quite high, promotion prospects are good for motivated graduates.

Progression is usually from graduate trainee to assistant front-of-house manager or assistant food and beverage manager, to deputy manager and then head of department. The speed of your promotion to management level mainly depends on the size of the hotel and your success as a trainee but can generally be achieved within two years.

It may take longer to reach the post of hotel or general manager - typically a further five to six years - and you may need to relocate and/or change employer several times to do so.

Within larger hotel groups, promotion may be to a more strategic role, such as corporate marketing, human resources or finance, for which additional qualifications may be needed. There might also be opportunities to work at head office or regional level. Opportunities also exist for experienced managers to work as management consultants.

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