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What is a hospitality manager?

A hospitality manager looks over his checklist

By Cooper Nelson

At a glance

  • Also known as lodging managers, hospitality managers work to foster high levels of client satisfaction in hotels, restaurants and related settings.
  • Hotel hospitality managers must have leadership, training and supervisory skills to succeed in their role.
  • It’s possible to work as a hospitality manager with or without a college degree, depending on your work experience.
  • If you’re looking to gain more knowledge within business management, explore online business degrees at University of Phoenix. 

Hospitality managers are professionals who manage hotels and restaurants, creating positive and sometimes memorable experiences for their guests. They have a strong understanding of what it takes to run a successful business as well as how tourism, marketing and leadership can affect a business’s potential for growth.

Much of a hospitality manager’s job may go unnoticed by the guests, but without the manager’s efforts, even the most acclaimed resorts, restaurants and cruises might have trouble operating. 

What does a hospitality manager do?

Also known as lodging managers, hospitality managers work to foster high levels of client satisfaction in hotels, restaurants and similar organizations. They train new staff, ensure the continued quality of services provided and make sure the business’s day-to-day operations run smoothly and efficiently.

Behind the scenes, hospitality managers perform tasks such as monitoring revenue, ordering necessary supplies and overseeing the staff to ensure general productivity and compliance. These back-of-house tasks are essential for the long-term success of any hotel or restaurant.

When interacting with guests, hospitality managers greet new arrivals, resolve customer complaints and inspect public areas to ensure they are maintained according to company standards. 

Are there different types of hospitality managers?

There are several types of hospitality managers, the two most common of which are hotel hospitality managers and restaurant hospitality managers. 

Hotel hospitality managers

Hotel hospitality managers run the daily operations of hotels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, and even cruise ships. They train staff in various roles, including those working front desk, concierge, custodial and maintenance positions. They may also be responsible for planning events and entertainment for guests.

Since hotels are open 24/7, hotel hospitality managers will often need to be available and on call at night to deal with emergencies and problems. 

Restaurant hospitality managers

Restaurant hospitality managers run the daily operations of restaurants, cafes, bars and other culinary establishments. They also train staff in various roles, including front-of-house positions (such as servers, hosts and bartenders) and back-of-house positions (such as chefs, assistants and dishwashers). Restaurant hospitality managers may also be responsible for planning and catering large events and group gatherings.

Restaurants are not open 24/7 like hotels, so restaurant hospitality managers don’t typically have to deal with late-night emergencies. However, the food industry is fast-paced and generally involves more time-sensitive decision-making than most hotel positions. 

What skills should a hospitality manager have?

Regardless of their industry, hospitality managers must have specific skills to help them effectively manage a business. Chief among these are leadership and supervisory skills.

The hospitality industry relies heavily on tourism. Hospitality managers must understand how to market their hotels or restaurants to attract visitors. With the right marketing skills and strategies, a manager can increase revenue, especially during peak tourism seasons. These strategies include print marketing, social media marketing and community partnerships. 

In the modern marketplace, information and communication technology skills are essential. Hospitality managers must stay up to date on technology and be prepared to use their IT skills to solve problems, communicate with staff and customers, and track daily business operations. 

How much money does a hospitality manager make?

Pay for hospitality managers depends on the establishment and location. For example, someone managing a bed and breakfast in a small town will have a different income from someone managing a large hotel in the middle of Manhattan.

Lodging managers earned between $35,530 and $103,780 a year in May 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The job outlook for lodging managers is projected to grow 18% between 2021 and 2031.

Food service managers have similar incomes. As of May 2021, they earned between $36,630 and $98,070 a year, according to BLS. BLS projects the job outlook for food service managers to grow 10% between 2021 and 2031.

Several factors may impact this growth rate, but the food service industry has generally experienced growth over time. Despite the difficulties posed by COVID-19 shutdowns, food service continues to be the second-largest private-sector employer.

Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.

How do you become a hospitality manager?

There are three common paths to becoming a hospitality manager, according to BLS. The first is through a relevant bachelor’s degree. The second is with an associate degree or certificate specializing in business or hospitality. The third is by working for several years in the field.

If you have hospitality experience and are interested in exploring continued education options, taking a hospitality management course is a great place to start. Hospitality courses can expand your knowledge and skill set within the industry by exploring such topics as operations, security, maintenance and managerial challenges and responsibilities.

If you’re interested in pursuing a degree, there are several options depending on your prior education. A Bachelor of Science in Management can help develop leadership skills, which are an essential part of managing any business.

If you have already earned a four-year degree, you may consider pursuing a Master of Management degree. While earning a master’s degree, you will fine-tune your leadership skills, strategic management competencies and ability to analyze and evaluate business data and research. 

Pursue a business degree from University of Phoenix

From the associate to doctoral level, online business degree programs at University of Phoenix help students develop skills that are essential in the modern workplace. The following degrees can expand your knowledge and skill set within hospitality management: