Are you considering a career as a hospitality manager? Before you begin your studies or commit to an entry-level hospitality job, you should know what to expect. Here are five things you need to know about the life of a modern hospitality manager.
1. Salaries are higher than average and much higher in tourist destinations.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, America's 50,400 lodging managers earned an average annual salary of $46,810 in 2012. That equates to approximately $22.50 per hour — more than triple the average minimum wage — but as many as 35 percents of all hospitality managers earn even more than that, and 10 percent earn nearly double. Salaries depend primarily on education and years of experience, but they also fluctuate according to location.
2. Staff members take up almost as much time as guests.
Hospitality managers spend a lot of time making sure their guests are happy, but as the name implies, they spend almost as much time managing their own employees. Staff productivity and morale are integral to ensuring good customer service, so it makes sense that managers are also responsible for overseeing, training and guiding the people who work below them. On cruise ships and in sprawling resorts, this job is trickier than usual because there are so many different personnel departments.
3. Not all hospitality managers work in hotels.
Some hospitality managers can also be called lodging managers because they manage overnight accommodation facilities. That doesn't always mean they work in hotels, though. According to the Delta Check Hotel Database, almost half of the world's overnight accommodation options are now non-hotel lodging options. Some alternatives that also employ hospitality managers include recreational vehicle (RV) parks, campgrounds, bed-and-breakfasts, cruise ships, and alpine cabin retreats.
In fact, even overnight guests aren't a guarantee. Hospitality managers learn business, leadership, customer service, and communication strategies that apply just as well in the world of dining and entertainment. After completing a hospitality management program, graduates may seek positions with a variety of different employers, including casual and quick service restaurants, catering companies, convention centers, sports arenas and stadiums, academic and corporate campus cafeterias, hospital food services, and even schools.
4. Review websites are transforming management strategies.
Online reviews are a form of free advertising that didn't even exist until recently. As guests share photos and details about their stays, other Internet users may adjust their travel arrangements accordingly. However, reviews are also an effective way for hospitality managers to gauge customer satisfaction, demand, and loyalty. As a modern-day manager, you can use these websites to figure out what you're doing right and correct problems as soon as they happen.
5. Online reservations have created additional job responsibilities.
Booking websites are another technology trend that shows no signs of disappearing. Because today's guests are used to the convenience of online reservations, many properties and companies now offer direct bookings on their own websites. As a hospitality manager, you'll be responsible for using these bookings to anticipate the volume and needs of upcoming guests.
You may also have to handle any discrepancies that occur because of software glitches or miscommunication. In order to prevent these problems and accommodate each guest to his or her satisfaction, you can put your education to good use. Follow up after every online booking, and again after every stay.
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