You can test your interest in this career firsthand by visiting a local hotel or motel and spending a day at the front desk, or better yet, with the general manager. Most high schools have a job shadowing program that introduces students to various careers. If your school doesn't have such a program, talk with your counseling center about implementing one.
Working in hospitality is really the best way to explore the field. Part-time jobs in any department, no matter how small, will give you important business experience. Employees that start out loading dishwashers can, with the appropriate educational experience and training, rise to the rank of vice president.
Read Hotel News Now (http://www.hotelnewsnow.com) and other industry resources to stay up to date on the industry.
Hotel and motel managers are responsible for the overall supervision of their establishment, the different departments, and their staff. They follow operating guidelines set by the owners, or if part of a chain, by the main headquarters and executive board. A general manager (GM) allocates funds to all departments, approves expenditures (e.g., everyday operating expenses and special expenditures such as new televisions for the rooms or upgrading security systems), sets room rates, and establishes standards for food and beverage service, decor, and all guest services. GMs tour their property every day, usually with the head of the housekeeping department, to make certain everything is clean and orderly. GMs are responsible for keeping their establishment's accounting books in order, doing or approving the advertising and marketing, maintaining and ordering supplies, and interviewing and training new employees. However, in large hotels and motels, the GM is usually supported by one or more assistants and departmental managers.
Some hotels and motels still employ resident managers, who live on the premises and are on call 24 hours a day, in case of emergencies. Resident managers work regular eight-hour shifts daily, attending to the duties of the hotel or motel. In many modern establishments, the general manager has replaced the resident manager.
In large hotels and motels, departmental managers include the following:
Front office managers supervise the activity and staff of the front desk. They direct reservations and sleeping room assignments. Front office managers make sure that all guests are treated courteously and check-in and check-out periods are managed smoothly. Any guest complaints or problems are usually directed to the front desk first—front office managers are responsible for rectifying all customer complaints before they reach the general manager.
Executive housekeepers are managers who supervise the work of the room attendants, housekeepers, janitors, gardeners, and the laundry staff. Depending on the size and structure of the hotel, they may also be in charge of ordering cleaning supplies, linens, towels, and toiletries. Some executive housekeepers may be responsible for dealing with suppliers and vendors.
Training managers oversee the hotel's management training program. Other employees in this department include benefits coordinators, who handle employee benefits such as health insurance and pension plans, and employee relations managers, who deal with employee rights and grievances with an overall goal of creating a positive and productive work atmosphere.
Personnel managers head human resources or personnel departments. They hire and fire employees and work with other personnel such as training managers, benefits coordinators, and employee relations managers.
A security manager, sometimes known as a director of hotel security, is entrusted with the protection of the guests, workers, and grounds and property of the hotel.
Food and beverage managers oversee all food service operations in the hotel—from restaurants, cocktail lounges and banquets to room service. They supervise food and service quality and preparation, order supplies from different vendors, and estimate food costs.
Restaurant managers oversee the daily operation of hotel or motel restaurants. They manage employees such as waiters, buspersons, hosts, bartenders, and cooks and bakers. They also resolve customer complaints. They are responsible for all food service operations in the hotel or motel—from restaurants, cocktail lounges, and banquets to room service. They supervise food and service quality and preparation, order supplies from different vendors, and estimate food costs.
Large hotels and motels can profit by marketing their facilities for conventions, meetings, and special events. Convention services managers coordinate such activities. They take care of all necessary details, such as blocking sleeping rooms for the group, arranging for meeting rooms or ballrooms, and resolving any problems that arise.
Hotel chains employ specialized managers to ensure that its hotels are being operated appropriately and in a financially sound manner. Regional operations managers travel throughout a specific geographic region to see that hotel chain members are operated and maintained according to the guidelines and standards set by the company. Branch operations managers reorganize hotels that are doing poorly financially, or set up a new hotel operation. Revenue managers are specialized managers who handle the financial aspects of a hotel or group of properties. They oversee the accounting department, monitor room sales and reservations, create projections of anticipated occupancy levels and revenue, and decide when to offer room specials or other rate discounts in order to increase business.