What's it really like?
Christiaan Venter started in Aug 2008 as Hotel Manager at The Edinburgh Residence, an all-suite hotel situated in three connected Victorian houses in the West End of the city. Prior to taking on this particular role, Christiaan was the Deputy Manager at The Edinburgh Residence. He held this position for four years.Christiaan started his career in hospitality when he was fifteen. He attended a speciality school in South Africa, which allowed him to study for a Hospitality and Catering Course alongside conventional subjects. During three years at the school, he gained a total of ten relevant certificates. He was also able to gain relevant experience during this time, since weekends were spent working for hotels and other companies responsible for organising functions. After gaining this invaluable experience, Christiaan became the Maitre D’ at the Nelson Mandela Presidential Guest House in Pretoria, South Africa. He then opened his own catering company in 1999 whilst holding a full-time job as Restaurant Manager at the Travel Lounge in Johannesburg.
After moving to Edinburgh, Christiaan started working as a receptionist at the Paramount Carlton Hotel and was quickly promoted to shift leader. Five months after this promotion, he was approached by the MacDonald Holyrood Hotel and started a career as Night Manager. Shortly after this, he was promoted to the role of Restaurant Manager before making the move to the Edinburgh Residence.
During a typical day at work, Christiaan updates spreadsheets which contain important financial information. He also creates business forecasts which predict how the next fortnight will span out. At around 10am, he meets with the Duty Manager and relevant department supervisors or managers to discuss the day’s business. Information regarding arrivals, departures, in-house guests, events, functions, and current financial targets is discussed.
After this meeting, Christiaan checks the suites for cleanliness and stays in touch with all staff members currently on duty. He also tries to make time to speak to the arriving and departing guests. Christiaan enjoys meeting new people on a daily basis and likes to go the extra mile to ensure that each stay exceeds expectations. Although some tasks can be tedious, Christiaan simply focuses upon getting them done quickly so that he can enjoy the rest of his day.
Christiaan had some words of wisdom for individuals interested in becoming hotel managers. Gaining previous experience is essential and individuals should try to gain experience in as many hotel departments as possible. It is also important for hotel managers to feel as though they are part of a team. If hotel managers do not successfully communicate with other members of staff, it can be a very lonely role. In order to gain the respect of other members of staff, you will need to show that you can perform tasks such as dish-washing.
Hotel managers are responsible for making sure that all areas of a hotel environment run smoothly and work together successfully. They also oversee advertising campaigns and make sure that the hotel is not going over budget. If the hotel is not sticking to the budget, they will be responsible for introducing measures to scale back expenditure.
Hotels are extremely complex environments which require a lot of work to be performed behind the scenes in order to maintain a front of house appearance which guarantees that guests enjoy a comfortable and relaxing stay. Different areas of the hotel will need to work well together at all times in order to maintain the high standards expected by members of the public who have parted with their hard-earned cash. Hotel managers are responsible for ensuring that all areas of the hotel are performing properly at all times and that the hotel enjoys a good reputation in the local area.
Large hotels may have several managers, who each take control of one specific department. For instance, there may be a manager of housekeeping, a marketing manager, and a catering manager. However, these individuals will be expected to report to a general manager throughout the working day. Smaller hotels usually employ just one individual to perform the necessary managerial tasks. Managers working in a general role in large hotels will spend a lot of time working behind the scenes. They will often be expected to attend meetings and concentrate their efforts on marketing. Managers working in smaller hotels will have more contact with guests on a daily basis.
Hotel managers starting out in the industry can expect to earn approximately £17,000, although this figure will differ depending upon the nature and size of the hotel. After a few years in the role, a salary of between £25,000 and £30,000 should be expected. Managers working in luxury hotels can expect to earn in excess of £50,000 per year and this figure often rises to £60,000. Individuals working for large hotels with a reputation which is acknowledged throughout the world may earn over £100,000 per year.
The typical tasks undertaken by hotel managers include:
- Setting budgets
- Making sure that the hotel sticks to the budget at all times
- Implementing measures if the hotel is not sticking to the budget
- Managing and disciplining staff
- Hiring staff
- Organising training for new staff members
- Organising shifts for staff and informing them of their work commitments
- Setting realistic but ambitious targets for the hotel
- Organising marketing campaigns
- Targeting new markets to increase interest in the hotel
- Making sure that the physical environment of the hotel is maintained at all times
- Dealing with security issues
- Greeting customers
- Dealing with customer complaints
- Assessing feedback from customers
- Ensuring events held at the hotel run smoothly
- Ensuring that the hotel obeys laws relating to issues such as licensing and health and safety
Holding a degree or diploma in a relevant subject will improve your chances of securing a position as a hotel manager. These subjects include management, hospitality, and leisure studies. Some large hotel chains offer graduate training programmes and graduates will usually need to have achieved at least a 2.2 prior to making an application. The Institute of Hospitality offers members numerous opportunities to further their skills.
SkillsHotel managers will need to possess the following skills:
- Good communication skills
- Good interpersonal skills
- The ability to work well as part of a team
- Good leadership skills
- The ability to motivate other members of staff
- The ability to discipline other members of staff
- The ability to remain calm under pressure
- Good numeracy and literacy skills
- Awareness of business and financial issues
- Creativity and originality
- Tact and diplomacy
- A warm and open personality
- Problem-solving skills
- Good organisational skills
Hotel managers often have to work over weekends, on public holidays, and in the evenings. Shift work is a common feature of the role and hotel managers will often have to work overtime in order to address complicated problems. They will spend a lot of time in an office environment but will also be expected to perform tasks throughout the hotel environment. Hotel managers must be dressed smartly at all times, since they need to set a good example to the other members of staff. Travel in the UK or abroad is not a particularly common feature of the job although it is not unknown. The role can be stressful, particularly at busy times, but most hotel managers find their work very rewarding.
Since many individuals wish to become hotel managers, gaining previous experience can give you the edge when applying for a role. Any experience in a managerial position will look good on a CV but employers will also be impressed with experience in catering environments or retail environments. You could try asking a local hotel for some unpaid work experience or the chance to shadow a relevant employee.
EmployersMajor employers include:
- Small, independent hotels
- Large chain hotels
- Country clubs
- Budget hotels
- Bed and breakfast establishments
Hotel managers with a lot of experience and ambition often decide to open their own hotel. The skills acquired during hotel management also allow individuals to move into industries including retail, marketing, advertising, and finance. Some hotel managers move into other areas of management such as restaurants or health clubs.