Hotel general managers oversee establishments who depend highly on customer satisfaction. Entry-level jobs are often the front lines of creating a comfortable and refreshing guest experience for tourists, vacationers and business travelers. They also mark the starting line of the track to becoming a hotel general manager. By filling entry-level positions, aspiring general managers learn the various facets of hotel operations and may become cross-trained for different tasks. Candidates are introduced to hotel operations often through hotel-management training or college degree programs in hotel administration.
The Front Desk
At the front desk, you have abundant interaction with guests and learn the many facets of running a hotel and the importance of customer service. Front desk clerks and hosts book rooms, field phone calls from prospective guests about prices, vacancies and room features, and check out the guests when they leave. When you take payments, you must verify the identity of those presenting credit cards and protect privacy when you run or handle them. Guests will call you to replace missing linens, malfunctioning room cards and keys, broken bulbs and non-working remotes and for wake-up calls. You might have to call maintenance workers to address problems in guest rooms or the laundry room or with ice or vending machines. Courtesy, accuracy, prompt responses and a professional appearance are a must for working at the front desk.
The role of a bellhop doesn’t stop at the new guest’s room. In addition to taking luggage to rooms, the bellhop tells guests how to run the television, heating or air conditioning and how to work the locks. They may be called to inspect elevators, restrooms and other public areas of the hotel, and often get the first look at newly prepared rooms and the reactions from guests.
As a housekeeper, you can create a lasting impression of your hotel by vacuuming floors, cleaning counters, removing trash and used linens and making beds with fresh sheets and blankets. This entry-level job also involves polishing furniture, cleaning mirrors and windows and keeping hallways clean. Housekeeping can prove physically demanding, as bending, scrubbing, using vacuum cleaners and pushing carts are regular and daily facets of the jobs. If you’re on track to become a general manager, housekeeping will teach you about the staffing, equipment and supply decisions and the potential hazards of housekeeping.
In the sales office, you focus on group bookings of sets of rooms and meeting spaces. The clients may include sports teams, associations holding conventions in your town or at your hotel, or families or large groups gathered for a reunion or wedding. Your duties include taking possible clients to rooms, meeting halls and hotel amenities and highlighting nearby attractions and restaurants. While much of your work takes place at the hotel, you will also visit area businesses and organizations to tout your hotel’s strengths.
2016 Salary Information for Lodging Managers
Lodging managers earned a median annual salary of $51,840 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, lodging managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $37,520, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $70,540, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 47,800 people were employed in the U.S. as lodging managers.