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What Is Expected of a Hotel General Manager?

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The ultimate goal of a successful general manager is to ensure that all guests leave raving about the hotel. Every employee in a hotel, from the bellboy to the front desk clerk to the general manager maintains a keen eye toward excellent customer service. General managers are expected to make sure the entire staff keeps that in mind.

Oversees Entire Operations

The general manager is the primary boss for all managers in the organization. The housekeeping managers, concierge team, front desk manager, security and marketing manager all report to the general manager. The general manager is expected to know what’s going on in every department at any time. When staffing levels are low or when a big convention is coming to the property, the general manager knows. With the assistance of department managers, the general manager ultimately is responsible for coordinating the property and all its services.

Ensures Revenues Continue

General managers participate in setting room rates and authorizing special promotions. While accountants and the night auditor handle the day-to-day bookkeeping, the general manager is expected to know where the hotel sits as far as revenue goes from year to year. According to the Hotel Marketing Coach, an effective hotel general manager participates sales team activities and leads sales meetings. While the property may be owned by a large corporation, the general manager is expected to assume responsibility for hotel revenues.

Interacts with Guests

A general manager can’t maintain a feel for the general operations from a corner office. He spends considerable time walking through the hotel to ensure everything is running smoothly. Complaints that can’t be handled effectively by the front office staff are sent up to the general manager who has the authority to make unconventional decisions. The general manager is expected to personally know and greet very important guests who frequent the hotel and assist them when necessary.

Earns Credentials

A degree is not always necessary to move into a general manager position for employees who have worked with a hotel for long period of time and intimately understand its workings. However, more and more hotels expect general managers to at least hold a bachelor’s degree in hotel management. Courses on how to run conventions, manage a budget, work with vendors and operate hotel technology platforms prepare general managers for all aspects of the job. Additionally, general managers are expected to have their fingers on the pulse of the industry and participate with local travel and business groups and national organizations such as the American Hotel and Lodging Association, where they keep up with industry trends and take advantage of networking and continuing education.


Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

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