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How to Become a Lodging Manager

Many applicants may qualify with a high school diploma and long-term experience working in a hotel. However, most large, full-service hotels require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. Hotels that provide fewer services generally accept applicants who have an associate’s degree or certificate in hotel management or operations. 


More than 500 educational facilities across the United States provide academic training for prospective lodging managers.

Most full-service hotel chains hire people with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality or hotel management. Hotel management programs typically include instruction in hotel administration, accounting, economics, marketing, housekeeping, food service management and catering, and hotel maintenance and engineering. Computer training is also an integral part of many degree programs, because hotels use hospitality-specific software in reservations, billing, and housekeeping management.
The Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration accredits about 100 hospitality management programs.

At hotels that provide fewer services, candidates with an associate’s degree or certificate in hotel, restaurant, or hospitality management may qualify for a job as a lodging manager.

Many technical institutes and vocational and trade schools also offer courses leading to formal recognition in hospitality management.

About 245 high schools in 45 states offer the Lodging Management Program created by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute. This 2-year program for high school juniors and seniors teaches management principles and leads to a professional certification called the Certified Rooms Division Supervisor.

Work Experience

Many hotel employees who do not have hospitality management training, but who show leadership potential and have several years of experience, may qualify for assistant manager positions.


Large hotel chains may offer better opportunities than small, independently owned hotels for advancing from assistant manager to manager or from managing one hotel to being a regional manager. However, these opportunities also usually involve relocating to a different city or state.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Lodging managers must have good customer-service skills when dealing with guests. Satisfying guests’ needs is critical to a hotel’s success and ensures customer loyalty.

Interpersonal skills. Lodging managers need strong interpersonal skills because they interact regularly with many different types of people. They must be effective communicators and must have positive interactions with guests and hotel staff, even in stressful situations.   

Leadership skills. All lodging managers must establish good working relationships to ensure a productive work environment. This objective may involve motivating personnel, resolving conflicts, or listening to complaints or criticism from guests.

Listening skills. All lodging managers should have excellent listening skills. Listening to the needs of guests allows managers to take the appropriate course of action, ensuring guests’ satisfaction. Listening to the needs of workers helps them keep good working relationships with the staff.

Managerial skills. Lodging managers address budget matters and coordinate and supervise workers. Operating a profitable hotel is important, as is the need to motivate and direct the work of employees.

Organizational skills. Lodging managers keep track of many different schedules, budgets, and people at once. This task becomes more complex as the size of the hotel increases.

Problem-solving skills. The ability to resolve personnel issues and guest-related dissatisfaction is critical to the work of lodging managers. As a result, they must be creative and practical when solving problems.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition