What Does It Take to Become a Hotel General Manager?

Whether you are a hotel professional trying to climb the ladder, or transitioning mid-career into hotels, the path to becoming a hotel general manager can sometimes be unclear. While each brand, region, and even property has its quirks, there are a few things that every hotel manager needs to be successful. Consider these skills when deciding if you have what it takes to be a successful hotel general manager:

  • Strong Financial Acumen
  • Ability to Problem-Solve
  • Hands-on Leadership
  • An Eye for Talent

Strong Financial Acumen

Financial acumen is, without a doubt, the leading skill that Horizon Hospitality’s hotel clients look for in general manager candidates. First and foremost, a hotel is a business, and the general manager plays a leading role in its financial success. General Managers also need communication skills to effectively deliver reports to hotel owners or corporate leaders. In this instance, a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or hotel management can be helpful especially when pursuing a career in large-scale or luxury hotels.

Ability to Problem-Solve

The best-laid plans almost always go awry in hotels. Staff can call in sick. Computer systems could go down. Guests can cause drama. Through all of this, a general manager is responsible for keeping things running. Confidence is key to finding and implementing a swift course of action. The best way to gain this confidence is through years of hard work in a variety of hotel roles. Consequently, almost all hotel employers require years of industry experience before considering a hotel general manager candidate.

Hands-On Leadership

Leading by example is one of the most effective ways to create trust and build respect with hotel teams. It also happens to be necessary for general managers to occasionally roll up their sleeves when situations get dire. That may mean working long hours, cleaning a room, or fixing a leak. “Do as I do” is a much more effective motivator than “Do as I say”.

An Eye for Talent

No matter how well you have developed the above skills, you will quickly burn out without a strong management team. Nobody can do it all themselves, and leaders need to be able to delegate effectively so they have peace of mind when they go home (we have a few tips on delegating like a pro here). Identifying new talent and cultivating existing talent is essential for a long and successful career in hotel leadership.

Trust the Hotel Management Recruiters

If a hotel recruiter from Horizon Hospitality reaches out with an opportunity, you can rest assured that your hotel management career will be in good hands. Our hotel recruiting team has been placing hotel professionals at leading hospitality companies nationwide for over twenty-five years. Find your next step in your hotel management career on Horizon Hospitality’s Job Board.

Or Submit Your Resume for Future Hotel Opportunities.


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