Hotel administration is a path within the Hospitality & Tourism career cluster, a cluster that includes any career related to the marketing, management, and operations of many different areas of business. Restaurants, catering, lodging, amusement and other attractions, recreation and travel services all fall under Hospitality & Tourism. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, a very large portion of the workforce is employed within this sector, and that fact is not likely to change in the foreseeable future (2005).
One area of employment within this career cluster is the restaurants and other food and beverage services group. Bakers, brewers, servers, bus people, and specialty chefs may all work within a restaurant, under a restaurant owner. Larger restaurants may have several managers, such as a bar or cocktail manager, a floor manager, a kitchen manager, or a general manager. Upscale establishments usually have a host, and possibly a wine steward (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005).
The travel industry employs many different types of workers as well, ranging from travel agents, airline clerks, flight attendants and pilots, to taxi and limousine drivers, to directors of tourism for attractions, cities, and states (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005).
Many occupations exist within the recreation, amusements and attractions category too. Animal caregivers at a zoo, mechanics at
theme park, historians at a state park, dealers at a casino, and disk jockeys at a family skating center are all examples of the wide variety of careers available in the recreation sector (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005).
Part of the reason that the hospitality and tourism cluster employs so many people is because of the vast range of skills that are usable, and also the large number of entry-level jobs that require little skill. Although schooling can place someone in a managerial position right away, it is possible to advance from waiter to floor manager, and then on from there, with dedication. This is less true at smaller businesses, but in corporation-based establishments, the ladder of advancement is virtually limitless. This is not to say that everyone gets rich, but it is possible (Collegeboard.com, 2005).
Hotels and motels are typically concentrated in urban areas, because much of the revenue is generated by business conventions and airports (Culinary-Careers.org, 2005). Therefore, there is little opportunity in the Hartford area for hotel administration. Many restaurants are scattered everywhere, rural or urban, which makes food service a possibility for a career no matter where you live. National chains such as Taco Bell, McDonalds and Culvers are abundant, as well as independent restaurants such as the Mineshaft.
Description of Career
Hotel administration encompasses a variety of tasks, and requires many skills. Several levels of administration typically coexist, especially in many large hotels. Department heads help manage the individual departments, such as housekeeping, room service, food and beverage service, the front desk, accounting, maintenance, and the concierge services. One or several general managers may then oversee all operations. In corporate environments, there are also regional managers, as well as those who work at the headquarters (Collegegrad.com, 2005).
Usually, several years of schooling beyond a four-year college are required, including degrees in areas such as business administration, hotel administration, or culinary arts. It is possible, however, to start out as a front desk clerk, and gradually progress up the hierarchy (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005).
Nature of the Work and Working Conditions
Hotel administration can be extremely hectic, especially when coordinating many different events such as business meetings, tourist gatherings, and conventions. “Resident managers,” or managers who also live in the hotel, often have a regular work schedule, but may be called upon at any time. Managers tend to work long hours, especially when they live at the establishment, or if they own it. Food preparation and food service is very hectic during busy times, and minor injuries are somewhat common. Managers tend not to be exposed to this, though, but some like to involve themselves in all aspects of running the hotel (Collegeboard.com, 2005).
Computers are used by hotel managers extensively, such as for tracking guest rooms and bills, scheduling meetings and organizing special events. Computers are also used to order food, drinks, and supplies. Computer reports are prepared for hotel owners and upper-level administrators. Managers must also be prepared to continue to meet guest needs should the computer systems fail (Collegeboard.com, 2005).
Taking that all into account, the conditions at a hotel are better than many other occupations. Most of the work is done indoors, often in a somewhat luxurious environment. For resident managers, rent is obviously not an issue, and the living conditions can be very accommodating (Culinary-Careers.org, 2005). Since the hotel is open twenty-four hours a day, however, hours may be erratic.
Education, Training, and Certification
To be a hotel administrator, it is common to go to a school of hotel administration. The most prestigious such school is Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, but many schools exist that can fulfill the same requirements. Many who work in hotel administration have earned a Master of Business Administration degree (Cornell, 2005).
Wages, Benefits and Earnings
Hotel managers and prospective managers can receive generous benefits, but these vary greatly throughout the industry, usually depending upon the size of the establishment. Managers can earn 20% bonuses, and may be furnished with lodging, meals, parking, laundry, and other services for their families and themselves (America’s Career InfoNet, 2005).
Basic salaries for managers of smaller hotels in 1993 averaged about $45,000. Managers of larger hotels earned an average of $87,000 in the same year. The top managers in the industry earn much more, especially when working in a corporate environment for a large chain of hotels (America’s Career InfoNet, 2005).
Many other benefits are common, such as 401K plans, profit-sharing plans, tuition reimbursement plans, paid vacation, life insurance, health and dental coverage, and pension plans (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005).
While the hotel industry is expected to grow at the same rate of other industries, managerial opportunities will increase as a slightly slower rate. As customers become more bargain-conscious, hotels will increase economy rooms, which are clean and comfortable, but have fewer services. This means that fewer managers will be needed. A need for higher-level managers will continue to exist, though, as older hotel administrators transfer to other industries, retire, or leave the workforce for other reasons. These trends are true at both the national level and within Wisconsin (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005).
Hotel administration requires several areas of knowledge. Customer and personal service should come naturally to managers. All of the aspects of management should be studied thoroughly, and a strong grasp of the English language is essential. Strength with sales and marketing can help greatly, and personnel and human resource knowledge is required to effectively manage the various departments of a hotel (America’s Career InfoNet, 2005).
Listening skills, speech skills, and social perceptiveness skills are very beneficial in a hotel administration environment. Communicating effectively leads to better customer appreciation and increased sales. Critical thinking and analysis is critical, especially when deciding how to market new ideas. Reading comprehension is also of utmost importance (America’s Career InfoNet, 2005).
In conclusion, hotel administration is a very exciting and fulfilling career path, but it requires much work, dedication, and an interest in serving the customers. Salary in this career can be good, but are not particularly high. One must also consider the extensive benefits and perks that are available to hotel managers, though, because the cost of living can be much less for a resident manager than it would be for other industries.
Career guide to industries, 2004-05 edition, hotels and other accommodations. (2005). Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor [On-Line]. Retrieved February 24, 2005, from http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs036.htm
Career information: hotel managers and assistants. (2005). CollegeGrad.com. Retrieved February 24, 2005, from http://www.collegegrad.com/careers/manag17.shtml
Hotel and lodging managers – career overview. (2005). Culinary-Careers.org. Retrieved February 24, 2005, from http://www.culinary-careers.org/hotel-career-overview.html
Hotel managers and assistants. (2005). CollegeBoard.com [On-Line]. Retrieved February 24, 2005, from http://www.collegeboard.com/apps/careers/0,3477,8-015,00.html
Lodging managers: Wisconsin. (2005). America’s Career InfoNet [On-Line]. Retrieved February 24, 2005, http://www.acinet.org/acinet/occ_rep.asp?from=&next=occ_rep&level=&Op1=yes&Op2=yes&Op3=yes&Op4=yes&Op5=yes&Op6=yes&Op7=yes&Op8=yes&id=1%2C%2C1%2C11&nodeid=2&showintro=no&soccode=119081&stfips=55&submit.x=41&submit.y=5
Why choose the hotel school?. (2005). Cornell University [On-Line]. Retrieved February 24, 2005, from http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/prospective/why/careers/paths.html
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