How to Become a Hospitality Manager: With Skills and Salary

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 March 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Hospitality managers are integral to the success of hospitality establishments. This career offers a high level of social interaction, with increased responsibility and influence over the business. Understanding how to become a hospitality manager can help you make more informed career choices and take the relevant steps to secure a management position. In this article, we describe what a hospitality manager is, discuss how to become one and provide the skills, duties, relevant certifications and average salary for this role.

What is a hospitality manager?

A hospitality manager takes on the primary leadership responsibilities of a hospitality setting, like hotels, restaurants, cafes or bars. These professionals have an extensive influence on the progression of a business. Hospitality managers ensure facilities are presentable, well maintained and meet customer expectations. These professionals typically manage multiple teams, such as housekeeping, catering and front desk employees.

Related: What Is the Hospitality Industry? (Job Types and Salaries)

How to become a hospitality manager

Learning how to become a hospitality manager is important when considering the role. Although there are few formal requirements for becoming a hospitality manager, you can benefit from a combination of experience and relevant certification or qualification. Typically, candidates work up to a management position, starting from junior front-of-house or assistant positions. This provides candidates with the opportunity to understand the fundamentals of customer service and hospitality operations.

Below is a step-by-step guide to becoming a hospitality manager through education, experience and certification:

1. Complete secondary school

Completing a high school certification is typically the minimum expectation for working in the hospitality industry. A high school certificate assures an employer that you possess base level written and verbal communication skills necessary to work in a customer service role. Many vital skills learned through high school education apply to hospitality settings, such as time management, working under pressure, communication and interpersonal skills. This baseline certification also ensures that you can pursue higher education in the future if you wish.

2. Seek relevant certification

There are numerous certifications that hospitality management candidates can undertake. Each certification offers different topics that can help you choose a speciality. Certification acts as additional testimony to your skills and previous qualification. Professional certification may show tenacity to an employer and assure them you possess an increased level of expertise that increases your value as a candidate. Certification in hospitality management can equip you with vital theoretical knowledge that enables you to take strategic steps to help the business progress and meet its key development goals. Certificates may also help enhance your application and make you substantially more employable.

Certifications vary in levels of advancement and provide distinct skill sets. When choosing a hospitality certification, consider finding a course that contains modules dedicated to your career interests and goals. Below is a list of certifications that hospitality management candidates may benefit from:

  • Certificate III in Hospitality: A professional certification in hospitality demonstrates expertise in customer service and strategic hospitality management. This certification is a pathway to work in hotels, restaurants, motels, pubs, cafes, clubs and coffee shops and it can help equip you to work within the industry with practical experience in the service of food and beverages.

  • Certificate III in Events: As a hospitality manager, customers may entrust you to stage events like weddings, work conferences or live entertainment, meaning experience and knowledge of event planning and execution is beneficial.

  • Certificate of Food Safety Supervisor: Hospitality managers may manage a team of caterers or kitchen staff in their workplace, meaning solid knowledge of food safety is beneficial for optimising the customer experience.

  • Certificate IV in Leadership Management: Hospitality managers may be in charge of large teams of people, so basic leadership skills and leadership management understanding are beneficial.

Related: Hospitality Skills for a Resume (Definition and Examples)

3. Pursue a graduate degree or diploma

Pursuing a Bachelor's degree in hospitality management and tourism or related subjects is an excellent way to equip yourself with the necessary skills and theoretical knowledge for a management position. These courses ensure candidates understand the fundamental theories of customer service and how to optimise the customer experience through strategic management.

Although most hospitality management candidates work up to a senior position, some large corporations or luxury businesses require candidates to have a bachelor's degree in a hospitality management related topic. You may find that employers are more likely to consider you if you have the expertise and a degree, which can help elevate your application. Management degrees can also better prepare you for a leadership role and give you the vital skills to manage teams, delegate tasks and foster a culture that supports company values.

Related: Diploma vs. Bachelor: With How to Choose Between Them

4. Gain experience

Experience is one of the preferred ways to become a hospitality manager. Gaining experience in an entry-level role, such as a part-time waiter, housekeeper or concierge, is a good way to understand customer service and its effect. This valuable experience is likely to look impressive on your resume and help you secure a more senior position. Most hospitality settings are more likely to select candidates who have previous hospitality or customer-facing experience.

To build your experience, consider finding entry-level hospitality employment during or after your studies. This can help you expand your professional network and help you determine whether you wish to work in hospitality.

5. Develop your skills

Before applying for a managerial role, it's important to acknowledge skills development. Managerial roles rely on the confident use of your professional skills and qualifications, so nurturing key leadership skills and customer service knowledge is important for securing the position. The best way to nurture these skills is through rigorous practice, with work experience in junior positions. Evidence of extensive use of skills on your resume may look impressive to an employer and substantially increase your chances of success. Consider seeking feedback from supervisors or mentors to understand which skills need further development.

6. Apply for management roles

After taking steps to develop your skills, you can now apply for hospitality management roles. When applying, ensure that you include your full range of skills that you believe make you a valuable candidate. Consider thoroughly studying the job description to ensure that you include all necessary skills to provide the employer with all the relevant information. You may also consider customising your resume to the individual job advertisement.

This may substantially increase your chances of success, as employers may easily match you to the job. Additionally, you can include any experience in your previous employment where you delivered exemplary customer service or contributed to further business development.

Related: Management Skills: Definition and Examples

Hospitality manager duties

Hospitality managers cover a lot of responsibilities in a single day. Their job description requires them to be dynamic and adjust their task list to individual team needs. Hospitality manager duties typically cover one-to-one mentoring and management of general administration and computer-oriented tasks. Below is a list of general hospitality management duties:

  • hiring staff

  • delegating tasks

  • managing budgets

  • training and supervising staff

  • establishing procedures and code of conduct

  • ordering supplies

  • constructing productivity reports

  • organising shifts

  • booking in guests or customers

  • processing complaints and compliments

  • managing customer information on specific computer software

Related: 16 of the Highest-Paying Hospitality Jobs

Hospitality manager skills

Hospitality managers use a combination of hard and soft skills to deliver high-quality customer service and effectively manage teams. Hard skills refer to industry-specific skills that enable managers to implement their responsibilities. Soft skills refer to general employability skills that help managers effectively communicate and mentor team members:

  • customer service

  • organisation

  • positive thinking

  • empathy

  • leadership

  • collaboration

  • delegation

  • communication

  • technical

  • budgeting

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

The average salary of a hospitality manager

The national average salary of a hospitality manager is $71,396 per year. Salaries for hospitality managers depend on the size of the business they work for. Managers for large chain hotels or restaurants may benefit from higher salaries when compared with the salaries of hospitality managers who are working in smaller independent businesses. Salaries can also depend on the qualifications the candidate possesses, as this can significantly increase their value. Hospitality managers may also benefit from higher pay in more metropolitan areas where the cost of living is higher.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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