How to Become a General Manager of a Hotel

If you have a passion for hospitality and are looking to take your career to the next level, becoming a general manager of a hotel may be the perfect opportunity for you.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: To become a general manager of a hotel, you need a combination of education, experience, leadership skills, and a strong work ethic.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover all the steps you need to take to become a successful hotel general manager. From education and training to gaining experience and developing key skills, you will learn everything you need to know to achieve your career goals.

Education and Training

Working as a general manager of a hotel requires excellent management and leadership skills. While formal education is not always a requirement, it can help you stand out from other candidates and gain a deeper understanding of the industry. Here are some steps you can take to become a general manager of a hotel:

Earn a degree in hospitality management

Many hotels prefer candidates with a degree in hospitality management. A degree program in this field teaches students about hotel operations, food and beverage management, and customer service. Some of the top universities in this field include Cornell University, University of Central Florida, and University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Having a degree in hospitality management not only provides you with valuable knowledge and skills but also demonstrates to potential employers that you are serious about your career in the industry.

Get certified in hotel management

There are several certifications available for hotel managers that can enhance your resume and show employers that you have the necessary skills to manage a hotel. For example, the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute offers certifications in hotel operations, revenue management, and general management.

Getting certified in hotel management can give you a competitive edge over other candidates and help you stand out in a crowded job market.

Complete on-the-job training programs

Another way to gain the necessary skills and experience to become a general manager of a hotel is to complete on-the-job training programs. Many hotels offer training programs for new managers to help them learn the ins and outs of hotel operations and management.

These programs typically cover topics such as customer service, financial management, and staff training. Completing a training program can help you gain valuable experience and prepare you for the challenges of managing a hotel.

Gain Experience

One of the most crucial steps to becoming a general manager of a hotel is gaining experience in the hospitality industry. This experience will give you the skills and knowledge necessary to lead a team and manage a hotel successfully. Here are some ways to gain experience:

Start in entry-level positions

Starting in an entry-level position such as a front desk agent or a housekeeper is an excellent way to learn about the day-to-day operations of a hotel. You will gain knowledge about the various roles and responsibilities of different departments, such as housekeeping, maintenance, and food and beverage. By working in an entry-level position, you will also have the opportunity to observe the work of more experienced employees and learn from them.

Work in different departments

Working in different departments within a hotel is also a great way to gain experience. By doing so, you will gain an understanding of how each department contributes to the overall success of the hotel. For example, if you work in the food and beverage department, you will learn about menu planning, food preparation, and customer service. Similarly, if you work in the housekeeping department, you will learn about room cleanliness, inventory management, and laundry services.

Take on leadership roles

Taking on leadership roles within a hotel is an excellent way to gain experience and demonstrate your leadership skills. You can start by volunteering for leadership roles within your department or participating in training programs offered by the hotel. For example, you can lead a team of housekeepers or food and beverage servers. By doing so, you will learn how to manage a team, delegate tasks, and motivate employees. These skills are essential for a general manager.

Remember, gaining experience takes time and effort. However, the more experience you have, the more confident and competent you will be in a leadership role.

Develop Key Skills

Being a general manager of a hotel requires a diverse set of skills. Here are some of the key skills that you should develop to become an effective general manager:


Leadership is an essential skill for any general manager. You’ll need to inspire and motivate your team to deliver excellent service to your guests. To develop your leadership skills, you can attend training programs, read books on leadership, and seek guidance from mentors.


Effective communication is critical for a general manager as you’ll need to communicate with staff, guests, and stakeholders. To improve your communication skills, you can take public speaking courses, practice active listening, and learn how to convey your message clearly and concisely.


General managers must be able to solve problems quickly and efficiently. You’ll need to be able to make decisions under pressure and find creative solutions to complex issues. To develop your problem-solving skills, you can take courses in critical thinking, learn how to analyze data, and practice making decisions in a simulated environment.

Financial management

As a general manager, you’ll need to manage the hotel’s finances effectively. You’ll need to understand revenue management, budgeting, and forecasting to make informed financial decisions. To improve your financial management skills, you can take courses in accounting, finance, and revenue management.


Marketing is essential for a hotel’s success. As a general manager, you’ll need to develop marketing strategies to attract guests and build your brand. You’ll need to understand how to use social media, search engine optimization, and other digital marketing tools effectively. To improve your marketing skills, you can take courses in marketing, branding, and digital marketing.

By developing these key skills, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an effective general manager of a hotel. Remember, it takes time and effort to develop these skills, but with persistence and dedication, you can achieve your goals.


Becoming a successful general manager of a hotel requires more than just being good at your job. It also involves building a strong network of professional relationships. Here are some tips to help you expand your network:

Join professional organizations

Joining professional organizations related to the hospitality industry can give you access to a wealth of knowledge and resources, as well as opportunities to connect with other professionals. Organizations like the American Hotel and Lodging Association, Hospitality Net, and the Hotel Association of Canada are just a few examples of organizations that can help you stay up-to-date with industry trends and connect with other professionals in the field.

Attend industry events

Attending industry events, such as conferences and trade shows, can be a great way to network with other professionals and learn about the latest trends in the industry. These events often feature keynote speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities that can help you build relationships with other professionals in the field. Some well-known events in the hospitality industry include the International Hotel Investment Forum and the Hotel 360 Expo.

Connect with mentors and peers

Connecting with mentors and peers can be a valuable resource in your career journey. Seek out experienced professionals in the industry who can provide guidance and advice. Consider reaching out to former colleagues, industry experts, and even online communities to expand your network. LinkedIn is a great platform to connect with other professionals in the hospitality industry and join relevant groups.

Climb the Ladder

Working in the hospitality industry can be a highly rewarding career choice, and if you’re looking to become a general manager of a hotel, there are certain steps you can take to climb the ladder.

Apply for management positions

The first step in becoming a general manager of a hotel is to apply for management positions within the hospitality industry. This will give you the opportunity to gain experience in managing people, overseeing operations, and making strategic decisions.

Look for job postings for positions such as assistant manager, front desk manager, food and beverage manager, or housekeeping manager. These positions will give you the hands-on experience you need to move up the ladder.

Prove your leadership skills

One of the key qualities of a successful general manager is strong leadership skills. As you work your way up the ladder, be sure to demonstrate your ability to lead and motivate a team.

Show that you can communicate effectively, delegate tasks, and make tough decisions when needed. It’s also important to be approachable and to foster a positive work environment.

Demonstrate your financial management abilities

As a general manager of a hotel, you’ll be responsible for managing the hotel’s finances. This includes creating budgets, tracking expenses, and maximizing profits.

To demonstrate your financial management abilities, look for opportunities to take on financial responsibilities. This could include managing a department’s budget or participating in financial planning meetings.

It’s also important to stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices for financial management. This will help you make informed decisions and stay ahead of the competition.


Becoming a general manager of a hotel takes dedication, hard work, and a commitment to lifelong learning and growth. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can position yourself for success and achieve your career goals in the hospitality industry.

Remember, education, experience, and key skills are all essential components of becoming a successful hotel general manager. With the right mindset and a willingness to put in the effort, you can take your career to the next level and achieve your dreams.

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