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What Does A Hotel General Manager Do?

Updated on June 27, 2011

Q: How can I become a General Manager someday?
A: You can prepare to be a General Manager by learning everything. Raise your hand for every opportunity and go where the opportunities arise. Don’t be afraid to take on the most challenging assignments and most importantly let your goal be known! Don’t ever be afraid to say “I want to be a GM one day.”

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Hotel General Manager – The Leader

A hotel is a city in itself.

Generally lead by a General Manager, the mega hotels of today may also be led by someone with the designation of CEO/ COO/ President / Vice President etc.

Managing a hotel takes knowledge, charisma, courage and above all else an attitude to serve.  The head of a hotel is the General Manager.  Don’t be mislead by the title, he may be called ‘general’ manager, but he has reporting into him people who are experts in their own fields.

Let us begin with the four basic departments of a hotel.  The Front Office is responsible for all guest services including check in, check out, information and sundry assistance, headed by the Front Office Manager.  The House Keeping department is responsible for the cleanliness and upkeep of the hotel.  The Executive Housekeeper manages the show in this department.

The Executive Chef rules the kitchen and all food & beverage service areas are the responsibility of the Food & Beverage Manager.  These positions are collectively termed operations and generally headed by individuals with a hotel management diploma/degree.

The hotel also has support departments.  The Sales & Marketing Manager is an MBA-Marketing responsible for hotel selling and promotions, the Financial Controller is a CA, the Chief Engineer an Engineer, the Security Manager an ex-forces specialist, the Human Resources Manager an MBA-HR. These departments support the core team of hospitality professionals in managing the hotel.

As you can see, the General Manager works with and manages a team with diverse education, background and specific skills.  A hotel management graduate can not only take the operations route to success, but also add on to the hospitality education with an MBA and lead other departments in a hotel.

This is what makes the industry so exciting.  You don’t have to do the same thing over and over again.  The opportunity to manage different departments, different work areas, different tasks, and responsibilities is very real and everywhere!

One title that is apt, but not so often used is ‘Innkeeper’.  Traditionally in keeping with the history of hotels, when most hotels were inns, this title was used.  With the change in nomenclature, the term became obsolete.

Increasingly the role of a general manager is seen not just as operational but also one of an asset manager and business owner.

So the General Manager is the top boss in a hotel; the person who manages a hotel.  However, whom does the General Manager report to?

Based on the ownership of the hotel, the General Manager may report to or may be responsible to:
    •    Owner (of the hotel, of the company)
    •    Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer (of the company)
    •    Director/ President/ Vice President/ Chief Operating Officer/ Area General Manager (of the company)


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