Resort Manager: How to Start a Career in Resort and Hotel Management

A resort manager requires some formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

Resort and hotel managers oversee the daily operations within lodging and vacation facilities. Managers may be general managers responsible for the entire resort, or they may be managers of a specific area, such as operations or finance. Many individuals in this field begin their careers with vocational training in high school, then go on to earn certificates, associate's or bachelor's degrees in hospitality management. These programs offer courses in marketing and customer service, as well as the business aspects of operating a resort, and usually include internship opportunities. Many resorts offer management training programs for new hires.

Required EducationCertificate, associate's or bachelor's degree in hospitality management
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 1% for lodging managers
Median Salary (2013)* $46,830 for lodging managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Step 1: Consider Vocational Training in High School

High school students who wish to enter the field may consider contacting the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association in order to find a Lodging Management Program (LMP) nearby. These programs prepare high school juniors and seniors for careers in resort and hotel management. Courses cover reservations, housekeeping and management. High school students who complete the two LMP exams and work for a minimum of 160 hours in the industry may also become certified by the organization (www.ahlei.org).

Step 2: Assess Career Path

High school graduates may want to assess their career path prior to taking additional steps by deciding the type, size and nature of the resort or hotel they would like to manage. Options range from isolated, private resorts to large commercial hotel chains. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that promotion opportunities are more common at larger and franchised resorts than at smaller ones (www.bls.gov).

Step 3: Earn a College Degree

Institutes of higher learning, ranging from community colleges to large state universities, offer 6-12 month certificate, 1-2 year associate's and 4-year bachelor's degree programs in hospitality management. These programs provide in-depth knowledge in marketing, tourism and customer service. Students may also explore hotel asset analysis, including balance sheets and income statements, and legal issues in the hospitality industry, such as theft or injury.

Step 4: Complete an Internship

Students in college degree programs are encouraged to participate in internships in order to work alongside peers and to perform such daily professional tasks as reservation management. Additionally, these opportunities help students network within the resort and hotel industry, as well as add experience to their resume.

Step 5: Find a Job

College graduates may look for work in facilities ranging from local hotels to global franchises. New hires may begin as assistant managers within a department or as managers-in-training. While assistants typically train and work in one department, such as sales or marketing, managers-in-training may work in a rotation, sent to various departments to learn the business from the ground up. Training may last 6-18 months, after which they may be promoted to department or general manager. According to the BLS, lodging managers were expected to see a 1% rise in employment from 2012-2022. In May 2013, the BLS noted that lodging managers brought home a median annual salary of $46,830.

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