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How Does One Become a General Manager?

Prior to becoming General Manager (GM), (a) one has to receive his/her education in the sphere of hospitality management. Potential GM must have an experience in administration and hospitality management. GM has to be passionate about a client-based approach to serving clients. (b) Potential GM candidate has to anticipate clients’ wishes and strive to meet their needs in the best way possible. GM has to think in terms of solutions and be creative in offering a variety of high-standard choices. Candidate has to possess leadership and communication skills. GM derives professional and personal satisfaction from working in the hospitality segment. (c) Future GM should be able to successfully overcome unique challenges of his profession and develop the ability to make innovative decisions in response to customers’ needs. (d) One can become a GM if he/she is an expert in Strategic Management in Hospitality Management, and Culture and Cuisine. One can become a GM when he/she realizes that hospitality management has to create constant high standard of care for customers on every level of responsibility. Also, a GM has to be able to create a well-functioning chain of command in delivering services by every department. (e) Potential manager has to be able to evaluate the scope and potential of available hotel facilities as a strategic resource in the hospitality sector. Manager has to foresee the impact of new technologies, changing marketing, and customers’ demands (O’Neill ; O’Neill Part 2).

Critical Skills of Being a General Manager

GMs named various skills that they consider critical to being an effective GM. However, one can identify five skills that were mentioned the most frequently.

  1. Learning culture and mentality of the local population. Although the majority of hotels have international customer base, understanding local culture proved to be an essential asset in knowing how to address certain nationalities without feeling frustrated or irritated (Howard, “Regal Kowloon”).
  2. Ability to effectively manage available data is critical. It can be data about new or returning customers, available personnel or room availability. The ability to manage, analyze and process data, a well as interpret and present it in an appealing and understandable manner is crucial to the GM’s success in communicating with customers and personnel (Averbook).
  3. Since all the interviewed General Managers work in Asia, nearly everyone mentioned that speaking Mandarin is a necessary requirement for a manager, or anyone who would like to become manager (Howard, “Hotel Bangkok”).
  4. Another critical quality is being proud of one’s workplace. Competition in the hospitality industry is so intense that one must believe in his company’s mission, vision, methods and services and take pride in the hotel’s ability to satisfy customers’ needs in a way that motivates customer to want to return (Howard, “Chiang Mai”).
  5. A “must have” skill for a General Manager is the ability to take good care of personnel as a way of ensuring the high standard of services (O’Neill Part 2).

Performance and Concerns

General Managers at different market levels have both similar and different concerns about performance of their hotels. Similarities are related to hospitality management and Asian location. Differences are related to standards, target audiences, types of services and executive management’s vision. Similar concerns are:

  • the need to adjust and adapt to the clientele of emerging markets (China, Russia, India, Middle East and Korea) (Howard, “Ritz Karlton”; Howard, “Hotel Bangkok”; Howard, “Esther Wai”);
  • maximizing the customer’s satisfaction and the number of issues that the hotel can take care of for the customer, so that the customer can focus on his own work or leisure (Howard, “Regal Kowloon”);
  • adding more value to the services and creating the experience that will motivate customer to return (Howard, “Ritz Karlton”).

Concerns are different in that luxury hotels focus on leisure, exclusive designs, and uniqueness of view from the windows, and making stay in a hotel an experience on its own. When the guest is in the hotel, actual stay in the hotel becomes a key experience, without having to go elsewhere for entertainment or attractions. However, in the medium range hotels, General Managers believe that their focus is on simplicity, affordability, functionality and providing an environment that is efficient and nice for doing business, assessing historical sites, and leisure. In top hotels, corporate and leisure clients comprise two halves of clientele while medium range hotels have 65(%) of corporate and 35 (%) of leisure clients (Howard, “Regal Kowloon”; Howard, “Ritz Karlton”).

Where is Hotel/Resort Industry Going?

Currently, hotel and resort industry explores several directions. Each direction is responsible for facilitation of the growth of each particular hotel and hospitality industry as a whole. First direction is adjusting and accommodating available services to the significantly increasing segment of guests from so called emerging economies (China, Russia, India, Middle East, and Korea). This includes language learning, translating menus and all of the other relevant resources, including website, marketing and advertising materials (Howard, “Regal Kowloon”; Howard, “Ritz Karlton”; Howard, “Esther Wai”). Second is the trend of an increase of online or mobile booking/ checking (Howard, “Hotel Bangkok”; Howard, “Regal Kowloon”). Third is the development of new products: lounge bars, spas, on-the-roof gardens, wellness facilities (Howard, “Ritz Karlton”; Howard, “Regal Kowloon). Fourth is the creation of an experience for the customer that will make the customer believe that a particular hotel is the easiest company to do business with. Fifth, currently, hotel industry is experiencing a high rate of growth, invests into building of new modern facilities and establishing a long-tern relationship with customers. Market of leisure services is expected to grow, and fierce competition leads to the increase of the quality of services that hotels offer to their clients (O’Neill Part 2). Additionally, hotels try to be efficient in their use of energy and recourses, and offer products that promote a healthy lifestyle.

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