Tourism is the leading industry in San Francisco. Millions of visitors from around the world come to admire the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, tour Alcatrez, take day-trips to Napa Valley, attend conferences, and dine at some of the best restaurants. In fact, San Francisco is one of the top three U.S. destinations for international travelers.
Well-known historic hotels dot the San Francisco landscape, including the Fairmont San Francisco on Nob Hill and the crystal chandelier-laden Hotel Whitcomb. Hotel managers play a key role in helping visitors to San Francisco enjoy their stay and plan return visits.
Hotel managers make management decisions about the hotels they run, including who to hire, rates to charge, and how to settle disputes. They also ensure that hotel policies and standards are met.
Hotels are open 24-7, and the manager's hours will reflect that. Night and weekend hours are common, and the job can be hectic and stressful during busy times or when problems arise. But hotel management can be a very satisfying career choice for those eager to share their love and knowledge of their city. Advancement opportunities are available at larger hotel chains, while smaller hotels and bed-and-breakfast establishments offer more freedom and direct ownership.
A bachelor's degree in business or hospitality management is often required for work as a manager in a large hotel chain. Smaller hotels that offer fewer services often seek those with associate degrees and certificates.
Community colleges, universities, technical institutes, vocational and trade schools, and other academic institutions offer courses leading to formal recognition in hospitality management. More than 500 schools across the U.S. provide training in hotel or hospitality management. About 100 hospitality management programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration.
Hotel management programs include instruction in hotel administration, accounting, economics, marketing, housekeeping, food service management and catering, and hotel maintenance and engineering.
Computer training is a key part of hotel management training due to the widespread use of computers and hospitality-specific software in reservations, billing, and housekeeping management. Hotel managers also need to know how to generate and read profit-and-loss reports and other business and economic data.
Formal internships or part-time or summer work in a hotel are helpful. Most degree programs include work-study opportunities. Check with the school you're considering to learn more about their internship and work-study programs.