Managing a hotel versus a rental property can be a much bigger time commitment. Learn about the benefits and drawbacks of hotel management.
The goal of residential properties and hotels is the same: to provide a nice place to stay.
But that really is where the similarities end. Property managers looking to make a transition from apartment complex management to hotel management should know that there are as many differences as similarities in how these properties are managed.
The Benefits of Hotel Management
Hotel management can be a very lucrative field, both in terms of annual revenues and salary, says Bhupen Amin, vice chairman of the California Hotel & Lodging Association and chief operating officer of Lotus Hotels. Your revenues most likely will be higher than they were at the apartment complex. After all, rent checks are monthly, while most hotel room rates are paid daily.
Furthermore, hotels are big attractions to businesses and associations looking to hold events. Booking an event means additional revenue for the use of a conference or banquet room, in addition to overnight guests who may use laundry and other concierge services. These types of revenue typically don’t exist at a residential property unless it is a mixed-use property.
And with more than 47,000 hotel/lodging properties containing more than 15 rooms in the United States, there are myriad opportunities for employment, such as food and beverage service, housekeeping, maintenance, and meetings and banquets, all of which need to be managed. As a result, there are numerous ways to gain experience and advance your management career, Amin adds.
Managing a hotel also means you will have a larger full-time staff than an apartment complex because of the responsibility, turnover and maintenance required for the property. Although there are challenges to this, such as scheduling and managing employees effectively, a larger staff can allow you to focus more on the management, delegation and budgeting sides of the business instead of personally attending to daily operations. But with all these lucrative benefits, your job could be a double-edged sword.
Hotel Manager Responsibilities
Before you dive into hotel management, you need to realize that you are not only managing the property, but also running a business every day, says Peter Anderson, professor and lecturer of hotel management at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona’s Collins School of Hospitality Management.
A residential management position is primarily focused on maintaining the real estate, while hotels are a blend of real estate and business management, including employees and the customers, Anderson says. At an apartment complex, you generally don’t have daily operations like housekeeping or concierge services to oversee. In addition, you have to configure the amenities for your guests, such as managing a restaurant, room service or a spa.
In a hotel, you’re essentially leasing your units one day at a time. This means your sales and marketing schemes must be different: You are marketing your property every day, all day instead of when a lease is close to expiring. “Every guest is a new guest,” Amin says. Although this requires around-the-clock service, it has its merits because a problem guest will be at your hotel for only so long, as opposed to an apartment complex where difficult tenants could stay for a while.
Another important consideration is that the guest/tenant expectations are dramatically higher in a hotel setting than they are in apartments. “Most things that are wrong with an apartment, like the A/C or ruined carpet or a mark on the wall, can be taken care of in the first week,” Amin says.
Becoming the General Manager of a Hotel
There are some parallels between managing apartments and managing hotels. For instance, your overall management knowledge of budgeting and scheduling and your experience with hiring and working with contractors should translate well. Granted, at a hotel you will have to perform these tasks on a larger scale, but that is where training comes in.
If you are planning on managing a hotel, you should consider taking courses on hotel management or at least garner some experience working at a hotel, even if it is behind the front desk, Anderson says. This will allow for a smoother transition from residential property management to hotel management.
Amin agrees, adding that even a part-time hotel job will give you some insight into the industry and its daily operations. This is essential because a hotel property manager must be fully committed to the hotel business 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year. “There are no office hours,” Amin says.
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