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How to Work Your Way Up to Becoming A General Manager

How to Work Your Way Up to Becoming A General Manager - Insights for accelerating the journey to the summit


Reaching the General Manager (GM) position is a coveted goal. It is a unique position with ample responsibilities and deep ownership in a property’s performance. 

The role masterfully blends leadership, strategic planning, and a deep understanding of guest satisfaction. 

Here’s how to navigate the path to becoming a GM: 

Part-time Work 

Grab any opportunity to gain practical experience through part-time work in hotels. 

Start early, even while studying. 

Every role, from serving to housekeeping, adds to your understanding of daily operations.

Hands-on learning will not just provide a real-world context for your academic learning but also enhance your resume. 

You can transition into full-time roles upon graduation more easily this way. 

Diverse Experience

General managers must have a broad range of experiences across different hotel divisions. 

So, aim for a variety of positions.  

Experience in different departments, such as front office, housekeeping, guest services, food & beverage, sales & marketing, accounts & finance, and virtually any position at a hotel, helps build a comprehensive skill set.

Seek opportunities to step out of your comfort zone. Take on new roles. Acquire diverse skills. 

No Substitute for Training

Many hotels offer professional development programs to nurture their employees’ talents. Each time you get a chance, be sure to participate in such leadership and management training programs.

Professional development through various training programs can shorten your path to a management role.

Commit to Lifelong Learning

Stay updated with industry trends. 

Hotel general manager’s duties include hotel’s overall management, from staff oversight to financial success and guest satisfaction. Continuous improvement is the hallmark of a successful GM. 

The learning never stops. 

  • Cultivate leadership qualities: From inspiring your team to making strategic decisions, you will need to lead by example. 
  • Focus on guest satisfaction: Always prioritize guest satisfaction. Understand their needs and exceed their expectations. 
  • Strive for operational excellence: Understand each aspect of hotel operations. 
  • Develop financial acumen: Develop financial skills to manage budgets, control costs, and drive revenues. 

Stay Abreast of the Latest Technology

The hotel industry is increasingly embracing technology to improve operational efficiency in response to labor shortages, price inflation, and evolving consumer behaviors. 

Technology now permeates every aspect of the industry, from procurement and budgeting to guest experience management and marketing. 

To stay ahead, aspiring hotel general managers should cultivate the knowledge and skills necessary to leverage the latest technology. 

Leverage Your Professional Network 

Leverage your network to gain a deeper understanding of the industry, learn from the experiences of others, and position yourself for the opportunities that arise. 

Engage with industry professionals through events, associations, workshops, seminars, and online platforms. 

Targeting the Summit

When setting your sights on the hotel GM position, be sure to evaluate the track records of potential employers. 

Consider whether they are receptive to younger managers and if they place a high value on candidates with diverse experiences.

Perseverance is the Key 

You have to persevere and climb the hierarchy to become a hotel general manager. There are no shortcuts. 

But, strategic choices in education, experience, and professional development can accelerate your journey to the top. 

Regardless of the path you choose, you have to continue learning and adapting to your current role, to work your way up to become a hotel general manager.