Author Nicola Feuilherade   |  September 16, 2010

The hospitality industry is packed with an impressive variety of career and job opportunities. For the next few weeks we’re going to explore a whole bunch of job descriptions and figure out what exactly people do in hospitality. Last week we had a look at the organisational structure of a hotel and who works where in the system. Today we’re going to find out a bit more about what it means to be the big fish: the General Manager of a hotel.

What does a General Manager do?

A General Manager is also known as a Hotel Manager or sometimes a hotelier. He (or she) oversees the efficient and profitable running of the hotel or lodging property.

General Manager responsibilities

The General Manager is responsible for: •    The overall running of the hotel •    Hiring and management of the hotel management team •    Management of the: Hotel staff; Finance and budgets; Marketing and sales •    Renovations, maintenance and projects •    Issues or emergencies relating to guests, hotel staff or the hotel property •    Public relations and dealing with the media as well as a myriad of other duties. The General Manager’s duties depend on the size and main function of the hotel (for example, a convention centre). A General Manager at a large full-service hotel will have more of an administrative job, overseeing managers and departments, while a manager of a smaller hotel is likely to take on some of those roles himself.

Who does the General Manager report to?

The General Manager reports to the hotel owner(s), a management company or a board of directors.

Who reports to the General Manager?

In a full service hotel, this will usually be the department managers (Human Resources Manager, Chief Engineer, Controller, Security Director, Food & Beverage Director, Marketing and Sales Director, Rooms Division Manager, etc.). In a limited service hotel there might be a handful of people (for example admin, kitchen, grounds and housekeeping managers) who report to the General Manager.


A General Manager needs to have a good education such as a diploma in hospitality management and plenty of industry experience.


Vital skills include: •    Fantastic oral and written communication •    Good at working independently and in a team •    Great problem solving abilities •    Calm, clear, quick thinking under pressure

Working conditions

As is the usual in the hospitality industry, a General Manager can expect to work long shifts, unusual hours, weekends and holidays. This is necessary due to the nature of lodging: people stay overnight, on weekends and on holidays. Depending on the hotel, the General Manager may have the privilege of working more traditional hours and having weekends or holidays off due to his senior management position.

Earning potential

The earning potential of a General Manager depends on the establishment he’s managing. In South Africa, the earning potential is as high as R40 000/month in a luxury hotel.

Job opportunities

A General Manager can work in a variety of hospitality fields. Hotels, casino hotels, holiday resorts, sports resorts, cruise liners, beach retreats, spa and recreation establishments, destination spas, bush/safari lodges and guest houses are a few. Achieving the role of General Manager takes a lot of hard work and dedication but definitely has its perks! Join us next week for more info on awesome careers in the hospitality industry.