Hotel Sales Manager Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

About this article
A hotel sales manager's starting salary is around $44,000. Is this worth the training and sales expertise required? See real job duties and get the truth about career outlook to decide if becoming a hotel sales manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Hotel Sales Manager Career

As a hotel sales managers, you would meet with clients to convince them why they should do business with your hotel brand. The following is a list of more pros and cons that can help you decide if becoming a hotel sales manager is right for you.

Pros of a Career in Hotel Sales Management
High earning potential through commissions*
A high school diploma may be enough to qualify for work***
Favorable employment at large full-sized hotels**
Can prepare you for roles at other hospitality establishments (bed-and-breakfasts, resorts, casinos)**

Cons of a Career in Hotel Sales Management
Average job growth for general sales managers (eight percent projected from 2012-2022)**
Typically have to work evenings and weekends**
May be on call 24 hours**
Requires extensive outside sales duties***
Jobs are competitive at larger hotels**

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ***CareerBuilder.com Job Postings.

Career Info

As a hotel sales manager, your primary goal is to increase revenue potential and maximize profits. You would do this mainly through prospecting new clients using various internal and outside sales techniques, such as cold calling and attending trade shows. You would also maintain relationships with existing clients through telephone contact or field visits. Other job duties may include assisting front office managers with determining room rates, coordinating sales activities concerning room reservations, renting banquet and meeting spaces, implementing sales and marketing plans, working with businesses for group bookings and training staff members on using computerized sales systems.

Salary and Job Outlook

As of July 2015, most hotel sales managers earned between $30,000 and $60,000, according to PayScale.com. With bonuses and commissions, you can earn up to $65,000. Although the BLS does not have specific data on hotel sales management, they report that job growth for sales managers in general is expected to increase at an average rate of eight percent from 2012 through 2022. Factors affecting the job outlook include hotel budgets and staff cuts. Also, a demand for more limited service hotels would have less need for hotel sales mangers. Despite this, you may still find favorable job opportunities at larger hotels, such as casinos and resorts.

Education and Training Requirements

The BLS stated that you generally need a certificate or associate's degree in a related field for positions at small hotels that provide limited services. For larger full-sized hotels, the BLS reported that most employers tend to hire those with a bachelor's degree in hospitality or hotel management. You may also become a hotel sales manager if you have several years of work experience and demonstrate strong leadership abilities.

According to some job postings for hotel sales managers, you need to have experience working with hotel computer systems, such as those used for reservations and billing. Working in this occupation also requires that you have strong skills in areas, such as customer service, interpersonal communication, leadership and management, according to the BLS.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Job postings show that most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent education. Employers are also looking for candidates with at least two years of hospitality sales experience. A primary job duty requested is the ability to perform extensive inside and outside sales solicitation. The following is a sampling of open job postings for hotel sales management positions that can help you understand what skills employers were looking for during April 2012:

  • A hotel management company in Ohio seeks a candidate to oversee corporate sales marketing activities, perform extensive outside sales duties, exceed sales goals and generate revenue. This sales manager must have a minimum of two years of hospitality sales experience and knowledge of computerized sales systems.
  • A Chicago hotel is looking for a candidate with at least two years of experience in a sales or marketing director role. The manager would solicit clients through telephone and outside sales efforts, grow existing accounts and ensure revenue meets or exceeds projected goals.
  • A hotel in Virginia wants to hire a hotel sales manager with a broad experience in sales and catering. This position requires at least three years of hotel or equivalent sales experience and a high school diploma. Job duties involve responding to sales leads, assisting in booking meetings and catering events, prospecting clients through outside sales and training staff on sales systems.
  • A casino resort in California wants to hire a group sales manager who will serve as the primary contact for business groups. This candidate will solicit clients through telephone contact and field visits, represent the resort at trade shows and use sales techniques to increase profits. Qualifications include a high school diploma or equivalent, knowledge of Microsoft Office applications and OPERA hotel system, experience at a four or five star hotel and 3-5 years of experience in hospitality sales or guest services.

How to Beat the Competition

You can gain a competitive advantage over other applicants by obtaining a professional certification. Relevant certifications available include the Certified Hospitality Sales Executive (CHSE) and the Certified Revenue Management Executive (CRME) designations offered by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI). To sit for these certification exams, you must meet education and work experience requirements.

To maintain your designation, you're required to apply for recertification with the HSMAI every three years. For the CHSE credential, you must earn ten continuing education points, complete a 200-word essay, submit a recommendation letter and be employed in a hospitality sales position for at least 18 months at the time of recertification. To recertify for the CRME credential, you must earn at least 20 continuing education credits.

Other Careers to Consider

Food Service Manager

If you'd like to continue to work in hospitality, but make sure people enjoy an appetizing meal, then working as a food service manager may be the job for you. You would guide food service workers on making sure foods are handled in a sanitary manner, meals are cooked properly, portion sizes remain consistent and meals look presentable. Like hotel sales managers, you would be responsible for a variety of administrative and managerial duties.

Although restaurants will always be needed to provide meals, the BLS found that employment for this occupation was expected to decline by three percent from 2010-2020, but as of May 2011, the median salary was $48,000, which is more than hotel sales managers. Depending on the employer, experience may be sufficient for this position; however, the BLS recommends postsecondary education.

Real Estate Manager

For a career similar to hotel sales management that involves selling leased and rental spaces, consider becoming a real estate manager. One of your primary duties is to generate a return on investment for properties on behalf of owners. To do this, you would advise them on what price to charge and assist with marketing the property to prospective tenants. You would need a high school diploma at minimum to work in this field as hotel sales managers do; however, employers usually prefer to hires candidates with a degree.

If your job involves buying and selling properties, you would need a real estate license for your state. The BLS reported that employment for this occupation was projected to increase at a slower than average rate of six percent from 2010-2020. Despite this, real estate managers will still be needed to oversee properties, as people are increasingly living in apartments and community association dwellings. According to the BLS, the median wage earned in 2011 in this occupation was $53,000.

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