What Is the Typical Organizational Structure of a Hotel?

Dan Harkins

Though a motel staff may just be a few managers and maids, the organizational structure of a hotel often employs a much broader hierarchy of professionals, from the general manager down to the valets and maintenance crew. Some have bachelor's or even more advanced degrees in management or hotel administration. All are responsible — some more than others — for maintaining the service and standards of cleanliness necessary to keep guests coming back.

The front desk attendant may be in charge of running a hotel overnight.
The front desk attendant may be in charge of running a hotel overnight.

A general manager typically assumes the top spot in the organizational structure of a hotel. For smaller establishments, this could be the owner. This is the person ultimately responsible when things go well and when they go wrong. In larger hotels, there may be an assistant general manager and night manager as well, all of whom are tasked with supervising the hotel's various departments. Some hotels also have a resident manager, who focuses all efforts on the hotel's operations and customer service, freeing up other top managers for administrative tasks.

Waiters may be responsible for serving the customers at a hotel's restaurant.
Waiters may be responsible for serving the customers at a hotel's restaurant.

Under the top managers are a few or a group of departmental managers, depending on the size and success of the establishment. One may handle the overnight shift, another may be a chef in charge of the kitchen and room service. A trusted maid may be placed in charge of the housekeeping operations, and the front desk attendant with the most experience may manage other similar employees.

A bell captain often assists customers at large hotels.
A bell captain often assists customers at large hotels.

Other managers may be responsible for functions like security, sales, marketing, advertising, guest relations, human resources and accounting — all answering to the general managers and owner. Directly under these middle managers, particularly in larger establishments, are often assistant managers given cursory supervisory responsibilities. This is often necessary for service businesses like hotels that operate staff around the clock.

An executive housekeeper will oversee the hotel maids.
An executive housekeeper will oversee the hotel maids.

A common arrangement at the front desk of a large hotel, during any given shift, is an office manager who typically supervises a staff of at least a half-dozen workers. In the lobby will be a bell captain, a concierge, a doorman and front desk attendant. Outside will be one or more drivers for the hotel's airport or attractions transportation as well as one or more valets.

Hotel receptionists and front desk clerks usually make room assignments and cater to special requests.
Hotel receptionists and front desk clerks usually make room assignments and cater to special requests.

Under all of the managers in the organizational structure of a hotel are the rest of the employees, who deal on a more direct basis with the customers and their needs. These are the cashiers, waiters, cooks, busboys, housekeepers, valets, pool attendants, maintenance workers, activities directors and gophers. Each of these employees is tasked with helping to create an environment of memorable service at the hotel. If organized correctly, this should gain these employees respect and recognition from all the managers stationed above them.

Hotel maids make sure rooms are clean for guests.
Hotel maids make sure rooms are clean for guests.

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Discussion Comments

anon325059

What is the next step up from a hotel desk clerk?

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