General Manager (Motel): An Informational Interview Report

[Thanks to Ruth for sharing the informational interview report on how to become a general manager for a large motel and related career information.]


The person that I am interviewing is my manager from one of the big motel chains where I am currently employed. She is in her early thirties and has a family of her own. I had other interviews set up with people with jobs similar to my interests, but accidentally something came up and they didn’t have time to meet up with me nor through the phone. So since my manager is the only one I know who enjoyed their career, and that I had close connection with, I chose to interview her. I asked her nicely if she had time to be interviewed and she was happy to sit down with me and do the interview. I was also interested in finding out more about her position in management and to see how far one can go in this company.

My manager started as a manager at a large storage company and than she felt that that job was not what she wanted to do any more. She wanted to move on up and better herself for her boys. So, she applied for the manager position at the motel. In order to move up in this particular motel chain, you have to have started at the bottom and make your way up to the top. I have seen so many people move on up from the lowest position to some of the highest positions in this company.

My manager has a small family of her own. She has two sons and is originally from Los Angeles, California. She was raised throughout her life by her grandmother and got to travel the world when she got married at a very young age. Her husband was in the army so they were stationed quite a bit in this country. They finally settled out here in California and she decided to go back to school. They needed more income so she took up a job under customer service since she had a lot jobs working with sales and customer service. It was something she knew she was good at. She got hired as a sales person for the large storage company and later on became the store manager and ran the property for five years. Her sons were growing up and she wanted to do something better with her life. She didn’t feel that she was going to go far in this business so she set out to look for a better job that would provide her with great opportunities to grow in a company that she felt would appreciate her work.

She then went job hunting and either did not get hired or did not like the job. She kept searching for a career that could take her far. She finally saw an ad for a job at one of the big motel chains where skilled managers were needed immediately and that there were plenty of positions that needed to be filled. So, she applied, received an interview, and got hired for the job.

For my manager, she didn’t know how to manage a motel, but she knew how to manage and she had five years of experience at the storage company. At the time, the motel company had run out of managers and was in desperate need for those who have management skills for they were needed right away. That’s how my manager was hired.

Here are some of the information that she presented me with during the interview:

  • My job title is a GM (General Manager) for a big motel in the south bay.
  • My responsibilities are making sure all of the bills are paid on time (such as gas and electric, telephone, cable, internet access, water, utilities, etc.). I have to set the schedules to make sure it is suited for the housekeepers and the front desk, train new employees and those who are preparing to become a manager, certify clerks to become Manager on Duty (M.O.D.), handle the money (count the money and deposit in the bank), order supplies, do inventories, set up sales meetings, go out and promote the company, and cover shifts.
  • I’ve been working here for three years and it has been a great opportunity for me to continue growing in this company.
  • I started with the public storage company and was a property manager for five years and then I wanted something better and I applied here at the motel.
  • A typical day for me is to come in at 8:30 in the morning and make sure everything is okay, count the money, cover the shift for lunch, take money to the bank, run any errands for property needs while I’m out, come back and check emails from other managers and area manager, do billing, plan out schedules, work with customers, cover evening break and then go home.
  • The skills that are required for this job are people skills, administrative skills, customer service, and determination.
  • I like doing the appreciation parties and giving the employees something nice with the tools that are given and planning it out. I enjoy interacting with other managers, having lunch with them and getting new ideas for the company. I enjoy having good guests and it makes me feel nice and appreciative instead of getting rude customers who make you feel low. I enjoy my job because there is plenty of room to get noticed and to grow into bigger and better positions.
  • I try to make sure all employees are happy or not unhappy (at least satisfied) with the way they are treated. I do not like dealing with angry guests who take their frustrations out on others. I do not appreciate being threatened and harassed for no apparent reason. I try to accommodate the guests and my employees. So far everything is going great and like where I am now. I do plan on moving to a higher position. A lot of people who were in my position make a lot more money by moving to next available position in management such as area manager. The next position would be regional manager, and then into corporate. This is the reason why I like this job – because there are so many opportunities to pursue a career without even going to college.
  • The most important skills are people skills, money management, and time management.
  • The positions that are next after GM (General Manager), are area manager, regional manager, and then cooperate. Being a good manager, get noticed, and working very hard are great ways to move up into this company. Most of all is determination and how bad you want it. Another way to move up in this company is the help of your employees. They are the ones that make you look good and deal with the customers everyday.
  • If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would go to college and really try to live my dream. So for you, stay in college and try to do your best. My advice for someone who is single and doesn’t have a degree: this is good for a start and is a great opportunity. If college is not the thing for you, then try this. This job would be great for those who do not have a family and are single and do not know what they want to do with their life. For those who do have a family and feel that they are running out of time and do not have a career, I suggest trying to do something like this and maybe it’ll be something that they’ll enjoy doing. For those who are in college, this is also a great way to do your internship or to move up quickly in this company if you are into business administration. They are looking for those who have that skill to go straight into corporate offices, which is an advantage for those with college degrees.
  • If someone wants to know more about my position of the company, they can easily contact me or go to motel’s website.
  • I prefer not to discuss my salary.


During the interview, I noticed that my manager was confident and comfortable to talk about her position in this field. When speaking to her, she knew exactly what to say and how to answer the questions. It seems as if she was prepared for it all along.

The only thing she was not comfortable talking about what the salary because I was her employee. If I were not one of her employee, she would kindly tell me. She seems to appreciate and love what she does. She works hard at getting things done and is trying her best to move on up to the next position which is the area manager. She is determined and her motivation is her sons for her to grow in this company. I learned that patience, self-respect, and determination are very important. Working hard to get what you want will pay off and if you really want something so bad, you have to work to get it.

A lot of this information that was presented to me was new. Although I have been working for this company for a long time, I never took the time to learn the benefits of this company. I learned so much about this motel chain and the opportunities that are out there for me if I really wanted to become an administrator in the corporate offices.

A lot of the information was interesting. As you move on up to the next position, the salary gets better and better. I never knew how fast people could get promoted in this field. This interview made me realize that working at this motel is not just a job, but also a career for those who actually take it serious. This job does have great opportunities and so many of them if you are willing to do the work. It is a lot of traveling and training but my manager says it is all worth it just to get to the top.

My manager impressed me with the information she provided for me during the interview. I did not know that she does so much for this company. I never took the time to ask myself how certain things got done in order for the property to run the way it runs. All I knew was just do my job and that was it. Now that I know, I realize this is a hard job and it is hard to maintain the manager’s position.

In conclusion, this interview went well. I could not have asked for a better person to interview. I never thought of management as one of my options. People who know me, and people that I work with, say I am good at management and that I should take it into consideration as a job path. When I did the interview, I thought about it and realized that this can be a career path for me. I would really enjoy it.

The only thing is that my heart would not be in it. I am about helping people in any way I can. I have through training management skills, administration skills, people skills, etc., but I feel that I would not be doing much to contribute to the world.

I learned that if I need a job or want to increase my salary real quick without having to go to school, working for this motel company would be a possible choice since I know now that this is something that interests me. But this is a path that I do not want to get into. I have decided to go with what I have always focused on, and it is psychology.

I do not see myself working with angry customers nor sitting behind the desk doing paper work. I do not see myself going out and making a sale. I do not feel that it is that I want to do. I am not good at sales. I am a social person and outgoing, but trying to make a sale is not one of my skills.

This interview encouraged me to continue my studies and keep pushing forward. It allowed me to become better at what I know how to do. The experience was great. The interview went along smoothly. My manager was open to answer all the questions that I had for her. The information that was provided was helpful for me to know which direction that I should take in my career path, and that is to work and help human society. I enjoyed this interview and wished that I could have had the other interviews to learn more about working with people in social services, such as a therapist, psychiatrist, or a physician. All these types of fields work on helping people in different ways and that is what I am looking forward to doing in the future. However, the interview was good and very informational.


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