Original Research

Key competencies and characteristics of accommodation managers

Walter Wessels, Engelina du Plessis, Elmarie Slabbert
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 15 | a887 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v15i0.887 | © 2017 Walter Wessels, Engelina du Plessis, Elmarie Slabbert | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 November 2016 | Published: 24 November 2017

About the author(s)

Walter Wessels, School for Business Management, North-West University, South Africa
Engelina du Plessis, Tourism, Research in Economic Environs and Society, North-West University, South Africa
Elmarie Slabbert, Tourism, Research in Economic Environs and Society, North-West University, South Africa

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Orientation: Tourism employees are trained by various higher education institutions, yet industry still voices its concern regarding the readiness of potential employees entering the tourism industry.

Research purpose: This article aims to critically assess the key competencies and personal characteristics needed by accommodation managers in the South Africa tourism industry based on the opinions of the industry itself.

Motivation for the study: Tertiary institutions in South Africa educate potential tourism employees in a variety of skills and knowledge. However, some employers are still of the opinion that these students are not adequately prepared for the demand of the industry. Therefore, the tourism industry feels that students are not employable, which creates challenges for students, tertiary institutions and the tourism industry.

Research, design, approach and method: It was achieved by collecting 254 self-administered questionnaires from graded tourism accommodation establishments in South Africa.

Main findings: Nine key competencies needed by accommodation managers were identified and the importance of certain personal characteristics was evident. Novel to this field of research, the latter was rated more important than the nine key competencies that hold implications for training institutions and the industry.

Practical/managerial implications: The implication of the study is that accommodation managers should be trained in a different manner and higher education institutions should revise their training methods and selection strategies to address the needs of industry.

Contribution: Effective selection and training of accommodation managers will improve not only business success but also contribute to the success and growth of the tourism industry.


competencies; characteristics; tourism industry; accommodation sector; managerial skills; tourism graduates


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