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What Does a Hotel Purchasing Manager Do?

By K. Kinsella
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A hotel purchasing manager negotiates contracts with suppliers and manages many elements of the day-to-day operations within a specific location or a chain of hotels. Applicants for these jobs are typically required to have completed an undergraduate degree course in business administration, hospitality management or a related topic. Additionally, many employers prefer to hire individuals who have prior experience working within the hotel or hospitality industries.

Hotels regularly buy supplies of food and beverages from vendors and these food items are sold through in-house shops or in the bar and restaurant. The hotel purchasing manager must contact distribution firms and negotiate deals to have bulk orders of supplies delivered to the site. In doing so, the manager must ensure that the building has sufficient storage space to contain these goods and that the supplies will not expire before being used. Supply contracts may remain in effect for weeks, months or years and over the course of time, a hotel purchasing manager may attempt to renegotiate such deals if other suppliers start offering lower cost supply packages.

Aside from perishable goods, a hotel purchasing manager must also acquire durable goods such as furniture, bed linen and computer equipment. A manager may enter into negotiations with several firms before agreeing to a supply arrangement. Some types of goods and equipment are bought infrequently in which case supply deals are often one-off events. Other types of durables need to be replaced relatively quickly due to heavy use in which case the manager may enter into a long-term contract with a particular vendor.

Having purchased the necessary goods, a manager must liaise with the restaurant, bar and store managers and set price points for various products that hotel guests can buy. The managers attempt to price items competitively so that guests are not tempted to leave the building and buy the same types of goods from nearby retailers. Despite attempting to keep prices low, managers also have to ensure that the sale price of goods is sufficiently high to cover the cost of buying inventory and other costs such as sales tax.

Within large hotel chains, a hotel purchasing manager may preside over a team of purchasing associates each of whom is tasked with managing one location or one type of product. Managers must ensure that overall budgetary limits are not exceeded. To achieve this, the manager may have to spend time coaching associates about negotiation techniques and strategies.

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Discussion Comments

By Laotionne — On May 05, 2014

I have noticed several job openings for hotel purchasing managers recently. If you have the experience and proper training the salary you can demand is not bad.

If you don't have the experience you can earn an associate's degree in a couple years. This is all some of the positions require to get you into a starting position. And the associate's degree is comprised of general courses with several courses specific to hotel management, so it shouldn't be too difficult for an average student.

By Sporkasia — On May 05, 2014
The hotel purchasing manager in many hotels are always looking for deals. I have a friend who is a purchasing manager for a family owned hotel and she often buys merchandise from other hotels that are going out of business.

When one of the upscale chain hotels in her area was closing she bought the contents of about 100 rooms. The moving guys took everything out of the chain hotel's rooms and then set it back up in the hotel where my friend worked.

As you can imagine, this saved the hotel a lot of money. She got a great price on the furniture because the closing hotel was in a hurry to get everything sold and the building closed down. She has to be very creative in finding ways to save money.

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