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.