According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, service occupations are by far the largest occupational group, accounting for two-thirds of the hospitality industry's employment. In 2006, approximately 62,000 establishments provided overnight accommodations to all kinds of people with different types of budgets and needs. In that same year, hotels and other accommodations provided 1.8 million jobs in the U.S. The overall hotel job growth between 2006 and 2016 should increase by 13.9 percent. Hotel guest services, which include the guest relations officers, will see a 6.7 percent job increase.
A hotel guest relations officer (GRO) is at the forefront of customer service. He or she is one of the first hotel workers to greet guests as they arrive. The GRO provides hotel guests with above-and-beyond service to ensure their experience will be worth remembering. The position ensures that guests are happy from the moment they step into the hotel until they leave. Sometimes, he or she continues to provide superior customer service after the guests are long gone.
Duties and Responsibilities
A guest relations officer gives each guest a personal recognition. This could be in a form of memorizing names of the customers or addressing them with the correct salutations, such as "Miss", "Sir", "Ma'am" or "Senator." Although a GRO would not be able to memorize the names of all the hotel guests at a given time, he should remember a hotel guest's name after two transactions. A GRO meets and greets arriving guests and bids them farewell as they leave. He reviews the arrival list daily and assists in preparing and distributing welcome amenities. GROs escort VIPs to their rooms and check them in before their arrival. A GRO attends promptly to customers' inquiries and assists them with their needs. When it comes to complaints, he allows guests to speak first and then provides solutions to their issues or concerns. He logs the day's activities in a logbook to ensure that the next person on duty is familiar with everything that needs extra attention. A guest relations officer should always be present in the hotel lobby and should maintain proper decorum at all times. He should respond quickly to calls in case he is not at his post. He also promotes all the facilities of the hotel and knows the surrounding areas when asked for directions. A GRO should also be familiar with the best places to tour, shop and dine.
The guest relations officer should always be neat in appearance. The person should always wear a complete uniform within the standards set forth by the hotel management. He or she should show his identification tag so that guests know his name. Hair should be neat and should have a color that is within guidelines, which means no unnatural hair colors. A female GRO should wear makeup that is not overbearing, keeping the look simple, professional and natural. She should make sure her fingernails are clean with no visible tattoos and no earrings on parts of the face other than the ears. She should wear only a pair of stud earrings on her earlobes (men should not wear earrings at all). A GRO should not only look clean but also smell pleasant. Since most of the time the GRO will be conversing with guests, it is important that her breath smells fresh; however, chewing gum is not permissible at work.
Aside from the job satisfaction of seeing that guests are happy with the services that they provide, GROs also enjoy the amenities of working for hotels. Hotel employees and their families get discounted rates at every location they serve. Some hotels offer employee discounts when dining at hotel restaurants or while utilizing in-room dining services. Depending on their employers, they may also get retirement benefits in the form of 401K, pension plan or stock options. Full-time employees also get health and medical benefits. According to indeed.com, as of 2009, the average annual income of a hotel guest relations officer was $49,000.
A guest relations officer can apply for promotion within the company. For example, he or she can apply for a supervisory or management position. A GRO can become a guest relations supervisor/manger, front desk supervisor/manager and may become a duty manager or hotel manager given enough experience, additional training and experience. To help gain a management position within the company, a GRO should pursue higher education; aside from a four-year college degree, he should also complete a master's degree. A good foundation would be a Bachelor of Science in Tourism or any business course, and then Master's in Business Administration.
Duties of a Guest Relations Officer
Bureau of Labor Statistics Outlook Handbook