12 necessary and essential skills of front desk professionals
When people travel for any reason, their basic needs are the same: a clean room and comfortable bed in which to sleep, confidence in the safety of their accommodations, and helpful, friendly front desk staff—from customer service agents to the porters and concierge—who are courteous, knowledgeable and proficient in their duties.
Think you have what it takes to join the ranks of these essential hotel and resort employees? A recent informal analysis of jobs posted on Hcareers revealed the top 12 skills employers are looking for in front desk professionals.
12. Neat and professional appearance
The lobby may be the first thing a hotel guest sees when checking in, but the front desk agent is the first person he or she meets. These professionals are basically the face of the establishment, and employers are looking for individuals who will take pride in this roll and the representation of their brand.
11. Speak multiple languages
Whether you’re working the desk at a hotel in New York City or Jackson Hole, you’re likely to encounter visitors from all over the world. While being multilingual isn’t required for front desk positions at most hotels, it is a skill many employers value. If you’re proficient in more than one language, make sure you mention this on your resume.
10. Lift and carry 30 to 50 pounds
Hotel porters help guests get their luggage to and from their vehicles, taxis and their rooms. Even front desk agents may occasionally need to assist a visitor with a heavy bag or package. Though not all employers require candidates to regularly lift and carry large loads, an ability to do so will be seen as an asset by many.
9. Problem solving skills
Even the best hotel has disappointed guests from time to time. For this reason, employers want to hire front desk professionals who can think on their feet and solve problems as they arise. Oftentimes, a prompt and courteous response to a complaint can turn a potential bad review into a good one—preserving a hotel’s valuable reputation.
8. Stamina to stand for long periods
You won’t be spending much time sitting down if you’re working as a front desk agent, porter or concierge. For most of your day, you’ll need to be on your feet and assisting guests with checking in and checking out, transporting luggage and other activities. Sure, you can wear comfortable (neat and professional) shoes, but you’ll need tireless leg and core muscles as well.
7. Ability to stay calm under pressure
While it would be nice if you only needed to focus on one thing at a time, most jobs for front desk professionals require multitasking in a fast-paced environment. At any given moment, you may need to answer the phone, greet a guest, sign for a package and process a credit card transaction simultaneously. Employers look for candidates who can do so without losing their cool.
6. Organized and detail oriented
All that multitasking can lead to piles of paper and plenty of mistakes if you’re not also organized and detail oriented. If you want to work at the front desk, you should be able to keep track of your progress on multiple tasks, maintain a neat and tidy workspace, and complete complex processes and procedures without errors.
5. Strong interpersonal skills
It takes a team to run a hotel, and you might not always see eye to eye with everyone on it. If you’re applying for a front desk position, make sure the employer knows that you are skilled at functioning on a team and getting along with a variety of different people.
4. Able to work flexible schedule
Hotels and resorts are 24/7 businesses. Guests come and go at all hours, and someone needs to be at the front desk to help them. For the best chance at a front desk job, offer to work whatever schedule is needed—be that early mornings, late nights, weekends and/or holidays.
3. Guest service
Without guests a hotel cannot stay in business. For this reason, guest service is the third most in-demand skill mentioned in front desk job postings on Hcareers. It includes being pleasant and friendly, working efficiently and accurately, solving problems and anything else necessary to ensure a pleasant experience for hotel customers.
2. Effective written and verbal communication
From responding to guest emails to writing down directions to local attractions, there are many front desk duties that require the ability to effectively communicate in written or verbal form. If you’re after a front desk job, you need to demonstrate this skill from your first contact with the employer (resume) to the last (interview).
1. Computer literacy
If you don’t know your way around the Microsoft Office suite of software programs, you’re going to have difficulty landing a front desk job. Nearly every posted position mentions basic computer skills, and some have even more detailed requirements. Candidates with experience using hotel property management software are going to have the most luck securing available jobs.