Front Desk Professional: Skills and Career Paths
Deb Ward / JANUARY 05 2021

Front desk agents are the first interaction guests’ have with the hotel, so it’s essential to be friendly, welcoming, and enjoy helping people. As a front desk agent, you will help check-in and check out guests, process payments, and special requests, while answering phone calls. Currently, during the pandemic, you may also have to inform guests of the safety precautions and learn new technology to limit guest interactions with staff. 

What does a hotel front desk agent do? You are the first point of contact with guests as they arrive at your hotel. Typical duties include:

  • Check guests in and out of the hotel
  • Share details about the services and amenities available as well as any other information guests may need
  • Resolve any guest complaints
  • Create invoices and take payment
  • Communicate clearly with guests to provide the best service possible

To be successful in this role, you’ll need a minimum of a High School Diploma (some hotels may want an Associate’s Degree) and some basic skills, such as:

  • Strong interpersonal communication 
  • Computer knowledge – you should be computer literate in order to generate bills and book rooms, answer emails and use industry-specific software
  • Customer service skills – being aware of other’s reactions and a willingness to help
  • Resourceful, problem-solving skills – think on your feet to handle unique situations 
  • Time Management/Multi-tasking – being able to get all your duties done efficiently 
  • Basic accounting to track invoices and payments accurately

Soft skills are highly valued in the hospitality industry. You should be able to demonstrate:

  • Stress tolerance – be able to handle high volume periods and complaints calmly and effectively
  • Attention to detail – be able to handle multiple tasks thoroughly and accurately
  • Initiative – demonstrate a willingness to take on responsibility and challenges
  • Adaptability/Flexibility –  be open to changes and variety in your everyday experience
  • Leadership – be willing to take charge when needed, offer opinions and solutions
  • Creativity – be able to think outside the box to develop new ideas and processes
  • Empathy – be aware that guests may be tired, stressed or hungry when they arrive and treat them with understanding and care

Possible career paths you can pursue using your skills as a front desk agent include:

  • Concierge: sharing your knowledge of your community and environment, things to do, places to go, and what guests will enjoy. When you’re passionate about providing an exceptional guest experience, this can be a fulfilling opportunity to serve.
  • Assistant Office Manager: With your experience, you may be interested in managing other front desk agents by training and supervising them and managing their schedules. You’ll be responsible for solving any guest complaints or issues brought to you and gain management experience for the future.
  • Events Coordinator: Many of the same skills you used as a front desk agent will be needed in this position, particularly your ability to coordinate with other departments, take care of large groups, and schedule activities. 
  • Back Office Accounting: If you enjoy the experience of working with numbers and taking payments, and especially if you’ve worked the night audit shift, this may be for you. Reconciling accounts and working with vendors is a good stepping stone toward an accounting manager position.
  • Sales or Marketing: With your customer service experience, you may make a smooth transition to sales or marketing where your knowledge of customer preferences may come in handy.
  • Front Desk Manager: With the front desk experience you gain as an agent, you can get promoted into a front desk manager.
  • General Manager: After gaining enough experience with hotel operations, you can become a general manager and be in charge of the day to day hotel operations while managing a team.