A front desk officer typically works in the lobby or reception area of a lodging facility, including hotels, motels and resorts. Other front desk areas include bell/door staff, switchboard and concierge. The front desk officer is responsible for leading and assisting with hotel front office functions, primarily interacting with guests and facilitating hotel check-in and check-out procedures.
The front desk officer provides exceptional customer service to guests. Individuals in this role must have excellent customer relationship management and communication skills. Guests' first impression of a property often results from their interaction with the front desk officer during the check-in process. The incumbent cultivates customer relationships based on his understanding of guests’ needs.
The front desk officer supervises and facilitates front desk operations, and may run front desk shifts whenever necessary. As part of her duties, the officer monitors property occupancy and manages routine operations; this involves administering hotel policies fairly and consistently, and completing all related documentation in accordance with the facility's standard operating procedures (SOPs). Front office operations also include interacting with both guests and other hotel staff on a daily basis and providing them information by telephone, in written form or in person.
The responsibilities of the front desk officer include handling complaints, settling disputes and resolving grievances and conflicts with customers. Effectiveness in this area requires the ability to identify and understand issues, problems and opportunities; obtain and compare data from different sources to draw conclusions; develop and evaluate alternatives and solutions to solve problems; and then choose a course of action. The position requires adaptability and flexibility—especially when experiencing changes or challenges in the workplace.
The front desk officer maintains a working knowledge of all guest services, promotions and programs, including wake-up services, safe deposit boxes, room and property amenities, hotel-specific programs (e.g., kids' programs), guest rewards programs and local attractions, to name a few. He effectively markets the hotel’s services, facilities and amenities and entices guests to return.
Individuals interested in pursuing the position of front desk officer should have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. For high school graduates, the hiring property typically requires two years' experience in customer service, front desk or other related professional area. In lieu of work experience, a two-year degree from an accredited university in hotel and restaurant management, hospitality, business administration or related major qualifies an individual for this role.
Drawing from a balanced mix of communication, organization and customer service skills, front desk officers effectively manage multiple tasks simultaneously and attend to guests’ needs with diplomacy and professionalism.
According to national income trends from Indeed.com, the average salaries for hotel front desk officers are 66 percent lower than average salaries for all job postings nationwide as of 2010. The median expected salary for a front desk officer in the United States is $22,000 as of 2010, while the average salary of jobs with similar or related titles, including front desk agent, guest service agent and front office agent, ranges from $21,000 to $23,000.