10 Traits of a Great Hotel Front Desk Agent

10 Traits of a Great Hotel Front Desk Agent

Working the front of house at a hotel is a tough job. I know, I’ve had my share of working desk shifts..(remember doing 3 shifts in a row? – not fun!). Guest service agents are on their feet for most of an 8 hour shift and have to deal with demanding guests. And many times, how they react can make or break our hotel’s reputation.

How do we know if the front desk person we just hired is the right fit for the job? Do they have the right hotel experience? Did they come from another hotel? Are they bringing negative vibes or bad habits from their last job? In this article, I share the ten things that can make your front desk agents stand out.

(After reading, please share this article with a colleague, service agent or co-worker that could help them be their best! )

When guests arrive at our hotels, we only have a few minutes to make a great first impression. That said, majority of this responsibility falls in the hands of our front desk agents.

These hotel professionals set the tone of the entire experience that our guests will get from their stay. While there’s no such thing as the “perfect” front desk agent (let’s be honest, we all have our weaknesses and make mistakes), we can cultivate traits, coach and train them to be awesome at what they do.

There are many things we can teach our teams, I narrowed it down to 10.

  1. Empathetic and Caring. When guests approach the front desk to check in, they may be tired from their travels. They may be hungry. Guests might be stressed and annoyed over traffic or airport delays. Here’s the perfect time to shine! Understanding how that guest is feeling and being empathetic can provide comfort to guests as an overall experience factor.Example: “Mr Smith, I understand exactly how you feel. I am sorry that your flight was delayed. I am here to make sure that you have a pleasant stay with us. Is there anything I can do for you right now? Can I offer you a complimentary beverage?”
  2. Willing to Go Above and Beyond. As with all of our staff, guest service agents should be willing to go above and beyond his or her job description to make your guests happy. No team member should think that the job only entails answering the phone and processing check-ins and check-outs.Expert Tip: If you ever hear a staff member say “That’s not my job or duty”, they need to be trained and coached – Heavily. If this attitude persists, they need to find another job…somewhere else!Seriously, don’t allow these negative people to ruin your hotel’s reputation and make your lose money.
  3. Ability to Anticipate Guests’ Needs. When guests arrive at the hotel, our agents should be able to “read” guests and anticipate their needs. For example, if a particular guest has a baby or toddler, front desk agent should be able to offer additional services (i.e. a bottle warmer, milk available 24/7, crib – if available) to make the guest’s stay more comfortable. 
  4. Engaging and Inquisitive. The ability to engage with guests and have meaningful conversations is very important to the success of any hotel professional. A good agent should be able to ask questions and probe how the hotel can deliver a great and personalized experience for guests. An out-going team member cannot only drive revenues, they are able capture positive online reviews. (see how SmartGuest.com’s Review Cards & VerifiedGuests – Online Platform tools can drive more reviews for your hotel)
  5. Calm, Composed. There are days when our hotels are extremely busy and often stressful, especially during peak seasons. Imagine a front desk agent losing his or her bearings during these times. It’s not beneficial for our hotels and it’s definitely not good for guests. We need to develop an inner Zen among our team members, so they remain calm and composed even when push comes to shove.
    Expert Tip: Take a break!
  6. Always Smiling. It’s true. The most genuine and warm smile can cure even the worst of days. A great front desk agent should be smiling 100% of the time. Yes, I know that there are days when we don’t feel like smiling, but an awesome front desk member should be ready to come to work with a smile. Read my recent article “Your Million Dollar Smile” 
  7. Knowledgeable about the Local Area. When guests have questions about your hotel’s vicinity, they will probably approach the desk. As such, every member of the front desk team should be knowledgeable enough to be able to answer these questions and make recommendations including where to eat, where to shop, local hot spots, what to do, etc.Expert Tip: Never Say- “I DON’T KNOW”! Instead say, “Mrs. Smith, please allow me to find this information for you.”
  8. Resourceful. Anyone in the hotel industry should know, you must expect the unexpected. Guests have the most unusual request or circumstances (i.e. a superstitious guest who won’t stay in a room with a number that adds up to 13). We have to train our desk staff to be extremely resourceful, to think on their feet and think of creative solutions to different situations.
  9. Energetic. Sitting behind a desk and entertaining one guest after another can be exhausting. However, a front desk agent cannot show signs of tiredness or fatigue. Share tips on how they can keep their energy levels up throughout the day. We a need energetic and happy team.Expert Tip: Don’t eat a heavy meal before shift. Sugar maybe a short-term boost, but may fade as the day goes on. Consume healthy snacks such as fruits and veggies (I love carrot sticks).
  10. A Great Ambassador for Hotel. Again, our service agents will most probably be the first and last person our guests will interact with. That said, these professionals may very well be the “face of your hotel” to most guests. As such, whoever takes on this role should be a great ambassador from the hotel – understands what we stand for and able to communicate this well to guests. I see and speak with proud ambassadors on a weekly basis… Does your hotel have some?

Not all front desk agents are created equal. At the same time, none of us were born to take on this task. We must groom our staff, instill these 10 traits in them, and watch them bloom into the best person they can be. There are millions of amazing and great agents in our industry. Make sure these wonderful people are working at your hotel!

What are some more traits that make Front Desk Agents great? Comment below.

Have a successful day!

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Rupesh Patel

Rupesh Patel, hotelier and founder at SmartGuests.com, a U.S.-based Hospitality and Review Tools company that helps hotels increase revenues and occupancy, by boosting their online reviews and reputation. His proven system has not only improved his own hotels, but have helped hundreds of other hotels (large and small) get an advantage over their competition. He regularly shares his passion for entrepreneurship, customer service and marketing on numerous industry sites, social media and blogs.

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