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12 Necessary and Essential Skills of Front Desk Professionals
Hcareers / JULY 20 2021
Summary

As people begin to travel again, they are going to want to feel as safe as possible throughout the entire experience of staying in a hotel, and that experience will begin with the front desk staff. Guests will look to the front desk staff to explain the new procedures and ensure that all sanitation guidelines are being kept up with daily.

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.

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.

Although this may look different than it did prior to the pandemic. Guests will need to see front desk staff cleaning the reception desk area between each interaction, as well as sanitizing their hands and wearing a mask.

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.

Lift and carry 30 to 50 pounds

Normally, 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, the ability to do so will be seen as an asset by many. This will most likely be put on hold until further notice but may become common again after the pandemic passes.

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, prompt and courteous responses to a complaint can turn a potentially bad review into a good one—preserving a hotel’s valuable reputation.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Able to work a 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.

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. Although there may be fewer personal interactions for some time, the front desk staff will still be the first person guests will turn to for help.

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).

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.

Some front desk staff duties will be changing as we move through different reopening phases of the pandemic, so you may have less interaction with guests, need to disinfect surfaces more often, and potentially use more technology for the check-in/check-out process than before. The core skills will still be important in making the guests feel safe.

Are you interested in a front desk position? You can browse all open positions here.