7 Ways Hotel Managers Can Improve the Performance of Their Front Desk Staff
The front desk is often where guests have their initial interaction with hotel staff and that exchange will set the tone for their stay. For employees in front desk roles, the job can be harrowing, particularly when the pace picks up during high occupancy periods. Even then, it’s crucial that front desk staff epitomizes customer service excellence and understand how they can also play an important role in contributing to the hotel’s revenue.
Here are 7 suggestions to optimize the job performance of front desk staff:
Make sure front desk employees are well trained on the hotel’s Property Management System (PMS). Among its many automations, this software application functions as the epicenter of a hotel’s guest bookings, guest details, online reservations and posting of charges functions. As such, it’s essential that front desk staff can access the system and have deep knowledge in using it in order to take and make changes like special requests and upgrades to reservations.
Hire staff that is already familiar with the local area. Even if the hotel has a concierge, guests will also as the front desk for local recommendations and directions. So it’s important that employees already know the community where the hotel is located, even if they don’t always know all the answers. Otherwise, the learning curve can be steep and can impact guest service quality.
Interview for the right personality. Experience behind a hotel front desk is optimal, but not necessarily required since savvy candidates can be trained for the job. But even those who are quick learners should have the right personal characteristics – a friendly demeanor and quick smile and the willingness to serve others. Both guests and fellow employees will be more tolerant of a new team member’s learning curve if the employee has the right attitude and of course, a hospitable demeanor also reflects well on the hotel.
Ask the right questions. It’s also essential to know how a future front desk staffer problem solves, whether it’s dealing with a dissatisfied guest or juggling a group check-in with answering phones. So don’t hesitate to ask for examples of past instances when a candidate may have felt overwhelmed at work or had to contend with a disgruntled customer or colleague and how they handled the situation.
Look for a team player. No individual hotel employee functions in a silo. Hotel staff must work together, and across all departments, in order for a hotel to be successful. So get an idea as to how the candidate works as part of a team – and if they enjoy it. How has he or she contributed to a team that they may have been part of at a previous job? Have they participated in team sports or worked with a volunteer group? –The latter two examples can also illustrate the extent to which the person can collaborate with others for the good of a common goal.
Assess a candidate’s flexibility. Certainly, hotel employees need to be adaptable when at work as they may be called upon to assist with tasks that aren’t necessarily part of their day-to-day tasks. However, they should also be willing to work flexible hours, including nights, weekends and holidays. While asking employees to work varying shifts every day will make it more difficult to find good employees, candidates should also know that they may sometimes be called upon to fill in for a sick coworker or a colleague who’s on vacation or that staff take turns working various holidays throughout the year and anyone interested in working in hospitality should be onboard with that.
Think out of the box. All too often this is a catch phrase that human resource professionals latch on to, but don’t necessarily put into practice. So before looking at resumes and interviewing candidates for front desk positions, review other open positions at the property because you may come across a candidate who’s applied for a front desk position who may not be a fit, but could have the potential to take on another role at the property. Good candidates are hard to find, so don’t let any slip through your fingers!