Hotel Receptionist Job Description

Greeting and ensuring that guests are accommodated are the primary roles of a hotel receptionist, often referred to as a hotel front desk agent or clerk. The hotel receptionist is typically the first hotel employee guests encounter when they arrive at a hotel, so easy conversationalists with a welcoming, courteous manner will help set the right tone in this role. They’re also tasked with managing reservations and checking out guests. Receptionists work for both large hotel chains or smaller, private facilities. Because hotels serve guests at all hours, receptionists may need to work weekend and holiday shifts during any range of the establishment’s operating hours. Often an entry level position, hotel receptionists report to the front office or hotel manager. Experience as a receptionist can kick start a career in a variety of roles within the hospitality industry.


Hotel Receptionist Duties and Responsibilities

Current job listings commonly included the following duties among the core responsibilities of a hotel receptionist:

Check-in Guests

Hotel receptionists greet incoming guests and welcome them to the hotel. They confirm reservations, explain hotel amenities, give directions to rooms, and produce room keys. They also arrange for luggage to be brought to rooms upon request.

Handle Guest Inquiries and Complaints

From providing additional linens to handling complaints about noise or room temperature, hotel receptionists are responsible for accommodating guests during their shifts. They contact necessary personnel, such as managers or housekeeping, to handle specific requests or complaints.

Answer Phones

Hotel receptionists take all incoming calls at a hotel. They handle phone reservations, confirm previously-made reservations, give directions to the hotel and answer any questions customers have about the lodgings.

Process Payments

When a guest’s stay is over, hotel receptionists handle check-outs. At this time, they will issue payments such as additional room charges and process debit or credit cards to pay for room fees.


Hotel Receptionist Skills

Strong interpersonal, verbal communication, and customer service skills are the top abilities needed for hotel receptionists. They should be patient and display above-average organizational skills. The abilities to deal effectively with crises and work with a diverse population are essential for this position. The following skills are commonly sought after by employers:

  • Administration – while some on-the-job training will be provided, receptionists need a level of comfort in computer, bookkeeping, phone, and other administrative skills
  • Math skills – calculating guest charges and settling room payments as well as processing invoices and completing payment transactions require basic math skills from receptionists
  • Attention to detail – in order to maintain a functioning front desk, receptions are highly organized and detail-oriented
  • Multitasking – hotel receptionists often juggle many requests at a time and are good at prioritizing tasks without missing a beat
  • Customer service – as the first in line to respond to guest complaints and special requests, hotel receptionists excel at dealing with people in a professional, calm manner. They are natural listeners who understand the importance of verbal and non-verbal communication


Hotel Receptionist Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual salary for hotel receptionists is $22,070. Those earning in the tenth percentile realize a median salary of $17,470, while top earners can make $31,850. Higher salaries tend to be paid in the northeastern and western US, with those working in Hawaii ($41,010), District of Columbia ($34,300), and New York ($30,790) earning the highest mean annual wages.

The overall projected employment growth rate for all receptionists is expected to be 9 percent through 2026, according to the BLS. An increase in automated services and interactive websites may alter this position in the coming years; for instance, guests are increasingly able to make reservations online, thus eliminating the need for hotel receptionists to serve in this capacity. This would generally have little effect on the need for this occupation, however, as all hotels will need hotel receptionists to deliver customer service and address the needs of patrons.


Hotel Receptionist Resources

Below you will find additional resources to help you learn more about becoming and working as a hotel receptionist. Professional associations, blogs, and books detail what it’s like to work in this field.

AICR The International Association for Deputy Managers and Front Office Managers of Luxury Hotels Founded in 1964, this professional association offers hotel receptionists and other hotel personnel educational courses, a mentoring program, and more

National Association of Professional Receptionists (NAPR) – Hotel receptionists can find useful resources and support, such as educational opportunities and accreditation, through this organization

Front of House Magazine – This publication covers various topics relevant to hotel receptionists, from amusing stories to best practices regarding stress management, guest relations, and telephone etiquette

How to Be a Hotel Receptionist by Matt Shiells-Jones – Containing scenarios and best practices for customer complaints, telephone calls, and more, this book details everything a potential hotel receptionist would need to know to succeed in this career

Tales From the Front Desk by Elisha Forrester – Written by a hotel receptionist, this book explores real-life situations and events – some of which are comical – that give a sense of what can transpire in the daily life of this profession


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