Many a family vacation has been salvaged from disaster by the actions of a quick-thinking front office manager, from finding a room at the last minute to resolving the bill. If you enjoy working with customers and have the patience and knowledge to help troubleshoot a range of potential issues, then hotel front office management is one hospitality career that fits the bill perfectly.
Hotel Management in a Nutshell
The front office is the primary point of contact between guests and staff. A critical part of the job is training and supervising the other front desk personnel. You'll also be in charge of a great deal of organization behind the scenes, including:
- Room reservations and assignments
- Resolution of complaints and problems
- Accommodation of special requests
- Billing disputes and adjustments are also within the purview of the hotel front office management
The front office manager may stay behind the scenes at larger hotels, with the front desk staff handling most of the direct face-to-face interaction with customers. In smaller establishments, however, the front office manager may be the one to greet guests, answer questions, issue room keys and collect payments.
What You Need to Know
Although it's possible, with enough hospitality experience, to work your way up to management from an entry-level position, it's increasingly common for hotel managers to possess a 2-year or 4-year degree. Degree programs in hotel management and hospitality teach a number of fundamental business and hotel operation principles, and you'll study the following areas:
- Human resources management
- Hotel front office management.
You'll also need impeccable customer service skills in this profession. Both the front office manager and the desk clerks he or she supervises must have the professional courtesy to deal with angry guests as well as pleased ones, so the ability to communicate effectively face-to-face and over the telephone is a must. Front office managers should also have a high tolerance for stress, and possess the ability to solve problems under pressure. Being detail-oriented, self-disciplined and organized are also traits that you will find extremely helpful.
Ultimately, hotel front office management is a service-oriented career. While management ability is, of course, integral to the job, the survival of the hotel as a business depends on the front office's role in keeping customers happy—and keeping them coming back.
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Hospitality Guild; O*NET Online.