The Inside Track on… the role of a hotel receptionist

While the news headlines continue to be dominated by quarrels over Brexit, we thought we’d take a change of pace and return to our occasional Inside Track feature. This is the series where we give you a little bit more detail about some of the fantastic hospitality roles we recruit for at Prime Agency Recruitment. This month, we’re looking at the job of the hotel receptionist – a role that’s crucial to the smooth and successful running of any hotel, but which is often overlooked in its importance (unless things go wrong, that is!). When we’re working to fill the position of the hotel receptionist, there are certain qualities we’ll always be looking for. So if you’re a prospective candidate who thinks these are qualities you already possess we’d love to hear from you.

The overview

The receptionist is the public face of your hotel. As such, it’s essential that they’re well-groomed and always look smart and professional, with a positive ‘can-do’ attitude to match.

It’s important that they project just the right balance of friendless, confidence and authority, have first-class communication skills, and possess the ability to stay cool and calm under pressure. After all, they won’t just be welcoming your guests as they arrive, checking them in and out of their rooms, issuing keys, preparing bills and taking payments. They’ll also be answering guest enquiries, providing information about the hotel’s services, and doing everything they can to make sure your guests’ needs are met – including dealing quickly and efficiently with any complaints. For that reason, a hotel receptionist also needs to be a diplomat with fine-tuned conflict resolution skills.

The finer details

It’s vital that the hotel receptionist makes a warm and welcoming first impression, making every guest feel special and individual from the moment they enter your hotel.

They need to be proficient with the booking system your hotel uses and able to provide guests with clear directions to their rooms (unless a Porter is available to take them there personally). They should have a keen attention to detail, maintaining accurate guest records and making sure that all the necessary information – restaurant bookings, housekeeping, maintenance etc. – goes quickly to the relevant departments. They should also be prepared to manage any additional requests your guests have, such as ordering newspapers, taking messages, storing valuables or booking taxis.

The perfect hotel receptionist is also a consummate sales professional, able to tactfully up-sell the additional services your hotel provides (i.e. the restaurant, spa, beauty salon and leisure facilities), confidently persuade guests to take advantage of special promotions, or – where appropriate – encourage them to increase the length of their stay, upgrade to a bigger and better room, or re-book before they leave.

If that sounds like a big ask, look at it this way: a hotel receptionist is the first port of call for everything your hotel offers. If your hotel receptionist is performing the role to the very best of their abilities, they’ll have built up a rapport with your guests that will make up-selling these services a lot easier.

Finally, because most hotels operate on a 24/7 365 days a year basis, your hotel receptionist should also be prepared to fit into any shift patterns as required.

The five essential skills every hotel receptionist needs

Professionalism: 

Your hotel receptionist is the embodiment of your brand. Apart from the concierge, they’re the first person your guests will meet when they arrive at your hotel and the last person they’ll see before they leave. If your hotel receptionist has embodied your brand well, they’ll have helped make your guests’ stay a memorable one for all the right reasons. As a result, your guests may return for another visit and/or recommend your hotel to their friends and colleagues.

Consummate communication skills 

A hotel receptionist should have excellent verbal and written communication skills (including on the telephone), patience, tact and discretion. The ability to speak a foreign language can be useful as well.

A high-energy ‘can-do’ attitude

A hotel receptionist shouldn’t be fazed by anything your guests request (within reason, of course!) Their focus should always be on making your guests feel as comfortable and at home as possible. Even when the request isn’t something they can deliver, they should have the local knowledge to suggest alternatives or at least be able to give them the bad news with friendliness and diplomacy.

Be a good multi-tasker 

A hotel reception is a busy place to work, and a receptionist will often be managing several different tasks all at the same time: greeting new guests, taking bookings, fielding questions and preparing bills (not to mention dealing with the occasional complaint.) It’s important that they can handle all of these demands calmly, methodically and efficiently no matter how tired or stressed they might privately be feeling.

Be knowledgeable

A hotel receptionist should have a thorough knowledge of all the services your hotel provides, and also of the facilities available in the surrounding area – including information about taxis and transport links. The best hotel receptionists know it’s the small details that add the most value to your guests’ experience, so they’ll make it their business to stay up to date with anything your guests might ask of them.

We can help find you the perfect hotel receptionist

Those are just some of the skills we’ll look for when we’re recruiting a new receptionist for your hotel. Because we take time to get to know all our candidates in person as well as on paper, we also know the other essential qualities to look for that will make them a perfect fit for your business.

If you’ve got a hospitality vacancy, we’ve got the very best candidates to fill it. Whatever your requirements, give us a call on 020 7580 4398 or email info@primerec.co.uk. Our expert advisors are always here to help.