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Front Office Management

First impressions are important, most definitely. Yet in the hotel industry, last impressions and every contact in between are equally vital. Your front desk staff is essentially the "face" of your business. From the moment they great your guests until the final checkout, their professionalism and service leave a lasting impression. Your hotel front desk manager must make sure it is a good one. For this reason, among others, this employee is one of your most important hires.

The Best Impressions

Without a front desk manager who is committed to customer service, your front desk personnel may flounder. You need a professional who is experienced in leading and directing the work of others. Your manager must be able to handle complaints courteously, resolve guest problems expediently, and train the rest of your front office staff to do so as well.

If your front desk manager is responsible for hiring staff as well, the role becomes even more vital. Experts in staffing estimate that a bad hire (i.e. one that does not work out) can cost a company as much as $30,000 in recruiting costs, training time and lost productivity. You need a manager who is adept at both identifying the best applicants and coaching employees who are underperforming.

The Big Picture

While duties vary by hotel establishment, most front desk managers do more than just oversee the front desk staff. They may actively participate in coordinating reservations and room assignments, as well as oversee the concierge and valet staff. The best manager is able to juggle multiple priorities and adjust focus at a moment's notice. This may require flexibility and creativity. It definitely requires the ability to perform under pressure.

The Bottom Line

Your front desk manager plays a big part in the bottom line of your business. Directly, some managers are responsible for daily deposits and billing and well as negotiating and executing vendor contracts. Other duties may include setting room rates, approving purchases and creating department budgets. Indirectly, their training and supervisory skills determine the quality of your front desk staff, and thus the happiness of your guests. Unhappy guests rarely return.

While you may find a competent candidate for your front desk manager position whose long-term hotel experience makes up for any lack of education, many employers prefer professionals with degrees in hospitality or hotel management. You'll find many such candidates on, where you can post a job in under five minutes and search hundreds of hospitality resumes.

Hotel success is dependent, at least in part, on guest impressions. Make a good one, and the average satisfied customer will tell three other people about your establishment. Make a bad one, and they will tell eleven. Hiring the best front desk manager is one way to insure more of those impressions are good.