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Hospitality work is exhilarating and enjoyable. It includes encountering many individuals with different careers, including famous world leaders, business people, and families visiting new cities for recreation. No day is like the other in the hospitality industry. Hospitality work includes hotel front desk officers, hotel owners, security officers and hotel housekeepers. For eg, the hotel front desk officer is the first person to call every time a visitor visits a world-class resort. Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago is one of the world-class hotels with a rating of 4.5 stars (""Great Location and Hospitality - Review of Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago, IL - TripAdvisor""). The front desk officer in a hotel, for example, is the first person to contact whenever a guest enters a world-class resort. Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago is one of the world-class hotels with a rating of 4.5 stars ("Great Location and Hospitality - Review of Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago, IL - TripAdvisor"). The front desk agent in such hotels deals with all the phases of the stay of the visitors. This research paper elaborates on the job of a front desk officer in a hotel.
I was able to interview Robert who had worked as a front desk clerk in Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago and currently working at a timeshare resort as a customer service representative. Some of the questions I asked him involved his age, his job experience, his hobby and the best place he has travelled. On career, I asked him such issues as the craziest request from the guests, how he maintains the authenticity of his hospitality career, how a typical day for a hotel front desk agent is like and the essential requirements for one to be hired as a front desk officer. I also interviewed him on the education of a front desk agent, the salary and career paths for a front desk agent.
Robert is aged thirty-three years and likes to travel to far distant places among them being San Francisco. The craziest request he has ever had from a guest is when a visitor demanded that all the furniture such as bed, chairs and table be moved out of the room because he did not like clutter. Primarily, he maintains his work’s authenticity by being himself. He believes that the customers can distinguish between an authentic hospitality person and one who is not genuine.
A typical for a front desk agent
Every day is different from the other for a front desk agent. A typical day for a front desk agent consists of registering visitors in and out of the hotel rooms, giving accommodation to individual visitors, confirming the mode of payment used by the guests while performing check-ins, upselling visitors’ rooms and publicizing the services provided by the hotel. Receptionists also pass messages to the staff of the hotel informing them of the conditions of the guest rooms sustaining cleanliness and neatness around the reception place. Front desk agent also deals and stores the luggage for the guests and helps other departments in their daily activities. They also respond to the customers’ problems and makes and answer calls on behalf of the company. They offer essential information to the clients and guests on the services available in the hotel. Maintenance of records of vacancies, reservations and room assignments is also an operation of the receptionists. They also consolidate and confirm record sheets, vouchers and cash receipts through computers or manual means.
Essential requirements for a front desk agent
A Front desk agent is self-driven and must not have a rigid job schedule. It is not a must that one should have prior experience of the job though, having a productive experience in the front desk job or any related hospitality job is an added advantage. Additional qualities include efficiency in finding solutions to problems through high-level conflict prevention and solving measures and professionalism when conducting duties, useful interpersonal and administrative competencies. It is a compulsory requirement for a receptionist to have a high school certificate. If one has done a diploma or a degree in a related hospitality course for instance training on hotel management and tourism, it is an added advantage. For one to make an excellent front desk agent, he/she must possess competent planning and organizational abilities. Owning prior customer relations and cash management experience is a vital factor in making a good front desk clerk in a hotel. The knowledge and competency in handling different computer applications and having knowledge of speaking more than one language are essential skills for the aspiring and practising front desk agents.
An excellent front desk operator should be time-conscious to avoid delays that may lower the confidence of customers in the business. A general understanding of the facility, services offered and the local area as well is required. A front desk agent is highly trained in the services, information and technology systems such as phone systems and on how to answer the questions that are regularly asked by customers. It is vital for the receptionist to know the internal organization of the business enterprise since he/she links the other staff members to the clients. Since front office desk job involves regular association with clients, it is essential for the front desk agent to establish competent spoken and written communication skills. Communication skills can be improved through taking English and public speaking lessons to be able to communicate efficiently.
Education of a front desk agent
The profession does not need any standard education. A diploma in high school or equivalent and skills in computer packages are usually required. Some employers require the front desk agent to have undergone through an apprenticeship program for at least two years, a higher diploma or a degree in front desk activities, tourism or hotel management.
Certification of guests business is also relevant though not compulsory and is accessible from the Council of Tourism Training.
The typical career paths for a front desk agent include customer service officer, cashier, retail sale associate, receptionist, administrative associate. For a front desk agent to become a customer service rep, it is vital for them to have done vocational, associate and bachelor’s degrees in related fields. A few of the customer service agents have done professional and bachelor’s degree in hospitality related courses. Most of the administrative assistants have done bachelor’s degree, associate and vocational degrees. Only a small percentage of executive assistants have the secondary school diploma as the only qualification. Most of the Retail sales assistants hold a high school certificate whereas a substantial number has done bachelor’s, associate and vocational degree. A small percentage of retail sales assistants have done master’s degree. The cashiers are mostly high school diploma holders with a few holding occupational, associate, and vocational and bachelor’s degree. Some front desk agents have done either professional, associate, bachelors or master’s degrees. A front desk agent can advance in his/her studies to open channels to other related jobs in the company. On top of the academic qualifications, it is necessary for the front desk agents to possess computer skills in applications such as Microsoft Word and MS PowerPoint.
The front desk clerk average annual salary in the United States amounts to $26,742. On average, the wages of the front desk agent is estimated to be $9.76 every hour. The least earners per hour get $7.00 while the highly paid get $14.00. Many front desk agents take around 20 years before advancing to higher posts in their career. Front desk agents with Scheduling knowledge and abilities are highly paid. The salaries for the front desk agents tend to remain at a constant point regardless of the experience in the job. The highly experienced in the post are paid slightly higher than the less experienced. The total extra earnings for the front desk clerks are made through overtime payment, tips and bonuses. Employees with more than ten years experiences are likely to earn compensation of $22,000 while those with knowledge of fewer than five years may anticipate the winning benefit of around $20,000.
The front desk agents experience pros and cons of their job. Some of the advantages are: the front desk agent can interact with many and new people on a daily basis. The front desk operator is the first person to meet when visitors enter a hotel, an office or a hospital. Therefore, they encounter many and interact with people of various careers, race, creed, ethnic groups and educational backgrounds(Wang 78). A front desk job is a source of livelihood for many people. It is a job with a decent pay considering that the qualifications to earn are not demanding, with a high school diploma one can work as a front desk agent. The other advantage of front desk employment is the absence of micro-management. As a front desk clerk, one has an opportunity to work with people from varied classes and cultural backgrounds. Through the inter-cultural and inter-classes interaction, the front desk agent learns much about the other communities.
Also, there is the advantage of working with the guests and interacting with them during their holiday. The front desk agent can enjoy the great experiences from the visitors’ presence in the hotel. There is minimized the occurrence of conflict and interference from other workers since the front desk agents mostly find themselves working alone in their offices. The front desk clerks may find themselves alone while carrying out research, organizing meetings and making travel plans for the boss. Also, dealing with new, friendly people continually gives one a pleasant feeling and develop a positive attitude towards the job.
On the other hand, the front desk job has its disadvantages. It becomes disheartening when all the customers anticipate being served differently than the way the business can be able to offer. Dealing with unsatisfied guests is hectic since the front desk agent will have to respond to many complaints, some of which are difficult to handle. Also, some companies have a terrible management. These many charges make the work of a front desk agent difficult since coping with a poorly managed enterprise is not an easy task. Sometimes, some of the guests may be disrespectful and unruly. They may talk ill to the front desk agent may be due to their social class, educational level, ethnicity or creed. The front desk agent has to devise ways of dealing with such guests and at the same time maintain a right image of the company.
The other challenge is serving many people from different cultures and social classes alone for long hours without compensation. The front desk agent may get a hard time helping guests from different cultures since some of them may not understand English("Front Matter" 56). Others need special services depending on their perception or social status. All these issues leave a front desk agent working out solutions to the challenges, leaving him/her with no time to go for meals or breaks. Some guests and bosses are non-appreciative of the services provided to them by the front desk clerk. The challenge of dissatisfaction from the clients and the managers create a negative attitude for the front desk operator towards the job("Working As a Front Desk Agent at Choice Hotels International: Employee Reviews | Indeed.com"). Dealing with bosses who are highly demanding of the workers yet they are not ready to motivate them is another challenge for a front desk agent.
"Front Matter." Facilities Manager's Desk Reference, 2014, pp. i-xxxii.
"Great Location and Hospitality - Review of Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago, IL - TripAdvisor." TripAdvisor: Read Reviews, Compare Prices & Book, www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g35805-d2042562-r510378364-Radisson_Blu_Aqua_Hotel-Chicago_Illinois.html.
Wang, Xiaolong. "Personnel agent system analysis of the pros and cons of personnel management in university." 2012 2nd International Conference on Consumer Electronics, Communications and Networks (CECNet), 2012.
"Working As a Front Desk Agent at Choice Hotels International: Employee Reviews | Indeed.com." Job Search | Indeed, www.indeed.com/cmp/Choice-Hotels-International/reviews?fjobtitle=Front+Desk+Agent.
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