Front Office As A Career

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For dozens of hotel professionals who work in the industry and have gone on to mentor talented employees, many will tell you that one of the most valuable areas to work in is the Front Desk. Why? Because it’s the ‘hotels’ smile’, the place where you get to experience the thrill of dealing with guests, the difficulty of managing crisis situations and the control that comes from overseeing the communications centre for the hotel. It’s a dynamic and fast-paced working environment and being part of this operational hotspot isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Duties of a Front Office Manager

A hotel Front Office Manager is tasked with the efficient and smooth running of the entire front desk operation, as well as the staff who work there. This senior role is designed to oversee, manage and support various administrative, staffing and guest related queries. The Front Office Manager typically trains reception and reservations staff and is the communicator between this valuable department and the General Manager or owner. It’s a very busy role which often requires a lot of multi-tasking.

Night auditors, concierges, receptionists, cashiers and bellmen typically report to the Front Office Manager, who in turn reports directly to the General Manager. It is a very hands-on role and requires a confident leader who is not afraid to make important decisions. The Front Office Manager must be skilled enough to lead a team, support other departments and ensure that each and every guest has a memorable experience.

Duties Typically Include

  • Managing and training front office staff for their job roles and motivating them to offer guests outstanding service.
  • Ensuring the front desk provides a professional and friendly service for all guests of the hotel, not just the ones who are checking-in.
  • Dealing with guest queries and complaints
  • Arranging the staff shifts for the week/month
  • Troubleshooting emergency situations and finding suitable outcomes
  • Handling cash, guest valuables and hotel safes

Front Office As A Career

To be a successful Front Office Manager, you must seek constant improvement and self-evaluation in order to stay focused and give of your best. Great Front Office Managers know how to make a customer feel special without having to do or say too much. Attention to detail always impresses guests - from a personal greeting and warm welcome to an upgrade or assistance with some photocopying. Great Front Office Managers motivate their teams and are results driven. They understand how the guest cycle works from the starting point of a guest reservation to check-in, payment and departure. They understand everyone’s role and encourage their teams to be transparent, uphold standards and offer exceptional service, no matter the task involved.

Front Office Managers Must:

  • Have excellent communication skills both on the phone, in writing and in person
  • Have diplomacy to handle difficult situations with a level head
  • Have the ability to multi-task and perform under pressure
  • Must have the ability to make decisions without fear

This is a very rewarding career as it offers supervisors and managers a chance to learn how to face challenges and grow in their managerial skills on a daily basis. No two days are the same - it’s an action-packed adventure career that requires a level-headed, organised and service-orientated individual to head it all up.

Various front office jobs are available in resorts, hotels, game lodges, cruise ships, spas, golf clubs and many more venues. There is always a need for qualified front office staff to work both locally and abroad. Job progression includes Rooms Division Manager, Assistant General Manager or General Manager. Hours of work include shift work (6 am - 3 pm; 2 pm - 10 pm) or an 8 am - 5 pm role to oversee the smooth running of both shifts.

Qualifications and Skills

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For those who wish to pursue a career in Front Office Operations, you will need a solid qualification and plenty of practical experience on the Front Desk. If you’re already working in the Front Office and you would like to move up in the department into supervisory or managerial positions, we recommend our 10-week online course in managing front office operations from International Hotel Schools Online Campus. Graduates receive the IHS Short Course Certificate as well as an AHLEI award which may carry credits towards the Higher Certificate in Hospitality Management.

If you have a question about Front Office Operations, drop us a line below or email online@hotelschool.co.za. If you would like to know more about any of our courses, feel free to talk to a consultant today by ringing 0861 44 33 00.