Hotels depend on guest service agents to provide courteous and professional service to guests who are checking into or out of the facility and to offer assistance to guests as needed during their stay. No formal education beyond a high school diploma is required for this job, though relevant programs are available. On-the-job training and previous customer service experience are the most important qualities for most employers.
Guest service agents answer telephone calls from guests seeking to make or cancel hotel reservations. They greet arriving guests, assign rooms, issue keys, and collect guest payment and billing information. Agents answer guest requests for assistance and coordinate with housekeeping, bell service, staff and management to fulfill guest requirements. They provide guests with access to hotel services, forward in-room meal requests, and ensure that mail, faxes and packages are delivered in a timely manner. Agents also deal with irate guests and find ways to resolve issues to the guest's satisfaction. They may also serve as concierges, assisting guests with ground transportation, restaurant or entertainment reservations, and providing other information about the locale.
Agents may also be responsible for bookkeeping duties, including maintaining a cash drawer, preparing bank deposits and posting charges for items that guests may order or use during their stay. Upon checkout, agents calculate the guest's final bill and collect payments.
Hotels hiring guest service agents may require a high school or General Educational Development diploma and one or two years of customer service experience. There are certificates and associate's degrees in customer service and hospitality if an employer prefers additional education. Many agents begin their careers with on-the-job training under direct supervision of a front desk manager or another experienced worker. In-house training may include learning how to use the billing and reservation computer systems, managing a multi-line telephone system, familiarity with hotel facilities, customer service, and communication skills.
While a background in customer service or hospitality may be helpful, most employers simply seek out candidates who demonstrate responsibility, friendliness, and proper grooming. Employers may seek out candidates who demonstrate proficiency and honesty in handling money for this position. Agents who wish to advance their careers may seek out additional training workshops or certification courses in hospitality and business management.
Salary and Employment Outlook
Hotel guest service agents may work as concierges or desk clerks at hotels, motels and resorts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2015 that concierges made a median annual salary of $29,030, and desk clerks made a median of $21,040. The BLS doesn't provide specific job growth outlook numbers for hotel guest service agents, but they do provide figures for information clerks, which would include hotel guest service agents. The BLS projected a 2% job growth from 2014-2024.
A hotel guest service agent is the main contact guests have with the hotel, so in this position you must offer courteous service and ensure all the needs of the guests are handled properly.