Play the perfect host

A career in front office management will challenge your people management skills

Published - October 22, 2018 10:00 am IST

27/09/2011: Guests at the standing infont of Hotel  Reception at Courtyard Marriott Hotel on Tuesday. Photo: R_Ragu

27/09/2011: Guests at the standing infont of Hotel Reception at Courtyard Marriott Hotel on Tuesday. Photo: R_Ragu

For dozens of hotel professionals who are in the business and have gone on to mentor talented employees, many will enlighten you that one of the most important areas to work in is the front desk. Why? Since it’s the ‘hotels’ smile’, the place where you get to experience the excitement of dealing with guests, the complexity of handling crisis situations, and the control that comes from overseeing the communications centre for the hotel. It’s a lively and fast-paced working environment and being part of this operational hotspot isn’t for the faint-hearted.

When people travel, whatever the reason may be, their basic needs are the same: a clean room, a comfortable bed, assurance in the safety of their lodgings, and helpful, friendly front desk staff — customer service agents, bellmen, and concierge who are polite, knowledgeable and expert in their duties.


A hotel front office manager is tasked with the well-organised and smooth administration of the entire front desk operation, as well as the staff who work there. It is a demanding role which often requires a lot of multi-tasking.

Night auditors, concierges, receptionists, cashiers, and bellmen usually report to the front office manager, who in turn reports to the general manager. It is a very hands-on role and requires a positive leader who is not afraid to make vital decisions.

The front office manager’s duties typically include:

Overseeing and training front office staff for their job roles and motivating them to offer guests outstanding service.

Making sure the front desk present a specialised and friendly service for all guests of the hotel, not just the ones who are checking-in.

Dealing with guest queries and complaints.

Organising the staff shifts for the week/month.

Troubleshooting during crisis situations and finding proper outcomes.

Managing cash, guest valuables, and hotel safes.

To be a successful Front Office Manager, you must seek steady enhancement and self-evaluation in order to stay determined and give of your best. Great Front Office Managers know how to make a client feel special without having to do or say too much. Attention to detail always impresses guests — from a special greeting and warm welcome to an upgrade or assistance with some photocopying. They appreciate how the guest cycle works from the preliminary point of a guest reservation to check-in, payment and departure. They know everyone’s role and persuade their teams to be clear, uphold principles, and motivate them to offer outstanding service.

Skills required

Have outstanding communication skills — both oral and written.

Have the skill to handle tricky situations with a level head.

Have the aptitude to multi-task and execute under pressure.

Must have the capability to take decisions without fear.

No two days are the same; it’s an action-packed career filled with adventure that necessitates a level-headed, organised and service-oriented personality.

Opportunities: Various front office jobs are available in resorts, hotels, game lodges, cruise ships, spas, golf clubs, and many more venues. Job succession includes Rooms Division Manager, Assistant General Manager, or General Manager. Hours of work comprise shift work (6 a.m. - 3 p.m.; 2 p.m. - 10 p.m.) or an 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. role to supervise the smooth running of both shifts.

Qualification: Most Diploma courses accept students who have cleared their Class XII boards, though a few do accept students just out of high school. For PG Diploma course in Front Office Management, a candidate should have completed their graduation in any stream.

Remuneration: Graduates, or those who have completed a Diploma or PG Diploma course in Front Office Management can find jobs as front office executives, office assistants, personal secretaries, customer service executives, and telephone operators. Generally, a fresher in the field can get a package of ₹15,000 to ₹20,000 a month, and it increases with the experience.

List of colleges/ institutes offering this course:

Institute of Hotel Management Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, Chennai

Delhi Institute of Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Delhi

Council of Education and Development Program (CEDP Skill Institute), Mumbai

Institute of Hotel Management, Manipal University, Manipal

The writer is Chief Marketing Officer, Co-Director of CEDP Skill Institute, Mumbai.

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