A hotel front desk is your primary point of contact for guests — and oftentimes their first. The service and experience here could echo throughout the entire guest journey. But that’s not all: hotel front desks act as a central hub for hotel operations.
Having a daily hotel front desk checklist as part of your standard operating procedures (SOPs) is critical to maintaining a high level of customer service so your guests have the best stay possible.
So, why are SOPs such as hotel front desk checklists so important, and how can you build a fantastic team of front desk agents? In this blog post, we’ll take you through the daily hotel front desk checklist and other crucial duties.
The front desk of your hotel serves as an important point of contact for both hotel operations and guests. From creating a positive guest experience to coordinating between departments and ensuring guest safety, the front desk is one of the most critical parts of your hotel.
However, there’s more to a front desk than meets the eye. Good management and staff training is essential to the success of your front desk — and your hotel.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Hotel Front Desk?
A hotel front desk deals with a myriad of responsibilities, including:
Check-in: After a long and tiring journey, your front desk is there to welcome guests, help with luggage, and check them in. Alternatively, many hotels are now turning to contactless check-in technology to speed up the process.
Ensuring guests’ needs are met: Guests often approach your front desk in-person, over the phone, or by messaging to make special requests. Maybe they need another pillow or perhaps they’d like you to book a reservation for them at a local restaurant.
Security and safety: Front desk agents are responsible for the safety of your hotel and its guests. They are often trained to spot potential risks and make appropriate decisions.
Handling reservations: Your front desk handles reservations by email, over the phone, or through online travel agencies.
Answering questions and providing information: Guests often need information on the local area or the hotel itself. Your front desk agents should be knowledgeable about both.
Handling guest complaints: Complaints aren’t uncommon in the hotel industry, but knowing how to resolve them is a skill that your front desk agents should have.
Coordinating with other departments within your hotel: The front desk often liaises with departments such as housekeeping, maintenance, and food and beverage.
Checkout: The front desk is responsible for checking guests out of the hotel. However, many hotels now use contactless checkout technology to provide convenience, so this may not entail face-to-face interactions with guests.
Characteristics of an Outstanding Front Desk Agent
The best front desk agents are always on their front foot — metaphorically speaking. Being proactive and knowing what a guest might need before they even ask are hallmarks of an outstanding front desk agent.
It comes down to knowing your guest; what they like and dislike, their favorite restaurants, allergies, and preferences. Additionally, agents must have fantastic communication skills, empathy, and a positive attitude. It’s a front desk agent’s job to make the guest’s day just a little bit better.
A front desk isn’t without its challenges, however, and that’s where problem-solving comes in. Agents who can fix issues as they occur and resolve guest complaints contribute greatly to the overall success of a hotel. We’ve made a list of a few desirable front desk agent qualities:
Most hotels create standard operating procedures (SOPs) for each of their departments. These documents serve as a guide for staff members and help standardize processes. No matter who is on shift, SOPs help you provide consistency and excellence.
SOPs are especially important for front desks owing to the sheer number of tasks and processes agents must perform daily. So, whether you are yet to create a hotel front desk SOP or are thinking of updating it, we’ve made a front desk checklist for you to copy and customize as needed.
Registration cards are physical or electronic documents that hotels use to collect and store guest information. Guests are asked to fill this out with personal information such as their email, phone number, name, and method of payment. Guests may be asked to sign this card as an acknowledgement of a hotel’s terms and conditions.
Guest information is a valuable resource. You must check registration cards and update guest profiles with accurate information. This is important for several reasons: compliance with legal requirements, personalization of service, communication with other departments, and security and safety.
One way to ensure all guests complete their reg cards with accurate information is to create a mobile check-in process that includes them as a part of the user flow.
7. Check all Voicemails, Text Messages, Emails & Physical Notes
Check and make a note of all pending voicemails, text messages, emails, and physical notes from the previous shift. Reply where necessary.
8. Coordinate with Airport & Local Transport
Guests will arrive and depart throughout the day. Traveling is stressful, so any transport arranged by the hotel must be efficient, quick, and hassle-free. Delays and mix-ups, though sometimes unavoidable, can impact the quality of a guest’s stay.
Make sure you stay in regular contact with any transport services so that you’re both aware of any issues, changes or new bookings.
9. Post any Property-Wide Updates or Alerts
Make guests and staff members aware of any important information or changes that may affect a guest’s stay. This can include information about hotel amenities, construction or maintenance work, events, or other relevant information.
As a shift comes to an end, the front desk agent needs to create the briefing for the next team. This should include information like occupancy and arrivals, VIP guests, and activities/events from your shift.
The quality of your handover can have a direct impact on the quality of the next team’s shift, so make sure it’s accurate and detailed.
The guest greeting is one of the most important parts of the guest’s stay. Here are a few things to remember when welcoming guests onto the premises:
Greet guests by name, if possible. Smile and maintain open, positive body language. If their name is not known, ask for it.
Search for the guest’s reservation on your property management system (PMS)
Print the registration card and ask the guest to fill out their details and sign.
Ask for the guest’s ID, take a photocopy if necessary, and return it promptly
Read out the guest’s preferences (pillow type, diet etc.,) and ask if anything is missing.
Give the guest their keycard and write their room number on the cardboard wallet.
Inform guests of any important information about facilities etc.
Payment & Billing Procedures
The front desk must process payments and settle guest accounts in an efficient, PCI-compliant manner. Failure to do so can result in an increase in lost chargeback cases and a drop in revenue.
If your hotel does not have a designated concierge desk, you may need to offer guests assistance with luggage, transportation, restaurant reservations, and entertainment bookings. You may also need to provide directions and recommendations as well as handle guest complaints.
Coordination with housekeeping is crucial to ensure rooms are cleaned and maintained at the right times and to the hotel’s standards. You may need to address and pass on any housekeeping complaints or issues from guests promptly and arrange for additional services like turndown or extra towels upon request.
Safety & Security Services
The front desk must ensure that guests have valid identification and are authorized to stay in the hotel. You may need to monitor security cameras and ensure that all entrances and exits are secure.
Respond to all emergencies quickly, and alert the appropriate authorities.
Upselling & Upgrades
It is the front desk’s responsibility to upsell additional services and add-ons at appropriate times. This could also include room upgrades upon check-in. Ensure you show guests visually what they’d be purchasing. However, as not all front desk agents are comfortable pushing upsells to guests in-person, many hotels today deploy upsells software that presents room upgrades and other add-ons to guests digitally.
Make sure that you are prepared for guest checkouts and be aware of any late checkouts. This way you can alert housekeeping to turnover the room as quickly as possible. One way to ensure the front desk always has the most up-to-date information about which guests have left their rooms is to deploy a contactless checkout solution that enables guests to complete the process from their phone. The front desk is then updated in real-time as to which guests have left the property.
How Hotel Front Desk Software can Help Your Hotel Run More Efficiently
Front desk agents often have a lot on their plates — which is why multitasking is a must-have skill! The consequences of a stretched team, however, can be disastrous for a front desk team:
Human error is more likely to occur (which can be especially damaging when it comes to taking credit card information, for example).
Upselling falls by the wayside which impacts overall revenue.
Guests are more likely to feel frustrated and stressed during on-peak times.
Implementing the right technology is a great way to not only reduce your staff’s workload but also improve the guest experience. Here are a few technologies that could help streamline your front desk:
Contactless Check-In & Checkout
Alleviate the workloads of your front desk staff by giving guests an option to check-in and out digitally on their phones. This is a great way to improve the guest experience while freeing up time for your staff.
According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners 2022 Report on Occupational Fraud, between 5-6% of the hospitality industry’s annual revenue is lost to fraud. In addition, paper and PDF credit card authorizations forms are no longer PCI Level-1 compliant. So what’s the answer?
Digital authorizations solutions can help you minimize the risk of fraud and chargebacks while protecting your guests’ credit card information.
Social Media Marketing Strategy For Hotels: 11 Best Practices
Social media is an extension of your physical brand. This means your hotel’s social media marketing strategies should reflect your values, aesthetics and personality. Read this post to learn how to get it right.
12 Hotel Ancillary Revenue Ideas You Can Implement Today
Looking for new and innovative ways to increase revenue at your hotel? With the tools and revenue-generating ideas for hotels in this detailed blog post, you’re ready to get strategic with ancillary revenue management.
SEO for Hotels: How to Drive More Traffic to Your Website
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for hotels is a long game, not a quick fix. But don’t get discouraged; just keep following as many of the hotel SEO tips in this guide as possible and your rankings are sure to improve.
Get It Right: Your Guide to Online Review Management for Hotels
Your hotel's digital reputation impacts both your ability to win over guests and how much you can charge. This comprehensive Guide details the smartest strategies and tactics for hotel online review management.
10 Hotel Staff Training Strategies for Success in a Tight Labor Market
Good hotel staff training is essential, especially today. Put these tips into practice and implement easy-to-use technology and you’ll find yourself with a happier, more productive workforce in no time!