A Complete Daily Hotel Front Desk Checklist

Stephen Alemar
Stephen Alemar
May 1, 2024
March 31, 2023
A Complete Daily Hotel Front Desk Checklist

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.

What is the Purpose of a Hotel’s Front Desk?

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. 
  • Upselling: Although there are now dynamic upselling technologies out there, your front desk should know when and how to upsell additional services and add-ons. 
  • 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. 

Modernize Your Entire Guest Journey With Canary Technologies

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:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Multitasking abilities
  • Proactiveness 
  • Empathy and emotional intelligence 
  • Attention to detail
  • Positive attitude
  • Professionalism

A Complete Daily Front Desk Checklist for Hotels 

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. 

1. Attend the Front Desk Briefing 

A front desk briefing is a meeting that is held at the beginning of every shift between the front desk staff and the front desk manager. 

This is where you will learn important information and discuss any issues or concerns that arose during the previous shift. Here are a few things that take place:

  • Review of hotel occupancy and arrivals 
  • Review of the previous shift’s activity
  • Review of VIP arrivals
  • Review of daily tasks and responsibilities
  • Review of special events or promotions 

Take notes and make sure you are alert in the meeting.

2. Cash Count 

Count all cash and credit card transactions. Make sure there are no discrepancies. If you do notice any discrepancies, log them and report them to the front desk manager. 

3. Clean & Inspect the Lobby & Front Desk 

For the sake of presentation and efficiency, the front desk must always be organized, clean, and tidy. Remove clutter and file any loose paperwork as soon as you arrive at your shift.

If any cleaning or dusting needs doing, alert the housekeeping team immediately.

4. Assist with Wake Up Calls

If you’re taking over from the night shift, it may be necessary to help with any pending wake-up calls.

5. Print Reports 

Print the daily report which should detail all guests in-house, all imminent arrivals and departures, and pick-ups. Coordinate with the concierge desk to ensure that they’re prepared. 

You’ll also need to print the daily special requests/preferences report. Cross-check that all special requests have been taken care of in preparation for the upcoming check-ins. 

6. Check Registration Cards & Update Guest Profiles

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.

This can be done digitally via email and text message

10. Prepare Briefing & Hand Over to the Next Team

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. 

Other Important Front Desk Duties

Greeting & Check-in Procedure

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.

Concierge Services

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. 

Housekeeping Services

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. 

Increase Ancillary Revenue With Canary Upsells 

Checkout Procedures

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. 

Demo Canary Contactless Check-In or Checkout today

Guest Messaging

Efficient, regular communication with guests is critical for a good guest experience. Guest messaging technology could help you communicate updates and other important information easily.

Demo Canary Guest Messaging today

Digital Authorizations

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.

Next up, discover eighteen innovative ideas for hotels to implement right now!

Learn How Canary Can Help Your Properties Thrive

13 Creative Ways Hotels Can Cut Costs Without Sacrificing Guest Experience

13 Creative Ways Hotels Can Cut Costs Without Sacrificing Guest Experience

Any cost-saving strategy should depend on your specific hotel and thoughtfully considered. Here are some creative ideas that cut costs but don't affect the all important guest experience.

Read More
Check-in Redefined: Unleash the Power of Automated Hotel Check-in

Check-in Redefined: Unleash the Power of Automated Hotel Check-in

Automated hotel check-in is the future of hospitality. Enhance efficiency and customer satisfaction and unlock valuable data insights with smart check-in. Learn how here.

Read More
Hotel Expenses: 10 Clever Ways To Control Costs

Hotel Expenses: 10 Clever Ways To Control Costs

Hotel operating costs are challenging, but there are ways to exceed guest expectations while controlling expenses. Learn how here.

Read More
25 Hotel Payment Options to Offer Guests More Flexibility

25 Hotel Payment Options to Offer Guests More Flexibility

For hoteliers, staying up to date with what’s happening in hotel payments is crucial. Knowing what payment methods are available is key to modern guest experiences.

Read More
The 17 Hotel Reports You Absolutely Need to Put Your Business Ahead

The 17 Hotel Reports You Absolutely Need to Put Your Business Ahead

Let's dive into a list of reports that every hotel needs, what each report tracks and how to organize your metrics. Just remember: successful reporting is dynamic.

Read More