Definition: Hotel Front Desk Clerk

1. A person who has a chosen career in the hospitality industry.
2.  Direction giver, restaurant critic, person responsible for the quality of your food/experience in the hotel restaurant, who is responsible for the cleanliness of your room, the layout of the lobby/town, the placement/lack of an ATM in the lobby, who designed the building and lying about being sold out, and who personally designed the faulty magnetic key cards, and built the garage to small.
3. The person behind the desk with the forced smile, making just over minimum wage that is currently being yelled at by some corporate big wig.

I am a Front Desk Agent. I am expected to speak all languages fluently. It is obvious to me that when you booked your reservation for Friday on the weekend we’re sold out that you really meant Saturday. My company has entrusted me with all financial information and decisions, and yes, I am lying to you when I say we have no more rooms available. It is not a problem for me to quickly construct several more guest rooms. THIS time I will not forget the helicopter landing pad. And it is my fault that everyone wanted to stay here. I should have known you were coming in, even though you had no reservation. After all, you stay at our brand of hotel all the time, 300 nights a year, and this is only the first time you’ve ever been to our city.

I am a front desk agent. I am quite capable of checking three people in, two people out, taking five reservations, answering fifteen incoming calls, delivering six bath towels to room 625, plunging the toilet in room 101, and restocking the supply of pool towels, all at the same time. Yes, I will be glad to call the van driver and tell him to drive over all the cars stuck in traffic because you’ve been waiting at the airport for 15 minutes and you’ve got jet lag.

I am a front desk agent, an operator, a bellhop, houseman, guest service representative, housekeeper, sales coordinator, information specialist, entertainment critic, restauranteur, stock broker, referee, janitor, computer technician, plumber, ice-breaker, postman, babysitter, dispatcher, laundry cleaner, lifeguard, electrician, ambassador, personal fitness trainer, fax expert, human jukebox, domestic abuse counselor, and verbal punching bag. Yes, I know room 112 is not answering their phone. And of course I have their travel itinerary so I know exactly where they went when they left here 9 hours ago, and what their cell phone number is.

Having worked in the hospitality industry for seven years you begin to realize that this particular industry, like with anything else, is not for everyone.

We learn through class and job training that “the customer is always right.” Is that the truth? Heck no. It is quite amazing how many people forget their brains and common sense at home and act like they’ve never stayed at a hotel or have been on vacation ever before in their life. Though hearing some of the most absurd accusations about things, do make for some hilarious stories for friends.

The industry is full of wonderful things though, don’t get me wrong. The best thing about it is when you are able to go above and beyond for a guest and make their stay memorable. If you don’t yell and bitch, then we are more likely to go more out of our way to help you.

Final point: No matter how much guests complain and the ridiculous things that happen, it is one of THE best industries to work in, and the wonderful people you get to meet and help out make it all worth it at the end of the day. I would never trade it for anything else.

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