Success as a front office manager requires a perfect mixture of skillful hospitality & tight organizational skills never settling for less than A +.
Welcome to another edition of hospitality property school.
Today, I’m going to take a look at how to be an incredible front office manager.
In any hospitality property, first impressions are everything.
The way your front desk staff greets and attends to guests can make or break the image of your property. And just to make things clear, if you operate a small B & B or inn and you are a one person operation – you are the front office manages.
Like the best leaders, a front office manager, with the right knowledge training, and attitude leads by example and from the front.
If your personality is a perfect mixture of skilful hospitality and tight organizational skills, then working as a front office manager at a hospitality property might be an invigorating and fulfilling career path.
Success as a hospitality property front office manager, as with many other careers, requires constant improvement and self-evaluation. A successful front office manager at a hospitality property should never settle for less than A +.
The duties of hotel front office managers can be wide-ranging. Not only are these managers in charge of seeing that new employees get trained properly, they’re also in charge of everything from assigning work schedules to handling finances.
*No two days of working as a hotel front office manager are exactly the same.
Here are 15 steps the can help make a successful front desk manager?
- Improve listening skills and then coach others to do the same
We all need to not only hear but listen with better intensity. The front desk is the communication centre of every hospitality property. It is the financial centre for reservations and much of the cash activity at many properties. A front office manager must be able to overseer both guest and staff interaction to insure proper guest service and procedure. Guide those staff that need it, coach, appropriately and increase the two-way communication cycle.
- Work towards customer delight
In any hospitality property, customer service is supreme. The only method that will ensure your guests are satisfied with the service provided by the front desk is if you value your guests.
- Each guest has to be treated professionally and courteous.
- Be sure you have time to hear the tiniest problem and resolve it.
- When you make commitments to customers, – meet them.
- Train your employee’s to check in guests quickly and also accelerate the check out as fast as possible.
When you are more focused on the requirements of your guests and are ready to accept both positive and negative feedback, you’ll be able to anticipate their needs and fulfil them.
- Make sure you and your staff know everything about the property & services
The most obvious requirement for any successful front office manager is to know all the details about the hospitality properties product & services.
- Personally inspecting every type of accommodation in your hotel. Learn the differences and potential benefits of each type and how they can be of value to different customers. This tour should be monthly or even weekly to keep you aware of changes in the property and can also help management to be better aware of potential problems.
- Maintain your awareness of the property of the whole. This includes parking areas, public areas, access points to the hotel and the all-important curb appeal.
- If you have work with an adjacent restaurant or another external service that is part of your offerings, regularly assess their quality and how it affects your guests’ satisfaction.
- Effective front office managers take pride in their property and often offer to assist senior management in room inspections or in the sales effort as appropriate.
- Make sure you know everything about the services and product of those properties that you are competing with
As in the preceding strategy, effective front office managers know who their competition is, and everything about them. They learn their strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly as they try to increase market share at the expense of their competitors. It is not the sole responsibility of the “sales” team or general manager to be part of the Upselling effort – successful front office managers embrace the mantra “Everyone Sells.”
- Focus on the details
In the hospitality property industry, small things can have a large impact. If you want to be the best front office manager your guests have ever seen, pay close attention to details.
Constantly assess your time management. The 80-20 rule of priorities and value remains true much of the time.
80% of our profits often come from 20% of the client base.
The same holds true for problem areas or staff that needs attention. The question needs to be not are we doing things “right”, but are we doing the “right” things correctly?
You have to juggle so many things simultaneously and if you are not organized, you won’t be able to prioritize work. If you’re able to organize yourself at work, you’ll be able to focus on each facet of your responsibility efficiently and this will assist you to identify areas of improvement. Then you can develop strategies to improve service, thereby becoming a better front office manager.
6. Show Off Your Extroverted Side
People with extroverted personalities often flourish in a hospitality property front office manager positions. These jobs require constant interaction not only with staff but also with guests. An upbeat and pleasant attitude is a must for people with this position.
If you’re a front office manager, you want to make guests feel at ease and comfortable when in your presence. You want to make them feel like you’re there for them and that you can answer their questions and take care of any concerns they might have.
Introverts who prefer working alone are often better suited to other fields.
- Circulate with employees and guests
An exceptional front office manager makes time to speak with his staff and also guests. Any time you talk to your personnel, you will find out the issues they’re facing in providing good service to guests and then you may come up with solutions to assist them. You should also mix and talk to your guests to help them feel comfortable in your presence to speak out their concerns and ask questions.
If you have direct contact with your employees and guests, you’ll be able to assess situations, handle questions & concerns that staff and guests might have.
The legendary managers are those who know their clients and interact with them regularly. Effective front office managers professionally interact with guests as often as possible.
- Hold regular one-on-one sessions with all direct employees in this department, including the night auditor
While the night shift is usually quieter, it still represents 30% of the day and needs to be included in discussions & communication. These sessions should not be formal “reviews” but guide posts to reinforce positive actions or to correct a potentially dangerous course of action. When it becomes apparent that these are honest dialogues, the sessions will actually be anticipated as an opportunities to clear the air.
- Training must be maintained and increased
There is no excuse today for poorly or untrained front desk staff. When running high occupancy, many managers claim to be “too busy” to train. When occupancy is flat or declining, cutting ongoing training to “save money” will really cost more as it will drive the good staff to consider leaving and the loyal customers to the competition because it appears you don’t care.
- When hiring people, pay attention to the “human” resource role
Recruit and select people wisely. Encourage your General Manager to pay competitively or better and lead in incentives. As Front Office Manager, recognize your team regularly with “thank you’s” and expressions of appreciation.
Retain the champions by whatever it takes to keep them.
- Be a team player
Even as a front office manager, you should be capable of being a team player and be able to work with your subordinates and other department heads without letting your ego come in the way. This will help create a team that can take ownership and excels in its work. If your team works skilfully, it reflects on your managerial abilities and skills.
- Be proactive
Don’t wait for top management to tell you the way to enhance your department. You’re the front office manager and you ought to have the insight and ability to initiate improvement to get the desired results. Remember, the prosperity of the hotel depends on your as well as your staff’s ability to handle guests and address their concerns. If you’re able to make guests happy without having to be told, you have turned into an exceptional front office manager
- Plan, coordinate and implement revenue management strategies regularly
This is another example of blended learning. Some hospitality properties are fortunate to have a full-time revenue manager working on their property, while other companies sometimes have someone at the owner’s or management company office regularly watch inventories and demand patterns. The blended learning must come from “people” who recognize trends and cycles and anticipate the necessary steps.
- Review your market analysis monthly
It should not just be the sales team or general manager that has an interest in trends or shifts in markets. Understanding your guest’s needs is essential and sharing observations on changing guest preferences, needs or demands should be a critical part of front office monthly management practices.
- Be open to improvement
When things are running smoothly, you will get a pat on the back. But if things go are not running smoothly, you should be able to stand up and take responsibility. You need to be able to sit back, analyze the problem and come up with an answer, to ensure that it does not occur again. Do not try and blame your employees or others if things go wrong. Instead, use problems to enhance yourself and your department.
When you are a front office manager, you’re accountable for your guests’ satisfaction and well-being. If your guests are content with your service, they’ll return as well as get the word out about your hospitality property to friends and family. So creating a good impression and ensuring your guests leave the property with positive thoughts needs to be your ultimate goal. If you achieve this goal, you have become an outstanding front office manager.
When you’re the front office manager of a hospitality property, a lot of responsibility is in your hands. If things go right, you can probably pat yourself on the back. If things go wrong, however, there’s a chance you might have been able to prevent it. The answer to being a good hotel front office manager is having the honesty and confidence to being able to admit to yourself that you could have approached something in a more effective manner. If you’re capable of analyzing your actions and figuring out how you could have proceeded differently, then you open yourself up to improvement in the future. If you stubbornly stick to the same routine over and over, you block out improvement which negatively affects your output as a manager, along with the rest of the property.
If someone has helpful advice for you on how to be a more efficient and productive worker, you should always be open to hearing it.
If you have any interesting stories about being an incredible front office manager and would like to share or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section of the show notes.
You can find them at:
That’s it for this session of hospitality property school.
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Until next time, have a fun day.
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