Front desk employees are among the first points of contact for your hotel guests and key contributors in making sure each guest has a pleasant experience. Whether it’s checking people in or out, modifying reservations or answering questions, there’s always room for improvement. Here are six ways to improve your team’s performance – and your overall guest experience.
1. Be Guest Experts
When each member of the front desk team is a guest expert, guests feel welcome. Calling guests by name is a good first step. To go above and beyond though, the team needs to have easy access to as much guest information as possible, including:
- Guest prior stay history
- Guest food allergies or preferences (vegan, kosher)
- Prior stay purpose (business, leisure, special occasion)
- Notes about current stay purpose
Having all of this guest information stored in the Property Management System can facilitate a higher level of personalized service, as well as make each guest feel more at home.
2. Train, Train and Train
Regular training leads to good habits in front desk staff, which drives improved outcomes in guest interaction and higher guest ratings. Here are three ways to help you get the word out:
- Create a Training Manual – Create a front desk operations manual that clearly communicates the roles and best practices for your front desk employees. Make this the starting point for all current and future staff.
- Hire a Trainer – Since hotel owners and managers often don’t have time for regular training, bring in a customer service professional or train one employee to take on this task.
- Provide Software Training – Get the most out of your expensive operational software investment(s) – ask your partner or vendor to train your employees so they can take advantage of all the features.
3. Read the Signs
Any member of a great front desk team can typically pick up on subtle cues (and not-so-subtle cues) from guests. If a guest has children, offering information on relevant amenities such as pool hours, cribs/rollaways, snack bars, etc. would likely be appreciated. Even more impactful, your team can provide information in advance on room options for younger children.
4. Utilize Technology
Empowering the front desk with technology can have a great impact on the guest experience. By utilizing technologies such as a mobile key, you can reduce the line of waiting guests and overall front desk traffic congestion. Plus, when your team can spend more time with each guest, each interaction can be a better, more genuine experience.
5. Have Knowledge of the Surrounding Area
The concierge is not dead; the duties have just been added to the responsibilities of your front desk staff. Guests often seek recommendations from someone familiar with the area, and that usually starts with your front desk. Every member of your team should be knowledgeable enough to make suggestions, including:
- Where to eat
- Where to shop
- Local hot spots
- Things to do
Better yet, you can step up your concierge services a notch and offer coupons and discounts to local attractions, create a welcome guide with local favorites, and offer to make local reservations. Everyone likes to be treated like a VIP.
6. Speed is Key
When we talk about speed, we don’t mean rushing a guest through the check-in process. We’re talking about working at a fast pace to respect the guest’s valuable time. In fact, quick and efficient service has been proven over and over to boost customer satisfaction.
Guests show up at the front desk at unpredictable times. Front desk staff should stay in eyesight of the counter at all times to prevent guests standing impatiently wondering when someone will arrive to help them. Respond to requests for towels, pillows, etc quickly without an involved process like checking out a library book. And when it’s time for check-out, be friendly but keep the chit-chat to a minimum; most guests are just looking for a quick exit.
Of course, these six suggestions are only the tip of the hotel front desk iceberg. There are endless ways to improve the guest experience at the front desk, and your employees – the ones who work in the trenches every day – just might be your best source of ideas.