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The hotel supervisor, or front office supervisor, oversees front office operations, helping coordinate guest arrivals and departures. While the hotel manager handles more complicated guest requests and special needs, the supervisor approaches guests to ensure they are enjoying their stay and makes sure any guest complaint or request gets handled immediately by front office, housekeeping or dining room staff. The supervisor also oversees and confers with all other guest service agents, like concierge and bellmen.
The supervisor assists with and oversees guest check-in and check-out of the hotel. The supervisor ensures that all front desk employees engage politely and attentively with incoming and departing guests. She assists with cashier functions, including taking large cash amounts and handling invoices for groups and large parties.
The supervisor also assists the front office team in making reservations and answers incoming telephone calls. Other duties include assisting guests with special requests. When the front desk manager takes a break or is out for the day, the supervisor can generally assist guests as the manager on duty.
Always attentive and compassionate to guest requests and complaints, the supervisor is one of the first people--besides the manager on duty--to respond to guest requests. The supervisor follows up with guest requests and reports more complicated needs--like negotiating prices and rooms--to hotel management. The supervisor also directs guests to areas in the hotel and offers services like hotel and restaurant tours and booking reservations.
According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010-11 report, larger upscale hotel chains almost always require a bachelor's or master's degree, preferably in hospitality or hotel management, for management and supervisor positions. Experience working at a hotel for at least two years also impresses hiring managers, and previous supervisory experience is a plus.
Because a supervisor works in the front office, a candidate for the position needs excellent computer and typing skills. A hotel supervisor also needs helpful customer service skills, a genuinely friendly attitude and the ability to remain calm and collected when booking and hotel events become hectic. Knowledge of the hotel city or town is an added bonus, as are foreign language skills.
Hours and Pay
Hotel managers, supervisors and front desk employees all work long hours, including nights and weekends. Supervisors might work more than 40 hours per week and are often on call, but do not work quite as many as the manager, who oversees all hotel operations. According to the BLS, as of May 2008, the median wage for hotel, motel and resort desk clerks was $19,480 per year and $45,800 for lodging managers.
The BLS 2010-11 report notes that lodging industry employment will grow slower than average as industries shift to building more limited service hotels and fewer full-service properties. Hospitality job seekers face intense competition from candidates already trained and experienced in hospitality service.
Noelle Carver has been a freelance writer since 2009, with work published in "SSYK" and "The Wolf," two U.K. literary journals. Carver holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from American University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing from The New School. She lives in New York City.