Hotel night clerks register and assign rooms to hotel guests at night. Although shifts vary by hotel, night shift hours typically run between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. This is later than many evening shift hours of 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., according to CareerBuilder.com. Hotel night clerks' duties involve answering inquiries about hotel services, giving travel directions to late-night guests or making recommendations to guests about nighttime dining or entertainment options.
Hotel night clerks issue room keys to guests and keep records of occupied rooms and guests’ accounts, according to the Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort. They can change guest room reservations as well. Hotel night clerks must know all room types available at the establishment as well as layouts and locations and must know all room rates, promotions and special packages, according to Crestline Hotels and Resorts.
The reconciliation of a hotel's activities usually occurs during overnight hours. For this reason, a hotel night clerk has different responsibilities from those working day or evening shifts. For example, hotel night clerks might have to print end-of-day reports regarding food and beverage sales or audit day and evening shift cashiers’ work and correct discrepancies. Meanwhile, day shift hotel clerks spend more of their time collecting payments from departing guests and confirming nighttime reservations. Hotel night clerks also must maintain confidentiality of guest information and important hotel data.
Hotel night clerks must anticipate guests’ needs, respond promptly to them and acknowledge all guests. They might have to secure guests’ valuables or process wake-up calls. They also must resolve guest complaints and share information regarding hotel services, features and hours of operation in person or via telephone. These professionals additionally monitor and maintain cleanliness and organization of various work areas and document maintenance needs on work orders.
Hotel night clerks must be able to maintain positive guest relations by possessing strong interpersonal skills. These professionals also must have strong oral and written communication skills, must know basic mathematics and must be professional. They additionally must be fast, accurate, detail-oriented and organized. Hotel night clerks must remain calm and resolve problems using good judgment. They must follow directions thoroughly and be able to work with minimal supervision as well. These individuals should have knowledge of computers and word processors in addition to business office machines such as fax machines. Hotel night clerks also should be able to lift, push or pull heavy items and stand for long periods.
Hotel night clerks usually must have a high school diploma or GED. Many employers look for candidates who have previous experience in a similar position in a hotel. Other employers prefer a job candidate with a college degree in an area such as front desk operations or hospitality/hotel management. Some hotels want night clerks who have training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Job candidates also must pass a hotel night clerk entry test at some establishments. However, most hotel night clerks learn their job through short-term on-the-job training.
Employment of hotel desk clerks is projected to increase 14 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Newly opened hotels, increased travel as economic conditions improve and the need to replace many night hotel clerks who leave this occupation for higher paying or daytime jobs will create new opportunities. Median annual wages of hotel desk clerks, which include hotel night clerks, in May 2008 were $19,480, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics.