You know the experience: you arrive at your hotel hot, exhausted and ready to fall between clean sheets. Only you get to your room and find out the air conditioning isn't working, there's no coffee beside the coffee pot and the beds haven't been made. It's hugely disappointing. On the other hand, you've probably had the other experience: you arrive hot, exhausted and afraid that a long check-in and a dirty room are going to ruin your desire for peace and quiet. Except this time, your room is deliciously cool, the beds are turned down, the linens are sumptuously soft and there's even a chocolate on your pillow. What's the difference? One hotel had excellent guest service agents and the other didn't.
Checking Guests In and Out
The smiling, outgoing friendliness of a guest service representative should be the first person to greet you at a hotel. It's her duty to welcome guests to the hotel and sign them in for their stay, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, according to the B.F. Saul Company Hotel Division, she may have as many as 50 arrivals and departures at any hour. No matter how hectic the situation feels, she must present a warm, courteous manner and check guests in and out with efficiency.
Getting Rooms Ready
Guest service agents also make sure hotel rooms are properly cleaned and prepared for the next guest. The better the agent, the more priority she puts on this task. True guest service isn't just about emptying the trash cans. It's about creating a welcoming environment that invites a guest into the room. The bathroom should be sanitized and fresh, clean towels should be folded attractively and put away. The beds should have new linens and the pillows should be plumped up. The room should be organized and neat. The guest service representative also makes sure everything is in working order, from the toilet flushing properly to the air conditioning running smoothly.
The guest services agent also handles any specific requests guests make, says Hotel Content Management Systems. If a guest needs a shuttle ride to a nearby attraction, she arranges it. If someone needs a wake-up call at 5 a.m., she schedules it and makes sure it's made appropriately. If someone needs extra blankets or pillows that aren't already in the room, she provides them. She does all of this with a smile and with a sincere interest in the guest's comfort. Should a complaint arise, she deals with it calmly and makes a genuine apology.
Guest service agents need to be hard-working, resilient and positive. They may have to work differing shifts, says Hotel Content Management Systems, as guests need someone there to respond to their needs at all hours. They need to understand that the confidentiality and privacy of their guests is a top priority and treat it as such. When calls come through, or messages must be taken down, they forward these quickly and discreetly. A real interest in looking after others is a sought-after quality in this job market. When a guest checks out on their last day, their impression must be such a good one that they'll want to come back.