So you landed an awesome job working at the front desk at a hotel in your town… A job like that seems pretty simple and straightforward, right? WRONG. Guest Service Agents, or GSA’s, are the heart of any hotel. Not only do GSA’s answer all incoming phone calls, they check guests in and out, make reservations, send off dry cleaning, communicate with all the other departments of the hotel, clean public areas (including the bathroom), order supplies, direct guests to local attractions and eateries, call for cabs, run toothbrushes (towels, razors, shampoo, conditioner, Advil, new remotes, cups, feminine hygiene products, and whatever else the guest requests) up to guest rooms. In all honesty, during your time working at a hotel, you’ll probably plunge a few clogged toilets too. How do you survive a work environment like this and keep your job, whilst staying sane of course?
In the hospitality business GSA’s are paid to smile. There’s a corny old saying that states “smiles are contagious” and believe me, they are. Not only does a friendly smile set the mood for the rest of your guest’s stay it will also show the guest that you are approachable. Imagine traveling from Utah to New York; your flight was delayed 2 hours, the car rental company supplied you with a compact car for your family of 6, your gps system sent you in the total opposite direction of your destination, and you just realized you left your suit and tie back home. Now also imagine walking into your hotel and the GSA behind the front desk has a look on her face that makes you think her dog died moments before. That doesn’t sound like a positive environment; however, one smile can turn even the most frustrated person’s mood around.
Keep your thoughts to yourself.
It is always a good idea to keep a filter on your mouth. The guy at the continental breakfast who just told his wife to “do something with your hair, it’s embarrassing” may be down-right rude in your eyes, but you have to let it go. In the hotel business you have to realize that it is none of your business whatsoever how people behave, live, etc. You have no right to put forth your opinion unless you are specifically asked for it.
If you spend the majority of your time sitting in your room playing video games and avoiding contact with the world outside your home, this job is not for you. When you go to work, you have to magically morph into a social butterfly. You must be able to start a conversation with anyone about anything at anytime. Customers love attention, and you love that paycheck deposited into your account every week, so please be personable.
In the hospitality business you must be ready for anything. Say a massive snowstorm decides to hit your town on an evening when you may only have 100 reservations; be prepared for a whole horde of people looking for somewhere to rest until the roads clear. It will happen often (not with snow, but for just about any reason.) You must also be prepared to work more than just the shift you were hired for. For example, I initially began work as a 2nd shift employee; over the last year I have worked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd shift, as well as a cook in the evening at our buffet -style restaurant. You just need to relax and go with the flow!
Know your surroundings.
In your guest’s eyes you know everything about the town you’re in. As a GSA you automatically take on the role as a meteorologist, a restaurant guru, MapQuest, and babysitter (for those rowdy kids at the pool or the random drunk who needs a place to crash). You must have all the answers! And if you don’t have all the answers, well, that’s what Yahoo! is for!