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Career profile Front Desk Agent

Also known as Desk Clerk, Front Desk Agent, Front Desk Associate, Front Desk Clerk, Front Office Agent, Guest Service Agent, Guest Service Representative, Guest Services Agent (GSA), Night Auditor

Front Desk Agent

Also known as Desk Clerk, Front Desk Agent, Front Desk Associate

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
  • Social
Pay Range
$18,950 - $36,580 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Speaking
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Service Orientation
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Administrative
Core tasks
  • Greet, register, and assign rooms to guests of hotels or motels.
  • Contact housekeeping or maintenance staff when guests report problems.
  • Issue room keys and escort instructions to bellhops.
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What does a Front Desk Agent do?

Front Desk Agents accommodate hotel, motel, and resort patrons by registering and assigning rooms to guests, issuing room keys or cards, transmitting and receiving messages, keeping records of occupied rooms and guests' accounts, making and confirming reservations, and presenting statements to and collecting payments from departing guests.

What kind of tasks does a Front Desk Agent perform regularly?

Front Desk Agents are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Greet, register, and assign rooms to guests of hotels or motels.
  • Contact housekeeping or maintenance staff when guests report problems.
  • Issue room keys and escort instructions to bellhops.
  • Verify customers' credit, and establish how the customer will pay for the accommodation.
  • Make and confirm reservations.
  • Keep records of room availability and guests' accounts, manually or using computers.
  • Post charges, such as those for rooms, food, liquor, or telephone calls, to ledgers, manually or by using computers.
  • Review accounts and charges with guests during the check out process.
  • Record guest comments or complaints, referring customers to managers as necessary.
  • Transmit and receive messages, using telephones or telephone switchboards.
  • Compute bills, collect payments, and make change for guests.
  • Answer inquiries pertaining to hotel services, guest registration, and travel directions, or make recommendations regarding shopping, dining, or entertainment.
  • Advise housekeeping staff when rooms have been vacated and are ready for cleaning.
  • Perform bookkeeping activities, such as balancing accounts and conducting nightly audits.
  • Clean and maintain lobby and common areas, such as restocking supplies and watering plants.
  • Prepare for basic food service, such as setting up continental breakfast or coffee and tea supplies.
  • Date-stamp, sort, and rack incoming mail and messages.
  • Arrange tours, taxis, or restaurant reservations for customers.
  • Deposit guests' valuables in hotel safes or safe-deposit boxes.

The above responsibilities are specific to Front Desk Agents. More generally, Front Desk Agents are involved in several broader types of activities:

Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Front Desk Agent salary?

The median salary for a Front Desk Agent is $25,490, and the average salary is $26,900. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Front Desk Agent salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Front Desk Agents earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Front Desk Agents earn less than $18,950 per year, 25% earn less than $21,690, 75% earn less than $30,330, and 90% earn less than $36,580.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Front Desk Agents is expected to change by 16.4%, and there should be roughly 42,800 open positions for Front Desk Agents every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$18,950 - $36,580
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Front Desk Agents?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Front Desk Agent are usually higher in their Conventional, Enterprising, and Social interests.

Front Desk Agents typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Front Desk Agents typically have strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Lastly, Front Desk Agents typically have moderate Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Front Desk Agent tend to value Relationships, Support, and Independence.

Most importantly, Front Desk Agents very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Front Desk Agents moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Front Desk Agents somewhat value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Front Desk Agents must consistently demonstrate qualities such as concern for others, dependability, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Front Desk Agents, ranked by importance:

Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Job requires being honest and ethical.

What education and training do Front Desk Agents need?

Working as a Front Desk Agent usually requires a high school diploma.

Front Desk Agents need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Front Desk Agents

  • 6.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 29.5% completed high school or secondary school
  • 32.3% completed some college coursework
  • 12.0% earned a Associate's degree
  • 15.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.4% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.0% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Front Desk Agents

Front Desk Agents may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, public safety and security, or administrative knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Front Desk Agents might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Important Abilities needed by Front Desk Agents

Front Desk Agents must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Front Desk Agents need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and speech recognition in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Front Desk Agents, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Front Desk Agents

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Front Desk Agents frequently use skills like speaking, social perceptiveness, and service orientation to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Front Desk Agents, ranked by their relative importance.

Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.