How do I Become a Desk Clerk?

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  • Written By: Vicki Hogue-Davies
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2019
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Desk clerks work for hotels, motels, resorts and other lodging establishments managing the front desk, making room reservations, registering guests and assigning rooms. To become a desk clerk, which is normally considered an entry-level hospitality position, a high school diploma is usually the minimum education needed. Depending on the employer, some experience or training in the hospitality industry might be desired or required. On-the-job training is the typical way that a desk clerk learns the responsibilities of the position. Some general characteristics and skills that will help make you successful in this job include a customer service orientation, familiarity with computers, a professional appearance and a positive attitude.

Good communication skills and a friendly personality are important to become a desk clerk. Desk clerks make guests feel welcome, answer guest questions and respond to complaints. Having problem-solving skills and being able to think on your feet are important qualities to have if you want to become a desk clerk.

Desk clerks also take reservations over the telephone and transfer calls to other employees. A clear telephone voice and the ability to learn the employer’s phone or switchboard system is often necessary to become a desk clerk. Sometimes desk clerks are expected to help promote lodging establishments and their dining, spa or other services, so sales and marketing skills can be helpful.


Desk clerks also keep track of guest accounts and collect payments, which can require being comfortable working with numbers and money. Being organized and having a sharp memory also are good qualities to have if you want to become a desk clerk. Desk clerks might be asked to pass on messages to guests, to call guests to wake them in the morning and other duties requiring these skills.

Desk clerks might work full-time or part-time hours. They might be required to work nighttime hours or on weekends, so the ability to be flexible in working scheduled hours is required. Large hotels usually have several desk clerks working together, but small ones might have just one working at a time. Being able to work as part of a team can be important at a larger hotel, and being able to multitask is important for desk clerks at small hotels.

At a large operation, the desk clerk might perform only the specific duties related to working at the front desk. At a small operation, the desk clerk might handle other duties in addition to those at the front desk, such as making coffee and tea for the lobby, assisting with housekeeping or other tasks. Other names for this position include hotel receptionist, front desk clerk, hotel desk clerk and resort desk clerk.


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