Really? Do you?

It may seem like a ridiculous question as we should all know there is a big difference between a receptionist manning our front desk and the reservationist who is sealing our bookings and responsible for the main source of our revenue stream! 

Then why are so many establishment owners expecting their receptionist to carry out the job tasks of an expert reservationist and expecting the same results? It really does not make any sense and nor is it fair to either role.

There may be many reasons why we see this repeated across the industry, and the lead reason being a financial one. Establishment owners are all looking at their budgets and assessing if many of the functions within the guest cycle can be ‘merged’ and the man hours of their staff be used more effectively – we get it.

If there is a capable individual sitting at your front desk, who is able to answer telephone enquiries and reply to emails then surely this is an efficient use of their time in-between­ dealing with front desk queries and welcoming quests and perhaps even planning the guest’s itinerary for the next day before arranging their taxi to the restaurant they booked.


And as much as this is a great way to reduce staff overheads and cut budgets, there are certain job functions which directly impact the bottom line – and a skilled reservationist who can close deals is one of those.


The role of the reservationist is one of the few which are directly engaged in securing revenue for your establishment and as such should be entrusted to someone trained and experienced in such a field.

While the two roles, especially in smaller establishments, may have a lot in common these roles are in fact very different, the key difference between the two roles is the stage of the bookings process they operate at. A Reservation Agent is the person who sets up the booking in advance, while the Receptionist is the person who welcomes the guests when they arrive at the time of their booking.

Each stage as important as the other, but vastly different in their focus and skill sets and we strongly feel that we should allow people in these roles to work according to their strengths.

When you walk into a lodge or boutique hotel, it is usually the receptionist who greets you with a warm welcome. The receptionist is the first impression a guest gets of the hotel and this is where their focus should be; welcoming guests, checking them in, ensuring all their requests are met and that they are settled quickly and comfortably. The receptionist is also there when the guest departs and ensures than any issues that arise during a guest stay are dealt with.


These are vital tasks and roles within the guest experience at any establishment and the more time and focus your reception team has to deal with guest experiences the more likely a guest is to return or refer your establishment to a friend.

So let’s allow reception staff to do the job they are suited to do and allow the professional sales job of a reservationist to be done by a skilled expert or team of experts.

The unique skill sets of a trained and experienced reservationist can directly impact your bottom line.

Some considerations:

  • Does the person responsible for my bookings understand my revenue needs and flexibility in order to achieve targets set.
  • Is my reservation team keeping my OTA listings up to date and sharing all special offers online.
  • Does my reservationist know as much as possible about my offerings and the facilities of my establishment. Are they skilled in up-selling these services and motivating extended stay deals
  • Does my reservation’s department have training in the negotiation skills needed in order to close a potential booking.
  • Are they able to upsell services and achieve the best available rate for my property
  • Does the person answering the reservations line have good communication skills, a strong voice and friendly attitude.

Having your processes and team evaluated by an external strategic audit can provide you with valuable insights and recommendations on how to make necessary adjustments in order to grow your revenue and close more bookings. Chat to us about booking Reservation Management Audits and skills training for your team.

Outsourcing may not be for everyone and whether you choose to manage your reservations in-house through a dedicated staff member or make use of our teams’ offerings- we are happy to meet with you and discuss the many opportunities available to you.

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