Guest Relations, Concierge, Reception: What’s the Difference?


Understanding who is who and who does what in a hotel can sometimes be confusing. Guest relations manager, guest services officer, guest experience executive. You’ve probably seen these job titles before but might not be sure as to what they represent. 

It’s not as complicated as it seems because all of those job titles describe the same role. No matter the name, it’s the person who makes sure that the guests’ stay goes smoothly and they leave the hotel feeling happy they booked the room.

What’s the difference between the guest relations, reception, and concierge departments?

The nature of the guest relations role will vary slightly depending on the type of hotel you work at but the principle is more or less the same. Till Haffner, former Guest Services Manager at the Ritz-Carlton Berlin, spoke with Hosco and shared his thoughts on this distinction. 

“People often ask what the difference is between these positions and it can be a difficult question. Essentially, the concierge is a specialist in the city. Let’s say you want to see a concert but it’s already sold-out, I would direct you to our concierge who would help you find a ticket regardless. They have a long list of contacts throughout the city that they can utilize to make our guests happy,” says Till.

“As for reception, the front desk manager is in charge of this team. They mostly handle check-in and check-outs, amongst other duties for that department.

Then the guest services manager goes between all of the different departments of the hotel. You have to coordinate with the phone bank operators, the lounge, or concierge, whoever you must, to make sure you have all the information you need to ensure the guest’s experience is pleasant and consistent across all departments,” he says.

While the concierge requires its own set of skills and insider knowledge, many guest relations managers start their hotel career in reception before switching departments. This allows them to learn and understand how the hotel operates so they are able to move into the guest relations department with confidence. Knowledge of the billing, check-in, and room allocation processes will be priceless when working in guest services.

Why is the guest relations manager a unique role?

The relationship with the client is much different for a guest relations manager. The reception and concierge departments only interact with the guests when they are on the hotel premises. 

On the other hand, guest relations managers are the main point of contact for a guest from the moment they book their room until they return home. Guest services will reach out to a client before their stay to arrange everything and again after their stay to receive feedback. 

Once the guest is at the hotel, the guest relations manager will be who they go to with any questions, complaints, or requests they might have.

Since it’s a guest relations officer’s duty to respond to the needs and preferences of individual guests, it is a much more dynamic and variable job than the other forward facing positions in a hotel.

“You have to be open-minded and really listen to your guests if you want to be successful,” says Till.

Who does the guest services manager report to?

Who the guest relations officer reports to will change depending on the hierarchical structure of the hotel they work at. Depending on the establishment, they might report to either the head of the front desk or the rooms division manager. Certain hotels may even have a dedicated role such as Director of Guest Experience who the guest relations manager would report to.

If you want to feel the rush of working in a busy lobby full of international travelers, check out the open hotel jobs available on Hosco today!



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