Hotel, Motel, and Resort Desk Clerks

All hotels and similar businesses need someone to handle customers as they come through the door. The front desk is often a customer’s first stop at a lodging establishment. If you like helping people to feel welcome and comfortable, you may want to consider a job as a hotel, motel, or resort desk clerk.

What is the job description? Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks are usually the first people customers encounter when they enter the building or call for a room. As a hotel desk clerk, you would register guests, assign rooms, check out guests, answer questions about hotel services, and operate the billing system during the check-out process.

Because hotels, motels, and resorts operate year around, all day every day, you may be expected to work nights or weekends. Some people prefer the non-traditional schedule because it allows them to better care for their family or use the day shift for another job. If you prefer nights or weekends, make sure to tell the hiring manager.

What about education and training? A college or associates degree is not required for hotel desk clerk jobs, although courses in hospitality and customer service may be helpful. A high school diploma or its equivalent is often required.


Most resorts, hotels, and motels will train their desk clerks on the job during the first week or so of employment. During the training, you will learn about the check-in and check-out procedures, how to use the billing software, and how to operate computers and other desk equipment. Your supervisor will also show you around the facilities.

How much can I expect to earn? On average, hotel, motel and resort clerks make about $19,500 a year. Clerks working in higher-end hotels and resorts may earn more than the average, while lower-end motels and hotels may not pay as much.

What about job outlook? The lodging industry is going strong, and employment of hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks is expected to grow faster than the average, at a rate of about 14 percent over the next decade. This means that as more hotels and resorts are built, there will be an increased need for desk clerks.

What can I do to boost my resume? To become more competitive, you may want to expand your computer and clerical skills by taking a course at a local community college. You may also think about extra training in hospitality and customer service, and make sure to note this training on your resume.

What personal qualities may be useful? Friendliness and professionalism are very important to the lodging industry, to ensure that all guests feel comfortable and welcome during their stay. Good personal hygiene and grooming, in addition to a professional appearance, would all be helpful. Good judgment is also a plus.

Another quality that may be useful is compassion. As a lodging desk clerk, you will see a variety of people at various stages of life—business professionals staying away from home for a conference, vacationing families trying to have fun with toddlers in tow, or mourning relatives staying in town for a funeral. As the hotel desk clerk, you have the ability to provide rest and comfort for whatever their lives may bring during their stay. A kind smile or comforting word of encouragement can go a long way.