What does a night auditor do?
The night auditor works at the front desk of a hotel, motel or resort. They may not necessarily be present during the night as their shifts can last from 11pm till 7am. Also they may just be "on-call" while working at a back office. Typically you can find night auditors at large establishments, motels or 24/7 hotels where guests inquiries can be expected during the night. As the amount of requests may vary between nights, night auditors need to fill the gaps with unfinished tasks from the previous 2 shifts. Employers require different skills depending on the estabilshment and as a result salaries can vary a lot too.
Hotel owners require from night auditors none to various credentials depending on the size and type of hotel. A typical motel may require just high school diploma with sufficient English skills to welcome and issue room keys to arriving guests. Previous hands on experience in the hospitality industry is always a bonus. Having worked as waiter, which has a low barrier of entry, can give you the necessary experience to develop sufficient customer service skills to make you stand out. It also shows that you can deal with high stress situations and are a proven multi-tasker. There may be occascions during your night shift in which you have to deal with many incoming guests while simultaneously dealing with incoming phone calls. During these situations, you have to remain very calm and provide excellent service to all customers.
Luxury hotels with several stories and hundreds of rooms may require a BSc. in accounting, finance, administration, or hospitality to meet the various tasks during the night shift. Being fluent in foreign can also be a plus as these high end hotels usually attract high net-worth guests from around world. Simultaneously, you have to be able to tailor your customer service according to the guests culture and always be very respectful.
All establishments expect basic math skills, sufficient customer service skills, and basic computer skills to log guest inquiries via Mail or the phone. A professional look is also required. Depending on the estabilishment, the wardrobe will be determined by your employer. Independent problem solving skills are also a must as hotel night auditor typically take responsibility for the remaining staff and have to act in the best interest of the hotel, motel or resort.
Irrespecitve of your previous experience or education, a job applicant has numerous ways to excel during an interview. One of them is certificates from the hospitality sector. For instance, the American Hotel & Lodging Education Institute (AHLEI) offers the "Certified Front Desk Representative (CFDR) Online Program" or the "Guest Service Gold® and Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP)" program to make applicants stand out to hotels, motels, or resorts.
Certified Front Desk Representative (CFDR) Online Program will educate you about general hospitality knowledge, soft skills in the hospitality industry, and instructions on training new employees. Some of these tasks include among others the identification of equipment and systems for front desk staff, necessary task in regards to pre-arrival, check-in and departure of guests, and effective sales and upselling techniques for front desk personnel.
The Guest Service Gold® and Certified Guest Service Professional program will teach you about anticipating guest needs, creating, memorable experiences, and managing difficult situations with customers.
Responsibilities and duties
The night auditor's duties can vary a lot as hotel owners want to use each employee as efficient as possible. As customer requests during the night may range from 1 to dozens an hour, night auditors have to process unfinished tasks from the day. The responsibilities include typical guest inquiries to organizing invoices to doing the books. Below you can find a list of typical duties as a hotel night auditor:
- coordinating with the daytime shift to assess which tasks have to completed until the next day
- front desk duties
- checking in guests
- handling guest requests and complaints
- scheduling wake-up calls according to guest preferences
- taking reservations
- professional handling of disputes with customers
- de-escalate heated situations with customers in a professional manner that creates a win-win situation for the hotel and the customer
- offering helpful recommendations for night activities, entertainment venues, or other local attractions for the next day when asked by guests
- requesting taxis or shuttles for guests
- dealing with late customers and overbooked rooms by finding alternative accommodations for the customer while calming the customer and providing an exceptional experience to reduce the risk of causing bad reviews in online portals
- overseeing all staff activities and operations during the night shift
- accounting duties
- regular interaction with financial software
- watching guest luggage
- process incoming invoices
- reviewing guest payments
- preparing guest invoices for upcoming checkouts
- distribute checks to employees
- investigate discrepancies in the financial records and ledgers
- help prepare for forecasts and audits for upper management
- rebalance cash drawers and log receipts
- refill automic coffee and sweets machines
- inform the upcoming shift about relevant customer requests
Hourly wage and salary
Wages can differ substantially between locations and the type of establishments. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage was around $12.93 and the annual salary about $26,900 in May 2020. The hourly rates can vary between $9.11 up to $17.59. In order to make an educated assessment the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes percentile ranges to better understand the wage distributions across hotel night auditor across the country which you see below:
But depending on where you live, salaries can differ quite a lot for night auditors. Fortunately, the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics publishes wage distributions for different U.S. States based on the highest employment level as hotel, motel, or resort desk clerks:
|State||Employment||Employment per thousands jobs||Location quotient||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
|District of Columbia||1,200||1.75||1.10||$20.04||$41,690|
In the table above, the location quotient defines the ratio of the area concentration of occupational employment to the national average concentration. If the location quotient is great than 1, the occupation in this area has a higher share of employment than the average. If the location quotient is less than 1, the occupation is less common in this area than the average.
Future developments and prospects
With the continued digitization of the industry, hotel night auditors have to watch out and stay ahead of the game to provide value to hotel owners. The rising number of self check-in solutions make it a necessity to excel in other areas that can not be digitized so easy. For instance, interpesonell communication will always be of utmost importance for dealing with difficult customers and situations. Overseeing other staff will probably remain one of the key duties of hotel desk clear for the foreseeable future too and a degree in hospitality management may be advisable.