You are in charge of the reception and, in some hotels, the reservations staff - often known as the front office.
In smaller hotels, your entire team may be based at the front desk, manning the hotel switchboard and performing porter duties. In a larger hotel, the reservations staff are usually based in a back office, enabling them to concentrate on telephone calls, faxes, letters and emails, whilst the porters may come under the control of a head porter. There is often a separate cashier's desk.
Besides the usual duties of a departmental manager (recruiting and training staff, organising staff rotas, controlling budgets, health and safety, attending meetings with other heads of department, etc.), you are likely to have regular contact with the guests, welcoming and registering arrivals, answering queries, taking bookings, preparing bills and taking payments.
Maintaining a close liaison with the housekeeping department is essential, so you are informed as to which rooms have been serviced, and receive early warning of any delays. Some situations may need to be investigated: for example, if two people appear to have occupied a single room, or if a guest has failed to check out on time, etc.
As you and your staff are at the hub of the hotel, you have the opportunity to encourage guests to use the facilities available to them, along with the hotel's bars and restaurants, and inform other department managers and the hotel general manager of guests' requirements.
It is a constant challenge to achieve maximum occupancy and revenue, requiring a shrewd eye for business, negotiating skills, knowledge of what is happening in the local area, and often some risk taking (such as overbooking in the knowledge that a percentage of arrivals typically fail to turn up). Security of the guests and hotel staff also is a major concern - there may be a security officer or team in charge.