The function of a hotel executive assistant is akin to being the head secretary for the entire hotel. This position often requires HR work in addition to a number of customer service duties that are standard to the job. Depending on the employer, the requirements of the job can vary greatly (and need to be agreed upon in advance), but the overall job description will usually be quite close to that of the assistant general manager.
Among the routine duties that the executive assistant is expected to perform are clerical duties, as well as promotional and HR duties. The hotel executive assistant reports to the hotel general manager and regardless of how the title “assistant” is perceived, the executive assistant is very much an integral part of the executive management team. The hours are generally around 8-9 each workday and the work load will generally require multitasking a variety of duties between HR, clerical responsibilities and hotel promotion.
A hotel executive assistant is not always required to have previous hotel experience, but should. Generally, all that is required is to have some experience in hotels and hotel management, along with secretarial experience. More established hotels often prefer a candidate with executive management experience in lieu of middle management experience. Being well versed in administrative support, is also a key skill, but some hotels will hire an executive assistant with differing qualifications and experience so long as they are relevant. A degree in hospitality management can significantly increase the chances of landing a hotel executive assistant position after college, but it’s usually not required.
An executive assistant needs to not just be computer literate, they need to be well versed in the latest programs and technology related to the position. It is almost standard now that executive assistant have to be well versed Microsoft Office along with a fax machine and photocopier at the barest of minimums. Having excellent communication skills to facilitate communication with clients and customers over the phone, via email and in person is mandatory. There is also a need for the ability to multitask, to remain cool and focused when issues do arise and to have strong on the spot problem solving skills.
Being well organized and friendly are key traits required to be an effective hotel executive assistant. Looking beyond the training and technical skills needed for the job, ideally, candidates for an executive assistant position need to have strong organizational skills, be very articulate, confident and friendly. Because the position requires dealing with other employees and the public, the ideal executive assistant is cheerful, honest, and fully capable of handling anything the GM passes to them without hesitation. A superior executive assistant shows initiative by making the effort to understand complications that may arise for any number of situations and then works to prevent them so that the manager is free to deal with issues that are more pressing.
Among the tasks that an executive assistant performs, filing and other clerical duties are prevalent. The executive assistant will be expected to perform tasks according to the general manager’s schedule, not their own. He is responsible for briefing and updating the manager on all affairs relevant to the operation of the hotel, filing, assisting in sales and marketing as needed, overseeing catering and events at the hotel, client needs escalated to the executive level, and making travel arrangements and appointments on behalf of the general manager.