The Caterer


27 April 2005

What does this job involve?

  • Greeting guests on arrival. You are likely to be the first member of staff they meet, so a good first impression your welcome, your appearance, and the appearance of reception - is vital.
  • Answering any queries or requests that guests may have and dealing with complaints
  • Taking payments and exchanging foreign currency
  • In some hotels, receptionists operate the switchboard, directing incoming calls and helping guests make telephone calls
  • You may be responsible for showing guests to their rooms or giving them directions, unless there is a porter
  • You may have to respond to reservation enquiries by telephone, in person, or by letter, fax and e-mail.
  • Taking messages for guests
  • Looking after guest valuables in the safe or safety deposit boxes
  • In some hotels, the receptionist helps serve in the bar and restaurant, can be called on to help with housekeeping if there is a crisis, and may be responsible for arranging flowers.
  • In an emergency, you need to know what your responsibilities are, as these may include helping guests evacuate the building, calling the emergency services and checking that all guests are out of the building.

What skills and attributes do I need?

  • A good personal appearance
  • Communication skills
  • Customer service skills - you need to be able to deal effectively with guests who are upset
  • Administration skills, so that you deal with reservations accurately and efficiently and prepare guests' bills correctly
  • Sales skills are useful when persuading guests to upgrade rooms, stay longer, eat in your restaurant, and so on.
  • IT skills - most hotels use a computer to take bookings

How can I get this job?

There are a number of vocational courses available and many hotel companies offer training programmes for reception staff to gain the specific skills they will require. These may include telephone skills and handling complaints.

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