One of the busiest people in the hotel is the hotel receptionist; whilst appearing calm and relaxed, they often juggle several tasks at once. Let’s have a look at some of the tasks these members of staff accomplish in the day.
The first thing a hotel receptionist does.
Early morning there is a check for wake-up calls and who will be checking out. Some hotels will be putting out the newspapers in reception. One or two guests will want to leave early for travel arrangements. Easy check-out systems, where you drop your keycard into a box, are a lifesaver for the busy receptionist and quicker for travellers.
While the residents eat their breakfast in the dining room, receptionists can be busy preparing the check-out arrangements with the cleaning staff. They will be tidying the reception area ready for your departures, making room for your cases and bags. Some residents will stop by to ask questions before their day in the city. The post or emails with messages may arrive, and the receptionist will be arranging the letters into the correct pigeon holes for staff and residents. Plus, there is the preparation of bills and invoices for guests about to leave.
The check-out period is generally around 10 am, and everyone wants to leave in that short period. Enquires for travel plans and what local events and attractions are open can stretch this process out. Staff want to spend time with you, to know that you had a comfortable night and enjoyed your time with us. They want to deal with complaints swiftly and to the guest’s satisfaction and to hear the praise and thanks from the appreciative. If you are staying on, then it is worth avoiding check-out times for your enquiries. Taking payments with either cash or card requires some careful calculating to prevent mistakes.
There is usually a lull just after check-out, and staff try to take a short break, though heading to their restroom, they often are stopped by guests, so maintain their smile. If they spot something amiss, they will generally sort it there and then because it wouldn’t reflect well if a guest were to see them walk past.
Guests often head to the bar for a quick lunch if they are in the hotel for the day, particularly the longer-stay residents. Some people may stop by the reception for post or parcels or make a table reservation for dinner. The cleaning staff report back any issues for maintenance before the afternoon check-ins arrivals. Room allocation is done after this, so the rooms with snags are avoided. Special requests for particular rooms or accessibility will mean a bit of puzzling; however, reception staff become proficient at this. If you want the quietest room available, these are the staff to ask!
This is the time when late availability requests come in and walk-in enquiries. Some business people may use the reception or lounge areas for meetings and order coffee, tea, and light refreshments.
Another flurry of activity occurs around 4 pm for those checking in for the night. This process can be spread across the evening as people arrive at all different times. Again, the requests for last-minute changes can have the receptionist think fast on their feet about which room to offer the guests. Taking careful notes is required for wake-up calls or an extra blanket or towels to alert housekeeping.
Taking deliveries and enquires
Throughout the day, deliveries of parcels, messages, supplies and even takeaways occur. The receptionist receives these with a smile and keeps them safe until the recipient comes down to reception to receive them.
While the residents dine in the restaurant, the reception staff check out which shows may have cancelled, What’s on locally, and other restaurants in the area.
Into the evening
As residents leave the hotel to go out for the evening, reception staff are ordering taxis, giving out bus timetables, and arranging special requests for rooms. Calls from guests in their rooms to sort out niggles, such as the TV not working or the air conditioning too cold. The bar and restaurant can be heaving with revellers, both residents and walk-ins. Some may try for a late room rather than return home. These enquiries can continue through to late night and early morning as guests return from their evening’s entertainment.
Throughout the night
With a 24hr reception, the hotel does not sleep itself. While many are enjoying their soft pillows and mattresses, others need assistance or complain of noise. The hotel receptionist is there to soothe over any fractions, and security at the door is there to help keep the residents safe.
Port of call
Overall your hotel receptionist is trained to be your first port of call for whatever you need while staying in the hotel. It is a swan-like job of looking calm and serene whilst paddling like mad underwater to keep the hotel running smoothly.