Hotel front desk job description

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Ailsa Cooper is the deputy head receptionist at the Dunadry Hotel and Country Club in County Antrim. After completing her HND in Travel and Tourism, she started as a trainee receptionist and was then promoted to her current position.

What does your job involve?

I supervise a team of receptionists, checking guests in and out of the hotel and allocating rooms. I also operate the switchboard and make reservations for accommodation. I have to do cashiering and auditing, such as preparing the accounts for meetings and functions. This is very much a front-of-house role, as a lot of my time is spent interacting with hotel guests.We also run conferences and I deal with any problems or requests from conference organisers and delegates.

What equipment do you use?

As a receptionist I have to adapt to changing technology. We use a computer program for our booking and conference diary activities. Rooms have computerised keycards. These look like credit cards and they are programmed every time a new guest checks in. This means that there is no risk of anyone using a key to enter someone's room.

Do you receive on-the-job training?

When I started at the hotel, I received general induction training, detailing the basic operations. Also, I get computer training as we upgrade our technology systems in reception.

I have also completed a Supervisory Skills course and an NVQ Level 2 in Customer Service. I have found, however, that one of the most effective forms of training in reception is learning on-the-job by watching an experienced person doing the work.

What sort of person do you need to be?

Excellent communication skills are essential. It also helps to have a calm temperament and a flexible approach. This job is all about customer care, and you have to be able to adapt to customer needs as they arise. You also need to be able to do numerous things at the same time!

Do you have to work unsociable hours?

I work eight hour shifts from Monday to Sunday between the hours of 7.30am and midnight. Shifts are random, with no set pattern.

Why did you choose this type of work?

I knew it would be varied and interesting. I meet lots of different people and no two days are the same.

Ailsa's route to her hotel front desk job

  • GCSEs.
  • A Levels.
  • HND Travel and Tourism Management.
  • Receptionist.
  • NVQ Level 2 Customer Service.

Ailsa's hotel receptionist tips

  • Flexibility is essential – there is no such thing as a typical day in this job.
  • You must be able to work with different people.

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Hotel front desk receptionist salary information

  • Salaries vary and will depend on the employer, the type of establishment and its location. Salaries are highest in central London.
  • A starting salary may be around £8,000.
  • A more experienced receptionist can earn around £12,000 and someone with supervisory responsibilities could earn over £15,000.
  • Some receptionists live in, so they may have a proportional reduction in salary in lieu of rent and living expenses.
  • Employers often provide a uniform and an allowance for working unsociable hours.

Getting a Hotel front desk job

  • Academic qualifications are not a requirement, but most employers expect applicants to show evidence of educational achievement, such as GCSEs/S grades or equivalent, particularly in English and maths. Previous experience of dealing with the public and IT skills are advantageous.
  • There are NVQs/SVQs available in Reception, Customer Service and Hospitality Supervision.
  • Some employers have in-house training schemes, which can be combined with off-the-job training at college.
  • An HNC/HND in a relevant subject is useful for entrants with supervisory or management aspirations.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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