I work in a reception of a hotel, which is part of a a big hotel chain. My main responsibilities are checking in and out our customers, making and canceling reservations, guiding the customers, operating the telephone switchboard, responding to emails, invoicing (big groups/single customers), taking care of the tidiness of the lobby and coffee bar of the reception.
As receptionist, we are used to three-shift work. As an example, I’ll tell about my morning shift that starts at 7am. I arrive at work and dress my work clothes, a neat jacket suit and good work shoes. When arriving to the reception, we go through things with the receptionists from previous shift, for example if there’s something that should be taken into account of that might affect my own shift. After that I sign in to our Opera hotel system and read the entries there, for example information about wake up calls for the morning or taxi bookings etc. Email needs to be kept open all the time, and reply to emails during the day when there’s time. Telephone keeps ringing all the time, so you have to pick up calls, too.
If the customers who are checking out haven’t paid yet, the payments are handled in the morning, including the charges for minibars and other extras. Morning shift tasks include also handling the group invoices of the departing groups, and checking the coming groups. For example if they have ordered bag carriers or booked conference rooms, we know to inform the groups, and we are able to give piccolos the correct room lists so that they know where to carry the bags.
During the day we have customers in the coffee bar, and we take care of the cash desk. A big part of our day is also to guide tourists to sightseeings, to check timetables for them for public transport and to make them table bookings for restaurants etc. You need to have language skills to be able to communicate with foreign customers, with travel agencies or sales services if there are unclear bookings. We also have lots of current matters, for example if floor cleaners haven’t arrived, or in the evening shift if they have already left, the receptionists run between floors to bring extra blankets or kettles when requested. When finishing the shift, we brief the people in the next shift and they continue working. The employees in the night shift in turn have their own tasks.
I love speaking in different languages, meeting people from different cultures, and the fact that every day is different. You get to see and hear lots of eye-opening things.
Accidents, you are never able to prepare for them if something happens during your own shift. On busy days you need to accept that you simply won’t have time for breaks, when there’s a queue of customers reaching outside. In this profession, ability to handle pressure is very essential.
You learn the basics of every area in school, but deepening the needed skills happens in work/internship.