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Hotel receptionist

  • Hours

    30-40 per week

  • Starting salary

    £12,500 + per year

If you enjoy meeting and helping all kinds of people, this could be a great job for you.

Hotel receptionists make guests feel welcome, manage room bookings (also known as reservations) and deal with requests that guests make during their stay.

A hotel receptionist also needs to be friendly and professional at all times, be able to look after several things at once and always stay calm, sometimes under pressure.

Many employers will prefer you to have a good standard of general education and possibly some GCSEs (A-C) in subjects such as English, maths and IT. Some employers may also want you to have experience of using a telephone switchboard or a computerised reservations system.

Although previous experience in customer service or office work would also help you, you can also prepare for this work by taking a relevant college course. ​


The work

As a hotel receptionist, your main duties would include:

  • dealing with bookings by phone, e-mail, letter, fax or face-to-face
  • completing procedures when guests arrive and leave
  • choosing rooms and handing out keys
  • preparing bills and taking payments
  • taking and passing on messages to guests
  • dealing with special requests from guests (like booking theatre tickets or storing valuable items)
  • answering questions about what the hotel offers and the surrounding area
  • dealing with complaints or problems

In most hotels, you would use a computerised system to book rooms and to keep details of bookings and available rooms up to date. You would work as part of a team and you may be responsible for one area such as managing telephone reservations or guest departures (also known as checkouts).

In small hotels, your duties may include other tasks such as showing guests to their rooms and serving drinks in the bar.


You would usually work shifts, which could include evenings, nights, weekends and public holidays. If you work during these times you may be paid extra. Part-time and seasonal work is often available.

You would spend most of your time at a reception desk, using a computer and a telephone switchboard.


Salaries can start between £12,500 and £14,500 a year. Supervisors can earn from £15,000 to £19,000. As a front desk manager, salaries can go up to £24,000 a year.

Meals and accommodation are sometimes provided.

Figures are intended as a guide only.

Entry requirements

You will need good administration and customer service skills for this job. IT skills will also be useful to work with computerised booking and payment systems. Many employers will want you to have a good standard of general education, including GCSEs (A-C) in maths and English.

You could prepare for this work by taking a relevant full-time or part-time college course, to gain some of the knowledge and skills needed in this job. Courses include:

  • Level 1 Certificate in General Hospitality
  • Level 1 Award in Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry
  • Level 1 Award in Introduction to the Hospitality Industry
  • Level 2 Award in the Principles of Customer Service in Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism

You may be able to become a hotel receptionist through an Apprenticeship scheme, such as the Level 2 Apprenticeship in Hospitality & Catering (Front of House Reception). Visit the Apprenticeships website to find out more.

The Hospitality Guild unites training providers, businesses and individuals, and offers information and advice about careers in hospitality and tourism. Their website also has interactive tools that can help you to plan and develop your career.

Training and development

You will normally be trained on the job by experienced staff. Some employers also run their own training schemes and you may be encouraged to work towards qualifications, such as:

  • Level 2 (NVQ) Diploma in Front of House Reception
  • Level 2 Certificate In Hospitality and Catering Principles (Front of House Reception)
  • Level 3 Award in Principles of Supervising Customer Service Performance in Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism
  • Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Reception and Front Office Services

With experience, you could gain promotion to head receptionist and front desk manager.

Skills, interests and qualities

As a hotel receptionist you will need to have:

  • excellent written and spoken communication skills
  • strong customer service skills
  • a friendly and professional telephone manner
  • the ability to adapt to different guests
  • patience and tact
  • the ability to stay calm under pressure and look after several things at once
  • good problem solving skills
  • the ability to use computerised technology
  • a methodical approach to your work
  • accuracy and attention to detail

It may also be useful if you speak a foreign language.

More information

Hospitality Guild (Opens new window)

Springboard UK (Opens new window)



Your prospects for promotion can vary depending on where you work. Larger hotels and hotel chains are more likely to have a career structure in place, leading to shift supervisor and head receptionist jobs.

With experience and qualifications, you may be able to progress to front office manager or hotel manager. You could also move into different areas of hotel work, such as events and banqueting services, sales, personnel or accounts.

In a large hotel, you may be encouraged to gain experience in different departments, which would increase your skills and promotion prospects. You could also move outside the hospitality industry into related areas such as customer service and administration.

Jobs are advertised in the local and national press, at Jobcentre Plus offices, and on websites such as:

Job market information

This section gives you an overview of the job area that this profile belongs to. You can use it to work out your next career move. It can help if you’re looking for a job now or want to do some further training.

The 'Market statistics' charts are based on figures from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The list of job vacancies under 'Apply for jobs' is from the Universal Jobmatch database. The vacancies are not from the National Careers Service.

Median income: Secretarial
Avg Inc
UK Sector
27017 20136
Gender: Secretarial
Female Male
94 6
Working pattern: Secretarial
Part-time Full-time Self-employed
51 45 4
Gaps in sector due to skills shortages: Secretarial
This sector All vacancies
16 23
Employment forecast: Secretarial
Forecast Employment Figures
Year Predicted nos. employed
2014 753000
2015 723000
2016 692000
2017 664000
2018 635000
2019 608000
2020 580000

Jobs available on Universal Jobmatch

DateJob TitleCompany NameLocation
19/10/2016Hotel ReceptionistHoliday Inn Express Watford JunctionWatford
19/10/2016Hotel ReceptionistJob HeavenIsle of Arran
11/10/2016Hotel ReceptionistGretna Green LtdGretna
10/10/2016Hotel ReceptionistMyJobMatcher
07/10/2016Hotel ReceptionistCV LibraryChipping Norton

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