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Hotel receptionist

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Hotel receptionists make guests feel welcome, manage room bookings (reservations) and deal with requests from guests.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £12,500 to £24,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

Many employers will expect you to have GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, in English and maths.

You could get some of the knowledge and skills needed for this job by taking a college course in hospitality.

You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

The Hospitality Guild has more information on careers in hospitality and tourism.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • administration and customer service skills
  • IT skills to work with computerised booking and payment systems
  • excellent written and spoken communication skills
  • a friendly and professional telephone manner
  • patience and tact
  • the ability to stay calm under pressure and look after several things at once

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

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • dealing with bookings
  • 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
  • dealing with complaints or problems

You’ll usually work as part of a team and you may be responsible for one area like managing telephone reservations or guest departures (checkouts).

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

4. Salary

Starter: £12,500 to £14,500

Experienced: £15,000 to £19,000

Highly Experienced: up to £24,000 (front desk manager)

You might earn up to £30,000 or more if you work for a luxury hotel or spa. 

Meals and accommodation are sometimes provided.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work shifts, which could include evenings, nights, weekends and public holidays. If you work during these times you may be paid extra. 

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

6. Career path and progression

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, like events and banqueting services, sales, personnel or accounts.

You could also move outside the hospitality industry into related areas like customer service and administration.

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Last updated: 02 April 2018