General Question

partyrock's avatar

What is it like to work in a hotel?

Asked by partyrock (3865 points ) March 16th, 2012

What is it like to work in a hotel, especially an upscale one? Is it hard? What are the different types of job one can get at a hotel? Let’s say something like from Beverly Hills? How much experience would one need and what personality types would be a good fit for it? I.E- (friendly, people-person, articulate, etc.) ? Thanks

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

34 Answers

Trillian's avatar

In what capacity?

partyrock's avatar

@Trillian – Any hotel, middle or more upscale. and How much experience do you need, and what kind of qualities would make someone be good at it ?

jonsblond's avatar

For upscale you definitely need experience or at least the right connections. I’ve only worked at a small hotel. I was front desk clerk for 3rd shift and really enjoyed the work. I got the job with little work experience. It was pretty easy work and you get to meet a lot of interesting people.

You meet all walks of life, so it’s best if you are a genuinely friendly person and you like to help others.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I worked in a hotel a few years ago. It was not an upscale one though, so I can’t speak to what that would be like. I worked at a major chain and their front desk. We also had management, housekeepers, a maintenance guy at our specific location.

As a front desk employee, I was responsible for making reservations, canceling reservations, check in and check out of the guests, and handling any guest issues. All of our reservations were done on the computer. I also coordinated needs with housekeeping and the maintenance guy. When I worked the night shift (11pm – 7am), I was also responsible for setting up the continental breakfast in the morning.

Working that area definitely requires a lot of patience and people skills. You have to be able to listen to people when they are upset, keep your cool, and handle the situation. At my specific location, our manager was not always on duty, so it was often the front desk person that was in charge. I did not have any hotel experience when I got that job, but I had previous customer service experience. Nicer hotels will definitely require more experience.

partyrock's avatar

@jonsblond – What would be the technical skills in working in a hotel? Like answering phones? Stuff like that ?

partyrock's avatar

@Seaofclouds – What kind of patience and people skills ?

jonsblond's avatar

@partyrock Yes. You answer the phone and use a computer and take payment from customers. I had to make a pot of coffee for a certain truck driver that stayed every week. You arrange wake-up calls for those who request them. Anything to make the regulars happy so they come back. It’s also helpful to be familiar with the local entertainment scene. You will be asked for directions and asked where the best places are to eat and go shopping.

partyrock's avatar

@jonsblond – Do you work cash register too?

partyrock's avatar

@jonsblond – Oh yes I see. Thank you :) !

jonsblond's avatar

@partyrock I’m sure @Seaofclouds will be more detailed in her response. She’s cool like that. =)

partyrock's avatar

@jonsblond – Ahh cool, can’t wait :) !! I don’t know anything about hotel/hotel work so I tend to ask lots of questions lol.

partyrock's avatar

Another questions how stressful is it ? Was the pay good ?

Seaofclouds's avatar

@partyrock You will inevitably have to deal with someone that is mad about something. It could be the charge for their room (or room service if there is any), the quality/cleanliness of the room, or even the service of another employee. As the front desk person, you will hear all of it and have to handle it. On top of that, when I worked night shift, we also had people that came in drunk looking for rooms in the middle of the night (there was a casino just down the road). They often tried to barter for the cost of their room. It takes a lot of patience to repeated say the rate as they continue to try to get you to change it sometimes. Some of those people can be very hard to calm down and work out a solution to their problem. Sometimes it’s easy, but not always. Listening to their complaints and dealing with them (especially if their complaint is unfounded) requires patients and people skills. You may have someone call in and berate you about something that happened with the website (if your hotel has one) or about the deal another website gave them (hotwire, priceline, etc).

I know you asked @jonsblond about technical skills, but I figured I’d add in what I had to do on the technical side as well. All of our reservations were on the computer, so navigating the system was a big part of the job which required a lot of basic computer skills. Also on the computer we had financial reports to do at the end of the day, which had to be faxed to the corporate office (adding in the need to know how to use a fax machine). We also had to process payments (cash, check, credit card, and travel’s checks), so handling money with accuracy was a big deal. With preparing the continental breakfast, knowing how to use the coffee pots was important, as well as the other equipment in the kitchen area (we had a juice dispenser and waffle iron as well). Yes, most of that can be taught during training, but having a basic knowledge before hand would be ideal.

The pay was pretty good when I was working. As for the stress level, it varied depending on what was going on in the area and how busy we were. On normal days/nights, it wasn’t overly stressful, but when the state fair was going on (our hotel was right down the street), and during the two Nascar races that came to the area each year, it was very stressful and busy because we were always completely full and had tons of people coming and going. It was fun too though because we met a lot of interesting people.

jonsblond's avatar

For me the only time it was stressful was when I would have a guest that was demanding and not very nice. The irate guest is not fun to deal with. Drunks coming in can be a pain in the butt too. I once had a guy who came in drunk and kept asking me to go to his room with him. (what a jerk!) Overall though you get to meet a lot of nice and interesting people. It isn’t a very stressful job imo.

partyrock's avatar

Thanks everyone, great answers, you all were very helpful.

partyrock's avatar

Would you guys go back to the job….?

Seaofclouds's avatar

I would not go back to it, but only because I have a career that I love now. If for some reason I was no longer working in my career field but wanted a job just to keep busy with, I’d consider it.

partyrock's avatar

@Seaofclouds – Did it pay well? Did you have to work weird hours? And do they train you? Like with the computer and how to use it ?

jonsblond's avatar

I would do it again. I’m a stay-at-home mom right now but I know that’s not going to last forever. I would love to move to northern Wisconsin and work at a hotel there to help pay the bills when our youngest is out of school.

Seaofclouds's avatar

The pay was decent enough, but wouldn’t be what I’m use to now. I was going to nursing school full time when I was working there and the hours were very flexible (because I had a great manager). I switched shifts based on my school schedule. Some days I worked 7am – 3pm, some 3pm – 11pm, and some 11pm – 7am. They did train me. I spent a few days with another girl that was working at the front desk to get to know their system and how they did things.

jonsblond's avatar

I would like to add that I’d prefer to work front desk again rather than going back to working as a travel agent. A travel agent receives more pay, but I like the hotel work better. I prefer standing on my feet and meeting people face to face.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I have stayed at very upscale hotels and watched the desk people closely. In China, I talked to many that’s how much time I had on my hands. They all had hospitality degrees and a second language.

jca's avatar

@partyrock: Any job would have to train you on their computer system – they could not expect you to come in and already know a system you have never used before or seen before.

partyrock's avatar

@trailsillustrated – hospitality degrees? wow.

partyrock's avatar

@jca – Yeah that makes sense.

wundayatta's avatar

There are a number of Hospitality and Tourism Schools around the country. You can even get a PhD in it. I know a number of folks from the tourism school on my campus, but they tend to go into the academic and research end of things. The undergraduate degrees get you all set to work in the industry, I think. I’m sure you can still get in without any experience in the field or academically, too.

jonsblond's avatar

@partyrock A two year hospitality or travel/tourism Associate of Applied Science degree will get you in the door. I have an AAS in travel tourism. When I graduated I applied for a front desk position at a major chain. They wanted to hire me at an entry level position as a phone operator, even though I had the degree and some experience at the previous hotel I mentioned. I didn’t accept the position and went to a travel agency instead. Sometimes you need to start at the bottom and work yourself up.. (who am I kidding? sometimes? how about most of the time)

jca's avatar

UNLV has it.

JLeslie's avatar

Cornell is known as the best in the country for hospitality. Michigan State is usually named as number 2, that may have changed in recent years. UNLV also a very well respected program, and if I remember correctly UHawaii also.

jonsblond's avatar

You really don’t need a four year degree for this line of work unless you aspire to reach a management position, @partyrock. A two-year program will get you in the door.

Bellatrix's avatar

Hospitality is a huge part of our business school. Lots of people doing hospitality degrees.

I would say a really important thing would be customer service skills. If you have worked with people in any capacity, but definitely with people who are unhappy in some way and you were responsible for finding solutions to their problems, that would be something to highlight in any application.

You can learn to operate a phone or a computer but if you don’t have the sort of temperament that can deal with people and resolve their problems with patience and good humour, you won’t last long in the hospitality industry.

My experience of staying in hotels (never worked in one) is that it is fairly hard work in terms of long hours and I don’t think it is particularly well paid. I have met someone on the front desk in the evening when I checked in, seen them later on working in some other capacity and they are still on duty in the morning. And that is at pretty good hotels. There seems to be a tendency to cut back on staff and people need to be able to multitask more. I once saw the chef serving on the front counter (in a good hotel!) when a flight out of a major city was cancelled and they suddenly had a lot of guests checking in at the same time. You need to be versatile and prepared to step up and do what needs doing to keep the guests happy.

rooeytoo's avatar

In my gap year, I worked at a large upscale hotel in Washington D.C. It was the best job I ever had. I worked in the accounting office but I knew everyone there. I would hang in the bowels of the garage with the car jockeys and shoot craps. I got all the food I wanted from the chef and the waitresses in the coffee shop. I loved helping at the front desk and meeting some very important and famous people. I also saw some very important and famous people sneak in at night with people who were not their current spouse. The barber ran a numbers game, one of the guys who worked in the beauty salon was a cross dresser (and drop dead gorgeous when in full female regalia) he later had a sex change and is now very happy old lady. I learned what Tiajuana Gold was. I could go on and on, as I said it was the best job I ever had. So if you have the chance go for it and milk it for all you can. It will give you stories to tell for the rest of your life. Oh yeah, most all of the bell hops were very well educated and had held well paying jobs but were bell hopping because it was all tips and they couldn’t be taxed very heavily for alimony.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I sometimes help out at a hunting lodge near here. I occasionally work the dogs or clean the game that is harvested.

I usually am the camp cook when the hunting party wants a cowboy lunch, supper, or breakfast. All cooked over a campfire in cast iron, except the coffee that is brewed in the big blue enamel pot.

stardust's avatar

Very hard. When I worked in a hotel a few years back, we were expected to work ungodly hours and got little to no thanks for it. This is just my experience mind.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther