What it takes to be a receptionist

John Millen |

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Voice: Thanks for tuning in to another episode of “On the Job”. Today, we have with us Rose, a receptionist at a busy hotel in Wan Chai to find out more about her job, the different sorts of people she meets, and what it takes to be a receptionist.

Good morning, Rose. Thank you very much for taking time off from your duties to talk to us.

Rose: Good morning, Joshua. No problem, it’s my pleasure.

Voice: How long have you been working at the Darlington?

Rose: About three years. I started as a part-time in 2016 and became a full-time receptionist last year.

Voice: What’s a typical day at your job?

Rose: Other than sorting out bookings and reservations, verifying and collecting hotel payments when guests check in and check out, I inform them about the hotel’s facilities, and give recommendations for attractions and other points of interest such as restaurants, shopping malls, and night markets. I also take care of special requests such as booking flight tickets and storing valuable items.       

Voice: Wow! That’s a lot on your plate! You must deal with a lot of guests every day!  

Rose: It’s not too hectic right now as the summer holidays are just over and the typhoon season is approaching. The hotel is usually fully booked during early June and late August, and that’s when we get really busy.

Voice: I see. Can you tell us more about the hotel? How many rooms are there?

Rose: Sure. The Darlington opened three years ago, and it’s one of the newest hotels in Wan Chai. It has one hundred rooms. There are four different types of rooms ranging from singles to superior double rooms. There are five junior suites too. The hotel has twenty-eight floors, and it’s of the tallest buildings in the area. The very top floor is a lounge area that’s perfect for chilling out, and you can get an excellent view of Hong Kong Harbour from here.

Voice: And what do you consider to be the hotel’s strongest selling point?

Rose: Without a doubt, its location. It is a three-min walk from Wan Chai MTR station. The Darlington is a boutique hotel and the hotel rates are slightly lower than those of other four and five star hotels in this area, so we offer good value for money. Also, the building has a contemporary industrial design and has been voted one of the top 10 most Instagrammable hotels in the city.

Voice: Definitely! We took some photos at the lobby earlier. I really like the modern “warehouse” look, and matching huge canvases behind the reception showing the city’s skyline. Speaking of which, how many other receptionists are there at the Darlington?

Rose: We are a team of seven and work in shifts. A few of us work part-time because there needs to be someone on duty at all times. , and we report to our reception supervisor.

Voice: How many shifts are there each day?

Rose: Usually three. The early shift starts from seven in the morning until three. The afternoon shift is from three pm until eleven. And the last shift is between eleven pm and seven in the morning.

Voice: Which shift do you like best? 

Rose: I like the morning shift because it’s also the busiest time of the day when guests are checking in and out. I like chatting with guests and making sure they’ve enjoyed their stay here. Also, time flies when you’re busy.

Voice: Does time drag when you do night shifts? 

Rose: It’s all right. I only need to do two or three night shifts every month, and take this chance to catch up on paperwork and other administrative tasks.

Voice: How many days of annual leave do you have?

Rose: Twelve days and I usually take them during the weekdays. My colleagues and I work out our shifts to make sure there’s always someone to cover our duties when any of us is away.

Voice: And what do you like about your job as a receptionist at the Darlington?

Rose: You have to be a “people person” to be mad about this job because you’ll have to deal with different sorts of guests, and not all of them are pleasant to deal with.  

Voice: How do you handle a difficult or bad-mannered guest?

Rose: I do my best to keep calm and respond in a polite way. I also remind myself the guest is not angry with me, but at the situation and do what I can to resolve the problem. But if the guest becomes unreasonable, I’ll call for my supervisor or the hotel manager to deal with the problem. Fortunately, most guests at the hotel are very pleasant and well-mannered.

Voice: Right, we’ve come to the end of today’s episode. Thank you very much for talking to us, Rose.

Rose: You’re welcome. I’ve enjoyed our little chat!