A hotel porter, also sometimes called a hall porter or concierge, works at the front-line of hotel services. He has a lot of contact with customers of the hotel in which he works and is responsible for a variety of tasks aimed at ensuring the customer's stay is a relaxed and enjoyable one.
Among the duties that hotel porters will perform are carrying the customer's luggage to the room and demonstrating how the features of the room -- air conditioning, television, lights and so on -- work. He will also provide a primary point of contact for customers seeking information on the local area and attractions, and may be called upon to book tickets for attractions and arrange transportation for customers. Hotel porters will also deliver food, drink and newspapers to customers' rooms, as well as run any errands that may be asked of them, such as picking up dry-cleaning or delivering messages.
Some hotel porters work at night. The tasks are similar to those working in the daytime, but with less direct contact with customers. However, he will be responsible for checking in guests who arrive late and fulfilling any room service orders, as kitchen staff do not usually work nights. Aside from this, night porters may set up public rooms for conferences, assist bar staff and take delivery of morning newspapers. Night porters will also be responsible for conducting routine security checks throughout the night.
The ability to get on with a wide variety of people is the primary attribute employers are looking for in potential hotel porters. An easy-going but efficient manner is preferred. A decent degree of physical strength is required in order to carry luggage, as is an interest in helping people and providing good service. The ability to respond as situations demand is also required, as is a smart appearance.
There are no formal qualifications required in order to become a hotel porter. Most establishments will offer on-the-job training for the right candidate. This will usually last about a month. However, they will usually expect GCSE level qualifications or the vocational equivalents.
Pay and opportunities
On average, a hotel porter should expect to earn around £12,000 a year, according to the UK's National Careers Service, and to work eight-hour shifts. Porters at high-end hotels can earn more than this. The pay is augmented with tips from customers, and tipping has become fairly commonplace. Hotel porters are expected to work some weekends. A hotel porter can go on to become a head porter -- responsible for managing a team of porters, assigning tasks, maintaining employee records and conducting interviews for new recruits -- and even, eventually, management.