Working on a hotel reception

As the man or woman behind a hotel reception desk, you'll be the first person many guests speak to as they enter the venue – making your interaction incredibly important.

You'll also be the person guests settle their bill with before they leave – a time when many choose to air grievances about their stay, if they have any. It's vital you know how to handle such complaints well.

In some hotel roles, the level of interaction with guests might be more minimal. Those working as chefs, for example, might not always need to talk to customers.

But if your role involves reception work, you'll be under heavy scrutiny from customers throughout your time behind the desk.

It's vital to the reputation of your workplace that you make a good impression – and, just as important, it's vital to your own sense you're doing a good job.

While you man the desk, you'll likely have a variety of tasks to complete.

One might be answering the phone, another greeting every new guest, getting them checked-in and providing them with a room key and any additional information they'll require for their stay.

All of this will be underpinned by showing off impeccable people skills, to improve the interaction you have with anyone, be it by phone, face to face, or another means.

Training may be provided on-the-job, offering you certain tips, but in general, remember that you'll want to sound upbeat, to smile and to take an appropriate, friendly interest in customers.

For example, asking how someone is can boost an interaction – but it goes without saying that conversation shouldn't be too personal or informal!

You might also be able to add value to a conversation by naturally working in certain questions. Don't simply leave the customer wondering about something you could have handled, for example, but add a gentle 'is there anything else I can do for you?' at the end of the interaction, which could prompt additional questions about things you haven't covered during check-in.

It goes without saying that, as in any hospitality job, presentation is a must.

You'll likely have a specific dress code from your employer, but you don't have to see this as providing an ideal look. There may be ways you can look even more smart and dedicated while staying within the code, for example in terms of how you present your hair and finger nails.

As a visual representative of the hotel, there are no excuses for not being presentable – and that rule applies whether you're working at a top-end luxury establishment or a budget venue, although the exact rules about dress will vary from one to the other.

Three quick tips to boost reception presence:

Smile: Smiling and eye contact may be overstated tips for dealing with the public, but they can help provide a foundation to be a great, friendly-seeming worker.

Do a check before you hit the desk: Check your appearance in the mirror, taking in every little detail.

Formal but friendly: Match your speech to the situation. This may mean speaking more formally than you would with friends, but remaining warm.