If there is one department that absolutely all the guests know, with no exception, it is the reception department. The reception team makes the first contact with the guests, and they are part of the success of the stay of each and every one of them. Today, we’ll get to know them more thanks to Carina, receptionist in charge of the department morning shift.
PRINCESA YAIZA: Hi Carina. Tell us everything!
CARINA: Hi, I’m Carina, and I have been working in the reception department since 2013. I started to work as a reception assistant, with a one-year contract. I came back later to the hotel, and the hotel management was very understanding with me, as they agreed on making me work only in the morning shift, to enable me to take care of my daughter who was very young at the time. I really like working in this hotel, I have learnt, and am still learning, a lot.
PRINCESA YAIZA: And how is the day to day?
CARINA: Very good, there are always many different things to do during my working day, but the guest service is very pleasant. Now, I hold the position of receptionist, always for the morning shift, although the tasks done by a reception assistant and a receptionist are quite similar – the difference is, maybe, the experience you have in the position, and the authority to manage a critical situation. Now, after years working in this position, I am responsible for the morning shift, and my direct managers are the 2nd Reception Manager and the Reception Manager. The hierarchy of the reception department is: Reception Assistant, Receptionist, 2nd Reception Manager and Reception Manager. As far as I am concerned, I manage my shift if neither the Reception Manager nor the 2nd Reception Manager are here.
PRINCESA YAIZA: How many people work in the Reception Department?
CARINA: We are a team of 20 people in total, and we also have internship students, one person to cover the night shift, and one who stays in the office for the morning shift, to check the bookings. The trainees come for a defined period of time and help us doing the work.
PRINCESA YAIZA: Which requirements are important to work in your Department?
CARINA: It is very important to speak languages, and not being afraid of talking to people. If customer service isn’t something you’re scared of, you can have a really good time doing this job.
PRINCESA YAIZA: Which languages do you mainly have to use?
CARINA: English is essential, Spanish as well as we are located in Spain, German always is a plus, and any other language our team may know always helps. For example, we have someone in the team who comes from Norway, our 2nd Reception Manager is French, I am Belgian, so I speak dutch as well as other languages. In this hotel, we use a lot German, and French is being used more and more as we have more and more French tourists. We also have quite a lot of Dutch and Belgian people, I usually take care of these guests as I am the only one who speaks dutch in the department. We try to speak to the guests in their own language.
PRINCESA YAIZA: What is a normal day for you?
CARINA: I always work in the morning shift, so I manage this shift. I start my day by counting up the previous day’s take, and by substituting my colleague from the night shift by checking whether there have been complaints during the afternoon or the night of the previous day.
Then, I make a list of all the new arrivals so that all the departments are informed of how many new-comers we will have in the day, and when will the peak-times of the day be. I check the room assignments, and that all the guests requests have been handled. From then on, my agenda depends on how the day goes. As a shift manager, I have a lot of administration work, although what I prefer is the customer service.
PRINCESA YAIZA: If the guests have any complaint, they can go as much to the Reception Department as to the Public Relations department, right?
CARINA: We have defined which tasks have to be done by each department, although there are times when our tasks overlap each other. For example, the Public Relations Department takes care of the organisation of tours. From our side, we make sure the check-ins are done as quickly as possible. If, for any new guest arrival, we had to do the check-in and then explain the possible tours available in the island, the check-in process would be very long, and that would imply a long wait for the guests, something that we have to avoid. For this reason, we ask the guests to go to the Guest Experience Center to get more information about the possible activities that can be done during their stay. We try to share the workload.
On the other hand, we also have a close communication with the Housekeeping Department to know the scheduled time for the rooms availabilities, and with the Booking Deparment, to know the incoming bookings and scheduled arrival times. We work hand in hand with many departments to make sure the guest service is the best possible, within what our hotel offers.
PRINCESA YAIZA: And what do you like most about your job?
CARINA: Being with the guests. The fact that returning guests recognize you, or make you small presents such as thank you notes, all this makes you happy and make this work very pleasant.