A bell captain commonly directs the activities of porters and bellhops. He normally works in a hotel, although a small number of motels also have these guest service specialists on staff. A person in this position is traditionally cross-trained to perform other hospitality industry jobs, such as concierge or desk clerk as well.
Depending on the physical size and guest activity of a hotel, it may have both bellhops and porters or these two positions may be combined. Bellhops normally assist guests inside the hotel, while porters typically perform guest services outside the building. A bell captain may supervise both types of workers or the porters may have their own supervisor on staff.
The main concern of a bell captain is customarily the comfort and satisfaction of the hotel guests. He typically keeps a close eye on his staff to ensure they follow appropriate policies and procedures in the interest of the guests’ contentment. Typical tasks he supervises include the transport of luggage, checking the condition of the room upon on a guest’s arrival, and providing guests with information about the local attractions. He may also monitor how the bellhops present themselves in delivering food and beverages to guests’ rooms.
Work schedules for his staff are normally prepared by this supervisor as well, and he typically keeps track of their hours for payroll processing. The captain normally trains new employees and retrains those he observes failing to meet hotel job performance standards. If complaints are received regarding a bellhop’s service, he is customarily the person who resolves the problem and offers restitution to the guest.
Aside from staff and guest interaction, a bell captain is normally charged with keeping the bellhops’ equipment in good condition. This generally includes the racks, handcarts, and luggage holding areas. He also regularly patrols the hallways and common areas to ensure they are clean and appealing.
A bell captain customarily spends a significant part of his work day at the hotel’s front desk. He frequently greets incoming guests and assigns a bellhop to serve them. A good portion of his job ordinarily entails arranging transportation for guests to both local and remote locations they wish to visit during their hotel stay.
Success in this role normally requires a commitment to service excellence and the ability to inspire his staff to make guests their top priority. He is also commonly expected to have the grace and tact to quickly and satisfactorily resolve conflicts. Good communication with all hotel staff members is a valuable asset for the job.
A high school diploma or equivalent is normally required to apply for this position. Completed college level coursework in the hospitality industry is often preferred. Many hotels provide on-the-job training for the position.