Hotel/accommodation room attendants work in hotels of all sizes, and in some motels and other self-catering accommodation. They help to make a hotel guest's stay pleasant by keeping their room clean, tidy and stocked with items such as soap, toilet paper and towels. They also change bed linen and prepare rooms for new guests.
In a small hotel, attendants may work on their own, or with one or two colleagues. In a large hotel, they may share the work with a team, typically with their own quota of rooms to prepare and clean.
Their main tasks are:
In luxury hotels, attendants may arrange flowers or baskets of fruit for the guests when they arrive, and prepare the room in the evening by, for example, arranging the bed, drawing curtains and turning on lights.
Room attendants are also expected to check if anything has been damaged or is not working properly, and report this to the housekeeper or maintenance section of the hotel. If they find anything left behind by guests after they have checked out, they hand it in to reception or housekeeping. Attendants also need to cater for any special requirements of guests, such as obtaining a particular type of pillow for the room.
An important part of the job is to respect guests' privacy. Attendants have to avoid disturbing guests in their rooms and need to be careful not to move their possessions when cleaning.
In a small hotel, attendants may report to the housekeeper, housekeeping manager or perhaps even the hotel manager or owner. In a larger hotel, they report to the floor housekeeper or assistant housekeeper.
Room attendants may have to start preparing rooms early in the morning, and they usually have to work some weekends and public holidays. Many hotels run a shift system that may involve working late in the evenings.
There are lots of part-time and seasonal jobs. Some jobs may be on a live-in basis.
Attendants work all over the hotel, and may have to carry heavy loads of linen, or push a vacuum cleaner or trolley full of cleaning equipment. Cleaning and preparing a room involves a lot of bending and stretching, and attendants may have a whole floor of rooms to cover.
Attendants usually wear a uniform or overall supplied by their employer. They also need to wear protective gloves and clothing when handling cleaning chemicals. The working environment may be messy.
Starting salaries may be around £10,000 a year. There may be extra pay for working shifts or overtime. Guests may also tip attendants.
Room attendants are employed by hotels, motels, guesthouses and holiday centres. They may also work for an agency or contract cleaning company. In many areas there are more vacancies than applicants so prospects are good.
Jobs are advertised in trade magazines such as Caterer and Hotelkeeper, in Jobcentre Plus offices and Connexions centres, and on recruitment websites such as www.caterer.com and www.caterersearch.com. Jobs are also advertised in local newspapers, and there are many recruitment agencies that deal with hotel positions. It may also be possible to find work by approaching hotels directly.
Room attendants do not usually need formal qualifications. Instead, employers look for people who are honest, hardworking and reliable.
Hospitality Apprenticeships may be available.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Training is usually on the job, under the guidance of a more experienced room attendant or the hotel housekeeper. Room attendants learn how to clean carpets and furniture, and how to deal with stains. They also learn how to make beds and prepare rooms to the hotel's standards.
Attendants may be able to work towards NVQ's/SVQ's in Housekeeping at Level 2, and Cleaning and Support Services at Levels 1 and 2.
Oil Drilling Roustabouts and Roughnecks work as part of a small team on offshore oil or gas drilling rigs or production platforms. Roustabouts do unskilled manual labouring jobs on rigs and platforms, and Roughneck is a promotion from roustabout.
Roustabouts do basic tasks to help keep the rig and platform working efficiently and Roughnecks do practical tasks involved in the drilling operation, under the supervision of the driller.
Room attendants need to:
Promotion prospects depend on the size and type of organisation. Small hotels and guesthouses may have limited scope for promotion, so room attendants may have to change employer in order to progress. Larger organisations often have a more formal career structure, and room attendants may be able to work towards supervisory and management jobs.
NVQ's/SVQ's in Hospitality Supervision at Level 3 may be helpful for room attendants wanting to progress in their career.
Institute of Hospitality
14 Palmerston Road, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 4QL
Tel: 020 8661 4900
People 1st, Second Floor, Armstrong House,
38 Market Square, Uxbridge UB8 1LH
Tel: 01895 857000
The Springboard Charity & Springboard UK Ltd, Coopers' Hall,
13 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4TH
Tel: 020 7497 8654
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.