At one time, Bellmen were present in almost every hotel throughout North America. Now, however, the bellman is becoming rarer as many hotels seek to provide cheaper accommodation. Bellmen can still be found in upscale hotels, in which luxury and service are rated higher than affordability. Bellmen are known under several titles, including bell staff, porters and bellhops. An experienced bellman may become a bell captain, responsible for managing other bellmen within the hotel.
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A bellman officially is part of the receptionist staff. He is responsible for greeting guests when they arrive and identifying them. Once this information has been given, the bellman will pass on the details to other reception staff or direct the guest to the desk. In extremely busy hotels, the bellman may work as part of a team, and be assigned specific guests to look after. Guests who regularly use a certain hotel may request the same bellman time and time again.
While a guest is checking in, the bellman will unload any luggage and wait for the guest to finish checking in. He will then escort the guest up to the guest's room. During this time, the bellman is responsible for answering any questions that the guest may have about the facilities of the hotel and ensuring that the guest feels welcome. Upon arriving at the room, the bellman will explain the features of the locks, escort the guest into the room, and orientate the guest to any necessary details.
When it is time for a guest to leave, it is the duty of the bellman to retrieve the guest's luggage from the room and load it into any vehicle the guest is travelling in. If the guest is not leaving immediately, the bellman will store the luggage securely until the guest wishes to retrieve it. During the departure of a guest, the bellman is responsible for seeing to any required details. Such things as directions, arranging transportation and a host of other requests are the duty of the bellman.
Depending on the size and prestige of a hotel, a bellman may have other duties. In larger hotels with several bellmen, it is not uncommon for the bell staff to be divided between: porters responsible for transporting luggage; valets responsible for parking vehicles; and bell captain responsible for managing the other bell staff.
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