In most hotels, nighttime is the least busy part of the day. In busy hotels, there will always be guests who require the help of hotel staff at all hours, and night porters are employed to be on hand to deal with guest requests. Night porters have other responsibilities involved with the smooth running of the hotel.
The night porter is responsible for the security of the hotel throughout the night, usually between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The night porter is responsible for covering the reception area and knows which rooms are occupied and which are not from a copy of the guest list handed over by the receptionist going off duty. Night porters often make regular rounds of the premises and must keep a log of anything suspicious they notice during the shift. The log is handed to the duty manager who comes on duty as the night shift ends.
All guest needs that normally would be met by reception staff are met by the night porter during the night shift. This might mean answering requests for information or even calling for taxis for guests who plan to go out. If the hotel provides tea and coffee 24 hours a day in public areas, the night porter is responsible for keeping those facilities stocked, clean and tidy. The reception area and all other public areas must be kept tidy and clean, ready for the morning shift, and this is also the responsibility of the night porter. Any late-returning guests are met by the night porter, who also handles any late-night check-ins.
When guests have requested morning newspapers, the night porter orders them based on information found on the guest list. If the hotel provides a breakfast buffet, the night porter ensures the buffet area is tidy and clean and prepared for the breakfast service. If any guests require an early breakfast before the normal breakfast service, the night porter will serve those guests. If packages or messages arrive at the hotel during the night, the night porter is responsible for delivering them to guest rooms in the morning or informing guests of their arrival.