Porters perform the heavy lifting for the airline and hotel industries. Sometimes called baggage porters, these people can work in hotels and airports and may keep late night or early morning hours. A porter's main skill is his strength. Porters work in eight-hour shifts and function as part of a team. While baggage is their main responsibility, porters can also prepare function rooms and perform other hotel duties.
Handling baggage is the most common part of a porter's job. A porter may assist people with baggage in an airport or in a hotel, bringing bags from the curb to the terminal or from the front desk to a hotel room. This part of the job involves heavy lifting. Porters may need to mark the luggage with stickers, tags or other identification. Porters often receive tips for their service.
Porters provide customer service to clients who may need directions, luggage assistance, travel information and tourist services such as where to find an ATM or bank. A porter should be familiar with the surrounding neighbourhood to provide customers with this basic navigation information. For more complex needs, hotel porters can direct guests to a concierge.
Experienced porters can attain the rank of head porter, where they will supervise other porters, schedule porters and have the ability to train and hire new staff members. Head porters interview job applicants and handle posting for the position.
Some porters help set up conference rooms for meetings and conventions, bringing in chairs and tables. They may sweep and mop the floor, remove the trash and perform other housekeeping duties.
Porters need strength to perform all the lifting they do in the course of a day. Porters also need the ability to work as part of a team, recognise and respond to problems, and perform tasks efficiently and with a positive attitude. Most employers will provide on-the-job training for porters.
In 2008, the median hourly wage of a baggage porter was £6 for those working in hotels and £9 for those working in airports, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Porters also get customers' tips for their services, which can supplement their hourly rate.