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What does a Bell Captain do?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments

By anon964490 — On Aug 05, 2014

A normal tip is $1-$2 per bag in US. Usually $5 is the average. Please do not ask to borrow the cart. You would not ask to pick up the food in the kitchen, drive the cab yourself, borrow a plumber's tools, etc.

By honeybees — On Nov 29, 2012

@julies -- Speaking of the tips your cousin received, what is customary for tipping a bell captain or bellhop? I have always wondered what is considered a reasonable amount for this kind of service. It is good to know what is a standard amount so I can give those who give exceptional service a little bit more than normal.

By julies — On Nov 29, 2012

My cousin worked at a small hotel as a bell captain. There weren't very many on staff, so he pretty much did the job of a porter, bellhop and bell captain all in one. He spent most of his time either transporting luggage or answering questions at the front desk.

I am not sure how much a bell captain job pays, but he did make some extra money from tips when he transported luggage to and from the room.

By bagley79 — On Nov 28, 2012

I think a well trained and personable bell captain sets the tone for the first impression a guest has when they enter the hotel. I have met bell captains who are exceptional and others who are just doing their job and don't go out of their way to help.

There is one bell captain who really stands out in my mind as someone who enjoyed his job and really went out of his way to make sure the guests he came in contact with were well taken care of.

The few days we spent at this hotel, he was a wonderful source of information about local attractions. He also arranged the best transportation for us and we felt like he took a personal interest in our vacation.

If we ever travel to this area again, we will definitely stay at the same hotel because we felt like we were treated so well. Much of this comes from the friendliness of the bell captain.

By myharley — On Nov 28, 2012

My son worked as a bell captain while he was going to college. This was a good way for him to make some decent money during the evening and on weekends. He enjoyed the contact with the hotel guests and actually ended up taking several college classes in the hospitality industry.

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