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What does a Bellman do?

By Lori Smith
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A bellman, sometimes called a bellhop, typically works at a hotel or resort and reports to the bell captain. As one of the first employees guests encounter upon their arrival, it is important for this individual to represent the hotel in a professional, friendly manner. Greeting everyone with a smile, the uniformed worker may open doors, assist with luggage, and escort guests to their rooms. He often points out special features and amenities of the hotel. Someone in whit position will generally do whatever he can to make guests feel at home during their stays.

When visitors first arrive at a hotel, the bellman will usually offer to take their luggage and packages. He delivers everything to the patron’s room in a timely manner, via a large rolling cart. Many times, he will personally escort guests to their suites. Along the way, he may point out the gift shop, restaurants, swimming pool, weight room, or any other special features of the hotel.

Upon reaching the guest’s room, the bellman may open the drapes or turn on lights. He may show guests how to access the mini bar or use the in-room safe. He will usually answer any questions a guest may have regarding checkout or offer directions to local area attractions. His job is to be gracious and hospitable.

When guests depart the hotel, he may assist them by bringing luggage to the lobby. He may also call a taxicab for them or make sure that the parking valet retrieves their cars. While most bellmen earn an hourly wage, it is customary for guests to tip them for good service.

In addition to career opportunities at hotels and resorts, some other establishments employ bellmen as well. Upscale residential buildings, for example, may offer this service for condominium owners. Similar to the type of work performed at hotels, they may open doors for tenants and guests and accept incoming packages. Some bellhops even walk dogs while the pet owners are at work.

In general, a bellman’s position is an excellent opportunity for individuals seeking an entry-level position in the hospitality industry. Some establishments prefer at least a year of previous experience, but others offer on-the-job training. To be successful in this position, it is important for the individual to be personable, patient, and enjoy working with others. A bellman is typically required to do a lot of heavy lifting and spend several hours at a time on his feet.

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Discussion Comments

By summing — On Aug 08, 2011

I think the worst part about being a bellman would be having to wear that silly costume. Seriously, who came up with that? It looks like a cross between a five star general and a clown from the Shriners circus. I think it is impossible to maintain your dignity in a get up like that.

I think it would be so much classier if they just wore black suits. You would probably attract more people to the profession that way too.

By backdraft — On Aug 07, 2011

For some reason when I was in middle school I thought it would be a really cool job to be a bellman. There was something about being in a big hotel with people always coming and going and living these strange temporary lives behind hotel room doors. It just seemed like an exciting place to be. It seemed like just about anything could happen.

I applied to a few places in high school but I never got hired on. Its probably for the better. I have a friend who did this for a while and he says that its mostly just boring. People come, people go, few of them tip, no one is very dramatic. Its definitely not the way it looks in old film noir movies

By Izzy78 — On Aug 07, 2011

@cardsfan27- I would not compare a bellman to a bartender but, rather a taxi driver. Taxi drivers provide a service first and be personable second. Being nice does go a long way but people will tip based off of service and on rare occasions will tip more if the bellman tells a good joke or is personable.

Unlike a bartender, who is providing alcoholic beverages for people, a bellman is simply carrying bags and providing a service someone needs that is not just for fun. Considering that being a bellman is providing a serious service, rather than a service for pleasure, a bellman will usually get paid the same in tips being good at their job, as opposed to just being enjoyable to be around.

By kentuckycat — On Aug 06, 2011

A good bellman can tell good jokes. I agree that they must provide a good service as well as be enjoyable, but a good joke goes a long way in helping get a good tip. Some of the best jokes I have heard come from bellmen and I'm sure the little clique of them at the hotels they work at come up with some material to use in front of customers.

By cardsfan27 — On Aug 05, 2011

I think being a bellman is like being a bartender. In order to make money off of tips they both have to provide something else to the customer besides the services they provide. I do agree a good sense of humor goes a long way but, also being very nice and providing an enjoyable experience to the customer helps a lot in gaining a good tip. Like tipping a bartender, people will tip well if they enjoy the person's company and are satisfied with the service they provide. Being friendly is essential in order to be a bellman.

By jmc88 — On Aug 04, 2011

Although it may seem like a very easy job that anyone could do, being a bellman is something that requires a certain personality and specific skills for the job. Considering that bellmen are usually paid by the hour, they make their money off of tips they receive from people they assist during the course of doing their job. In order to consistently receive good tips a bellman has be good at their job and be able to provide something else to the customer besides their services.

In order to receive a good tip for simply moving bags or holding a door for a customer, it is best for the bellman to develop a good sense of humor and leave the customer with something to remember them by. Being good at their job and enjoyable to the customer on a consistent basis goes a long way in helping earn a decent living in this particular profession.

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