Working in a hostel can be a perfect way to save while travelling, getting to know new people from all over the world and get job experience. Although it might look like it’s fun, it is also hard work. Not all can survive behind the front desk.

Yes, I love to have fun while working.

But work is work and it needs to be done. Apart from all the basic stuff that you usually do in the reception like checking-ins, checking-outs, reservations, information etc. there are lots of situations you need to face and resolve.

Since we all have some kind of skills that makes us feel good in certain jobs also in order to be a good receptionist you need to have personal skills that will help you survive in the hostel environment.

So what it takes to be a good receptionist? I have gathered 10 most important skills which in my opinion makes a good hostel worker.

Top 10 hostel skills:

Be organized.

On the beginning of your shift create a scheme of the things you need to do. I know that there are tons of things coming out during work but keep your head cool. Resolve all the current issues and surprises and if you still have time come back to the scheme…or just chill out 🙂

Be creative.

The hostel is about people. So they are the most important. For a good hostel worker there is no such thing as impossible. To solve the problem you need to come up with good, fast ideas that will satisfy both: the hostel guest and you.

Be open-minded.

On your hostel journey, you will meet a lot of people from all over the world. You don’t need to understand their behaviour but accept differences between you and the others – this will facilitate your contact with the guest.

Be fast.

In resolving all the issues. No one likes to wait, especially tourists.

Be multitasking.

That’s the skill that is really appreciated in the hostel. Don’t be afraid of any work. As a receptionist in the hostel, you might be facing tasks like maintenance, cleaning, cooking, being psychologist, waitress, bartender, tour guide and a security guard.

Team player as well as a solo player.

While sharing your shift with colleagues it’s good to share your work so each of you knows who is responsible for what. The most important is that your work together needs to go smoothly especially when the hostel is fully booked or whenever there are lots of people hanging out in the hostel. Nevertheless knowing how to work on your own is very important. You need to be able to take firm decisions (particularly when problems occur) and organize work of reception.

Don’t be afraid to take challenges.

In any circumstances, you should always keep your head cool. Whenever there is overbooking, a reservation that is not in the system (and OMG we are fully booked!!), the sink is broken and water is all over the floor, etc…please, DON’T PANIC! Take it as a challenge and remember that everything has a solution! Use your head, try to do what is in your possibilities and in case of emergency call appropriate help.

Be happy and positive.

When guests are arriving at the hostel welcome them with a smile. After all, they might have travelled 20 hours and are exhausted, so happy and nice person in the reception might be exactly what they need to feel better in a new place. I know that there is some kind of people that might be a pain in the ass but nevertheless they might still be your guests. So don’t forget about your smile and nice attitude. Of course, if someone is disrespecting you, you don’t need to accept it. Receptionist or not you are still a human being that deserves respect.

Be patient.

That is really important when you are working in the travel industry. During your work, you might be facing tons of surprising/ stupid/ unthinkable complaints but well… as a face of the hostel you need be professional and treat every complaint and problem seriously (you can laugh from them afterwards). Be patient with people around you and with your colleagues- that’s the way you will survive your shift.

Stay tuned.

Knowing what kind of people are checked in the hostel might help you prevent at least a little bit of future problems. So if you feel like there might be a problem with one of the client try to allocate him or her in the room where the chances of social interactions with other guests are lower. Also, listen to your intuition. If you really feel that someone looks suspicious have an eye on that person or just say that you are fully booked so you don’t have free beds (in the case when that is walk-in). I know it means that hostel will lose money but you are responsible for your own and hostel’s guests safety. So don’t lose your guard!

These are my top of the tops skills that I can honestly say that help me survive in the crazy hostel world.

Do not forget to be prepared for absolutely EVERYTHING! And of course, be social 🙂 treat hostel guests as you would like to be treated.

In your opinion what skills are essential while working in the hostel?



Posted by Ewa Gabara

Posted by Ewa Gabara

Founder of Don’t Mess With The Receptionist. I geek out on hostels and I’m a long-time receptionist turned into a copywriter. I help the hospitality and travel brands conquer the world with words.

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