Summer Hotel and Hospitality Jobs
Alaska has a booming tourism industry, and that means a thriving hospitality industry. In fact, millions of people visit Alaska each year, primarily during the summer months. State government and business leaders are active in promoting the state as a travel destination, as tourism is becoming one of the more promising economic development activities.
It’s important to keep in mind, though that most hotel and hospitality jobs are low paying. If you’re looking to earn a great deal of money during the summer, you may want to look at other industries.
Hotels, resorts, and wilderness lodges hire a variety of seasonal employees for administrative and guest service jobs. Many of these resort and hotel jobs don’t require previous experience, and it’s sometimes possible to move laterally within a company after gaining experience. If you don’t mind physical labor or working less than glamorous jobs, then one of these hotel/hospitality jobs may be the right choice for you. Here are descriptions of the work and environment of the most common jobs in the hotel and hospitality industry.
Front Desk Clerk/Night Auditor
Desk clerks work for hotels and motels and take registrations, check in guests, process payments, and otherwise run the front desk. This can mean answering phones and in some hotels, also making reservations for new guests. As the job title implies, some front desk clerks will need to work evening hours and weekends. Check in time for most hotels begins in the late afternoon and can run through the late evening. Desk clerks rarely have to work past 11:00 p.m. or midnight. The next busiest time for desk clerks is check out time, which is almost always from early in the morning, around 6:00 a.m. through noon. Clerks will resolve any customer disputes over charges or any complaints they have about the hotel and its service and make sure all guest charges are paid before the guest leaves. Once the guest is gone, the desk clerk may let housekeeping staff know so that they can clean and prepare the room for the next guest. Desk clerks should possess a pleasant, customer-service-oriented personality.
Night auditors work at hotels or motels during the evenings and their primary job responsibility is to compile daily revenue information for the hotel, and then to run various reports for the managers. At some hotels, the night auditors also act as desk clerks, checking in any guests who are arriving late. As the name implies, night auditors’ shifts usually begin at the close of the hotel’s business day, which can vary from hotel to hotel, but is usually around midnight. If you don’t mind working nights, this may be the job for you. It is a quieter shift, and your work is primarily working with numbers rather than people.
Most hotels/motels prefer to hire desk clerks and night auditors who have previous experience working at the front desk. Night auditors are usually required to have previous accounting or hotel auditing experience.
Housekeepers and room attendants are responsible for the daily cleaning of guest rooms and the hotel/motel’s public buildings. This can entail changing the bed linens, emptying trash cans, scrubbing all bathroom fixtures, replacing empty toilet paper rolls and dirty towels with clean ones, and vacuuming the floors.
Housekeepers usually have to work pretty quickly if the hotel is full and expecting to be full, so that all of the rooms are cleaned and ready for the next incoming guest. Also, since many hotels/motels’ ratings include points for cleanliness, housekeepers are expected to do a quality job cleaning each room. It can be fast paced and definitely physical labor. Some housekeepers may only work part time, and almost always during the day. You may work as part of a team of two or more housekeepers to complete a floor, or alone. Previous experience is helpful, but usually not a requirement. Instead, employers look for workers who have a focus on cleanliness and attention to detail. Training is usually available.
Laundry attendants clean and process bedding and linens. At some hotels, the laundry attendant also washes the towels and delivers them to each room when they’re clean and dry. Like the housekeeping job, laundry attendants may only work part-time hours, and usually during the day. They may have to wash and dry a large number of items in a short amount of time. The laundry room can sometimes be a hot and humid place to work. No previous experience is usually required.
Groundskeepers maintain the grounds, including watering, mowing, raking, and some gardening. If the facility has been professionally landscaped, you may need to also have some landscaping experience so that you know how to maintain the grounds according to the landscape plan. At some facilities, there are also animals on the premises, such as goats, chickens, etc. for fresh food. At hotels like these you may also be required to care for these animals. Usually if there are horses located on the grounds, the hotel hires experienced people to care for these animals. Most groundskeepers work during the day. If the facility is small you may work part-time hours. Depending on the hotel, the acreage involved, and the degree of landscaping, you may be required to have previous experience.
Perform general maintenance for vehicles and buildings. Experience should include some or all of the following skills: carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, and light vehicle maintenance. You will be expected to keep all of the buildings’ and outbuildings’ systems functioning at their best. You will need to repair any break downs, perform routine cleaning and maintenance, and keep track of this maintenance so that any warranties are maintained or insurance requirements are met. Maintenance staff members may work part-time or full-time hours, depending on the size of the facility. They are also usually required to work both day and evening hours. A night time maintenance staff member is often required to work the evening so that if a need arises during the night it can be addressed.
Maintenance staff members may also be required to haul tables and chairs from one dining room to another, or to an outside dining event, or to provide assistance with other projects. It is usually a job that entails some physical labor on a daily basis. Previous maintenance experience is usually required.
Sales/Gift Shop Clerk
Gift shop clerks are responsible for selling souvenirs and other items in gift shops. This means answering guest questions and encouraging sales. At some hotels you may also be required to keep track of store inventory and make recommendations based on how items are selling. You may also assist with stocking shelves, receiving new items, and ordering more inventory. You will need to balance your cash drawer each time you work. This can be part-time or full-time work, depending on the store and where it’s located. The working conditions are not too strenuous, but you will spend most of your shift on your feet. If you are expected to help with stocking, you may be required to left boxes that weigh up to 50 pounds. Work hours are usually during the day, although some evening hours may also be included in your shift. Previous cashiering and sales experience are often required. If this is an area of interest for you, read our Retail Jobs section.
This job is most often found at larger hotels or those located in larger urban settings. The customer service rep or concierge is available to meet guest needs and answer questions. If the guest is looking for a restaurant, a place to go to buy a particular item, or services such as childcare or car service, the customer service/concierge is the person who will answer these questions or make the arrangements for the guest. Most hotels have formed relationships with other businesses that supply the most commonly asked for services by guests so that when a need arises the customer service or concierge knows who to contact.
This can be a part-time job, but during the busiest season it is often a full-time job. These employees work both day and night shifts, but usually not past the late evening hours. You will need to have good organizational skills and an eye for detail to do well in this position. Some higher end hotels prefer employees who have previous experience in the hotel industry for this job.
This is only a sample of the many kinds of summer job opportunities available in the Alaska hospitality industry. Every hotel or resort has different needs. Some smaller companies prefer flexible employees willing to tackle just about any job. A cheerful, friendly attitude is one of the most important traits for hospitality workers.