A porter is a person primarily responsible for carrying luggage or baggage if he is stationed in a hotel, seaport, airport, or train station. But for some countries, porters are employed to carry heavy things or even animals.
Anyone can be a porter as long as you have qualities such as good customer service skills, strength to carry luggage, knowledge on how to carry heavy pieces safely, and know the correct way to store and handle luggage. There are no educational requirements for being a porter but some big hotels require at least high school diploma.
Porter duties depend on where they are stationed. Big hotel porters are also called bellhops, but bellhops are required to wear uniforms in most hotels. They are working primarily outside hotels, seaports, and airports waiting for guests to arrive and collect or carry the luggage and ensure that it is delivered to their rooms or waiting vehicles safely. For hotel porters, they are the one in-charge of showing the guests how to use the heater, air conditioner, lights and etc. When hotel guests are ready to check out and leave, porters arrange or collect the luggage and load it to their transport.
Porters may also run errands and attend to all guest requirements such as mailing important packages and papers or buying tickets to a theater or other event. They can also drop and pick-up laundries, and some similar tasks.
In some small hotels, bellmen may also carry or assist guests with their luggage. They may also assist hotel staff with tasks such as moving hotel furniture, managing guest needs, and organizing rooms. Porters also hold the door open for guests in addition to managing their luggage. But the main goal of being a porter is to make sure that the guests enjoy their stay and handle their luggage safely.
A Porter doesn’t necessarily need to have a Bachelor’s degree. A High School diploma is enough to qualify for the job. A porter should have good physical strength in order to carry customer’s luggage. They should have good customer service skill, an outgoing personality, and should be able to get along well with people and take pride in providing services for others. A hotel porter is required to work eight hours a day without any chance to sit down. Some hotels required one month on the job training.
Rates of compensation for porters are low and would depend on where you are working or stationed. The location of the establishment on which they work is one of the important factors in getting good compensation. However, if you are doing well with you job and the guests notice it porters can anticipate tips for good service.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Being a porter is very exhausting, you have to carry or lift heavy luggage and you are on your feet all day. Porters usually work eight hours shifts and since their service is needed twenty four hours a day they must be able to work on a shifting schedule.