A large hotel can employ hundreds of staff and all hotel jobs have specific responsibilities, functions, and purposes. Each employee has a specific role to play in meeting the needs of the guests. The specific functions of particular employees are usually described under job descriptions or duties.

Although the role of most hotel staff may be obvious, there may be times when a guest may ask about an employees job or his duties. Certainly these kinds of questions may be asked on job interviews. There are a couple of standard expressions that can be used when asking about a person’s occupation. Look at the example below.

Expressions for asking about hotel jobs

What do you do?
What’s your job?
What’s your occupation?
What do you do for a living?

Once a person knows what your job title is, they may want to know a little bit about your specific job duties. Sometimes it is hard to tell exactly what a person does just from the job title. Look at the expressions below that can be used to inquire about job duties.

What are your job duties?
What exactly do you do?
What does your job entail?

Dialogue

Guest: What do you do?
Staff: I’m a events coordinator for a hotel?
Guest: What exactly does an events coordinator do?
Staff: Well, we arrange and set up all the things needed for a conventions and conferences for various groups. We try to ensure that every thing runs smoothly and efficiently during the event. For example, we schedule rooms, arrange for the set up of any needed equipment required (such as audio-visual equipment, microphones, etc.), and solve problems that may come up.
Guest: That’s sounds interesting.
Staff: It has its moments.

Guest: What’s your job?
Staff: I’m a chef.
Guest: Are you a head chef?
Staff: Well, I’m the head pastry chef.
Guest: Sounds sweet. Where do you work?
Staff: At the Hilton Arcadia Spa and Resort.

Guest: What do you do for a living?
Staff: I’m employed at a hotel as a bell man.
Guest: So you take people’s luggage to their rooms.
Staff: Yes that, but I also arrange things like taxis for guests. One of my most important functions is to be a source of information. I provide a lot of information to guests, such as the kinds of facilities and their location in the hotel, places to eat in the area, and places to go and see on the island.
Guest: Just out of curiosity- do guests tip well?
Staff: Some do, some don’t.

Here are some common hotel jobs  
clerk/receptionist bell man tram driver security staff
cook chef pastry chef waiter/waitress
hostess wine steward bar tender pool attendant
department managers assistant managers general manager personnel director
staff trainer supervisor events coordinators guest relationship agent
children’s program staff spa staff masseuse health center staff
grounds keeper engineer maintenance worker housekeeper

Describing Functions and Purposes of Things
Although guests may seldom ask a hotel staff to describe the function or purpose of something, it’s nice to know how to respond just in case they do. Look at the expressions below that can be used when asking about functions or purposes.

Expressions for asking about purposes or functions

How does it work?
What does it do?
What is its function?
What is its purpose?
What is it used for?

Dialogue- Describing Functions

Guest: What is that thing on the wall in the bathroom next to the shower?
Staff: It’s the water heater?
Guest: How does it work?
Staff: Water passes through hot pipes heated by electricity to make the water hot.
Guest: How do I use it?
Staff: First, press the lever at the bottom of the unit to turn it on. Then, turn the temperature setting dial to the temperature desired. After that, just turn on the water.
Guest: Does it take long to heat the water?
Staff: It takes only a couple of seconds.

Guest: What is this?
Staff: It is the remote control for the TV.
Guest: What does it do?
Staff: It can be used to control the TV, to turn it on or off, to change channels, and to adjust the volume. With this device you don’t have to get up from your chair or bed to use the TV.
Guest: How does it work?
Staff: It operates on batteries and sends a signal from the remote to sensors in the TV that control the different functions.
Guest: How convenient!

Guest: What is a FAX machine and how does it work?
Staff: A FAX machine is an electronic device that transmits copies of written materials over a telephone line to distant locations. The sending machine reads the text or pictures and converts these images into electronic impulses. The receiving machine converts the impulses back into written form and prints
the documents out.

Practice Activities for hotel jobs and describing functions
Remember that one of the best was to improve your English skills is to use the language over and over again. It may sound boring and tedious but it works to make the language readily accessible for use when needed.

1. Pair Work

Practice describing functions and uses of things by asking a partner about the items listed below.

Obviously most (if not all) people already know what these things are and how they work, but the purpose of the exercise is to practice using the language. So… the partner asking about the items should pretend to be very, very stupid or from a very remote, uncivilized location that has never been exposed to these modern conveniences.

Pencil sharpener bicycle
toaster clock
stethoscope camera
calculator bow and arrow

2. Discussion about hotel jobs

Have a discussion about your job with others in the class. What is your job title? What are your job duties? What are some of the good things about your job? What are some of the difficult things about your job? How long have you had the job? Do you like your job? Why or why not? What other job would you like to have at the hotel? Are there opportunities for advancement in your job?

3. Group Activity- Appropriate Responses

Divide the class into groups. The teams work together to formulate a response to the items listed below. After discussion, one of the team members presents the response to the class. The teacher judges which team presents the best answer based on grammar and language use and pronunciation.

The purpose of a health center and the benefits to guests
The purpose of a children’s program and the benefits for guests
The purpose of a business center and the benefits to guests
The purpose of a spa and the benefit to guests

4. Whole Class Activity- First to Know

Put the following jobs an the board and then read the job descriptions. The students listen to the descriptions and determine the job being described. The first person to know the job should race to the board and circle the job and put their initials in the circle. The student with the most initials win.

Clerk/receptionist
This person checks people into the hotel.
Bell man
This person takes guest bags to their room.
Tram driver
This person drives people to/from various places at the hotel
Cook
This person prepares food in a restaurant.
Pastry chef
This person makes bread, cakes, and cookies.
Waiter/waitress
This person serves guests food in a restaurant.
Hostess
This person greets guests and takes them to their table in a restaurant.
Bartender
This person makes drinks.
General Manager
This person is the boss.
Masseuse
This person gives guests massages.
Maintenance worker
This person fixes things that need to be repaired.
Housekeeper
This person keeps the rooms clean.
Grounds keeper
This person cuts grass, trims bushes, and water flowers.
Guest Relations Agent
This person works with VIP guests.
Health Center Staff
This person assists guests in the gym.

Other Links
Describing Jobs
Personal Information
Interview Questions