One of the best ways to learn more is to observe baggage porters and bellhops at work. Watch baggage porters do their jobs at airports and train stations. If you stay at an upscale hotel, you can interact with bellhops as they carry your luggage to your room. Perhaps one would even agree to participating in an information interview. They won’t be able to do this while on duty, but maybe you can set up a phone or e-mail interview.
A bellhop's day often begins at the crack of dawn with early checkouts and storage requests. Guests who need to store their luggage until a flight later in the day can have the bellstand place their belongings in the storage area, more commonly known as the back closet. After guests are given claim tickets for each piece of luggage, the bags are stored according to size and weight. There is a late-morning slow period before the crunch of the afternoon arrivals and check-ins.
All attendants are taught the proper way to carry a bag, especially the heavy ones, so as not to injure themselves. Many times guests will have questions about the room services, the hotel property, or the area surrounding the hotel. If attendants cannot readily help, they direct the guests to the proper department. Sometimes attendants are asked to deliver packages, mail, or faxes to guests or to run errands for them. If the hotel is particularly busy, they may help in other departments. Depending on the hotel, attendants may be asked to assist guests with disabilities, deliver ice or other supplies, provide directions to area attractions, or even drive the hotel van.
Tips are not mandatory, though hotel guests often give them in appreciation for good service. Attendants are allowed to keep the tips they receive, as compared to other industries where tips are pooled and divided equally among each employee. Attendants at some hotels are sent out in rotation. This method is fair and leaves working for big tippers to the "luck of the draw."