The life of a female hotel receptionist


“The only thing constant and genuine that you will see on my face is my smile,” says Asha Lata (name changed on request), with an obvious beaming smile.

Asha is one of those numerous receptionists or better ordained front office executives working in again numerous hotels in India.

30 year-old Asha Lata, dresses up every working day, impeccably, in a crisp cotton saree or at times a pair of jeans and a shirt to reach her workplace – a 30-room hotel at Karol Bagh. Her 60 minutes one-way journey from her house in JJ Colony to the hotel is often a not-so-pleasant journey, with the usual gazes and stares that she encounters while taking a DTC bus or the Metro.

“My job is to make that instant connect with the customer once s/he comes in to our hotel. I think a woman has a lot of patience and she can build an immediate relationship with an individual, which is very important in this job. Hence, there are so many woman receptionists than males,” says Asha with pride.

She further says, “I did not have any formal degree related to this job, prior to my joining and hence have not been able to move much in the career ladder.”

Inspite of not having a formal degree, Asha has picked up essential receptionist traits regarding customers - making the right eye contact and using positive emotions – thanks to the informal lessons that the hotel Manager shares with her every now and then. She also verifies the particulars of the guest thoroughly, with the Government notifications to hotel receptionists to do so, in order to unknowingly prevent sheltering terrorist.  

Is the job of a hotel-receptionist a safe career option for a woman? Asha opines, “There is no guarantee of safety for any job – be it for woman or man. Women have now taken to the skies and battle it out with criminals. But yes, there is a certain amount of caution that a woman needs to exercise in the job that I am involved with.”

She advises, “Anyone opting to follow this career should know where to draw the line between being friendly and being professional. We are at times told by our Manager how to make the right eye contact and greet customers in a jovial manner but should have the knack of smelling trouble.”

“My colleagues are very cooperative and help me in my work, which reduces stress in my job. They also fill in me for me, at times, if I have to go for my daughter’s school or something. Whatever time I get on Sundays, I spend it with my family or enjoy cooking new recipes – which is like a hobby”.

Asha, who has been in the same job for two years and earns a monthly salary of Rs.9,000, has a few regrets. “I cannot spend quality time with my five-year old daughter. My mother-in-law my husband - who works as a govt. driver - is very supportive of my career and even if I get late at work, both of them manage the child and take care of household chores.”

“I want my daughter to earn a good degree from a hotel management institute and join a big hotel like the Taj or Oberoi…something that I could not do.”


- Suniet Bezbaroowa (views expressed in the article are that of the author)