Reservationists generally work with the public, booking reservations and assisting with related tasks, such as with transportation to or from a hotel. Reservationists can be found in a variety of businesses, including hotels, cruise ships, airlines, medical offices, restaurants and corporate offices, where travel, dining or other arrangements may be made for a supervisor or CEO. Any time there is a need to make reservations for other people, a reservationist could be filling that need.
To be considered for a job as a reservationist you should be a “people person,” someone who enjoys serving others in a friendly, courteous and efficient manner. Excellent communication skills are important, as is a degree of computer literacy, as well as the ability to stand for extended periods of time. Some industries require specific abilities, such as airlines that require reservationists to be able to lift heavy luggage. A reservationist spends a considerable amount of time on the phone, so a pleasant, professional telephone demeanor is important. There may be job advancement opportunities, depending on the degree to which you are able to excel at these skills. Additionally, reservationists are expected to have a high-school diploma, although some employers in certain states, such as California, seek applicants with a bachelor’s degree.
The chief responsibilities of a reservationist are answering questions about, and reserving, accommodations; addressing concerns regarding scheduling; and advising on procedures and policies related to the business. As a reservationist, you’ll determine space availability on certain dates and reserve rooms or seats for travelers. Using a computer, phone and fax machine, you’ll be responsible for computing fares and fees, helping people to locate the best rates. You’ll also request and accept payment in various forms, and be required to ensure an accurate inventory, such as that relating to available rooms in a hotel. You may issue tickets and itineraries, and arrange for travel to and from a destination. If working in a hospitality environment, such as a hotel or cruise ship, you’ll check guests in and out, and manage associated information.
A reservationist position may entail selling -- or up-selling -- upgraded items, such as offering limousine service or better lodging accommodations. You may be responsible for coordinating the schedules of co-workers, working late-night hours, or training others. You may also need to reschedule appointments or shift confirmed reservations, calling upon your interpersonal skills. You may be required to balance the day’s revenue or employ basic accounting skills during audits.
In general, reservationists receive their training on-the-job. You'll be expected to remain discreet and guard personal information with confidentiality. Possessing organizational skills and being a good listener are advantageous in obtaining a reservationist’s job, as is having certification in any aspect of hospitality. Past employment that focused on interacting with people would also be of benefit, such as working as a front-office medical receptionist.
Michelle Reynolds has been writing about business, careers and art since 1993. She was the publisher of a newsletter, “Working Parents Monthly," as well as a graphic design guidebook. Reynolds also served as human-resources director at a resort/spa for eight years. She is an artist and promotes the arts and other artists through ElegantArtisan.com, a website she developed and maintains.