Role of Front office operations

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Front Office
Role of Front office operations
Front-of-the-house vs. Back-of-the-house
• Front-of-the-house: – areas that involves guest and
employee interaction (front office, restaurants and lounges).
• Back-of-the-house: – areas where interaction between
guests and employees is less common (housekeeping,
engineering and maintenance, accounting, and human
resources).
Hotel Divisions
1. Food and Beverage Division
2. Sales and Marketing Division
3. Engineering and Maintenance
4. Security Division
5. Human Resource Division
6. Rooms Division
7. Other Divisions: – Retail Outlets – Recreation – Casino
Rooms Division Manager
Responsible to the General Manager for the efficient and effective leadership
and operation of all the rooms division.
They include concerns such as the following:
• Financial responsibility
• Employee satisfaction goals
• Guest satisfaction goals
• Guest services
• Guest relations
• Security
• Gift shop
Rooms Division
• The rooms division comprises departments and personnel essential to
providing the services guests expect during a hotel stay.
• In most hotels, the rooms division generates more revenue than
other divisions.
Departments under rooms division:
a. Front Office Department
b. Housekeeping Department
Front Office
The most visible department in a hotel.
Front office personnel also have more contact with guests than staff in
most other departments.
The front desk is usually the focal point of activity for the front office and
is prominently located in the hotel’s lobby.
Considered as the hub or nerve centre of the hotel.
This department makes a first impression on the guest and the one that
the guest relies on throughout his or her stay for information and service
Front Office Management – Terminology
Account receivables: The amount of money an organization has the right to
receive within some specified period (say 30 days) against the delivery of
products/services.
Bell desk
• An extension of front desk that deals with personalized guest services.
Cancellation charges
• They are the charges borne by the guest on cancellation of a confirmed
reservation or for not showing-up on confirmed reservation.
Concierge
• Information desk that assists guests for transportation, booking of events
outside the hotel.
Front Office Management – Terminology
GRC
• Guest Registration Card, which the guest needs to fill in with personal
formation at the time of registration.
IP-PBX
• Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange, where internet protocol is used
for call transmission.
MICE
• Acronym for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions.
Non-guest
• Customer of a hotel business not being served at the moment.
No-show
• A guest who has reserved an accommodation neither turns up nor cancels
it.
Front Office Management – Terminology
OHMS
• Online Hotel Management System, a software system to manage all backoffice operations of a hotel.
PBX
• Private Branch Exchange, a private network of telephones within an
organization.
POS
• Acronym for Point of Sale. It is the revenue generating place in the hotel
where retail transactions are carried out.
Rack rate
• The price at which the hotel rooms are sold before applying discount.
Front Office Management – Terminology
Uninformed services
• Personalized services provided to the guests.
Valet
• A male attendant to park and clean the car.
Whitney System
• An old reservation system for hotel accommodations.
Yield Management
• A variable pricing strategy, based on understanding, anticipating and
influencing consumer behaviour in order to maximize revenue from a
fixed, perishable resource.
Functions of the Front Office Department
• Sell guestrooms, register guests, and assign guestrooms.
• Coordinate guest services
• Provide information about the hotel, the surrounding
community, and any attractions or events of interest to
guests.
• Maintain accurate room status information
• Maintain guest accounts and monitor credit
• Produce guest account statements, and complete proper
financial settlement.
Sections under the Front Office Department:
• Reservations
• Reception
• Night Audit
• Guest Services
• Concierge
• Communications
• Uninformed Services: Bell attendants, Door attendants, Valet parking
attendants, Transportation personnel
Ranks and Responsibilities
Reservation Manager
In the context of hotel, the term reservation is used for booking a particular
accommodation in the hotel by a guest for a period of time.
Reservation section does not directly deal with the guests.
• Having knowledge about the reservation systems.
• Providing and updating information on tours, prices, and itineraries.
• Reviewing daily hotel reservations.
• Preparing occupancy forecast.
• Updating travel agent rates in the system.
• Handling correspondence with outside travel agencies.
• Allocating daily tasks to the reservation staff.
• Ensuring special deals with repeat guests, VIPs, or guest groups.
• Training the staff under hand.
Roles and Responsibilities of Reception Manager
• Dealing with arrival and departure of the guests.
• Welcoming the guests, escorting them to the room, and seeing them off.
• Ensuring professional greeting of clients, visitors, and guests.
• Coordination with housekeeping department for cleaning rooms.
• Filling registration cards for the guests with reserved accommodation or help the guests
to fill it up.
• Arranging surprise gift for the guests on their special days.
• Training of receptionists.
• Handling appraisals and performance rewards of the staff.
• Reviewing current standards of front office services and procedures, and implementing
new practices if required.
• Ensuring and Scheduling front office desk staff.
• Managing VIP functions and events taking place in the hotel.
• Upgrading software if required.
• Updating backup database regularly.
Roles and responsible of Guest Services Manager
• The responsibilities of the guest service manager include –
• Handling guest mails, letters, and couriers.
• Ensuring guest messages are delivered at the right time.
• Training the guest service staff such as concierges, bell staff, wallet
parking staff, and porters.
• Maintaining guest service suggestion cards and guest complaints.
• Scheduling and appraising guest service staff.
• Ensuring the staff delivers services, accurately and timely.
Roles and Responsibilities of Night Audit Manager
• Night Audit manager works during the night hours.
• The typical responsibilities of a night audit manager are
posting accommodation charges, taxes, and other paid
services such as restaurant, Internet charges to each guest’s
account accurately.
• Taking the responsibility as a duty manager for night shift.
• Settling guest accounts if required.
• Authoring security of the hotel during night shift.
Roles and Responsibilities of Communication
Manager
The communication manager is responsible for:
• Keeping in check all communication facilities such as PBX, facsimile,
internet in the hotel.
• Training and scheduling telephone operators in case of large hotels.
• Ensuring immediate delivery of fax to the guests, if required.
• Appraising telephone operators.
• Changing the communication systems to the latest technology for
easy use
Front Office Management – Reservation
• Reservation of the hotel accommodation is one of the
important responsibilities of the front office department.
• A potential guest contacts a hotel for availability of the
desired type of accommodation and any allied services that
the hotel offers.
• The front office department needs to react to the enquiry of
the guests asap.
Types of Hotel Reservation Systems
Whitney System
• It was developed in 1940 by Whitney Paper Corporation
from New York, hence the name.
• This is a conventional manual reservation system the hotels
used to follow during pre-computer days in the hotels.
PMS Functionality
• PMS Functionality Track guests’ activities for use in future sales
efforts Information relevant and beneficial to future sales efforts
Accessed by: CRS – Central Reservation System
• CRM – Customer Relationship Management CRM is used to collect
and maintain data about sales contacts.
• Very comprehensive – names, addresses, birthdates, anniversaries,
business, personal Technology Strategies for the Hospitality Industry
CSR system
Application system
• DS – Global Distribution System
• CRS – Central Reservation System must integrate seamlessly from
different vendors Sales and Catering Applications POS (F&B)Retail
Points Seamlessly to avoid duplicate data and mistakes.
• Real time interfaces.
• Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Energy Management
Systems Technology Strategies for the Hospitality Industry
Personal Traits of Front Office Staff
• Smart and groomed well
• Creative
• Good listening skills
• Flexible
• Approachable
• Good team player
• Eye for details
• Good sense of humour
Skills required:
•Practical skills, knowledge and aptitude
•Mathematical skills (for cashiering and accounting
tasks)
•Keyboarding (record keeping and computer operation)
•Communication skills (Verbal and written)
•Good telephonic skills
•Good complaint handling skills
QUALITIES OF FRONT OFFICE STAFF
• Posture-always stand straight, never turn your back to the
customer, never lean on the wall or the counter.
• Patience
• Tactfulness
• Politeness
• Honesty in dealing with colleagues, guest and with the
organisation.
• Knowledge about the job, place of work, organisation, who is
who, place of interest in and around (City), country, etc
QUALITIES OF FRONT OFFICE STAFF
• Communication skills-verbal and non-verbal.
• Keep workplace always neat and orderly.
• Try to obtain guest feedback.
• Ability to get along with all types of customers.
• Intra-personnel, inter-department relationship should be
smooth.
• Relate customer faces with names and remember their likes
and dislikes (Personalised Service)
Best practice – Front Office Staff
• Keep clerical work updated and to the minimum.
• Never gossip with customer.
• Refrain from making any personal comment.
• Keep personal calls to minimum at workplace.
• Be precise and to the point.
• Avoid words like, I think, I guess, May be, etc your answers are
important to the customer.
• Voice modulation and speech clarity.
QUALITIES OF FRONT OFFICE STAFF
• Salesman – They should have the quality of salesmanship to motivate
the guest to spend more on the various hotel facilities.
• Problem solvers – Guest invariably approaches the front office for
help in case they have a problem or complaint. They staff have to be
diplomatic and resourceful to solve the problem at the shortest
possible time.
• Reference point – Guest who want information or want to pass on
information use them for this purpose
QUALITIES OF FRONT OFFICE STAFF
• Coordinator – Since they are reference point, the front office staff is
required to coordinate with other departments, airlines, travel
agencies and city tour offices to give the guest personalized service.
• Image builders – As an extension to their salesman’s role, front office
staff can certainly generate a good image for the establishment in
their manner of dress, communication, personal conduct and
efficiency.
QUALITIES OF FRONT OFFICE STAF
• Essential Attributes – A High Sense of Personal Grooming
• Personal Hygiene: This is imperative to front office personnel. As they
are constantly exposed to hotel guests, a clean appearance helps to
project good image not only of themselves but of the establishment
as well.
• Self Confidence: This is necessary as front office staff meet guests of
different countries, status and cultures. They should be comfortable
and feel at ease in dealing with these people.
QUALITIES OF FRONT OFFICE STAF
• Communication Must be Clear: It is preferable that front office staff
know more than one language.
• It helps in communicating with guest who cannot speak English or
local language.
• Diplomacy: Very often there are situations when a guest is irritated
over some thing. A diplomatic dealing helps in explosive moment.
• It is quite common for a busy hotel to have no rooms to offer for a
guest who have come with a confirmed booking.
• A diplomatic approach is the only way by which the guest can be
pacified.
QUALITIES OF FRONT OFFICE STAFF
• Calmness: Being the nerve centre of the hotel, the front office
constantly in touch with guests and therefore invariably comes under
tremendous pressure.
• The guest always expect personalized, priority treatment and the
pressure of demand never ceases coupled with this difficult guest
who can unnerve a person.
• The front office staff should thus have a high degree of tolerance for
pressure of work and be calm and composed at all times.
QUALITIES OF FRONT OFFICE STAFF
• Ability to remember faces and names: This single attribute
distinguishes the good from the average amongst the front office
staff.
• If the front office staff can call most guest by their names, this
immediately flatters them and personalized the guest experience.
• The guest begins to feel that he is welcome as people recognizes
him/her by name.
QUALITIES OF FRONT OFFICE STAFF
• Good manners: As the hotel is a meeting place of social elites all the
grace and etiquette associated with good society comes into play.
• Guest of all status comes to stay in the hotel and they are used to
manners and politeness.
• Wishing the guest the time of the day and saying “thank you”, are
basic etiquettes shown.
• Ready smile: This is necessary to guest, as they like to be handled by
cheerful staff at the desk. Their smile exudes cheer to the guest and
puts them at ease.
QUALITIES OF FRONT OFFICE STAFF
• Physical fitness: Front office staff stands for a long hour at a stretch.
The staff must be sturdy, agile and active.
• Quick decision making ability: Guests often approach the front desk
with problems and requests.
• Front office staff must be able to decide quickly a course of action
that satisfies the guest, at the same time keeping the interest of the
organization alive.
Complaint Handling
•Mechanical Complaints
•Staff attitude complaints
•Service Problems
•Unusual Problems
Complaint Handling
•Listen with concern and courtesy.
•Never argue with the guest, nor raise your
voice.
•Try to show maximum amount of interest.
•Never go alone to a guest room.
Class Discussion
Group A – Choose a situation.
Group B- In a given situation as a Front office
manager how would you handle the complaint to
satisfy unhappy guests
Class Presentation
Interrelationship between Front Office and other
departments
Group Activity
The importance of the role of Front Office services and
the interrelationships between the different functional
areas.
Present your findings to the class.
References
• VALLEN, G. and VALLEN, J. (2013) Check-In-Check-Out: Managing
Hotel Operations. 9th ed. Harlow: Pearson
• www.luxuryhotelassociation.org

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