Sections of Front Office-2
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INTRODUICTION TO FRONT OFFICE DEPARTMENT The front office in a hotel is the department responsible for the sale of hotel rooms through systematic methods of reservation, followed by registration and assigning rooms to customers. The term ‘sale of rooms’ may appear misleading to those unfamiliar with the industry. ‘Sale’ here means the use of hotel rooms at the price. A room is termed ‘sold’ for the day when a guest leases the room for stay in the hotel. “Room tariff” i.e. rate charged per room is computed for a “revenue day” which begins at noon of a particular day and ends at 12.00 hrs the next day. In other words room charges are levied for a revenue day which is between noon and noon. Of course, a room may be sold for half-aday as well, for which special rates are applicable. Such rates are referred to as “half-day” rates. The front office in the hotel holds prime importance in view of the basic nature of business hotel, i.e. to sell rooms. Revenue collected from the sale of rooms contributes to more than 50 percent of total hotel sales. The profit percentage from sales of rooms is very high. It has complimentary role of image-building, which is the first and last point of contact of every guest. If one looks at each component of a front office role, one could have better perception of this department. While the title front o9ffice is generic term to include a number of activities, smaller hotels are satisfied to call it simply Hotel Reception. Thus the role of the front office is thus to reserve, receive, register, assign rooms to guests and acts as a continuous source of information to guests during their stay at the hotel. To reserve a section of the front office is called a Reservation. This section is the hub of the department. Requests for reservation of rooms from various sources are received and the information is processed, properly documented, stored and retrieved at appropriate time to ensure a guest his room upon arrival. Room, the chief product of a hotel, being a highly perishable commodity the reservation department ensures rooms are not allowed to “perish”. To receive, the section called Reception, handles this activity. The personnel in this Register and section actually welcome and receive the guests and assign them a room after a few Assign registration formalities. Source of the information section is vital to front office operation. It controls the room information, keys, mails and messages. It is also equipped with all the information of the Hotel facilities and the city. Though the major function of the front office may seem simple, the actual mechanics to execute them successfully is complicated.
SECTIONS OF FRONT OFFICE
The front office in a hotel is responsible for the sale of room’s through systematic methods of reservation, followed by registration and assigning of rooms to customers. The front office is the most visible department in the hotel. The bell desk The staffs at the bell desk include the bell captain and bellboys. The bellboys report to the bell captain and the lobby manager. The primary responsibilities of the bell attendants include:-
1. Transport guest luggage to and from the guest rom. 2. Familiarize the guests with the hotel facilities and services, safety features as well as the guestroom and in any room amenities. 3. Deliver mail packages and messages and amenities to the guestroom. 4. Deliver guest baggage to the left luggage room if required. 5. Page guests in the lobby when required. 6. Report scanty baggage guests to bell captain. 7. Perform any other duties that are required by the guest and management. The bell captains primary duties performed by the bell captain include:1. To check the bell boys in their daily operations. 2. Assign duties to the bell attendants or bell boys. 3. Ensure that bell boys in their shifts are well groomed and uniformed. 4. Inform the reception regarding left luggage. 5. To appraise the performance all the bell attendants. 6. Ensure that the bell desk is well stocked with postage stamps, left luggage cards/ slips,etc.; 7. Perform any other duties that required by the management from time-totime.
RECEPTION AND INFORMATION. The reception and information sections are usually the focal point of all activity for the front office and are prominently located in hotel’s lobby. A guest comes to the reception to register, to receive room assignments and top check-out. To inquire about the available facilities and services and about the city or the surrounding areas of interest, the guests usually contact the information desk. Many hotels now have only a front desk, which serves as both the reception and the information section. The front desk often serves as the hotels control centre for guests requests concerning housekeeping or engineering issues. Foreign guests use the front desk to exchange currency, find translator, or requests other special assistance. The reception and information counter also maintains the mail and letter rack. FRONT OFFICE CASHIERS Cashiers post charges and payments to guests accounts all of which is later verified during an accounting procedure called the night audit. The main functions of a cashier would include:-
1. Post all guests charges and credits into the respective folios. 2. Settle all guest bills upon departure. 3. Encase foreign exchange as per regulations. 4. Disburse petty cash to hotel staff and authorised paid outs. 5. Control safety deposits lockers. 6. Responsible for posting charges in guest folios.
LOBBY MANAGERS DESK/GUEST RELATIONS EXECUTIVES:The lobby manager’s desk is located in lobby. The lobby managers represent the management of hotel 24 hours. He is problem solver and has the responsibility and has the authority to handle all guest grievances. Thus the lobby is required to be effective in dialling with all guest problems. He is also completely responsible for the activities that are taking place in the lobby of the hotel. Large hotels may also have a guest relations Executives located in lobby to handle inhouse guests. The guest relation executive is responsible for receiving important guests and attending any coordinate aspects regarding them. He/she also assist the guests during the check-in, check-out, etc. BUSINESS CENTER The business centre of the hotel includes various services for the guest such as typing and printing services, meeting rooms on rental basis, etc. It is also equipped with personal computer and photocopying machine for the guest use. Reservation The reservation department of the hotel is responsible for receiving and processing reservation requests for future overnight accommodations. The procedures regarding the reservations handling, processing and confirmation may differ from hotel to hotel but the purpose is only one, to accommodate guest request in a manner that maximizes hotel occupancy and room revenue. The main function of reservationsw sec tion is:1. Conducting reservation inq2uiry. 2. Determining room and rate availability. 3. Crating the reservation record. 4. Confirming the reservation record. 5. Maintaining record. 6. Producing reservation reports.
Control and credit offices HOTEL CREDIT ONE OF THE VERY critical aspects of hotel organization. From the moment the guests registers into the hotel, he uses some credit facility . Hotels adopt their own safeguards before extending credit to the guest. BACK OFFICE Back usually deals with the clerical job of the hotel. The back office includes making guest history cards, filling of the arrival and departure information. In fully automated proprieties the role of the back offices is eliminated as all reports and guests history forms are generated by the property management system used. CREW GROUP COOREDIONATION. In some hotels, as there are a lot of crews or group business coming in, an exclusive section that handles crew/group check-ins and check-outs is present. This is a separate desk located in the lobby. TELEPHONES. Every hotel regardless of its size and location has a telephone exchange/board. The frost and sometimes the only contact a guests has with the hotel is through is by telephone and the speed and manner with which the call is handled can leave a lasting impression either good or bad. The telephone department normally consists of telephone supervisor and the phone operators. The operators are also responsible for placing wake up calls and receiving guest’s messages. Attributes of front office staff Most experienced hoteliers agree that social skills are an essential qualification for front office work. But just what are these social skills and how can you develop them. Being skilled means possessing their ability to achieve a specific objective efficiently. We all know that what we mean by typing skill or cooking skills. Social skills come into play when we star t dealing with other people instead of typewriter or keyboards or kitchen ingredients. We still have an objective which we want to achieve, but we have to employ words, expressions and gestures in order to achieve it. •
Self presentation: this covers dress and grooming, which tells us a lot about other people even before they open their mouth. It should be able to “read” these subtle and constantly changing statements, and must remember that other people are equally skilled at this process. Many hotels require their staff to wear some kind of uniform because these acts as a signal, telling the guests that you are there to help them.
Position: its stand is important, not only in relation to equipments such as the desk but also in relation to the people we are dealing with. In our own area of “personal space” and any invasion of it’s by a stranger makes us feel uncomfortable. This personal space varies with status and also from culture to culture.
This concept of position can be taken further. Whenever people find themselves sitting or standing directly opposite each other with a desk or table in between, they unconsciously divide the barrier into two equal “territories”.
Posture: this covers how we stand or sit in relation to other people. Facing somebody usually indicates interest, and learning forward shows even greater interest. More subtly, the use of our limbs to “point” our bodies in the direction of the person we are interested in or it can use them as “barriers” to shut out people that feel nervous or apprehensive about.
Gesture: this is closely linked with posture and covers the way we send signals by moving parts of our bodies mainly are hands, arms and shoulders. Hands are particularly important. The open palm is not only an age-old sign of friendship but also an indication of honesty.
Expression: the range of possible expressions is immense, but it can generally recognize friendliness when it is seen. The mouth curves upwards in a smile and the eyes crinkle a little at the corner. It is unsettling to be met by a stare coupled with a blank, expression less face, and even worse to be greeted by a sullen expression.
Speech: obviously that we say is of enormous importance. Using phrases such as “good evening”, “can I help you?” is the clearest way of expressing interest in your guest welfare. Most important of all is to use the guest name. “Sir” or “madams” are all very well in their way.
FRONT OFFICE TACTICS 1. The space i.e. shelves, racks, etc behind the desk should be kept orderly. Everyone
performs efficiently when the desk is cleared and free of obstacles. Do not allow the front office to become a place of storage for packages, records and articles that have become valueless. 2. The pen and blotters give one of the 1st impressions that the guests obtain from the
hotel as it is used for registration. The blotter must not be stained dirty. 3. Do not gossip with the guest; do not talk at the front office desk when the guest is
relaxing in the lobby. 4. Keep clerical work up to a minute. Do not allow the work to accumulate and complete
each transaction as it comes. Most mistakes are committed when they try to do a lot of work at the same time. 5. The front office should have a proper file or record for recovered articles. Things left
in a room are usually kept in a House Keeping in the charge of the person on duty. If the articles are not located, the guest may get a poor impression of the hotels systems. 6. When the articles are left with the House Keeping a card is immediately made and
filed in the front office. The card bears the name of the articles, the date it was found and the room number or the place it was found. 7. Guests frequently write to the hotel to forward articles they have left behind. They rarely enclose postage though they sometimes indicate that they will do so upon the receipt of the articles. 8. Although the amount represented by such postage is not large one for any big hotel,
expenses can be held to be minimum by informing through a note indicate that its hotels pleasure to being able to return the forgotten property and mentioned the postage on this note. 9. Avoid carrying on murmuring or low voice conversation with the guest or with other
employers while guest is nearby, as guest might feel that you are talking about them. 10. An inquiry in person for the guest should be handled with much care, as is the guest.
There is frequently close connection between the guest and inquirer.
11. Give bell boys the guest name when sending out on service calls. Never send the bell boys on any service call to a room without giving him the guest name. 12. Front office memorandum is held to promote the excellence of the front office services as well as to develop co-operation between shifts within the front office staff.
QUALIRTIES OF FRONT OFFICE STAFF As the front office is a critical department in a hotel in view of its revenue generating capacity and influence in image building, the staffs in it assumes a special importance. Great care is taken in selection of front office staff as they play a key role as: Salesmen. They motivate the guest to spend more on the various hotel facilities. 1. Problem solvers: guests invariably approach the front office for help in case they have
a problem or complaint. The staffs have to be diplomatic to solve the problems of at the shortest possible time. 2. A reference point: guest who wants information or wants to pass on information use
them for this purpose. 3. Coordinators: since they are a reference point, the front office staff is required to
coordinate with the other departments, airlines, travels agencies to give the guest personalised services. 4. Image builders: as an extension to their salesmen’s role, front office staff can certainly
generate a good image for the establishment in their manner of dress, communication, personal conduct and efficiency. 5. Essential: in view of the important role they play the front office staff must have the following attributes; a. A high sense of personal grooming: uniforms must be clean and neatly pressed.
Hair should be groomed well. Soft cologne is preferable to heavy perfume. Jewellery should be restricted to one ring and a necklace for ladies. b. Personal hygiene: this is imperative to front office personnel. As they are
constantly exposed to hotel guest, a clean appurtenance helps to project a good image not only of themselves but of the establishment as well. c. Self confidence: this is necessary as front office personnel meet guests of different
countries, statues and culture. d. Diplomacy is the greatest attribute required: very often there are situations when a
guest is irate over something, a diplomatic dealing helps in diffusing the explosive moment.
e. Ability to remember names and faces: this single attribut5es distinguishes the god
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 personalizes the guest experience. f. 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 statuses come to stay in the hotel and that are used to good manners and politeness. g. Ready smile: this is very becoming to front office operation. Guests like to be
handling by cheerful staff at the desk. Their smile exudes cheer to the guests and puts them in ease. h. Physical fitness: front office operations require the staff to stand for long hours at
a stretch. The staff must be sturdy, agile and active.
DEPARTMENTS THGAT FRONT OFFICE COORDINATES WITH. Lobby: Arrival The bell boy escorts guests from main door with their luggage to the front office. After the guest has been registered the front office informs the bell boy of the room number so that the guest may be escorted to his room and his luggage placed in the room.
Departure: In most hotels, a guest wishing to check out of the hotel calls the bell desk for a porter to carry his luggage down. The bell desk informs the front office of the intentions of the guest so that the cashier can prepare his bill. It is only after the front office is satisfied regarding the payment of bills and retrieval of room key will they allow the bell boy to remove the luggage outside the premise of the hotel. Shifting: Often, a guest request the front office for a change of room. The front office intimates the bell desk to send a bell boy to help in the shifting of luggage. Scanty baggage: “Skippers” are those guests who leave the hotel without paying the bills. This is made possible because the “skipper” comes with the little luggage to avoid bringing the attention of the bell boy’s to his “secret” check out. Message:
The information section front office alerts the bell boys to deliver messages received by them for guest in the hotel. Paging: ‘Paging’ is the system of displaying the name of a guest on a small board with a long handle. The board is held above the head of the bell boy and has small bells which are rung to draw the attention of customers to the beard.
Housekeeping Housekeeping room report: To keep a tight control on rooms, housekeeping and front office have to closely Room Report coordinate. One way is through the room report whereby the house keeping staff checks each room on every floor and advices their status through their report. Discrepancy report: A discrepancy report is prepared by the front desk on receiving the Room Report from the Housekeeping. The front office compares it with the Room Rack for reconciliation.
Accounts: Front office cashier The front office cashier receives payments for a guests stay in the hotel. This is the point where bills generated by the guest are received, to be included in the overall bill. Close liaison between the lobby staff and cashier is imperative. The Bell Captain must inform the cashier about the intended check out of a guest so that the guest’s bills are updated and kept ready for presentation. Night auditor The night auditor audits all guest bills received but the front office cashier and prepares and proves for calendar day. City ledger This is the credit section which receives bills from front office that has extended credit as per previous arrangement between the hotel and the guest. This department follows up with the individual or company for the paye3ment of the bills.
Room Services: Arrivals and departures The room services is kept closely intimated on arrivals and departures of guests. It departures is this department that provides food and beverages services to the room and must be informed as to the occupant to raise bills accordingly. VIP procedures The front office informs room service through Amenities Voucher and a List of the VIP’s expected to arrive in the hotel so that special service is extended. Also the room service provides a complementary basket of fruit, liquor, cakes and pastries to extend to VIP as per the policy. Telephones: Arrival and departure This is another department that is informed immediately of the arrival and departures of the guest so that when calls come for a particular guest it is fully knowledgeable about the presence in the hotel so that calls may be connected to the guest. Engineering The engineering department is responsible for any ma9intenance of furniture, fixtures and equipment and fir rectifying faults in the services provided like air conditioning, plumbing,etc. Sometimes when guest keys are lost the workshop of the engineering Guestmakes Cycleduplicate keys from key blanks. Front Office Function department Guest Services
The stores are responsible for suppliers of relevant forms, formats and stationery.
PreArrival There is very close coordination between the front Reservations office and sales especially in soliciting
their help in improving room sales on lean occupancy days.
Arrival CYCLE THE GUEST
The financial transactions a guest makes while staying at a hotel; determine the flow of business through the property. Traditionally, the flow of business can be divided into a four-stage of the guest cycle. ggggggffffg Occupancy Charge Postings
A guest cycle is the division of the flow of business through a hotel that identifies the physical contacts and financial exchanges between the guest and the hotel employees. Within each stage, important task related to the guest services and guest accounting can be identified and analyzed. The guest cycle is not a flexible standard. Since activities and functions tend to overlap between stages, some properties have revised this traditional guest cycle into a sequence of pre-sale, point-sale, and post0-sale events. There four-stage cycle provides the framework for the discussion of guest services and guest accounting tasks. Front office employees need to be aware of guest services and guest accounting activities at all stages of the guest stay. Front office employees can efficiently serve guests when they clearly understand the flow of business through the hotel.
INTRODUCTION: As every guest walking in the hotel has a different set of requirements and expectation from the property, it is important to classify the room types available and use this categorization top offer the room as per guest’s requirement. It also covers the different methods for charging the room rates to the guest and discount structures used by the hotels. CATEGORIZING THE GUEST ROOMS: The hotel guest rooms come in many sizes and shapes. Hotels of differing product types each have differing standards for the look and composition of their guest rooms. Location types can affect the look of a guest room as well. Continuing analysis of hotel guest room is created to meet guest’s room preferences. Room preferences are defined as their individual guest’s choice of room type, configuration and designation. Room types: Room types are based on the intended number of occupants. The standard room type is understood to be based on one occupant. This is called single occupancy. However, these room types set the foundation for specific room rates covered later. Although not universal single occupancy room rates will often be lower than those with two people in a room, or double occupancy room rates. In some cases, hotels will combine the two and offer: single/double occupancy rate. Room types intended for three occupants are triple occupancy and quad occupancy house for guests. 1. Single room: a room that is meant fo4one person 2. Double room: a room that has one or two beds for two people.
3. Twin room: a room that has two single, beds separated from each other and meant for
two people. 4. Twin double room: a room that has two double room separated from each other and
meant for persons they are also called family room or double rooms. 5. Parlour: a sitting or a living room not used as bedrooms. 6. Hollywood twins: a room that has two single beds with a single Bedded Room
headboard meant for two persons. 7. Studio room: a parlour with studio room. 8. Suite: a parlour connecting one or more bedrooms is called as a suite. 9. Junior suite: a large room with a partition separating the living room furnishing from
the room. 10. Duplex: a set of rooms not on the same level but connected and internal staircase
generally the parlour at the lower level and the bedroom at the higher level. 11. Efficiency room: a room that has some sort of kitchen facility called as efficiency cy
room. 12. Hospitality room: rooms used by hotel guest to entertain their guest usually charge on
hourly basis. 13. Inter connecting room: two rooms adjusting to each other having on inter connecting
door. The interconnecting door can be locked and opened when desired. Check-in of arrivals The main duties of reception department: the reception department is sometimes called as front desk. The term reception department means to avoid confusion. The reception department is often the first department that a guest encounters when arriving at a hotel. The main duties of the department are: •
Welcoming and check-in of the arrivals.
Selling the facilities of the rooms
Maintaining the record of resident guests.
Providing guest i9nformation for other sections of the front office and the other departments of hotel.
Welcoming the guest: Guests have often travelled a long way and may be impatient and tired when they arrive at a hotel. They will, therefore, want quick, efficient check in-services provided by pleasant receptionists. In order to give guests a lasting first impression, the reception staffs needs to be efficient and have good social skills. They should be knowledgeable about the accommodation product of their hotel and skilled in the check-in procedures, and the handling of guest’s queries. Additionally, they should have pleasant manners, be cordial, empathetic, and always be ready to help.
A check-list for welcoming guest: the following check-list may give some idea of the appropriate social skills necessary when dealing with guests: 1. Maintain a good eye contact; eye contact is very important because it shows
attention and respect. However, do be careful not to turn your eye contact into stair. It is also worth nothing that positive eye contact is not regarded as courteous by the peoples of many Asian countries, especially Japan. 2. Smile when talking to the guest, it shows a warm and positive manner. 3. Stand-up straight and avoid leaning. The way you
stand is important, standing starlight shows respect and attention. Leaning on the front desk on the other hand, suggest that the receptionist is tired, bored and cannot be bothered.
4. Maintain a clean, neat and tidy personnel appearance at all times. By paying
attention to your dress and personnel hygiene, that should have a pride in yourself and your hotel. 5. Speak clearly, using a pleasant tone.
INTRODUCTION: As a part of the front office team and individual is involved in with one of the two process reservation or registration on day today basis. We then move on to covering the various processes that are followed by the front office staff once the guest has reserved a room at the hotel. The next important function that is centre of all activities of the front office department is registration. The various forms that are filled and various methods that are followed during these process checking in a guest. SPURCES OF RESERVATION: 1. Central reservation system
2. Intersell agencies 3. Property direct reservation system
4. Global distribution systems.
1. Central reservation system: the majority of Lodging Properties belong to one or
more Central Reservation Systems. A central reservation system is composed of a central reservation office member, hotels connected together via communication devices and potential guests. A central reservation system is composed of a centre reservation office member, hotels connected together via communication devices and potential guests. Hotel members of the central reservation system shall provide an exchange accurate room availability data to central reservation offices. To illustrate, central reservation offices and members hotels shall communicate any reservation transaction. This is possible, now a day, with the sophisticated communication equipment available. Central reservation offices to it members hotel shall provide these vary equipment. Such equipment may range from teletype, telex, to personal computers, internet connection. On return central reservation office charges a fee for the utilization of its services. Which might take the form of a flat fee, and a variable fee, or a flat percentage of potential room revenue, actual room revenue, and/or rooms division grows profit. Central reservation offices are divided into: affiliate reservation network:- these vary network is referred to as the hotel chains reservation system. In fact, it is composed of a DRO. And hotels, which are members of the same chain. The main advantages of affiliate reservation network are. a. Streamline the process of reservation
b. Reduce overall system cost c. Attract business for or refer business to another chain property. d. Affiliate reservation networks might serve, in addition to its main function, other
duties like: Serve as an inter property communication network. Serve as an accounting transfer tool. Serve as a destination information centre Serve as a connection with global distribution system including several central reservation offices connected to each other.
Non affiliate reservation network: a non affiliate reservation network is composed of a central reservation office, potential guest, and other independent hotel. INTERSALE AGENCIES: they are special types of central reservation offices contracting to handle reservation for more than one product line.
ARRIVAL PROCEDURE 1. The guest will be greeted and welcomed in appropriate manner. ‘Good Morning’, ‘Sir
Madam’, ‘Welcome to the hotel. 2. The guest is politely asked, “Do you reservation with us Sir Madam?’ if the guest
replies that there is a reservation for him then the guest is enquired in which name the reservation has been made. 3. In case of VIP’s the information will be filled up by the Receptionist proper to his
arrival. 4. The room no. Will be allotted within 5 seconds of the guest filling the Registration
card and Resident card will be filed up and handed over to the guest. 5. The keys will be given to the bell boy by saying,” please show Mr...... to his room” 6. The guest luggage will be sent immediately after the allotment of room. 7. Mail, messages and any other information field at the Reception to be given to the
guest on arrival. 8. Call the guest 10 minutes after check-in to ensure that he is comfortable. 9. (a) the information will be immediately sent to the different sales outlets through
Arrival/Departure Notification Register. Guest to be requested to pay in cash for the services he avails in case advance taken only covers room rent. 10. Guest folio will be opened by the Receptionist and given to Front office Cashier after taking the Telephone Meter Reading. (a) A copy of GR card where it is made in duplicate should be attached with the folio. (b) In case of EPABX follow the instruction s given by the telephone company
regarding opening of outside dialling facility. 11. 5 copies of the information will be typed. 1st copy
HANDLING LUGGAGE Bell desk staff handles the staff luggage. The bellboys carry the guest luggage at the time of guest arrival and departure. Arrival A guest arrives, the door man buzzes the bell captain for a bellboy. The bellboy wishes the guest collects his/her baggage and places it at the bell desk, located opposite to the front desk. After the guest has registered at the front desk the bellboy’s takes the luggage. The guest is lead to his room by the bell boy. The bellboy explains the facilities of the hotel; on reaching the guest room explains the fixtures and floor light locations, as control locking system, etc. The bell attendant should offer any help if required and leave after wishing the guest a pleasant stay. Departure -
The bell desk is intimated about check out by guest or front desk.
The bellboy informs the bell captain and proceeds to the room.
The bellboy knocks the guest door and announces himself.
Collects the baggage looks around for any guest articles left back, collects the room key, leaves after the guest ensuring that the room is locked.
Places the baggage at bell desk, put the tag and hand over the key to reception information desk.
Reports back to the bell desk.
Handling group luggage
The procedure handling group luggage is very simple to handling luggage of single guest. A group list is referred to for obtaining the room numbers for al group guest and the group resume ie referred to for obtaining the time of departure
for group guests.
LEFT LUGGAGE HANDLING. Let luggage procedure The term ‘left luggage’ is attributed to luggage left by a guest who checks out of the hotel but wishes to collect his luggage later. Guest who wants to visit other cities a country on a short tour may find it incontinent to carry their baggage with them. Hotels provide left luggage facility to guest who is likely to check into the hotel after their return. There might be guest who may check-out but intend eventually depart much later in the day and occupy the time sightseeing they would find it inconvenient to carry their luggage with them. They leave the luggage in the hotel premises under the guarantee by the management that the luggage would be safe. Receipt •
Ascertain if the guest is wishing to leave his luggage and has paid his hotel bill.
String the baggage ticket on each piece separately; the baggage ticket has a number which is also printed on the counterfoil of the ticket.
Enter details in left luggage register.
Tear off counterfoil of each ticket and hand it moves to the guest.
CHECK-OUT AND ACCOUNT SETTLEMENT Check-out and settlement are part of the final stage of the guest cycle. Primarily a member of the front office staff performs the services and activities of the departure stage. Before the age of computers in hotels, the workload of the front desk staff in medium and large hotels was great enough that registration and cashier positions were separate. Today, because of front desk automation, most hotels train their front desk personnel on both check-in and check-out procedures. This adds variety to the job, permits more flexible staffing schedules, and provides better service to the guest. Personnel from the front office accounting division may be involved as well. Before departing the hotel, the guest will generally stop at the front desk to review his or her folio. Settle any outstanding account balance; receive a receipt of the account statement, and return the room key. Many guests will forget all the previous courtesy and hard work of the front office staff if check-out and account settlement does not go smoothly,
Check-out and account settlement The front office performs at least three important functions during the check-out and settlement process: -
It resolves outstanding guest account balances.
It updates room status information
It creates guest history records.
The account settlement depends on an effective front office accounting system that maintain accurate guest folios, verifies a method of settlement, and resolves discrepancies in account balances. Generally, the front office finds it most effective to settle a guest’s account while the guest is still in the hotel. A guest can settle an account by paying cash, charging the balance to a credit card, deferring payment to an approved direct billing entity, or using a combination of payment methods. Effective front office operations depend on accurate room status information. When a guest checks out and settles his or her account, the front desk agent performs several important tasks. First, agent changes the guestrooms status from occupied to on-change on the room stays report. On-change is a housekeeping term that means that the guest has checked out of the hotel and that the room he or she occupied needs to be cleaned and readied for the next guest. After making the room status change, the front desk agent notifies the housekeeping department that the guest has departed. The hotels with manual or semi-automated systems, the front desk communicates information to the housekeeping department by telephone or through an electronic room status board or a telewriter. In a fully automated front office, information may be relayed, automatically to the housekeeping department when the front desk agent completes the check-out process. Once housekeeping receives the information, a housekeeper cleans and readies the room for inspection and resale. To maximize room sales, the front office must maintain the current occupancy and housekeeping department quickly and accurately. Check-out and settlement also involves the creation of the guest history record that will become part of the guest history file because a hotel can gain a valuable competitive edge in the hospitality marketplace through the proper analysis of the guest history data.
What differentiate s one hospitality establishment from the other is the manner and way in which the guest complains, concerns and inputs are handled. It gives complete detail methodology of dealing with complaints. Also, the follow-up, or recovery of service after the complaint is resolved is covered. TYPES OF COMPLAINTS Guest can be divided in four category problems: mechanical, attitude, servicerelated and unusual. Most guest complaints relate to hotel equipment malfunction. Mechanical complaints usually concern problems with climate control, lightening, room furnishings, ice machines, vending machines, door keys and so on. Even an excellent preventive maintenance program cannot completely eliminate all potential equipment problems. Guest may be attitude complaints when they feel insulted by rude or tactless hotel staff members. Guests who overhear staff conversations or who receive complaints from hotel staff members may also express attitude complaints. Guest should not have to listen to employees arguing or become a sounding boards for employee problems. Managers and supervisors should listen and attend to the complaints and problems of staff. This can be especially critical top maintain solid guest relations Guests may also complaint about the absence of a swimming pool, lack of public transportation, bad weather, and so on. Hotels generally have little or no control over the circumstances surrounding unusual complaints. Front office management should alert front desk agents that on occasion’s guests may complain about things the staff could do nothing about. Through such orientation, staff will be better prepared to handle an unusual situation with appropriate guest relation techniques and avoid a potential difficult encounter. NATURE OF COMPLAINTS AND CLASSIFICATION OF COMPLAINTS All guest complaints deserve attention. An excited guest complaining loudly at the front desk requires immediate attention. A guest making a more discreet comment deserves no less attention, although the need for action may be less immediate. Guest relations stand to improve when front offices systematically identifies its most frequent guest complains. Another away to identify complaints involves the evaluation of guest comment cards or questionnaires. Guest questionnaires designed to collect information about the hotels guest services, mechanical systems, property features and amenities and other data relevant for marketing.
Identifying problems is one of the first steps in taking corrective action. By examining the number and type of complaints received, front office management may gain insight in common and less common problems. Front office staff members may be better equipped to handle frequent complaints effectively. HANDLING COMPLAINTS. In many hotels, front desk agents are instructed to refer complaints to supervisors or managers. But sometimes, front desk agents may not be able to pass the complaint on, especially with the complaint demands immediate attention. The front office should have a contingency plan in place and be empowered to deal with such situations. The front office may receive complaints about hotels foods and beverages operations. Unless the front office and the food and beverage operators establish procedures for refereeing complaints, guests may continue to be upset and the front office will continue to hear about the problem. Front office management and staff should keep the following resolution guidelines in mind when handling the guest complaints. Front office staff members should not make promises that exceed their authority. If a problem cannot be solved, front office staff should admit this is to guest early on. Front desk agents should be advised that some guests complaints as part of their nature. The front office should develop an approach for dealing with such guests. FRONT OFFICES PROCEDURES FOR EMERGIENCIES Lost and found: This is used in hotel parlance to refer to any item temporally misplaced or lost by a guest but traced by the hotel staff later. Such articles are handed over to the housekeeping department who maintain a special locker for the same. If the item belongs to the guest who has checked-out, then a letter is sent to the forwarding address left by the guest at the reception. If no reply is received in the specified time period stipulated by the management, the articles may be given away to the staff members who found the article. If “lost” guest belongings are found in public areas and the guest is still residing in the hotel, then the housekeeping keeps such articles till such time specific enquiry is made at the front office or lobby, in which case the guest would be required to give a description of the article before it is shown to the guest. Fire in the hotel As soon as the fire is detected and intimated to the front desk, the first thing to do os to inform the telephone department. In most hotels the telephone department plays a vital role of alarming the hotel. In smaller hotels, which have the telephone function merged with the front office operations the procedure would be to call the fire department in the city for help. The front office should alert all the guests and inform them to use the staircase and not the
elevator. They must guide the guest through the staircase, and help in extinguishing the fire by the use of appropriate fire extinguishers. Death The front office should inform the General Manager, the security officer and call for the hotel doctor. An alarm is not raised or any guests informed of the fact. The General Manager may decide to call the police. The body must be removed by the staff entrance and the room sealed till all police formalities are over. People known to the deceased are contacted through addresses entered on the registration card. Accidents The house doctor should be called immediately on phone and informed of the nature of the accident and the condition of the guest. The doctor’s instruction must be followed immediately. Bleeding must be stopped by swabbing wounds with the cotton wool and applying a coagulant such as iodine, alcohol, spirit. If a fracture is suspected the guest is not moved till the doctor arrives. Vandalism The front office staff must call the Hotel Security and order the main door to be locked. If the things get out of hand the police must be called. Damage to the property by the resident guest. The front office cashier is instructed to raise a charge for the value of damages to the property. A responsible guest will never argue but should be object he must referred to the General Manager. Theft If the guest has stolen the item from the room then the value of the item is paced on the bill at the front office. This is a polite way of informing a guest of his misdeed. This must, however, be done only if one is absolutely sure that the guest is responsible. If a theft has taken place and the culprit is not known, the hotel security is informed giving all details. Hotel often about certain precautions to avoid thefts: these are: 1. Self-locking room doors. 2. Safety deposit boxes for guests valuables. 3. Watching guest with light baggage who could can become potential skippers. 4. Avoiding giving room numbers to visitors or guest names to telephone callers unless
they give the name of the guest. 5. Training to associate names, physical, features of guest to their room numbers in
order to avoid giving the wrong key to the wrong guest.
6. Posting security personnel on floors. 7. Keeping all entrances, corridors and staircases well illuminated. 8. Reporting immediately nay suspicious characters.
Equipments used in front office operations •
A large number of factors play a very important role in the choice of equipments to kept or installed in the front office of a hotel to carry out the day to day administration and the management of the department.
The factors include the system of operations prevailing in the front office, the size of the hotel, the level of automation handle the budget of the hotel.
A big hotel having a high budget will definitely choose an automated front office with fully automated equipments.
A big hotel having limited budget will opt for a semi-automated front office with semi-automated equipments.
1. ROOM RACK: -
The room rack is large front office equipment located just behind the front desk.
The room rack is wooden framework designed and contains a metallic array of pockets which contain a large number of room rack slips for showing the reservation and housekeeping status of each guestroom of property.
The room rack slip contained in metallic pockets shows type of room, the occupancy status of the guestroom and the name of the guest registered in the guestroom.
The current occupancy status of the guestrooms is indicated by the colored strips inserted in the pockets of the room rack.
2. INFORMATION RACK: -
The information rack is another important device positioned in the front desk and in used by the front desk agent to track the various in-house guest of hotel.
The information rack is a revolving device that contains information about the various guests presently registered in the hotel with the name of the guests alphabetically arranged in the rack and the information taken from the upper portion of the folios of the guests.
The information contained in the information rack are name of the guest, number and type of room occupied, rate of guestroom, date of arrival and departure and the billing instructions.
3. MAILS AND MESSAHE RACK: -
The mail and message is a wooden framework containing pigeonholes, with each pigeonhole used to store the various mails and messages received for an in house guest.
Previously, the mail and message rack used to contain the keys of the guestrooms in the pigeonholes and was thus called the mail, message and key rack.
But nowadays, the mail rack has been isolated; from the key rack and has been moved behind scenes to present a more professional appearance and at the same time ensuring the security of the mails and messages of the guests of the hotel.
4. KEY RACK: -
The key rack or the key drawer is important front office equipment located underneath the counter of the front desk.
The key rack as the name suggests, is a wooden or metallic framework containing an array of slots used for keeping the keys of the guestrooms in sequential order of the guestrooms present in the hotel.
This rack is maintained by the front desk in hotels where metal or hard keys are used and is thus essential front desk equipment for such hotels.
5. FOLIO BUCKET. -
A folio bucket is also an important equipment used in the front desk cash selection
This equipment contains a large number of slots where the folios are arranged subsequently according to the room number.
The posting machine is generally used to calculate the totals of the guest accounts, departments and transaction.
THERE IS A KEY PAD IN THE ACCOUNT POSYTING MACHINE WHICH IS USED BY cashier or the operator t5o enter the room numbers of the guests, department key.
6. WAKE-UP DEVICE: -
The wake-up device is a very important device used b y the front desk or the telephone exchange of non-automated or semi-automated hotels to remind the staffs of awakening the guests at request times.
The most famous and common wake-up device is known as the James Mindi Timer which is alarm clock with pull-out pins.
Many hotels also use a simple alarm clock of awakening the guests. The guests requests for wake-up calls are recorded in a wake-up sheet with the information of time, room number and name of the guest.
7. CREDIT CARD IMPRINRE: -
The credit card imprinter is very important equipment used for the purpose of the front office accounting.
This equipment is used especially when the guests present credit cards at the time of their arrival or departure to settle their bill.
The credit card imprinter makes an imprint of the credit card used b y the guest as a method of payment.
8. TIME STAMPING MACHINE: -
The time stamping is a machine which is used extensively by the front office of a hotel record the check-in and check-out time of the guests. Delivery time of any mail or message for the in-house guests.
This device imprints the date and time on a piece of paper either electronically or mechanically and is thus important equipment for carrying out the operations of the front office leading to guest satisfaction.
9. FAX MACHINES: -
The full form of FAX is Facsimile Automated Xerox machine is important electronic equipment used in the front desk for communication purposes.
This is facsimile reproduction equipment that operates through telephone lines and after used extensively by the front office to receive and send official documents important from the point of view of the guest or the hotel management at large.
10. COMPUTER: -
All the automated hotels around the world are excessively using computers for the day-to-day operations, administration and management.
Computers are also used widely in the front office departments of the hotels for the purpose of reservation, registration, accounting and auditing.
Computers are efficient to operate and are extremely user friendly and thus help the employees to store and retrieve important data of the guest from time to time to carry out the various guest services.
INTRODUCTION A complaint from a guest is a chance to the organization to overcome their faults and reviews the operations of the organization. The complaint could be of any nature but it is most important that the complaint received should be handled effectively. Finding the reasons of the complaint can be positive for the hotel business. If the hotel is able to handle the complaints well; the complaining guest ought to become your loyal guest. GUEST CHECK-out One of the last contacts the guest has with the hotel is the check out procedure. It is also most probably the last chance for a guest to interact face to face with the hotel staff. It is therefore, of great importance that guests financial truncations with a hotel are properly settle before they leave. The quality of the service that the guests receive at checkout will also influence their final impressions of a hotel. A bad meal can be resurrected by a good dessert. If they had experienced some dissatisfaction with the hotel, the checkout cashier can improve their opinion of it by being friendly, courteous and efficient. The process of checkout usually performed by the front office cashier, the process involves the settlement of guests accounts and the updating of front office records. The main duties of the front office at checkout include: •
Settlement of guests accounts.
U8pdating the front office records after the guest departure.
Creating good, lasting impression. Check out and settlements are part of the final stage of the guest cycle. The services and activities of the departure stage are performed by a member of the front office staff. Before the age of the computers in hotels, the workload of the front desk staff in medium and large hotels was great enough that registration and cashier positions were separate. Today, because of front desk automation, most hotels train their front desk personnel on the both check-in and check-out procedures. Personnel from the front office accounting division away be involved as well. Many guests will forget all the previous courtesy and hard work of the front office staff if check-out and account settlement do not go smoothly. Guest account settlement depends on an effective front office accounting system that maintains accurate guest folios, verifies and authorizes the method of settlement and resolves discrepancies in account balances. Generally, the front office finds it most effective to settle a guests account while the guest is still in the hotel. A guest can settle an account by paying cash, charging the balance to a credit card or using the combination of payment methods. Effective front office operations depend on accurate room status information. When a guest checks out and settles his/her account, the front desk agent performs several
tasks. First, the agent changes the guest rooms status from occupied to on-change on the room status report. On-change is a housekeeping term that means that the guest has checked out of the hotel and that the room he/she occupied need to be cleaned and readied for the next guest. Checkout settlement also involves the creation of the guest history record that will become part of the guest history file. Because a hotel can gain a valuable competitive edge in the hospitality marketplace through the proper analysis of guest history data.