Hotel Front Office Department- All You Need to Know
All the multi-departmental physical businesses should have a front office department or a reception to welcome and receive their visitors. The Hotel Front Office Department is the face and voice of the business. Regardless of the type or classification of the Hotel, the front office department is the most visible department of any hotel. The front office department acts as a common link between the customers and the business. Let us learn more about why it is so in this article.
Also, Read More about Hotel Management Course
What is the Front Office Department?
It is one of the many multiple departments of the hotel business that directly interacts with the customer or the guests when they first arrive at the hotel. Front office staffs are the one which handles the transaction between the hotel and its guests The front office staffs interacts with the guest on various occasions. They receive the guest when they first step in the hotel, handles their requests and strikes the first and everlasting impression about the hotel into their minds.
What Does a Front Office Department include?
The Front Office Department of the hotel include,
- Front Desk
- Uniformed Services
- Front Office Accounting System
What are its Basic responsibilities?
- Creating the guest database where all the information regarding a guest staying in the hotel is recorded.
- Handling Guest account. This account keeps note of all the transactions made by the guest during his stay in the hotel.
- Coordinating guest service.
- Trying to sell a service. Rooms are the products that the front office staff tries to sell to the guest.
- Ensuring guest satisfaction. This is one of the most important factors which the front office department tries to achieve no matter what.
Also Read, Skills Required to Become a Hotel Manager
Front Office Operations
Two categories come under the front office operation.
One is the Front-House Operations and the other is Back-House Operation.
The operations performed here are visible to the eyes of the guests. The guest can interact and see the operations presented and hence, it is named Front-House operations. The operations done here can be listed as the follows
- Handles the request for guest’s accommodation
- Check if the type of accommodation is available for the day and assigns the same to the guest.
- Collects the details of the guest’s information when he/she is registering at the hotel.
- Creates a guest’s account on the front office accounting system.
- Issue the room keys to the guest.
- Settle the guest payment at the time of check-out marking the end of financial transaction for that period.
These operations are conducted by the front office staff in the areas where the guest’s involvement is not required. These operations are performed in the following areas.
- Determines the type of guests by checking the front office database
- Guest preferences are ensured by giving a personalized touch to the services. For example, if the guest is coming for a stay at the hotel because it is their anniversary, a cake or a bouquet is sent to them to make their day special.
- The guest’s account is continuously updated within the front office accounting system.
- The guest’s bill is prepared.
- The balance amount from the guest is calculated and collected from the guest
Guest Cycle in Hotel
Generally, a guest’s interaction with the hotel is divided into four phases
This stage is when the customer is planning a stay at the hotel. In this first stage, that is, before arrival, the prospective guest of the hotel enquires about the availability of the desired choice of room and the amenities they will be getting through a telephonic call or an e-mail. The customer or the guest also does the same by visiting the website of the hotel.
This stage is when the front office staff welcomes the guest at the Hotel’s reception. The bell desk takes the guest’s luggage and assists them with it. If the guest has confirmed the reservation, then the front office staff will hand over the Guest Registration Card (GRC) to the guest and gives a form to the guest to fill their information details in it. The front desk staffs then register the same information provided by the guest in the database thereby creating a guest record and a guest account. Later, the front office hands over the room keys to the guest and completes the registration process.
During the Occupancy stage, the front office account system tracks the guest charges against each of the purchases made by the guest in and around the hotel. These purchases may be those done in the hotel restaurants, room service, bar or any outgoing telephone calls made through the hotels’ communication systems. The front office is the only department authorized to manage and issue the keys for the rooms to the guest who is rightful to the access. During the guest’s stay with the hotel if there are any additional requests the front office staff tries to fulfil it also.
During the Guest’s departure from the hotel, the front office accounting system takes the settlement of payment from the guest for the services provided to the guest during his/her guest. If the bill is not settled completely, the balance will be transferred or moved to the non-guest record, and then it becomes the responsibility of the accounts department to collect the payment.
Being the first and last most important department that the guest is in contact with, it becomes extremely important that the Front Office Personnel should place himself or herself before the guest.