Front Office Department Introduction, Operations, and Key Functions
Introductions To The Hotel Front Office Department
The Front Desk is a very important department in the hotel, making direct contact with guests. The main functions of this department are Reservation, Guest service, Check-in, Check-out, Telephone, Finance & Cashiering, Foreign Exchange, Room Assignment, Inquiry, etc.
The Front Office is also called the nerve center of a hotel. It can be defined as the front of the housing department located around the foyer and the lobby area of a hospitality property. As this department is located around the foyer area of the hotel and is visible to the guests, patrons, and visitors, they are collectively called “Front Office”.
Should guests have any problems or require to appreciate or comment, they would normally go directly to the Front Office, because it is convenient to contact and converse with other departments. Therefore, this department is the direct delegate to link the work and report the consequences to other departments.
This department is one of the major operational and revenue-producing departments of the hotel which generates two-thirds of the revenue earned by a hotel from the sale of the guest rooms. It involves providing valuable services to the guests during the entire guest cycle consisting of Pre-arrival, Arrival, Occupancy, and Departure.
Importance of Front Office Department:
Traditional Front Office functions include reservation, registration, room and rate assignment, guest services, room status, maintenance and settlement of the guest account, and creation of guest history records.
The Front Office develops and maintains a comprehensive database of guest information, coordinates guest services, and ensures guest satisfaction. These functions are accomplished by personnel in diverse areas of the Front Office Department.
The front office is also known as the face of the hotel. It is the first guest contact area and also the nerve center of the hotel. All the activities and areas of the front office are geared toward supporting guest transactions and services.
The operational function of the Front Office Department:
Guest Registration: Does all guest registration-related activities like Check-in, room assignment, welcoming, room rate, etc.
Guest Service: Fulfils any Guest Services-related activities.
Guest History and Records: Creates and maintains a guest profile, history, likes and dislikes, collects feedback, etc.
Guest Database: Develops & maintains a Comprehensive Database of Guest Information
Updates Room Status: responsible for updating the correct room status like CI, CO, DNCO, DND, etc.
Reservation: This section is responsible for registering the room reservation from various sources, with recordings, filing of reservation records, and revising at the appropriate time to make sure that guests have their rooms upon entering the hotel.
Postage and Parcels: This section is to facilitate guests about the posting of letters, telegrams, and parcels.
Telephone: This section is to inform guests about the telephone both internally and externally, and to wake guests up in the morning upon request.
Finance and Foreign Exchange: This section relates to the Accounting Department, through the collection from guests through their services, and also gives the foreign exchange service.
Inquiry: This section is to answer questions and inquiries of guests. Therefore, this section would have to be alert to all the movements of the hotel.
Bell Desk and Concierge: Provide all services related to Bell Desk and Concierge.
Staffing the Front Office Department:
To carry out its mission, goals, and objectives, every company shall build a formal structure depicting different hierarchies of management, supervision, and employee (staff) levels. This very structure is referred to as an organization chart.
Moreover, the organization chart shows reporting relationships, the span of management, and staff/line functions. The organization chart for the front office department differs as per the size of the hotel. View here
Typical Staff positions under the Rooms Division Department:
Front Desk Agent: Registers guests, and maintains room availability information.
Cashier: Maintains and settles guest folios, and properly checks out guests.
Night Auditor: Controls the job of the Accounts Receivable Clerk, and prepares daily reports to management (ex: Occupancy Report and Revenue Report).
Mail & Information Clerk: Takes Messages, provides Directions to Guests, and maintains Mail.
Telephone Operator: Manages the Switchboard and coordinates Wake-up Calls.
Reservation Agent: Responds to Reservation Requests and creates Reservation Records.
Uniformed Service Agent: Handles Guest Luggage, escorts Guests to their Rooms, and assists guests with any bit of information requested.