Front Office Department Introduction, Operations and Key Functions
Introductions To The Hotel Front Office Department
Front Desk is a very important department in the hotel, making direct contact with guests. The main function of this department is Reservation, Guest service, Check-in, Check-out, Telephone, Finance & Cashiering, Foreign Exchange, Room Assignment, Inquiry etc.
The Front Office is also called the nerve centre of a hotel. It can be defined as a 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 consequence 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 in 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 personal in diverse areas of 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 centre of the hotel. All the activities and areas of the front office are geared towards supporting guest transaction 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, collect feedback etc.
Guest Database: Develops & maintains a Comprehensive Database of Guest Information
Reservation: This section is responsible in registering the room reservation from various sources, with recordings, filing of reservation records, and revise on the appropriate time to make sure that guests would have their rooms upon entering the hotel.
Postage and Parcels: This section is to facilitate guests pertaining to the posting of letters, telegrams, and parcels.
Telephone: This section is to facilitate guests pertaining to the telephone both internally and externally, and to wake guests up in the morning upon request.
Finance and Foreign Exchange: This section relates with the Accounting Department, through the collection from guests through their services, and also give the foreign exchange service.
Inquiry: This section is to answer questions and inquiries of guests. Therefore, this section would have to be alert with all the movements of the hotel.
Staffing the Front Office Department:
In order to carry out its mission, goals and objectives, every company shall build a formal structure depicting different hierarchy of management, supervision, and employee (staff) levels. This very structure is referred to as an organisation chart.
Moreover, the organisation chart shows reporting relationships, the span of management, and staff/line functions. The organisation 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.
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 for any bit of information requested.