It is the one of the many departments of the hotel business which directly interacts with the customers when they first arrive at the hotel. The staff of this department is very visible to the guests.
Front office staff handles the transactions between the hotel and its guests. The staff receives the guests, handles their requests, and strikes the first impression about the hotel into their minds.
Front office department includes −
- Front Desk
- Uniformed services
- Front Office Accounting System
- Private Branch Exchange (PBX), a private telephone network used within an organization
Basic Responsibilities of Front Office Department
Following are the most basic responsibilities a front office can handle.
- Creating guest database
- Handling guest accounts
- Coordinating guest service
- Trying to sell a service
- Ensuring guest satisfaction
- Handling in-house communication through PBX
Front Office Operations
There are two categories of Front Office Operations −
These operations are visible to the guests of the hotel. The guests can interact and see these operations, hence, the name Front-House operations. Few of these operations include −
- Interacting with the guests to handle request for an accommodation.
- Checking accommodation availability and assigning it to the guest.
- Collecting detail information while guest registration.
- Creating a guest’s account with the FO accounting system.
- Issuing accommodation keys to the guest.
- Settling guest payment at the time of check-out.
Front Office staff conducts these operations in the absence of the guests or when the guest’s involvement is not required. These operations involve activities such as −
- Determining the type of guest (fresh/repeat) by checking the database.
- Ensuring preferences of the guest to give a personal touch to the service.
- Maintaining guest’s account with the accounting system.
- Preparing the guest’s bill.
- Collecting the balance amount of guest bills.
- Generating reports.
Guest Cycle in Hotel
Generally, a guest’s interaction with the hotel is divided into the following four sequential phases −
It is the stage when the customer is planning to avail an accommodation in the hotel. In this first stage, the customer or the prospective guest enquires about the availability of the desired type of accommodation and its amenities via telephonic call or an e-mail. The customer also tries to find out more information about the hotel by visiting its website.
At the hotel end, the front office accounting system captures the guest’s information such as name, age, contact numbers, probable duration of stay for room reservation and so on.
The front office reception staff receives the guest in the reception. The porters bring in the guest luggage. For the guest with confirmed reservation, the front office clerk hands over a Guest Registration Card (GRC) to the guest and requests the guest to fill in personal information regarding the stay in the hotel. The clerk then registers the guest in the database thereby creating a guest record and a guest account along with it. Later, the clerk hands over a welcome kit and keys of the accommodation. After the procedure of registration, the guest can start occupying the accommodation.
During occupancy, a front office accounting system is responsible for tracking guest charges against his/her purchases from the hotel restaurants, room service, bar, or any outgoing telephone calls made via the hotel’s communication systems. The front office staff is responsible to manage and issue the right keys of the accommodations to the right guests. On guests’ request, the staff also makes arrangement for transportation, babysitting, or local touring while the guest is staying in the hotel.
During guest departure, the front office accounting system ensures payment for goods and services provided. If a guest’s bill is not completely paid, the balance is transferred from guest to non-guest records. When this occurs, collection becomes the responsibility of the back office accounting division.
At the time of guest departure, the front office staff thanks the guest for giving an opportunity to serve and arrange for handling luggage. In addition, if the guest requires airport or other drop service, the front office bell desk fulfils it.
Following are some common terms used in relation to the front office department −
|No.||Term & Meaning|
The amount of money an organization has the right to receive within some specified period (say 30 days) against the delivery of products/services.
An extension of front desk that deals with personalized guest services.
They are the charges borne by the guest on cancellation of a confirmed reservation or for not showing-up on confirmed reservation.
Information desk that assists guests for transportation, booking of events outside the hotel.
Guest Registration Card, which the guest needs to fill in with personal formation at the time of registration.
Customer of the hotel business being served..
Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange, where internet protocol is used for call transmission.
Acronym for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions
Customer of a hotel business not being served at the moment.
A guest who has reserved an accommodation neither turns up nor cancels it.
Online Hotel Management System, a software system to manage all back-office operations of a hotel.
Private Branch Exchange, a private network of telephones within an organization.
Acronym for Point of Sale. It is the revenue generating place in the hotel where retail transactions are carried out.
The price at which the hotel rooms are sold before applying discount.
Acronym for Social, Military, Educational, Religious, and Fraternal.
It is a report of accounts that represents ending balance of each account in the list. It is prepared at the end of an accounting period.
Personalized services provided to the guests.
A male attendant to park and clean the car.
An old reservation system for hotel accommodations.
A variable pricing strategy, based on understanding, anticipating and influencing consumer behavior in order to maximize revenue from a fixed, perishable resource.