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Front Office Management paper Essay

Abstract:

This report is aimed to discuss the need for clear procedures to be set for the pre-arrival stage of the guest cycle. The pre arrival stages in a guest cycle entail services that are executed by people or other relevant systems (like software) to deliver the best to the guests. Reservations are an important stage in pre-arrival of all guests. An effective service delivery will ensure the guests get satisfied from the very primary stages. Vital preparations have to be made for the arrival of all guests by the front office department. Records have to be kept. Computers are essential in this process for they play an important facilitation role.

Discuss the need for clear procedures to be set for the pre-arrival stage of the guest cycle

Introduction

The main function of front office management is to welcome the guest and make all transactions smooth for the guest. According to Bakers, Huyton and Bradley (2000), a hotel system can be divided into four categories forming the guest cycle notably: the pre-arrival, arrival, occupancy, and departure.

This report aims to review the pre arrival stages of guest cycle in a guest cycle by focusing on front office section. The report begins with introduction and background to pre arrival stages of guest cycle and front office management. It will discuss the activities that are partaken when a guest arrives to the front desk of a given hotel in the main body. Then, the conclusion is drawn at the final part.

Background

In hospitality industry, it is necessary for the service deliverer to give out his/her best services; this is because the clients have nothing to carry home at the end of the transaction (Ismail, 2002). The most important thing is the experience they get from a given hotel. As earlier noted, the front office provides most reputation of a given hotel. The servers need to make great effort to ensure the delivery is up to the required standards. Different writers have similar views of the prospects that take place in the front office more so the pre arrival stage as will be discusses in the following section. According to Hai-yan and Baum (2006), most popular stages that have been identified in pre arrival of guests include:

Reservation
Registration
Occupancy services
Check-out and history

The pre arrival stages in a guest cycle entail services that are executed by people or other relevant systems (like software) to deliver the best to the guests. The next section is the main body which analyse the activities that are partaken in the pre-arrival stage of the front desk of a hotel.

Main body

According to Powers et. Al (1999), the stages involved in the pre-arrival need to be distinct and specific. The environment and rooms need to be presentable to ensure the delivery is maximized in all situations. Bakers et. al. (2000) classified the guest cycle in the pre-arrivals, arrivals, occupancy and departure. They believe the pre arrival section mainly comprise the booking doe by the clients and all events that will facilitate arrival of the guest.

The front office is tasked with handling a large number of tasks in the guest cycle, they may include making reservations, check-in and registration, mail and information management, handling luggage’s, communication services, handling the accounts for guests, checking out and settlement of bills (Bardi, 2011). The services here can be classified further to three main categories. These include electronic-mechanical, indirect personal and face to face transactions. The employees in the front desk are trained to employ these services to ensure maximum utility of the clients (Waryszak and Bauer, 1993).

The guest cycle stages can be classified into sub-categories depending on different factors. A stage process divides the cycle into presale, sale and post-sale services. The presale services will be discussed into details in this part. Of importance are the reservation services the clients can access from a given Hotel. The reservation stage will be vital for it provides the very initial interaction with the client. The hotel management is obliged to ensure that the staff in this category are very familiar with the activities at this stage and they deliver their best (Ismail, 2002). Use of computers has been of great help for they simplify the process, provide accuracy and speed, this makes the services look professional. The main source of information for reservations include Telephone calls

Emails
Letters
Fax
Personal requests

The clients will always check in for these services. The service providers will always check if the customer is black listed or not. Black listed customers are offered no chances for various security reasons. Upon confirming a valid customer, the client is offered the rooms available according to his/her priority. If the priority of the clients is important and alternatives are given only when specific rooms are not available (Hai-yan and Baum, 2006). The booking is then confirmed and recorded appropriately in the booking diaries or booking charts. The relevant documents are then filled and the process terminated. These processes are computer enabled to facilitate accuracy.

The following considerations are essential when making reservations: Front desk staffs should always offer alternatives to prevent closing the transactions Sale staffs should always use upselling and suggestive selling. Front desk staffs need to be proactive in delivery

Provide satisfying feedbacks to clients
Confirm all details to guests and keep up-to-date records
Be appreciative to all clients

All reservations need to be effectively recorded to ease communication and reference. The main details captured during reservations in pre arrival stage include: guest name, address or the billing address, telephone number, origin or company, dates of arrival and departure, any special notes, and reservation type. It is also vital to note whether front desk staffs are dealing with a group or single persons.

To make the reservation via computers, one would run the required software, run the rate plan query command, check for rate availability grid, look up for rate reservation screen, move to the profile screen, and finalize noting the reservation number (Bardi, 2011). The required details are filled into the computers at every given stage and clients informed of any necessary information.

Conclusion

In as much as the front office is not the main center or hub of a hotel, it is a vital department that makes the first and last impression to the guest. It is important as most guests will approach this department to seek clarification thus essential in retaining clients’ loyalty and reputation of a given hotel. Reservations are a vital stage in pre-arrival of all guests. An effective service delivery will ensure the clients get satisfied from the very initial stages. Vital preparations have to be made for the arrival of all guests by the front office department. Records have to be kept. Computers are essential in this process for they play an important facilitation role.

References

Baker, S., Huyton, J. & Bradley, P. (2000). Principles of hotel front office Operations. London: Continuum.

Bardi, J.A. (2011). Hotel Front Office Management. John Wiley and Sons, USA.

Hai-yan, K. and Baum, T. (2006). Skills and work in the hospitality sector: The case of hotel front office employees in China, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 18. No. 6, pp.509 – 518.

Ismail, A. (2002). Front Office Operations and Management. Cengage Learning, UK.

Kasavana, M.L. and Brooks, R.M. (2012). Managing Front Office Operations (AHLEI). Prentice Hall PTR,USA.

Powers, T. & Barrows, C.W. (1999). Introduction to the Hospitality Industry (4th Edition). John Wiley & Sons, Canada.

Waryszak, R.Z. and Bauer, T.G. (1993). Front-office Staff Selection Techniques. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 5. No. 4.


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