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Front office may be said to be the area or, location of a hotel or such establishments where administrative responsibility lies: guest requests and needs are taken care of from their arrival, during their stay and when they leave the premises. In addition to this, the front office may be said to have some of the following features; it may be the most visible department of the hotel in general whereby it may be located in the hotel lobby. The front office may be concerned or, mainly deals with the day to day activities of accounting and administration, inquiries, reservations, communications and liaisons (International Labor Office 30).
The front office may be said to have some of the following functions in the running of its day to day activities; coordinate guests services, register guests both arriving and checking out and for the arriving they also assign them the rooms that may be available, maintain accurate room status information, establish and maintain guests accounts and monitor their credits, provide the guests account statements and the cleared financial statements in regard to their stay in the hotel and the front office provides information about the hotel, the surrounding environment and community, and, events or, attractions that may be of interest to the guests.
Apart from the housekeeping department, the front office may be said to be the nerve or, centre of the hotel. A vital aspect of providing or, showing a lasting first impression may come from how the personnel or staff of the front office meet to the needs of the guests. The front office personnel or staff may be made up of the following; receptionist, front office agent, front office desk clerk, concierge, reservations clerk, telephone operator, bell porter and an airport representative. The department of the front office may be headed by the front office manager. The key responsibilities of the front office manager may be said to be; to have direct supervision to all the other staff that may be associated with the front office. Another responsibility of the front office manager may be assisting the room divisions manager in coming up with information reports about the hotel. Training of the front office employees and ensuring they may adhere to the rules of the hotel may also be another duty of the front office manager. Preparing monthly reports and coming up with procedure and policies in regard to how the front office should be run may also be the responsibility of the front office manager. Another key responsibility may be handling all complaints regarding the hotel from the guests. In addition to this, the front office manager may also be required to deal with issues in regard to the rooms; their availability, maintenance and how they should be handled. Moreover, the front office manager may be required to ensure that all resources in regard to the front office are well supplied and used (Bardi 8-10).
The front office manager should ensure that the limits of authority, procedures and policies are well communicated to all the front office staff. Well cultivated procedures and policies with documented training may enable the flow of communication to be smooth hence; the front office manager should try and ensure that this is achieved. All new staff should be ensured that they are trained to follow the respective procedure. Some of these procedures may include some of the following; Consulting with the manager for reservation so as to be able to determine the expected time of arrival of guests or the expected check out of the guests that may already be in the hotel rooms. Another procedure to be followed may be consulting with the marketing director on whether there may be any special checkout requests that may have been given to the guests. Another procedure that may be vital for front office staff to follow may be checking up with the housekeeper manager on what the effects of delayed check out time may have on the housekeeping department. In addition to this, the front office staff should relay information in regard to a situation whereby delayed check out time conflicts with guests who may be checking in to the same room. The hotel may require that the staff follow procedure and meet the needs of guests in accordance to the way the hotel may be delivering its services. This, in turn, may lead the hotel to achieving its desired goals and objectives (Bardi 435-436).
The main departments that may be dealing with the division of rooms and how they may be run may be the housekeeping and the front office department. This requires that the front office and the housekeeping department work hand in hand so as to achieve the set objectives of the hotel. The structure of how the rooms are may be different from one hotel to the other. These differences or variances may be because of the following; the level of services offered by a given hotel, the size of the hotel and the set organization preferences. The rooms may be overseen by the rooms’ division manager who may work hand in hand with the front office manager so as to achieve efficiency and effectiveness (Ismail 10).
In the running, of the hotel activities the front office may be required to take night audits so as to know the rooms and their guests; whether they are checking in or checking out. Reading the night audit may require a person to do the following activities; Room sales; here, checking sales of the room from the previous day and comparing them to the current day to see how the hotel may be doing. Restaurant sales; here, a person may be required to check the sales of meals and, whether they meet the set goals. If, the goals are not being met a new strategy may be employed so as to deal with such an issue. Room service; this may be the most profitable section that may be associated with the hotel. Here, a person should carefully compare results with what the organization or hotel may desire to achieve. Looking at all these reports, compiling and adding them up may help the front office to know whether they may be headed in the right direction in achieving the hotels set goals or not (Bardi 296).
The sales of rooms that may be sold to guests may be divided into two categories. These categories may include; group rooms and transient rooms. In the group rooms, they originate from guests who may be more than one person and require rooms in a given hotel. In addition to this, group rooms may be a chain of reservations or, bookings that may be made in regard to specific functions that may include; events, meetings or, conventions. These functions may be held in the hotel premise or in the surrounding area or, environment of the hotel. Transient rooms, on the other hand, may come from individuals making reservations for themselves. These may be people who may be coming to the hotel to do business or have pleasure. Transient rooms may be said to differ from the group rooms in the sense that, guests for the transient rooms may not be known when they may be arriving but, group rooms guests may be known. The transient rooms reservations may be further sub- divided into two categories; walk-in reservations; here the guests may arrive at a hotel looking for rooms unannounced. This type of booking may be difficult to predict thus; cannot be categorized under the booking cycle. Another sub-division of the transient rooms may be individual booking cycle; this may be the given period from when a reservation may be made to the arrival of the individual. This period may range from a few days to weeks to months.
There may be four aspects that may be associated with guests and how they arrive. These aspects may consist of the following; pre-arrival, actual arrival, staying at the hotel and departure or checking out. During the pre- arrival, the guests may do some of the following activities looking and choosing a preferable hotel and looking for ways of making reservations. These may be influenced by some of the following; location of the hotel, the popularity of the hotel and what the guest might want to do while at the hotel. During the arrival, the guests are required to report to the front office where; they will be registered and appointed to their rooms and in addition to this; guests may be given brief information in regard to hotel services. During the stay of the guests, the front office may be required to be effective and efficient so as to make the guests comfortable. In addition to this, the front office is also required to monitor the credit accounts of guests. This will lead the hotel to achieving its objectives and goals. During the check out of the guests, the front office may be required to provide the guests with their financial statements. In addition to this, guests are also required to check at the front office where they may relay how their stay may have been and what complaints they may have, regarding the services offered by the hotel (Abbott & Lewry 57-60).
In conclusion, I believe that the front office working hand in hand with the housekeeping department may be the core centers of hotels. In addition to this, training the personnel or staff should be a requirement so that the set procedures and policies are adhered to leading to the hotel achieving its desired goals.