Hotel Organization and the Front Office Manager
O P E N I N G
D I L E M M A
CHAPTER FOCUS POINTS
■ Organization of lodging
At a recent staff meeting, the general manager of The Times Hotel asked if anyone wanted to address the group. The director of housekeeping indicated he was at a loss in trying to work with the front desk clerks. He had repeatedly called the desk clerks last Tuesday to let them know that general housecleaning would be performed on the seventh and eighth floors on Wednesday morning and that they should not assign rooms on those floors to guests on Tuesday night. When the cleaning crew came to work on Wednesday morning, they were faced with 14 occupied rooms on the seventh floor and 12 occupied rooms on the eighth floor. This cost the hotel several hundred dollars because the cleaning crew was from an outsourced contract company, which charged the hotel a basic fee for failure to comply with the contract. The front office manager retorted that a bus group called two weeks ago and asked if any rooms were available because there was a mix-up in room rates at the group’s original hotel. The front office manager indicated something must have gone awry in the computer system. After all, this was a good opportunity to bring in 26 additional room-nights.
■ Organization of the front
■ Staffing the front office ■ Function of the front
HOTEL ORGANIZATION AND THE FRONT OFFICE MANAGER
Organization of Lodging Properties
The objective of most hospitality establishments is to produce a profit. To meet this goal, factors such as current economic conditions, marketing plans, competition, and staff size and ability are constantly reviewed. The general manager, the person in charge of directing and leading the hotel staff in meeting its financial, environmental, and community responsibilities, develops organization charts that fit his or her plan to meet the goals of the company. The organization charts—schematic drawings that list management positions in an organization—included in this chapter are offered only as instructional examples. An organization chart represents the span of control for the general manager. Not all hotels have every position listed in these organization charts. Persons pursuing a career in the hotel industry will be called on many times throughout their career to develop or restructure an organization. The people who are part of these operational plans will have a direct influence on the type of structure developed or reorganized. The goals of the organization must be paramount in the decision-making process. However, there must be flexibility to make the plan work. This section points out the major organizational features of a lodging property and typical managerial duties of the people within the organization. It is not uncommon for a general manager of a property to move people from department to department of the hotel. This is done for many reasons. The front office manager, the person responsible for leading the front office staff in delivering hospitality, may express interest in the position of controller, the internal accountant for the hotel, or in a position in the marketing and sales department. The general manager realizes a candidate must possess certain skills before being placed in any new position. To prepare someone for an opening in the controller’s office, the general manager may assign him or her some of the controller’s busywork. The front office manager might also spend slack periods with the director of marketing and sales, the person who analyzes available markets and sells products and services at a profit, to become familiar with that department. The general manager may also use the weekly staff meeting to explain the financial condition and marketing plans of the property. This tactic reinforces the management team concept. By...