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HANDLING RESERVATIONS

THE FRONT DESK

The front desk is almost always located in the lobby of the hotel near the main entrance. The employees who work at the front desk have personal or telephone contact with the guests. The size and type of hotel determines the work undertaken in reception. In a small hotel there are one or two people each handling different functions, but in a large hotel each employee has a well defined job. The reception of a large hotel is one of the different sections of a larger front office structure which is organized around the needs of the guest. Here is a diagram of the departments of the front office organization or rooms division:

Large hotels operate 24 hours a day all year round. Day staff operate either the early shift (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) or the late one (3 p.m. to 11 p.m.). Night duty is performed by a separate night staff and goes from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. The roles performed by the front office staff are outlined as follows:

The switchboard operator handles telephone calls and takes messages for guests. Facilities which can be carried out without the telephonist's assistance include world-wide direct dialling with automatic recording of the charge in the billing office and early call system. The receptionist checks-in guests, allocates rooms and takes reservations over the counter The enquiry clerk fulfils the guests' enquiries

The cashier handles guests' bills
The accountants working in the billing office post charges and payments on guest bills. The Head porter or Concierge performs a variety of duties: he or she hands over guest keys, mail, messages, provides theatre tickets, car hire, baggage service. The valet belongs to the housekeeping and handles dry cleaning, pressing and guest laundry. Housekeeping is the largest department of the hotel and is responsible for the preparation of guest rooms and the cleanliness of all public areas. The shops operating in the hotel lobby generally sell gifts, newspapers, perfumes and toilet articles. They are rented out to external companies.

All these departments work together and are co-ordinated by a Rooms Division Manager who operates in collaboration with the conference co-ordinator to handle meetings, conferences, package tours, coach parties, etc. Room Reservations

In large hotels handling reservations is the task of the reservations clerk. He commonly gets reservations by telephone, by personal contact, by telex, by fax, by computer. Telegrams and letters are still used by private individuals; businesses have replaced them with faxes. Room reservations are made by private individuals, corporations, travel agents, reservation agents, tour operators and airlines. Individual bookings are usually made by telephone and confirmed by letter or telegram. Travel agents handle bookings by phone, fax or computer. Some still request and confirm bookings by fax or they request by telephone and confirm by fax. Most travel agents provide a computerised reservation service. Their terminals being linked to external reservations networks, they can instantly know the current availability of hotel's accommodation, make their booking and get confirmation on real time. Once a booking has been accepted, the reservation clerk must complete a Reservation Form and enter the information into the Reservation Diary (a book where bookings are entered daily) and the Reservation Chart (a diagram showing information about the availability of the rooms. If the hotel uses a Reservation Rack, he fills in a rack card and drops it into the rack. The actual allocation of rooms does not necessarily take place at the time the guest checks-in; on accepting a booking, a computer can assign rooms, handle deposits and printing letters confirming the booking effected.

Answer these questions

1.Where is the front desk?
2.Say some reasons why guests come to the front desk.
3.Who operates at the front desk?
4.What's the...
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