UNIT 12 MANAGING FRONT OFFICE OPERATIONS
12.0 12.1 12.2 Objectives Introduction Front Office Functions 12.2.1 12.2.2 Front -of-the-House Operations Back -of-the-House Operations
Front Office: Organisational Structure The Reservation Office 12.4.1 12.4.2 12.4.3 12.4.4 Types of Reservation System Accepting or Denying Reservation Generating Reservation Reports Managing Reservations
12.5 12.6 12.7 12.8 12.9 12.10
Check-in Process Front Office Accounting Check-out Process The Electronic Front Office (EFO) Let Us Sum Up Clues to Check Your Progress Answers
After studying this Unit you will be able to explain the:
• • • •
Importance of front desk functions in a hotel, meaning of front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house operations and their role in the hotel, various operations associated with front office, and importance of each of the front-desk operations in context to the smooth running of the hotel.
Regardless of the class or type of the hotel, front office is the most visible and essential focal point of a hotel. The focal point of activity within the front office is the reception desk, which is located in the front lobby of a hotel and dispenses all front-of-the-house activities of the hotel. It is the communication centre of the hotel with great amount of guest contact. Guests interact with the hotel for the first time by interacting with the staff of the front office, and they form the first impression about the hotel based on the efficiency, competency and behaviour of the front office staff. The reception desk performs the functions like the sale of rooms, guest registration, room assignments, handling of guest requests, maintenance of the guest accounts, cashiering along with handling mail and providing information. The financial tasks usually handled by the front desk personnel include receiving cash payments, handling guest folios, verifying cheques and handling foreign currency and credit cards. In this Unit, you will be familiarised with all these aspects of the front office management.
12.2 FRONT OFFICE FUNCTIONS
The primary function of the front office is that of a facilitator between the guest and other departments of the hotel. Another job of Front office desk is also to support and help in providing services to the 118
guests. The number of interactions and transactions between the guest and the hotel during a guest stay, determine the type and nature of front office operations. The stages of guest stay are: • • • • pre-arrival, arrival, occupancy, and departure.
Various trans actions between the guest and the hotel, therefore, depend upon the stage of the guest stay. The transactions can be best understood by going through the guest cycle.
Transportation Baggage handling Reservations Bill Settlement Check-out Currency exchange Safe Deposits
Doormen and Porters
Maintaining Guest Accounts Mail and Information Telephone Calls Transportation
Registration Room Assignment Issuing of Keys Baggage Handling
Figure I: The Guest Cycle
(Source: Principles of Hotel Front Office Operations, Sue Baker, Jerenry Huyton and Pam Bradley)
Figure I shows the following transactions and exchange of services between a guest and the hotel: • • • • • • • reservations, check-in and registration, mail and information, uniformed service and baggage handling, telephone calls and messages, handling guest accounts, and check-out and bill settlement.
All these services and transactions are handled by the front office department. The functions and services of the front office department can be differentiated depending upon the area where they are being performed. Some of the functions are performed by the reception desk as front-of-the-house operations and rest are performed as back-of-the-house operations. Table 1 gives a brief summary of the functions performed by the front office as...
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