What is front office? Front office means that the sales personnel and corporate finance employees in a financial services company. Besides that, front office also means that sales, marketing and service departments that come in direct contact or communication with the customer example like a customers need to book a hotel room, then they must contact with the front office to realize that. Moreover, front office also needs to liaise with the back office such as administrative and housekeeping departments to maintain a two way flow of information. The front office of a hotel generally performs some basic activities such as: processing advance reservations, registering guests name, rooming guests, handling guest luggage, issuing room keys, security arrangements, providing information to the guest, and settling the accounts. In addition, front office service works in the round the clock mode, with daytime, evening and night shifts. Front office service specialists are required to have a good understanding of room booking process and take part in guest settlement. In additional, the front office may also serve as the home for office machinery. Common devices found in the front office include copiers, office computers, multi line phone, postage, and scale machines for mail. Hotels are almost always profit making concerns, and it is the rooms which provide most of the profit. Front office staff who are not sales oriented are not likely to be much use, this explain why we have devoted a section to the various ways in which staff can improve the yield.
Answer of Question 1:
Within a hotel organization they have some staff in front office department which is front office manager, assistant front office manager, front desk representative, night auditor, cashier, reservationist, and telephone operator.
Figure – Staff of Front Office
Front office Manager
The task of front office manager is to do all the duties of the front desk operation, example like, inter-department meeting communications, training the staff, order the staff to do their work, and plan the staff schedule. Front office managers usually interface with the guests, always greeting them when they are enters the establishment, generating sales and answering inquiries. By applying management principles, the front office manager works through the front office staff to communicate feelings of caring, warmth, efficiency and safety to every guest. Therefore, the front office manager should have strong communication skills. Depending on the organization, a front office manager might interface with all guests or only with those considered sensitive or important. The front office manager must has at he or she disposal the basic elements of effective management practice, such like equipment, rooms to be sold, budget, employees or staff, and sales opportunities. The manager must be strain after for coordinating those basic elements to achieve the profit goals set by the organization. In additional, other duties of the front office manager are include of:
Prepares monthly reports to the general manager
Assists the room division manager in formulation and implementation of front office policies and procedures
Reviews and approves all room moves and room rate changes to ensure they were necessary
Maintain the necessary stock of supplies in all front office areas, while controlling costs in these areas
Help the room division manager in forecasting room availability to ensure that the optimal level of occupancy is attained.
Assistant Front Office
The task of assistant front office manager is normally helps on the manager’s work. Besides that, the assistant front office manager, he or she will need to ensure the delivery of consistent quality customer service all the time. The assistant for the front office is a person who responsible for coordinating the front office operation. In additional, the responsibilities of assistant front office manager are to prepare and conduct any front office meetings, after that inform to the front office manager, other front office staff and resolve issues. Other duties of the assistant front office are:
Perform a daily check in and out procedures.
Provide information and direction or guidance to front office staff in order to achieve 100 % occupancy.
Complete monthly payroll and report to the front office manager.
Assist the manager in monitor labor costs to budget figures and assists in the day to day operation in the establishment.
Help the front desk during the busy period.
Train the front desk staff.
Front Desk Representative
The front desk representative can be found in many of the larger lodging establishment. Front office representative is one of the staff in hotels or motels, and are always the first person to greet incoming guests. The responsibilities of the front office representative are for taking incoming requests for rooms and noting special requests for service. When a new guest enter the establishment, the front office representative must be welcome and greeting them, register them, assign rooms and issue room keys or cards to the guests, and providing information to the guest. Moreover, the front office representative may also handle guest mail and luggage, keep an inventory of room reservations, answer telephones and take messages from the guests, deal with customer complaints or refer dissatisfied customers to a manager, and check daily record sheets, guest accounts, receipts and vouches using computerized or manual systems. Therefore, the front office representative must have a strong communication skill to serve the guest.
In small hotel, on the night, front office representative may assume the duties of assistant manager, night cashier, concierges or night auditor. As in large hotel, the duties front office representative may be divided among a few of desk clerks.
Night auditor is known as the in house auditor. The responsible for the night auditor is for conducting audit and generating reports for management. Night auditor also ensures that all phone calls and guests coming to front office for different matters are properly addressed and taken care of the property. Besides that, night auditor balances the daily financial transactions. He or she must have a good or excellent grasp of accounting principles and the ability to resolve financial discrepancies. Night auditor is basically composed of some important tasks such like settling credit cards for the day with bank to ensure money transfer from the guest account to the hotel account. In addition, night audit may also follow the prescribe designed routines, which include to update the guest folio, perform account closing for the day, prepare and distribute daily bill to the guest, and last is prepare and distribute a range of report example like perpetual inventory of account receivable. Moreover, the person in this position should require experience as a desk clerk and have good communication with the controller.
Cashier is the one of the front office department. The responsibilities of the cashier are processing guest checkouts and guest legal tender and also supply change for the guest when the guest enter the establishment. Besides that, the cashier also helps make the front desk workload manageable when it was full house, means that the hotel that has its entire guest rooms occupied and sometimes referred to as 100 percent occupancy. In additional, the cashier of the front office department is focused on handling of cash money. Other than that, front office cashier may also prepare and settle of guests accounts, administer the safe deposit boxes and provide a foreign currency exchange service.
The responsible of reservationists is to take reservation and providing information to the future guest about the facilities or rules of the hotel. The main tasks performed by reservationists are to giving friendly and excellent service to future guest when involved in telephone sales. Besides that, having deal with group bookings such like cancellations, changes, and rooming lists. In additional, the reservationists should answer all reservation phone calls, taking reservations, and dealing with reservations correspondence. Moreover, the person in this position must be checking and ensure that all equipment is still working properly and that the needed amount of supplies is on hand.
The telephone operator would not be face to face with guests of the hotel. As a telephone operator, he or she must have a friendly and courteous tone of voice to serve the guest. The responsibilities of telephone operator are to operate the hotel telephone switchboard and answer all calls with promptly and good manners. The main duty of a telephone operator is that of transferring calls from outside the hotel to the appropriate guest room. Besides that, they should be work closely with all departments on telephone related matter. Other than that, the telephone operator must be discreet with information received from callers. In additional, the person in this position must have full knowledge of all facilities and events in the hotel and answer inquiries about it.
Organization Chart of Front Office
Front Desk Representative
Front Office Manager
Front Office ManagerMid Size Hotel
Front Office ManagerLarge Hotel
Assistant Front Office Manager
Room key Clerk
Front offices are the nerve center of a hotel and play a very important role in a hotel. The staff of front office will welcome the guests, greeting them, carry their luggage, rooming them, give them room keys or cards and mail, answer the question about the activities and facilities in the hotel, and check them out. Besides that, the front office may perform other tasks such like take guest details and allocate their room, take message to them, calculate guest’s bills and issue receipts upon payment, place guests possessions in a safe if requested, deal with enquiries and requested from guest and arrange accommodation for guests travelling to other destinations. In a small hotel, the duties may carry out by one people. However, in a large hotel, there may three to five people to carry out the duties. Each attendant is allocated a set of specific duties to perform. Due to front office is the first impression to the guest, so that, the staff of front office must be do their job as well as they can.
Front office staffs must have certain skills to attract guests during the first impression. Write about Front Office staff skill in guest relations.
Many experienced people who work in hotel agree that social skills are very important for front office job. What is social skill? Social skill is depends to how we get along with others person such like guest, family and friends. Social skill is most always as a skill that allows us to communicate, relate, and socialize with other people. Besides that, social skill means possessing the ability to achieve a specific objective efficiently. There are two types of social skill which are typing skill and cooking skill. Typing skill is the ability to produce acceptable quality text, without taking all day over it or spoiling a dozen sheets of paper in the process. Cooking skill is the ability that produces food that is both edible and appetizing. So that, social skills are communication with living things instead of tying skill, communicating with keyboard or mouse and cooking skills, communicating kitchen ingredients. Besides the two skills, it still has other objective to achieve, but have to employ words, expressions, and gestures. Therefore, social skill is involves combining these elements in such a way as to influence other people’s attitudes and behavior by using those elements. In additional, social skill are same like other kind of skills which can only developed through practice or training. This practice need to take the form of unscripted face to face conversations. Moreover, good social skills include things such as compromising, cooperating, and respecting the personal space of others.
Answer of Question 2
The people who work as a front office employees, they must know and realize some certain skills, in order to attract the guest during the guest enter the establishment and give them a good first impression. The skills should front office staffs learn are in the figure below:
Figure – The skills should front office staff learn
Behaviour means that the way that somebody behaves and their attitudes, especially towards to other person. For instance, a guest enter an establishment, then the reservationists will welcome and greeting them before start dealing with the guest, such like saying ‘Hello, welcome, May I Help you?’ Besides that, the receptionist should speak out the phrase and tone correctly, example like communicate feelings of caring, warmth, efficiency and safety to every guest. In additional, behavior is that the front office staff to go on when they are meeting with the guest for the first time, especially they are don’t know anything about the guest in advance. Moreover the receptionist should be neatly attire, nail must be clean and a suitable hairstyle. Therefore, the receptionist has the good impression and behavior to the guest.
Self-presentation means that the dressing and grooming of the receptionist. If the receptionists wearing neatly dressing and grooming, then the guest will know more about the receptionists before having a conversation. Besides that, many hotels needs their staff to wear their uniform neatly, suitable hairstyle and the nail of staff must be clean. For instance, the staff of front office department must be wear their uniform or formal attire neatly; in food and beverage department, the chef should wear apron, hats, pants and their nail should be clean and can’t be so long; in security department, the guard should wear the security guard uniform with neatly and which there is a weapon ad wisely. If the hotel staff give the guest bad impression, then the guest won’t patron the hotel again. Therefore, the staff of the front office must make sure that their attire is clean and neatly. If the receptionist is dirty, then the guest will think that other areas of the hotel are also same dirty.
Position means that the place where the front office staff such like butler is situated. Where the staff stand is very important, not only in relation to equipment such like the desk, but also in relation to the people that the staffs are dealing with the guest. Besides that, the staff of front office has their own area call ‘personal space’. The concept of position can be taken further. Whenever the guest find themselves sitting or standing directly opposite with each other with a desk or table in between, and divided the barrier into two equal ‘territories’. When the receptionist slapped the registration form in front of a guest and then leant forward to see the guest filling it out. These kinds of action or behavior are totally wrong and called rude and this may causes the invasion that causes people feel uncomfortable.
Posture means that the position how the front office staff stand or sit in relation to the guest. Besides that, when facing some people, normally indicates interest and learning forward shows even greater interest. Other than that, some action such like using our limb to attract the people that we interested or we can use it as barriers to shut out the people we are nervous and scare. When the receptionists leant forward for the desk and watch the guest filling form, certainly, but even then he or she kept arms folded which show that the staff is not very anxious to help the guest.
Gesture means that a way of sending signals by moving parts of our bodies especially our hands, arms and heads. Gesture which has the closest related to the posture. Hands are totally important. The open palm is a sign of friendship for the older age person and also an indication of honesty. Means that, many hand-to-face gestures such like touching others nose or mouth will bring out negative feeling or feeling, example like scare, worry, or doubt. For instance, when a guest enter a establishment and asking the receptionist something, and then the receptionist propping one’s head on a hand often indicates boredom. The guest will feeling that the receptionist is not respects he / she, and then the guest would not patron the hotel again.
Expression means a look on a person face that showing their thoughts and feelings. As a front office staff, they must give the good first impression towards to the guest. Besides that, the range of possible expressions but some we can generally recognize when seeing it. For instance, smiling with the mouth curves moving upwards and the eyes crinkle a little bit at the corner. So that, the guest will feeling worried or nervous which stare to them with a blank and even get greeted by a boredom expression. Therefore, the front office staff should serious when they are serves the guest.
In front office department, eye contact is a very important thing, because when looking at somebody normally carries not only interest but liking as well. If a person is preventing the gaze of the others who is talking, that means the person might talk or giving dishonest answer. Moreover, there are three types of direction on looking, which include: business gaze, social gaze and intimate gaze. Business gaze means concentrates on the eyes and forehead in order to maintain a serious and rational atmosphere. Social gaze is the movement of the other person’s eyes and mouth which showing a better interest in reactions. Intimate gaze means moves between the other person’s eye and body, and signals rather more than mere social interest. The receptionists must be avoided the intimate gaze. So that, the receptionists must understand the type of gaze and use it correctly.
Speech is very important in front office department, because it is the clearest way to express the interest of the staff in the guest welfare by using phrases, example like ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Can I help you’. Besides that, call the guest ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ or just call their name directly, and the guest will be feeling the staff is respect they. Obviously, if using the guest name will have a good memory, because that shows that the staff recognizes the guest as an individual and just an unnamed guest. The way to know the guest name is take a quick look at the guest’s registration card.
Non verbal Speech Element
Non verbal speech elements means the tone that the staff of the hotel using to talk with the guest. Word can be speak out warmly, quickly, slowly, and efficiency. The staff can bring it all out together, or can insert a pause example like ‘Good Morning…sir’, this cases show that the staff is not sure about the guest deserves. Besides that, the staff can lift their tone a little at the end and turn the phrase into a question such as ‘Good Morning…sir’. So that, the staff who work in front office department should know how to use their tone suitable.
At last, social skills is very important to front office work. Good social skills are critical to successful functioning in life. Besides that, social skills enable us to know what to say, how to behave in diverse situations and how to make the choice correctly. In additional, the staff of front office such like receptionist, can use those skill to calm down some agitate guest. Other than that, people with good social skills are generally more friends compare with the persons who are poor with social skill.