The front office is the place where the customers or the hotel guest come in first contact with the hotel. This is the departments which handles room reservations, receives the guest and assign them rooms. The front office not only deals with the above functions but also sees to guest relations and guest comforts. The front office also deals with the check out formalities required before the hotel guest finally vacates the hotel room and departs from the hotel.
Classification of Hotels:
Hotel is defined by British Law as a place where a prospective guest can receive food and shelter provided he is in position to pay for it and is in condition to be received.
Hotels may be classified according:
Number of rooms
Types of plan
Types of client
Length of guest stay
It is located in the heart of the city, within a short distance of the business centre, shopping arcade, theatres, public building, etc. Rate sin the hotels are normally high. Normally business client prefer such hotels.
Located in the suburbs, it has the advantage of quieter surroundings. Rates are moderate to low. Such hotels are ideal for budget traveler and also organizations who find the quite setting ideal for conferences, seminars, educational programs etc.
This type of hotel is located in the hill stations or at beaches. It is mainly patronized by vacationers. Basic facilities are provided and the rates offered are often on American plan.
It is located on highways. They provide modest boarding and lodging to highway travelers. The length of guest stay is usually overnight. Rates are on European plan.
These hotels are situated at airport and ideal for transit passengers who have only a few hours in the city making, it is impossible for them to stay in a down town hotels. Rates are on European plan.
Categorization by number of rooms:
Very large hotels
Hotels with 25 rooms and less may be termed as small hotels.
Those with 26 to 100 rooms may be termed as medium hotels.
Those with 101 to 300 rooms are called as large hotels.
Very large hotels:
Hotels with above 300 rooms may be termed as very large.
Types of plan:
Modified American plan
American plan: Room Rent + Break fast + Lunch + Dinner
Modified American plan: Room Rent + Break fast + Lunch / Dinner
Continental plan: Room Rent + Continental Break fast
European plan: Room Rent only
Bermuda plan: Room Rent + Early Morning Tea / Coffee
Types of clients:
Group hotels cater to groups and their rates would be on American plan.
Cater mostly businessmen and are on European plan.
A family hotel would be on American plan, such hotels are normally situated in resorts.
Length of guest stay:
Semi - Residential hotels
Hotels where a guest can register for a day or even less.
Hotels where guest stay for a minimum period of one month. The hotel signs a detailed list with the customer.
Semi - Residential hotels:
Hotels which are incorporate the features of both the transient and residential hotels.
Facilities provided by the hotel play a major role in the classification or grading of hotels. Different facilities provided in the hotels are as follows
Restaurants / Bar
Organization chart of Front Office Dept:
FRONT OFFICE MANAGER
ASST. FRONT OFFICE MANAGER
LOBBY MANAGER DUTY MANAGER GUEST RELATION TELEPHONE MANAGER MANAGER
SENIOR SENIOR RESERVATIONIST SENIOR RECEOTIONIST INFORMATIONIST TELEPHONE
ASST. ASST. ASST. ASST.
RECEPTIONIST INFORMATIONIST RESERVATIONIST TELEPHONE OPERATOR
TRAINEES TRAINEES TRAINEES TRAINEES
SENIOR BELL CAPTAIN
ASST. BELL CAPTAIN
BELL BOYS PAGE BOYS DOOR MAN
Duties and responsibilities of Front Office staff
Front Office Manager:
Front manager has a wide range of responsibilities
He must maintain high level of efficiency among the front office staff
He should make effective decision regarding reservation polices and room assignment
Handle guest complaints and problems with courtesy
Maintain an open communication with other depts.
Assign duty to staff members, prepare weekly work schedule and shift arrangement
Holds regular staff meeting to ensure the hotel facilities and operating procedure
Responsible for new employees and reviewing the performance of each staff member.
During peak period the manager may be required to assist the front office representatives in the performance of the duties.
Manager is responsible for setting polices regarding no-show, early arrival and over booking.
Work closely with sales and marketing dept. regarding group reservation, billing arrangements and general forecast.
He should maintain close communication with house keeping dept. about room status and accounting dept. for information about special billing requirements.
He should submit regular written report on the activities of front office.
Asst. Front Office Manager:
Responsible for co-ordination of front desk operation
Monitoring guest accounts and payments
Authorizing and check special credit procedure
Assist front desk representatives during peak period
Prepare daily room occupancy report
Reviewing reservation for current date
Front Office Supervisor:
Prepare budget and monthly outlook report
Ensure that all the staff report on the time with proper uniform and properly groomed
Check statistical data's on the day of preceding a regard to room revenue and occupancy
Brief staff to ensure maximum efficiency
Check if any repeat guest or vip has checked in as a walk in and see that proper status is given and ensure personalized service
Check and sign the log book and take follow up actions
Check reservation for the day with corresponding to ensure proper instructions on slips such as rates, billing, special request, etc.
Ensure that no keys are missing to prevent security risk
Meet and greet all guests on arrival and ensure proper rooming
Reception / Registration Assistant:
Having be informed on daily room status
Check up vip's reservations and issue vip amenities
Handle group registrations as well as free individual travelers
Prepare all records connected with pre-registration of vip, invalids and old people
Handle group registration as well as free individual traveler
Maintain satisfactory part of all registration on stationery
Open out guest folio without delay and transmit it to front office cashier
Work closely with information assistant
Give all departure rooms to house keeping depts.
Take all clear rooms promptly from house keeping
Sell higher priced rooms and other hotel facilities to trained salesmanship
Handle scanty baggage with care and effort
Known color codes used in reception
Known room history namely location, rate, theme and the view of each rooms
Distribute room keys to registered guest in the hotel when arrival errand card is presented
Answer incoming call for guest and report all messages
Handle all guest mail, parcels, information's, telegrams as per laid down procedures
Keep information aids like time table, road maps, hotel guides, etc.
Maintain guest racks alphabetically
Sell hotel facilities through trained salesmanship
Sign lobby departure errand card in acknowledgement of room key from a departing guest
The receptionist primary duty is to receive the guest, enquire his/her requirements and room him/her
Welcoming is the guest is the duty of the receptionist
Registering the guest
Allocate the rooms
Room the guest by handling over the key to the bell boy to accompany the guest
Notify the concern dept. of the arrival, departures and moves
Passing on message to the guest
Giving information to the guest
Handling the mail and key to the guest
In smaller hotels the receptionist is required to do other duties in the front office. Those includes:
Reservation and reservation enquires
Recording the guest bill, post the vouchers, etc.
Receive the money in settlement of bills
Handling the telephones and messages
Prepare the room status for several day ahead
Reservation clerk attend to the reservation enquires, personal, post-card, cables, telex, telephone and gives proper information
Book the rooms in advance
Conform the booking arranges
Prepare the arrival list and informs the receptionist
Senior Bell Captain:
Supervise the lobby attendants
Take attendance and prepare staff schedules
Attend to guest complaints and handle telephone calls
Handle left luggage formalities and maintain the baggage check room
Train lobby attendants to maximize the departmental efficiency
Organize and supervise check in, check out baggage formalities of groups, crews, etc.
Control the sale of postage stamps and stationery to guests
Maintain record of all guest with "scanty baggage" and inform Asst. Manager
Conduct daily briefly of lobby attendant
Co-ordinate and control the distribution of morning news papers
Supervise the storage of essential medicine prescribed by the house doctor and be accountable of the issue made
Keep lobby clean at all times
Keep baggage neatly and in an orderly fashion at the specified places
Take the baggage from the in the porch or gate to the room
Escort the guest to the room on arrival
Place the baggage in the room on the luggage rack
Explain the operation of light, switches, air conditioning control to the guest and switch them on
Handle departure of guest
Check the room to ensure the guest has left no articles in the room by mistake
Switch off all lights and air-conditioning
Ensure collection of keys from guest at the time of check out and obtain clearance from information section
Check for mail, messages for departure guest and if available mail or messages is collected and give to departing guest
Take the baggage and place it in the car
Handle baggage of guest when they are shifting to another room
Distribute newspapers to guest rooms
Track unwanted guest in the hotel
Attend to instruction of supervisor
Deliver guest messages to guest rooms
Doorman / Linkman:
Another member of uniform staff. His place of duty is outside the main entrance of the hotel
He is responsible for cleanliness and good order of the front entrance of the hotel and area around it
He opens the car and taxi doors
When a car or taxi arrives he signals to the bell desk to send a bell boy and then opens the door of the car and helps the guest incoming out of the car and at the same time the bell boy handles the luggage of the guest
He keeps the unwanted visitors away from the hotel
In some hotels the lift are not automatically operated and are attended by an operator
Even if the lift are automatic it is advisable to have an attendant available
Responsible for the cleanliness of his lift
He must never permit any unauthorized person to operate his lift
He should take care that the lift is not overloaded
Schedule staff to ensure smooth operation
Debit correct phone charges to guest and inform the front office cashier promptly
Check telephone for efficiency on a periodic basis
Maintain performance records of telephone operators and advise regarding increments and promotions
Brief staff at the beginning of the shift
Keep a close check on wake-up calls
Extend a warm and courteous telephone service to guest or management and employees of the hotel
Handle wake-up call and ensure prompt service
Responsible for proper and accurate accounting of calls made by hotel officials or guest
Use proper pronunciation
Maintain speed and accuracy when connecting all incoming and outgoing calls
Brief the next shift operator regarding all pending works to be done
Avoid interruptions ( Break the continuity)
To ensure that any outstanding transactions have been entered
To verify that all the bills and other accounts are correct
To verify that front office guest in residence records are up to date and accurate
To prepare a management report summarizing the trading activities
Layout of Front Office Department
SAFETY DEPOSIT LOCKER
LEFT LUGGAGE CENTRE
GUEST RELATION EXECUTIVE
Functions of Front Office Department
Registration of rooms
Reservation of rooms
Greeting of guests
Handling of mails and telegrams and register parcels
Handling of message
Allotment of rooms to the guest
Dealing with guest luggage's
Providing safety locker facilities to guest
Dealing with guest complaints
Handling of keys
Providing security to the guest
Handling credit cards and guest accounting
Providing data's to the management
Maintaining guest history card
Dealing with scanty baggage and skipper
Working closely with sales and marketing department regarding sale of room
Providing warm welcome and customer service to the guest
Qualities of Front Office Staff
As the Front Office is a critical department in a hotel in view of its revenue generating capacity and influence in image building, the staff working in it assumes a special importance.
Great care is taken in the selection of front office staff as they play a key role as:
They motivate the guest to spend on the various hotel facilities
Guest invariably approach the front office for help incase they have a problem or complaint. The staffs have to be diplomatic and resourceful to solve the problem at the shortest possible time.
A reference Point:
Guest who want information or want to pass on information use them for this purpose
Since they are a reference point, the front office staffs are required to coordinate with other departments, airlines, travel agencies and city tour offices to give the guest personalized service.
As an extension to their salesman role, front office staff can certainly generate a good image for the establishment in their manner of dress, communication, personal conduct and efficiency.
A High Sense of Personal Grooming:
Uniforms must be clean and neatly pressed. Hair should be groomed well. Nails should be manicured. A soft similar scented is preferable. Jewelers should be restricted to one ring and a necklace for ladies.
This is imperative to front office personnel. As they are constantly exposed to hotel guests, a clean appearance helps to project a good image not only of themselves but of the establishment as well.
This is necessary as front office personnel meets guest of different countries, status and cultures. They should be comfortable and feel easy in dealing with these people.
Communication must be correct and clear:
It is preferable that front office staff know more than one language. It helps in communicating with guest who cannot speak English or local language.
Diplomacy is the greatest attribute required:
Very often there are situations when a guest is irate (angry) over something; a diplomatic dealing helps in diffusing the explosive moment. It is quite common for a busy hotel to have no room to offer a guest who has come with a confirmed booking. A diplomatic approach is the only way by which the guest can be pacified.
Calmness to take the busy demands of a front office operations:
The front office staff should have a high degree of tolerance for pressure of work and be calm and composed at all times.
Ability to remember names and faces
Front office operations require the staff to stand for long hours. The staff must be sturdy and active.
Quick decision making Ability:
Front office staff must be able to decide quickly a course of action that satisfies the guest.
Department that the front office co-ordinates with other departments
The bell boy escorts guest from the main door with their luggage to the front office. After the guest has been registered, the front office informs the bell boy of the room number so that the guest may be escorted to his luggage place in the room.
In most hotels a guest wishing to check out of the hotel, calls the bell desk for a porter to carry his luggage down. The bell desk informs the front office of the intentions of the guest so that the cashier can prepare his bill. It is only after the front office is satisfied regarding the payment of bills and retrieval of room key will they allow the bell boy to remove the luggage outside the premise of the hotel.
Often a guest requests the front office for a change of room. The front office intimates the bell desk to send bell boys to help in the shifting of luggage.
"Skippers" are those guests who leave the hotel without paying their bills. This is made possible because the "skippers" comes with little luggage to avoid bringing the attention of the bell boys to his secret checkout. The bell boys have to be alert to notify the front office about guests with scanty baggage so that a necessary advance is taken from them and a close watch is kept on them.
The information section of front office alerts the bell boys to deliver messages received by them for guest in the hotel.
"Paging" is the system of displaying the name of a guest on a small board with a long handle. The small board is held above the head of the bell boy and has small bells which are rung to draw the attention of customers to the board. When a phone call is received for a guest in a specified location this paging system is used to contact guest. The bell boy does the paging in most public areas especially the lobby.
House Keeping Room Report:
To keep a tight control on rooms, the house keeping and front office have to closely coordinate. One way is through the room report where by the house keeping staff checks each room on every floor and advises their status through a report.
Room Clearance Arrangement:
When a guest checks out, the front office has to inform immediately the house keeping desk or the floor, to clean the rooms so that it is ready for sale again. This information is controlled on a departure intimation control sheet. House keeping in return would have to inform the front office immediately after a room has been cleared and prepared for sale to a guest.
After reconciling the "Room Rack" with the house keeping Room Report the front office reception compile data's on the "occupancy" position of the hotel for the day in the form of a report for the purpose of management information.
Special arrangements for groups and VIP's:
The front office informs house keeping to be alert to attend to rooms occupied by groups or VIP's. Service has to be quicker and efficient. House keeping provides flowers for VIP's in the room on receipt of the amenities voucher issued by the front desk.
Front office cashier:
The front office cashier receives payment for guests stay in the hotel. This is the point where all the charge vouchers generated by the guest are received to be included in the overall bill. The bell captain must inform the cashier about the intended checkout of a guest so that the guest bills are updated and kept ready for presentation. Also, the cashier is inform of a new arrival by the reception by opening and forwarding a new folio in the guest name giving room numbers and time of check in.
The night auditor audits all guest bills received by the front officer cashier and prepares and proves for the calendar day.
Arrivals and Departures:
The room service is kept closely intimated on arrivals and departures of guest. It is this department that provides food and beverage services to the room and must be informed as to the occupant in order to raise bills accordingly.
The front office informs room service through the amenities voucher and a list of the VIPs expected to arrive in the hotel, so that special service provides a complimentary basket of fruit, liquor, cakes and pastries or what ever the establishment wishes to extend to a VIP as per the policy.
Arrivals and Departures:
This is another department that is informed immediately of the arrival and departure of a guest. So that where calls come for a particular guest it is fully knowledgeable about his/her presence in the hotel. So that call may be connected to him/her. Also calls made by the guest are recorded or metered
The engineering department is responsible for any maintenance of furniture, fixtures and equipments and for rectifying faults in the services provided like air conditioning, plumbing, etc.
The stores are responsible for supplies of relevant forms, formats and stationery.
There is very close co ordination between the front office and sales especially in improving of room sales on lean occupancy days. The front office also informs sales whenever important guests, who influence the business of the hotel 'check in', so that special attention can be given to him/her. Sales keeps the front office updated with the new agreements made with travel agents and airline crews.
The reservation section in the front office is the nerve centre of the department where all requests of reservation are received and processed.
Modes of Reservation:
Reservation may come by various modes. They are:
Source of Reservation:
Whole sale tour operators
Travel agents - Local and Foreign
Free Individual Traveler (Any person who makes a booking directly with a hotel and not through a travel agent)
Companies and Commercial business houses
Consulates and Institutions
SURNAME FIRST NAME ADDRESS/ COMPANY
SURNAME FIRST NAME ADDRESS / COMPANY
DATE & TIME
DATE & TIME
ACCOMMODATION AND RATE DESIRED
SINGLE DOUBLE TWIN SUITE
ACCOMMODATION AND RATE DESIRED
SINGLE DOUBLE TWIN SUITE
REMARKS AND BILLING INSTRUCTIONS
CREDIT NO. PHONE NO. VERBAL BY
REMARKS AND BILLING INSTRUCTIONS
CREDIT NO. PHONE NO. VERBAL BY
Sep. 2007 Date of Month
Reservation Chart is used for the control of reservation system. The horizontal column represents each day of the month while the vertical column represents each room in a hotel.
If a particular guest requests for a single room on the 7th, 8th, 9th of the month the corresponding blocks of any single room number is colored off. Thus a reservation assistant gets a pictorial view of occupancy and booking in a particular month.
There might be different colors of reservation slips for easy identification on the reservation rack of the source of booking.
WHITE : I NDIVIDUAL
YELLOW : GROUPS AND CREWS
GREEN : VIPS
PINK : THROUGH TRAVEL AGENT
PURPLE : CONVENTIONS (CONFRENCE, PARTIES)
A group is a body of 15 persons or more. Because it involves volume business, management offers a special discount. The discount is given to tour operators who sell a total tourism package to customers which include airfares, hotel accommodation, fees for sight seeing, etc. The discount depends on the volume of groups sent and the frequency of visits organized by the tour operator. In addition to the group discounts there are special facilities for the tour leader.
Groups of 15-30 - One complimentary room for their tour leader
31-45 - Two complimentary rooms
Group reservation and correspondence assume importance and must be dealt with quickly and accurately because
Groups from a major part of business
The travel agent or tour operators arrangements are depend upon confirmation of accommodation
Group reservation demands blocking of a large number of rooms; thus the hotel could suffer if the group is cancelled at the last minute
A final confirmation of group booking takes longer to materialize (to be fulfilled)
Instant reservation is a facility offered by large hotels or chain hotels operations where by a customer anywhere may easily make a reservation at locations far away from the hotel itself. Basically, hotels feed information on room availability. So that the reservation can confirm the booking immediately.
Step - I: As soon as the guest ask for room on certain date look at the room status board which will indicate the status of the room on those days under any one of the three categories (i.e.) On Request or Free Sale or Sold Out.
Step - II: If the date indicates "Sold Out" informs the guest politely that the dates required are sold out. If the date indicates in "Request" inform the guest that the date requested by you are wait listed. If the date indicates "Free Sale" informs the guest that the rooms are available and they are pleased to ensure a room for you.
Step - III: Take down the particulars in the reservation form.
Step - IV: It is important to ask the party to send a written confirmation of reservation request. Billing instructions specially are never accepted verbally. Sometimes, a doubtful party may be asked to give a deposit in advance which may be a certain part of the room rent the reservation period.
Step - V: Type out a reservation slip in two copies. One goes to the reservation rack while the other is clipped with the reservation form.
Whitney Rack / Reservation Rack:
The reservation racks are stored on the wall of the reservation office in full view of reservation clerk. This system is same as the reservation diary. Instead of entering in the diary the details are entered in the slip. This slip is arranged on the Whitney rack in alphabetical order against the date of arrival. This system is designed by a person named Whitney. Any special information is also recorded on the Whitney Slip.
This is the practice of accepting more reservation than the actual room available. The purpose of over booking is to assist the hotel in obtaining maximum occupancy. Over booking balances "No Show", "Early Departure" and "Cancellation". The percentage of over booking will vary from one hotel to another.
Often a guest may change his programmed visit to the hotel and may request for a cancellation of reservation. The following steps would have to be taken.
Step - I: Take down necessary cancellations on the cancellation form.
Step - II: Amend the reservation chart by removing the room allocation made of the earlier dates.
Step - III: Remove the reservation slip from the rack. In case of removing prepare a new reservation slip attaching the old and new slips with cancellation forms.
Types of Registration / Front Office Equipment
Semi - Automatic
This system is used for small hotels where installation of automatic machine proves costlier. A small hotel will obviously have a low volume of business and in a manual system all the documents are manually prepared. The manual registration system is wholly dependent on accurate and legible compilation of registration card by the guest.
It is composed of computer equipment and electronic devices at the reception section of the front desk. In this system the reservation and registration process are linked together and registration becomes on integral part of reservation system.
Semi - Automatic:
This is combination of systems which involves office machinery, clerical equipment and manual workers. In this system the collection of data and information of the guest at the time of his arrival is done in a registration card. But office equipment like type writers is used to type out notification slip, heading of guest folio, etc. Further the slips are transmitted to different departments with the help of telephones.
The commercial hotel directs its appeal primarily to the individual traveling for business reasons.
Most of the commercial hotels even have some permanent guest. The hotel relish on executives, engineers, business people, more and more upon the individual traveling for pleasure.
The concept which originated in U.S.A is becoming popular all over the world. The properties are usually of the resort type situated on a hill stations or beaches. Facilities may include departmental stores, library, restaurant, coffee shop, bar, swimming pool, entertainment and a children's park.
Individuals can invest in time shares by a particular type of accommodation during a fixed period each year.
These are not strictly considered as hotel accommodation as they are usually owned by the guest as private residences. They are exclusive suite type apartments with a wide range of facilities.
Have extensive banqueting facilities. Most of the room guests are company executives attending conferences and seminars at the hotels often try to sale especially during the off - season by offering conference - cum - accommodation packages to corporate customers.
Types of Clients:
Classification is also made according to the different type of clients visiting a hotel. For example, business men usually stay in down town hotels, tourists in resorts and so on.
One of the first opportunities for face to face contact with a guest occurs when he/she registers.
The term tariff means rate and when applied to rooms of hotel it means room rate.
Basis of charging:
Various basis of charging room tariff are used by the hotel. Most important is that the hotel shall fix the room tariff keeping in mind the following factors.
Rate must be competitive at the same time it should be able to produce adequate revenue to meet fixed obligations with other hotel of the same standard and providing al most similar services and facilitates and situated in the same vicinity of the city.
The category of customers coming to hotel must also be considered. There social status and financial status (ie) paying capacity should be kept in mind.
Standards of services:
Standards of services provided by the hotel are also important while fixing room tariff.
Price cuts for special business
At times price cuts for special business may be done. The price cuts makes sense only if,
it is necessary to cut the price in order to get business
it comes at a time of the year or day of the week when u need business
it dose not replace other more profitable business
The locality in which the hotel is situated gains prominence while fixing room rates. If the hotel is situated in a posh locality where all the shopping and other facilities, approaches to air port and railway station are worthy. The room rate would be comparably higher than those situated in back ward and for localities. Naturally, the guest would not mind paying more if he gets amenities and facilities to his taste and liking.
The surroundings cost of land and building architecture, constructions:
Surroundings need also a great deal of consideration because the hotel proprietor spends lacks of rupees in décor and furnishing and thus need a faire and equitable returns on his spending.
Various amenities the hotel is going to provide the guest such as air conditioning in all rooms, carpeting, provision of summing pool, tennis court equipment, arrangement for floor shows, dancing, game, banqueting, conference halls, lobbies, lawns, parking spaces, special accept of continental and Indian cuisine, cutlery and crockery, modern equipment and machinery. These things do count when factors of room rates are considered.
The location of the room also mattress a lot. Front rooms and rooms opening to better views would cost more than dark rooms, corner rooms or opening indifferent chambers.
The amount of publicity done by a hotel and a special budgets prescribed for hotel publicity also mattress in deciding the room rates, this type of expense has to be adjusted some how as it has no source of return but is a must in popularizing the various services of hotel.
The tariff fixation can be done on the following basis.
Check in and Check out Basis :
It is the most common way of fixation of tariff. The hotel fixes a specific time usually 12.00 noon as check out time which means the guest charging cycle begins from 12.00 noon and finishes at 12.00 noon, next days charge may be levied.
2. Twenty-four hour basis:
In this system the charges of room starts from the time when the guest checks in and he has to pay for one day up to 24hrs from the time of arrival. For example, if a guest arrives at 10.00 am. On a particular day, then his one day charges shall be up to 10.00 am. And the next day and if he continues to occupy the room of the hotel even after 10.00 am. On the next day, then charges for the next day will be charged. This system is good for small of budget hotels only.
3. Night basis:
In this system the guest is charged and the basis of number of nights that he spends in the hotel irrespective of time of arrival (ie) if he spends two nights he will be charged for two nights with a minimum of one day charges.
4. Day rates:
Some times a guest may stay in the hotel for a few hours only and may not spend the night in the hotel at all. In such cases where he stays only for six hours maximum hotel may charge special discounted rate (which is usually 50 % of the rack rate) and the rate is called "day rate or day used rate".
5. On the basis of meal plans:
Hotels also charge room rate on the basis of meals provided or not provided along with room to the guest. For example, (a) European plan where the tariff of room includes only the room rate and any meals such as break fast, lunch and dinner etc. provided will be charged extra. (b) Continental plan where the room tariff include along with room rate the continental break fast also. (c) American plan where the room tariff includes along with room rates the English breakfast, table d' hote lunch and dinner and may also includes early morning tea and afternoon tea with snacks. (d) Modified American plan where the room tariff along with room rates includes English breakfast and one of the two major meals ie either lunch or dinner only. (e) Bermuda plan which is a modification of continental plan where the break fast included is American (which is quite heavy) in place of continental breakfast.
Registration of a guest is one of the most important processes of check - in activity. It is a mandatory requirement that all guests over the age of 16 years - whether ordinary or VIP, Indian or Foreigner, arriving in any hotel which may be small or large, categorized or uncategorized, one star or five star deluxe - must give basic information about them and fill up either a visitors register/ hotel register or a card called as GRC (Guest Registration Card).
The guest is required to fill up the register or card in his own handwriting and sign it. This process of filling up the register/ card by the guest and signing of it is called registration. The registers/ card contains various important columns such and name and permanent address of the guest, no. of persons, date of arrival, date of departure, to and from the hotel, Nationality, passport details, certificate of registration details, coming from, next destination, date of arrival in India, purpose of visit, whether employed in India or not, etc. Apart from these it also contains column such as room number, room tariff, mode of payment and may also contain those rules and regulations. Which the hotel would like the guest to understand and abide by, by signing this document the guest gives his consent that he has understood and would abide by the rules and regulations of the hotel and it also becomes a proof of his stay at the hotel. It is mandatory to store this document for atleast six months even after the departure of the guest. On request, this card should be produced to the Government authorities such as police, etc. During or after the stay of guest in the hotel. Registration process protects the interest of both the hotel and the guest.
A receptionist must be aware of the different skills and techniques required when selling. In general terms, sales can be made in several different ways.
Selling face to face is a key task for the receptionist. This means actively promoting the facilities of the hotel rather than being passive and merely responding to guest queries and requests. A personal sales campaign can increase sales of a hotel dramatically even if it is already trading at a high occupancy.
Most sales made by telephone in a hotel are from incoming calls. This is the most effort free form of sales since the fact that the client has called hotel rather than any other means a choice has already been made. The receptionist should ensure that the client interest is held and subsequently converted to a sale.
Basic telephone techniques should be observed to make sure the client receives a good impression of the efficiency of the hotel and the front office staff should ensure that they are well equipped with a product fact sheet so that all enquiries can be answered.
Selling by fax / letters:
Circular letters are often useful in generating sales leads for the hotel and its facilities. Reception staff should be aware that a campaign is going on and be fully knowledge able as to the terms it offers. They will then be able to pass enquiries to the correct member of management.
Types of register:
There are two basic types of register. The first is the registration book. It has the following advantages:
It is compact relatively cheap and difficult to lose.
It is hard to alter without detection.
It records arrival in chorological order.
On the other hand, it has certain disadvantages:
It is very slow if there are large numbers of guests.
It racks confidentially (guest can see who else has arrived)
The balance of the factors tends to favor its use in a smaller 'family' type the hotel.
Large hotels find the registration books lack of flexibility a major handicap and generally use individual form of card. The layout of such registration card varies from hotel to hotel but they will generally include the terms.
This is relatively new development. It is now possible to install a machine rather like a bank cash dispenser which is able to handle arrival and 'chance' booking without any staff having to be present.
Such machines are usually activated by a credit card. If the guest has already made an advance booking he will have quoted his card number when he did so. The machine is able to recognize this and display details of the bookings for him to confirm. The machine can then display a personalized welcome and issue a computer coded room key.
If the machine does not recognize the card number, it assumes that the owner is a "chance" guest and displays a menu showing the rooms available and their rates. The guest chooses suitable rooms and a machine goes on to display its personalized welcome and issue a computer coded room key.
Sophisticated machines can also offer a range of other services for the guest to select such as early morning tea and calls. They can also be programmed to turn on the heating and lighting in the room selected.
Such systems offer a number of important advantages
They reduce costs maintaining twenty four hour coverage of the reception desk is expensive, automated after hours customers service is already common in other industries and the same arguments apply to hotels. At the same time the system reduces the number of errors caused by "operator fatigue"
They can increase occupancy and room revenue. It is not unknown for bored, overtired or nervous night staff to simply "shut up shop" even when there are still rooms available. The machines do not become bored, over timed or frightened.
They increase security. The hotel does not have to leave its front door open or maintain cash floats in the front office area overnight in order to deal with late check- ins. Only valid credit card holders can gain access legitimately and while this does not guarantee immunity, it undoubtedly reduces the risks.
They can be moved closer to the customer. They could be placed on the street outside the hotel for instance or located at a distance.
The disadvantage is a reduction in the "hospitality" element of the check- ins process. Most present day guest still prefer to be greeted by a cheerful, pleasant receptionist. However, automated check- in system is likely to appeal increasingly to the computer literate guest of the future especially if they save the time. The full implications as far as registration is concerned are not yet clear there is no legal requirement for a signature. The records would have to be retained for the required twelve month period.
At the moment however, computer assisted registration is the furthest most British hotels have been willing to go in this direction. The details are taken from the original booking. The form is checked by the guest on arrival and the room number added until it is clear whether electronically stored.