Hotel and Restaurant Management
(Rooms Division- Front Desk Department)
A hotel or resort’s main purpose is to be able to accommodate a person or group of persons in a property or facility, whether it is privately owned or franchised. Accommodating a person whom we call “guest,” needs to go through certain process in order to stay in a hotel or resort. The process when departmentalized depending on the size of the hotel/resort will have departments like: Front Office, Housekeeping, Laundry, Food & Beverage, Outside Catering, Kitchen, Bakery, Finance, Purchasing, Receiving, Security, Engineering, Sales & Marketing Department and other services the hotel has to offer. Hotel’s sub-department like, Front Desk, Housekeeping and Laundry when combined together is called Rooms Division. Food & Beverage such as Restaurant, Ballroom, Pool Bar, Outside Catering Unit, Kitchen and Bakery are all under the Food & Beverage Department. Purchasing, Receiving, and Security usually falls under the Finance Department. Engineering such as carpentry, plumbing, painting, electrical, technician, landscaping, gardening and upholstery will all be under the Engineering Department. Artists work under Sales & Marketing. Therefore the five major departments in the hotel will be Rooms Division, Food & Beverage, Finance, Sales & Marketing and Engineering. As mentioned previously, the creation of departments in a hotel depends entirely on the size and services the hotel or resort has to offer.
Rooms Division is normally managed by the Rooms Division Manager. As mentioned earlier, the departments under Rooms Division are Front Desk, Housekeeping and Laundry. In other hotel Housekeeping and Laundry are combined in one department which is Housekeeping Department.
Front Desk Department
Front Office in a larger scale hotel has sections in the department such as; Reception, Cashier, Reservation, PABX, Concierge and Guest Relation Officer. Positions held at the Front Office are Front Office Manager, Assistant Front Office Manager, Guest Relation Officer, Duty Manager, Reservation Supervisor, Reservation Agent, Telephone Operator, Guest Service Agent or Front Desk Receptionist, Cashier, Bell Service Supervisor, Bellman, Doorman and other positions that have been created based on the service the hotel can offer.
Front Desk Manager’s primary responsibility is to make sure that guest’s stay is satisfactory and with good impression of the hotel. He or She is responsible for the administration and operation of the department as well as hiring, coaching, training and evaluating of employees in the department. Customer service should come naturally with the Front Desk Manager. The important attributes that the FDM should possess and carried throughout all the Front Desk employees for training and implementation are greeting guests with warm welcome, sweet smile, eye contact and a hospitality attitude. In addition to that is the ability to deal with guest complaints or issues, courteous handling of phone calls, knowledge of services available in other departments for proper billing and discounts, close coordination with other department for possible guest requests for special service, ability to market the hotel, knowledge of related revenue issues, collection and reconciliation of receipts on a daily basis, compilation of reports, knowledge of accounts payable and receivables, sorting and processing of guest mails, knowledge of payroll preparation( usually being handled by FDM & AFDM), should be organized, familiar with booking, computer systems operation and other matters that maybe related in the smooth operation and administration of Front Desk Department. Front Desk Manager should be personable and dressed professionally as one of the key representative of the hotel.
Assistant Front Desk Manager assists the FOM in the operation of the Front Desk, Cashier, Reservation & PABX, Bell Service/ Concierge, Guest Service Agent and other positions created for the smooth operation of Front Office Department.
Reception usually has employees called Guest Service Agent or Front Desk Receptionist. GSA/ FDR are the equivalent of customer service in a company. Their main responsibility is to meet the needs of all guests staying in the hotel, greeting guests upon entry to the hotel, does the registration of guest check in as well as handling of guest check out, handling of guest folio reflecting the charges made during guest stay. Listens, answers questions, handles and re-direct guest request accordingly without delay to ensure guest satisfaction. Job functions and atmosphere may vary in many ways depending on the hotel brand, size and location.
Cashier collects money from guest in payment of their accommodation and any fee that they may have incurred while staying in the hotel. Fees like car parking, computer usage, room service, laundry service, facsimile and many other services offered in the hotel. Cashier has to ensure that guest inquiries on fees and hotel services are answered accurately and promptly. Handles and records all guest financial transactions during their stay. A hotel cashier should be able to accurately calculate room rates, discounts and add up room and auxiliary charges with the use of adding machine or any equipment for accuracy. Hotel cashier is responsible for the processing of cash, debit card and credit card transactions for guest and may also be responsible for preparing and submitting daily bank deposits. Hotel cashier should be competent in answering guest questions or concerns regarding charges on their bills. Hotel cashier guarantees security of contents of safety deposit boxes. He should have good skills in customer service and good relationship with the hotel staff.
Concierge is responsible for the transport of guest luggage to the assigned room. Extends hospitality gestures, opens door for the guest upon check in and hand over the room key to the guest. Assists guest in loading and unloading of guest items or luggage and ensures guest’s easy access to handcuff accessories or wheel chair. Delivers guest daily newspaper, letter/ or mail to the room and even run errands for guest. Arrange sightseeing, travel, tours, dining and others. Make reservation for patron and obtain tickets for them. Receive and store guest luggage if necessary. He also performs other duties in the office as requested. Provide information about events, recreational facilities in the hotel or outside, shopping malls or other locations.
Reservation and PABX receives and records guest/s booking of specific dates of arrival and departure. He responds to e-mails and electronic reservation. Keep track of guest’s reservation to make sure that guest’s specific requests are communicated properly to the concerned department. Requests such as type of room, type of bed, either smoking or non-smoking, available sofa bed or reclining chair, refrigerator, microwave, iron & ironing board etc. and most especially available room with handicap accessibility. PABX is an acronym for private automatic branch exchange which is the telephone switching system within an enterprise. This is the switchboard system at the Front Office where all calls especially from outside the hotel passes through and re-connected to other extensions of the hotel. Telephone operators are responsible in the answering and monitoring of the calls received and calls made.
Guest Relation Officer should have excellent interpersonal skills in order to be able to interact with hotel guests, visitors and employees of the hotel. He should be friendly, approachable and with good communication skills.GRO extends warm welcome to the guests and ensures that guest receives personal attention upon arrival. GRO should also be present in the hotel lobby to bid farewell to the guest on their departure. He/She is involved in the hotels promotion, sales and marketing strategies. As hotel representative, he should project a presentable image, positive attitude and good manners to the guests. GRO should be knowledgeable on Front Desk operation as a whole which includes reservation, cashiering, concierge, reception and most especially acts as Duty Manager in the absence of the Front Office Manager or her/his assistant.
Duty Manager acts as Manager of the hotel in the absence of the General Manager or Assistant General Manager. He usually starts his shift after or before the GM or AGM shifts finishes. Duty Manager should know the hotel as well as other department’s policies and procedures. It is of utmost importance that he knows the emergency contact numbers like police department, fire department, hospitals, General Manager’s contact number and other department heads that may be needed in certain situations or circumstances. He should be able to contact employee’s in-charge of each department in case of guest needs of certain service or keys to unlock doors especially for unavailable items that needs to be taken out from the main storage. Duty Manager should act and make decisions for the welfare of the guests, employees and the hotel. He should be responsible and able to lead employees towards the success of the hotel operation. Duty Manager usually has forms or reports to fill-up regarding special events or comments that occurred during his/her shift. A copy of the report is usually given to concerned department that he had decisions made in particular that requires follow-up or awareness.