In a hotel, the front desk is considered the heart of hotel operations. Generally, all hotel guests have some form of contact with the front desk whether they are booking a room, checking in / out, calling on the phone, registering complaints, and / or requesting information. An effective and efficiently operated front desk is very important to the financial success of a hotel. In this paper I’m going to describe the changes hotels have made within the past decades. I will also explain the importance of the front office staff along with their role in the billing process and safety of the guest within hotels.
HOW HOTELS HAVE CHANGED:
Hotel telephone service is one major area that has changed immensely since the 1980s. The first hotels had a dinosaur of a switchboard system known as a PBX. It looked like something out of an, "I Love Lucy," episode. The hotel owners eventually upgraded to a more modern switchboard. Nowadays, most hotels are equipped with state-of-the-art phone systems and the customer often pays dearly for the convenience.
Telephones were not the only hotel system to undergo renovations. Reservation requests were made through the hotel's central reservation system over a computer known as the Holidex. It looked nothing like the computers of today and had its own series of funky codes that you'd have to memorize.. When the machine would spit out reservation slips, someone would have to file them in the bucket. The bucket was a portable metal filing box that sat behind the front desk near the ancient switchboard. Once the guests arrived, their reservation slips were put into the rack and the rack cards were turned upside down to indicate that the hotel room was in use. Now, many of those items are obsolete because hotels are increasing using more modern, Windows based computer systems for all front desk operations.
Hotel accounting systems are another area that has seen a lot of changes. In the 1980s, the night audit and general bookkeeping was done by hand. The tools of the trade were big blue ledgers, a large calculator, a sharp pencil and a big eraser. The tools of the trade also became nothing more than a computer, a printer and a binder to stick the computer generated reports in.
In the 1980s, a competent front desk staff was also essential. A front desk clerk was responsible for the day-to-day functions of the hotel as well as providing much needed information. If a hotel guest wanted to know how to get to their next destination or where to find the best burger in town, they asked the front desk clerk. Today, there are apps and kiosks that provide all those services. Where all that technology will ultimately leave the front desk department is a matter of sore debate among many. I, for one, would hate to see it become obsolete as well.
Guests make hotel reservations on daily basis. The process can be very simple if these simple steps are followed. First, when a guest calls, you can start by asking them for their last name. Guests like to be called by their name, because it makes them feel important. Then, you will ask them to tell you the days they would like to reserve. Make sure you write down, so you don’t have to ask them that same question again. After you look up the dates, review each rate. First offer them the highest rate. If they take it, then you can go onto the next step. If not, then you will work your way down (AAA, GOVT, etc.) to the rate that best works for their budget. Now that you have the rate, you can now continue the booking process. Since you already know the guests last name you ask them for their first name. Next, you will get their contact information, such as a telephone number and email address. Finally their credit card information to either pay for the room or to hold the room. You then, will repeat the reservation back to the guest and verify that all of the information entered is correct. Thank the guest for making…