The work of the front office and reception departments in the hotel industry is very important. The front office is referred to as the ‘hub’, ‘the nerve centre’ or the ‘brain’ in the modern hotel. The most important works of the reception staff are as follows:
1. Welcoming Arriving Guests:
It is the duty of receptionist to put the guests at case at the time of their arrival and welcome them to the hotel which is to be their temporary home for a few days. Guests who are treated in an insensitive way on arrival may prove to be problematic during the rest of their stay.
2. Completing the Hotel Register:
The legal formality of registration must be fulfilled by the receptionist who sees that all customers supply the details required for record that may be inspected by the police from time to time- Useful marketing information may also be collected at this time.
3. Recording Reservations:
The selling of rooms is the profit maker in all hotels and consequently vital for effective hotel business.
4. Compiling Guest’s Bills:
The bill that is presented to a guest on departure involves many items of expenditure that may have been incurred by him in different departments of the hotel during his stay.
These many small items have to be collected and added on to one bill accurately so that the guest is not overcharged or undercharged. Billing should be carried out swiftly so that a guest’s bill is always instantly ready should the guest wish to check out.
5. Providing Information:
The reception desk is the office of the hotel to the guests and should be able to answer all types of questions not only about the hotel but also about the surrounding areas and activities.
6. Dealing with Complaints:
The reception desk is the place where many guests come in the event of a complaint. The department must be prepared to handle different types of complaints from customers.
7. Room Forecasts:
The front office is responsible for maintaining accurate statistics of under stays, overstays, early arrivals, cancellations, walk-ins and no-shows. Under stays are guests who depart in advance of their check-out date.
Overstays are guests who stay on beyond their stated check-out date. Early arrivals are clients who check in before their check-in date. Cancellations are clients who notify the hotel that they will not check in as planned. Walk-ins are guests who check in without a prior reservation.
No-shows are clients who place reservations but don’t arrive on the stated check-in date and don’t cancel the reservations.
The reception desk is one small part of the total front office in a large hotel while it embraces all the work undertaken by a front office in a small hotel.