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Importance of Front Office Management in the Hotel Industry

Imagine that you have been appointed as a consultant for a global hotel chain and have been asked to develop a proposal for outsourcing some of the services within the hotel to reduce costs, and consider the use of external expertise. You are to develop this proposal for the board of senior management.

Front office Management is one of the most important sections in hotel industry. This is the most critical part in hotel industry as customer experience starts from that place. The first impression in hotel starts from front office. Front desk executives need to maintain their patience level each time they interact with customers. Accommodation, booking, room charging, and room facilities are mostly handled by them so they need to understand customer needs as well and deliver as per customer requirements. Reservation of rooms, hotel policies and housekeeping maintenance and reception strategies all these are significant responsibilities for the Front office team while managing accommodation (Molina-Azorín et al. 2015). Accommodation segmentation and room management is the key role of front office team. Communication is also an important aspect that front office executives need to implement in their workplace as proper interaction is important for building relationship with customers. 

Most of the hotels are welcoming their guest through front desk management, so an organized front desk is required for their systematic organization. In this globalized business scenario, phone booking and internet booking are available at hotel. So these technological facilities are only connected by front office management. People can directly come to front offices and directly interact with them so a good impression is required for that reason (Benavides-Velasco, Quintana-García and Marchante-Lara 2014). The department is important for that reason as accounts management, receiving guests and visitors and organizing and operating the whole system in hotel is the main responsibility for them and the hotel goodwill, fame is also reflected by their approach and interaction with customers. To flourish in business professional approach and innovative thinking is needed from front office executives. Mail transfer, answering phone calls, fixing an appointment with top-level management and listing out all data and records of customers and visitors are important for hotel reputation and signifies the hotel as being a registered and responsible one (Xie, Zhang and Zha 2014). Front desk management executives are the only people who face all kind of disturbance, conflict situations. So executives need to be stout so that they can take any quick decision swiftly as well.

The prime job roles for front desk executives are to handle customers’ understandings and query. Customers are the prime source of income for hotel. So their satisfaction is necessary, and this understanding manner and satisfaction starts from the front desk (Boella2017).

Most of the front office desk executives are doing several works at one time (Cantallops and Salvi 2014). The job responsibilities like customer check in, check out, accommodation rooms, room servicing facility deliverance, query for rooms and the featuring of particular room, room numbers allocation, cash handling, Online and offline payment, Reallocation of same room for same customer, cancellation of room, edit of booking order all these are prime responsibilities that a front office executive needs to know. Though there are lots of department in that section but as the chief of that department, the process and their distribution of work need to be understood by the controlling head (Nieves and Segarra-Ciprés 2015). Executives need to maintain a register in their system for special guests as they bare more money in their hotel so their satisfaction and affordability is the big reason behind that (Riley 2014). Handling complaints is another function that they need to maintain. There are different reasons for customers’ complaint. Accommodation related problem is the major issue that most of the hotels have faced and these reasons are created due to the size of the room, comfort level of the room, space issue, bed or washroom related problem, and other issues. All these seems to be small needs but as customers perspective that needs to be resolved in a quick manner (Gémar, Monich and Morales 2016). For accommodating customers, better communication skill is needed to manage better customer understanding with people. From good approach and behavior hotel can earn better revenue by accumulating more people in their shade. Payment process and handling some software progression is also important because through those software executives customers can know about rooms’ status and condition. Hotel in-house operation maintained by in house staffs, formulated by facility of front office department and this is the reason behind the operation that ensure to deliver best possible relationship with customers (Shamim, Cang and Yu 2017). In a front desk section, there are several sections and all those sections have different job roles as well (Mok, Sparks and Kadampully 2013). Cashier, Receptionist, Telephone operator, Auditor, Software maintenance, Front desk representative, Helpdesk, Night Auditor all these are legitimate and relevant distribution of this section and diverse job role for each subpart will encourage other people to work hard and deliver better customer satisfaction. 

Key Responsibilities of Front Desk Executives

In order to provide customer facility of great value, the hotel needs to recognize their customers, their requirements, and expectations. This opportunity and belief helps hotel atmosphere and qualify all possible aspects to know the customers. On the other hand, customer's opinion is also important for the improvement in infrastructure in hotel (Boella and Goss-Turner 2013). So executives need to identify that problem and work over it. Good quality in service can be drawn by effective communication, relationship bonding with administration, better quality of accommodation, fair price, good foodand good environment, enough space of privacy, innovative systems and polite manner of employees. All these are understandable condition that a customer may want from a hotel (Al-Refaie 2015). All those positive aspects and services evaluate the entire dimension of that hotel and that encourage customers for involvement with the hotel for more time. Technical assistance is also important for hotel enhancement as people love the innovative initiation in such places and these innovations grab attention for customers. Room innovation like sensor door lock system, fingerprint key or extra spacing by folding bed and furniture are such innovative thinking that encourages customers engrossment (Melián-González and Bulchand-Gidumal 2016). At the first two innovations, customer privacy has been maintained and this initiation has ensured customers believe in the hotel. The security system has got enough support from these innovations so effective innovations need to be impacted by hotel to understand customer need and requirement. In case of front desk, innovation can be implemented over there also. Payment innovations are another way to satisfy customers (Ahmad and Scott 2014). Payment can be done through different wallets, portals or from online transaction mediums these facilities are delivered by the front office department. So hotel objectives can be sustained in that form to provide better customer satisfaction.

Global outsourcing in business is the best way to spread their name, product or services to all over the world. Outsourcing is generally organized by different section but for the booking allocation, purpose employees outsourcing is needed. Employees from another organization may involve in that situation and can work with the third-party employee. There are some online portals whose executives’ book rooms from customers and hotel will refer the allocation as confirming one, so these third party employees actually work for the hotel but from other centers (Gémar, Monich and Morales 2016). There are some benefits and drawbacks are followed in this situation. Benefits like:

A better swiftness and expertise in work has been noticed through this work process (Xie, Zhang and Zha 2014). Employees are not from direct payroll and all are from diverse background and this system helps organization to swift their business process in outer world.

Customers can book their room through portals and this is an advantage for customers so engagement of better staffing level prevails over the situation. Outsourcing and keeping responsibilities is the key function that determines the better plan for the systematic recruitment process.

Decrease in operating cost is another benefit in case of outsourcing can bring in this scenario to reduce individual cost of customer (Xie, Zhang and Zha 2014). As they do not have to travel for booking an accommodation place rather they can book such room through such travel portal and thorough these processes outsourcing has been done.

Communication and Innovation for Improving Customer Satisfaction

There are some drawbacks as well and this will create some restriction over outsourcing. Things like hidden cost have been charged by the organization but the third party allocators are taking this amount of money for their own, and the extra money has been charged as extra booking fees.

Another drawback like synchronizing the services is the major responsibility that has not initiated in proper form (Gémar, Monich and Morales 2016). Rooms are not available at each time and customer will not get their desire room as well.   

Customers sometimes distracted in multiple organizations. Customers are not quite sure to trust an outsourced employee. This is another big challenge for this kind of outsourcing process.

Therefore Front office management is an important sector in hotel and employees need to do their job in an effective way so that better outcome can be drawn. Automated or innovative servicing facility can be implemented in this section for better revenue generation. Innovativeness like automatic machine that can sum up the days expenditure and total bills precede in front office desk. Or some innovations like robot involvement in hotel who can take the accommodation part in hotel can change dimension of front office desk. These are some recommendations that can enhance customers’ satisfaction and allows more opportunities for business enhancement.

Hence from that above findings we can understand that responsibilities of a front office executive are so impactful that can change the customer relationship with hotel. From check-in of a customer, their allocation, room servicing, room facilities, money transaction, data collection, proofing, registration all these are very much risk worthy even bigger responsibility for employee till the customers check out. Housekeeping and Billing are the two other sectors that also controlled by front desk executives and for this additional work, they can take help form robot or any other innovations. Hotel pre-registration, VIP block separation, Flight schedule maintenance, check in and out facility and all these works are important and relevant to providing facility to customers.

References

Ahmad, R. and Scott, N., 2014. Managing the front office department: Staffing issues in Malaysian hotels. Anatolia, 25(1), pp.24-38.

Al-Refaie, A., 2015. Effects of human resource management on hotel performance using structural equation modeling. Computers in Human Behavior, 43, pp.293-303.

Benavides-Velasco, C.A., Quintana-García, C. and Marchante-Lara, M., 2014. Total quality management, corporate social responsibility and performance in the hotel industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 41, pp.77-87.

Boella, M. and Goss-Turner, S., 2013. Human resource management in the hospitality industry: A guide to best practice. Routledge.

Boella, M.J., 2017. Human resource management in the hotel and catering industry. Taylor & Francis.

Cantallops, A.S. and Salvi, F., 2014. New consumer behavior: A review of research on eWOM and hotels. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 36, pp.41-51.

Gémar, G., Moniche, L. and Morales, A.J., 2016. Survival analysis of the Spanish hotel industry. Tourism Management, 54, pp.428-438.

Melián-González, S. and Bulchand-Gidumal, J., 2016. A model that connects information technology and hotel performance. Tourism Management, 53, pp.30-37.

Mok, C., Sparks, B. and Kadampully, J., 2013. Service quality management in hospitality, tourism, and leisure. Routledge.

Molina-Azorín, J.F., Tarí, J.J., Pereira-Moliner, J., López-Gamero, M.D. and Pertusa-Ortega, E.M., 2015. The effects of quality and environmental management on competitive advantage: A mixed methods study in the hotel industry. Tourism Management, 50, pp.41-54.

Nieves, J. and Segarra-Ciprés, M., 2015. Management innovation in the hotel industry. Tourism Management, 46, pp.51-58.

Padilla-Meléndez, A. and Garrido-Moreno, A., 2014. Customer relationship management in hotels: examining critical success factors. Current Issues in Tourism, 17(5), pp.387-396.

Riley, M., 2014. Human resource management in the hospitality and tourism industry. Routledge.

Shamim, S., Cang, S. and Yu, H., 2017. Supervisory orientation, employee goal orientation, and knowledge management among front line hotel employees. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 62, pp.21-32.

Xie, K.L., Zhang, Z. and Zhang, Z., 2014. The business value of online consumer reviews and management response to hotel performance. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 43, pp.1-12.

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