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Required to choose - one luxury and one budget within the same group : ACCOR – Sofitel (for Luxury brand)

Luxury and one budget brand from within the organisation. Students will compile a report in which they analyse the differences between the two chosen brands. The report should address the following:

  • Provide a brief background on the chosen hotel organisation and each of the two (2) chosen brands
  • Explain the differences between the responsibilities of the Rooms Division department in luxury and budget brands.
  • Outline the Front Office operations executed at luxury hotels that differentiate these properties from budget hotels. Be sure to consider preparation for guest arrivals, welcoming guests, check-in process, and level of service, departure and post departure processes.
  • Explain three (3) different channels and tools that hotel properties use to communicate across departments and discuss how each tool contributes to efficient operations and customer satisfaction.
  • Identify the target markets for each of the chosen brands and the differing needs and expectations of these customers
  • Discuss current strategies each brand uses to provide quality customer service to their target market and propose two (2) additional strategies that each of the brands could implement to increase guest satisfaction.

Accor Hotels is presently the only hotel group existing in all market segments throughout upmarket to economy, as well as across five continents. The Accor Hotels’ brands deliver all the requirements of business and leisure tourists. All needs such as luxury, distinctive treatment and premium services are available at our hotels. The brands of its group are systematized into three sections: Upscale, Midscale and Economy. Both selected brands in this report belong to different sections of the group. Sofitel is a luxury brand of Accor hotels while IBIS is a budget brand of the Accor hotel group (ACCOR Hotels, ACCORHOTELS GROUP, 2018).

Sofitel is a French luxury hotel brand with a presence on whole five continents in almost forty countries. Sofitel offers modern hotels as well as resorts adapted according to demanding as well as more adaptable customers those expect and appreciate excellence, beauty, and quality. Sofitel is situated in the heart of many major cities like Paris, London, New York and Beijing, at the same time it is having presence in country landscape like Thailand, Morocco, Egypt, and Fiji Islands (ACCOR Hotels, SOFITEL, THE FRENCH "ART DE VIVRE", 2018). IBIS Budget hotel is smart, cosy at a budget price. This is a front-runner in the budget hotel division because of its simplicity and quality. Ibis budget is having all the vital comforts even at budget prices. Initially, it has launched as Etap Hotel, which is a major player within Europe, later then in the year 2011 Etap Hotel transformed into ibis budget, as it joined the world-legendary ibis group (ACCOR Hotels, ibis budget, 2018).

The rooms division is the center of hotel operations because it is responsible for revenue generation, customer service, and departmental foretelling. As the room sales is the main source of income for most hotels like Accor budget brand: IBIS and around 100 per cent of the income for budget hotels, hence responsibilities become essential to be served in all aspects.

Accor hotels’ rooms’ division department consists of following sections:

  • the front-office  
  • concierge
  • guest relations
  • telecommunications  
  • business Centre  
  • assistants and duty managers
  • house-keeping   
  • night audit
  • reservations   

Therefore, rooms department plays a very significant role in the promotion plans of a hotel either it is a luxury one or a budget. It has a direct impact on the revenue and requires a suitable strategy for the efficient operation. Therefore, the managers, executives must have desired skills to familiarize and solve real-time problems of the hotel (Bowie, Buttle, Brookes, & Mariussen, 2016).

Luxury hotels like Sofitel have already gained fame and name by serving the customers in each and every way of possibilities; hence they do not need to promote much to attract customers. This is the reason that responsibilities of room division department in these luxury hotels differ from that of budget brands like IBIS. When it comes to basic operations of room division then, front office, uniformed services and housekeeping are the major areas which are identical in the both and must be handled carefully. Moreover, in the Sofitel luxury brands of Accor hotels, the front office, guest relations and business centre all are headed towards maintaining the quality, comfort, reliability, trust and consistency with our guests. Conversely, in the budget brands like IBIS, all departments served limited facilities as comparative to luxury one as the whole budget is low, hence they focus on promotion, sales and marketing by serving limited but best services to attract more customers in the future in order to make the revenue high. One more thing is noticeable in this context is that luxury brand hotels like Sofitel are customer oriented, while IBIS-budget brand hotels are basically revenue oriented so there room division functions are also accordingly (Pemberton , 2015).

Front Office Operations Department Differences among the Both

In case of Front office operation representative is the Guest Service Agent (referred as GSA). This is a location that greets guests, lists them in records, allocates guest rooms and rates, helps in checking out, as well as answers all queries related to the hotel and the surrounding community. The GSA fulfils many responsibilities like being a cashier, reservations, telephone, and night audits. In case of Accor luxury hotels there is a chain of persons who work in a hierarchical way to complete all responsibilities while in budget hotels there are only 1 or 2 persons at front office desk (Bowie, Buttle, Brookes, & Mariussen, 2016).

The reception manager controls the availability of rooms and the day-to-day functions of the front office. The front desk agent reports to the front office manager and works in the lobby or reception area to welcome the guests to the property, process arrivals and departures, coordinate room assignments and pre-arrivals, and respond to guest requests (Cai & Hobson, 2008).

In Accor luxury hotels, front office operation department manage cashier responsibilities and room allocation. Besides that, they ensure that procedures and policies are fulfilled with the utmost standard of services and guest satisfaction. They also review room availability or unavailability status, room blockage and special requests on a regular basis through working thoroughly with reservations manager and other department executives. Front office in luxury hotels like Sofitel, monitors open as well as close on-day status to get the best out of room revenue and validate the idea of revenue management (Hepditch, 2015).

In Accor budget hotels, front office manager prepare staffing schedules, monitor labor costs to budget figures, and complete payroll. Prepare and conduct front office meetings and resolve all issues related to customers (Senior & Morphew, 2009). 

Social Communication Policy for In-house Employees Communication

A discussion forum is an effective communication tool used by the Accor hotels communities. They tie employees and the hotel management. Building of this forum ensures that knowledge about sales figures, firm goals, and supportive reasons have shared among all the departments and employees so that all of the hotel management members feel that they are having a stake in the hotel organization. Moreover, it increases transparency among Accor hotels communications and improves overall efficiency of hotel operations and customer satisfaction (riorini, 2017).

Accor Hotel departments and employees working in there must know all the responsibilities, information that is needed to execute their jobs effectively. This relevant information to each and every department is clearly accessible, to all desk as well as non-desk employees, even who do not have commercial email addresses. Accor Hotels contest all information-sharing as well as communication barriers by establishing a digital portal for its employees.

Different Channels and Tools Used by Hotel Properties for Effective Communication

This portal normally contains all kinds of information resources comprising: arriving VIP guests, ideal and best practices, healthiness and safety guidelines, on boarding likely initiatives, and maintenance announcements. This above info must be accessible for all of this hotel department’s heads as well as employees to find data at a moment’s notice at any place for any kind of guest (Nieves & Segarra Cipres, 2015).

Employee and diverse department communication tools empower secure, flexible and effective messaging amid Accor hotels management and whole departmental staff. Through this essential announcements can be sent to the correct and specific group of employees at the accurate time. This further helps in facilitating engagement in the everyday happenings of the hotel as well as its guests. With the help of enterprise-messaging method, this hotel community can reach out to all employee groups through private messages or auto generated notifications. This provides flexibility as it is a simple-to-use platform. There are some more robust platforms which enables employee to be more tied up with other departments and build an innovative work culture while contributing to efficient operations as well as guest satisfaction (Nieves & Segarra Cipres, 2015).

There are some important cross departmental tools available in the Accor hotels, as follows:

  • The front office plays as a clearinghouse for Accor hotel’s departmental communication activities among different departments such as marketing and sales, food and beverages, security, housekeeping, controller, banquets, engineering, and human resource management.
  • Total quality management technique also implements effective communication within the Accor hotels operations departments (Halasz & Stahl, 2011).

Sofitel being an Accor luxury hotels brand, target topmost corporate executives, entertainment high- position political figures, famous celebrities, and wealthy clients as their principal markets. For their high-standard guests, Sofitel provide upscale lounges, restaurants, Valets, concierge services as well as reserved dining facilities. This luxury hotel provide services like regular innovation, food Festivals, laundry, recreation, free trips, and rent a Car or telephone. Facts revealed that most of the corporate customers give preference to food and beverages and recreational facilities. Thus, by providing services accordingly what the guest actually wants, Sofitel is sustaining at the high position in the list of Top luxury hotels of the world (Qiu, Masiero, & Li, 2018).

IBIS being an Accor Budget hotels brand, target primarily the budget-minded travellers who are looking for a hotel room with minimum amenities and services required for the relaxed stay, without superfluous paying extra cost for expensive services. This hotel provides clean, safe, comfortable, inexpensive rooms that fulfil the basic need and desires of guests. Budget hotels customers more often expect mobile check-in and check-out, good value, well treated behaviour and minimum hygiene requirements fulfilled from these hotels. Thus, IBIS budget is fulfilling all these requirements as well as desires of the economic-minded customers (Halasz & Stahl, 2011).

Digital Employees Portal in Accor Hotels

In order to provide quality customer service, we the hotel managers of Sofitel use following current approaches strategically:

  • Along with complementary breakfast we provide free Wi-Fi as well as parking in order to provide better connectivity to our customers.
  • We also provide good value in exchange of money which is spent by the customers for staying in a room in the luxury hotels, moreover the our hotel never let its customers feel that they get less valued services than they have paid to the hotel (Turner, 2012).
  • Sofitel provide authentic services by using automation technology, personal greetings, high-tech amenities and swift check-in as well as check-out so that they can win revisits for our impeccable guest service (Karunaratne & Jayawardena, 2010).

Similarly, our IBIS budget hotels brand is using following strategies currently for being effective for our guests:

  • Low tariff structure: we ensure that hotel tariffs must be lower than similar hotels available within the specific area of location to attract customers.
  • Limited services range: being a hotel manager of IBIS budget hotels I know that we employ limited staff; hence to fulfill 24-hours room services, all other provided services by us are limited.
  • Economic range of facilities: for short-stay travelers we emphasis on providing a sufficiently equipped as well as comfortable room stay with room service facility.
  • Located-Strategically:  Most of the IBIS budget hotels are located in the town-hearts, inner city and capital city locations. Moreover, some smaller units are located on popular highways and Greenfield sites.
  • Modular Construction: our hotels’ Modern design or construction methods are majorly used in IBIS hotels buildings, as this allows inexpensive and quick construction programs (Senior & Morphew, 2009).
Increasing the authenticity of the hotel

Here are few things those are suggested by me as a hotel manager at this hotel to make guests desired to spend extra time over there, which further gives an opportunity for us  to produce more revenue by the hotel:

  • Collaborate with other corporations to endorse things such as artistic exhibitions, educational forums, and public events
  • Integrate the work of artists, local designers, and craftsmen as well as craftswomen into the space of the hotel community (Turner, 2012).

Thus, it will enhance the authenticity of our workplace and result in more customer satisfaction (Bhavani, 2013).

Allowance of employee participation within strategic planning

As a hotel manager, I must say that this will be a great strategy while aiming better customer feedback as well as our guest satisfaction. As we are aware of the fact that employees are the persons who know what exactly occurs in the service delivery process and how it will be value-added. Therefore, we should be involved in the decision-making practice so that the best future strategies can be implemented (Bhavani, 2013).

Recommended strategies for IBIS budget brand

We would suggest that some long term strategies should be adopted by the IBIS brand hotels, as follows:

Segmentation

It is a method to recognise the dissimilar nature of customer markets and design specified service packages that fit in particular market segments.

Differentiation

This hotel series should create one or more constructive features that cannot be effortlessly copied and helps the hotel community in standing-out from the mob (Woo Gon Kim & Hyun, 2008).

Conclusion 

In conclusion, the strategies used by hotel properties are oriented towards meeting and exceeding our guest expectations through inviting customer suggestions as well as well-driven customer care. All hotel brands whether it is luxury or budget one, should set up an effective communication tool and channel. Accor is a global hotel organization that have efficaciously developed its multiple brands to fulfill the needs and hopes of different kinds of travelers and Sofitel and IBIS budget both are one of its luxury and budget hotel series respectively. Thus, by investigating the different responsibilities of diverse departments among the both brands, clear difference can be drawn in between luxury brand as well as budget brand hotels. Moreover, different persons travel for a kind of reasons desiring unlike facilities and ranks of luxury to ensemble our requirements and budgets. Therefore, to target definite customer markets, hotel organizations have differentiated our groups by launching a range of hotel brands.

References

ACCOR Hotels. (2018, 09 06). ACCORHOTELS GROUP. Retrieved from ACCOR Hotels: https://www.accorhotels.com/gb/support/the-accorhotels-group/faq/what-brands-are-in-our-portfolio.shtml

ACCOR Hotels. (2018, 10 06). ibis budget. Retrieved from ACCOR Hotels: https://www.accorhotels.group/en/group/our-brands-and-services/ibis-budget#nu-22

ACCOR Hotels. (2018, 10 06). SOFITEL, THE FRENCH "ART DE VIVRE". Retrieved from ACCOR Hotels: https://www.accorhotels.com/gb/brands/hotels-sofitel.shtml

Bhavani, M. (2013). Customer’s expectations of hospitality services–a study on five star hotels in Hyderabad city. Journal of Management and Science, 3(4), 16-22.

Bonvin, J. (2003, 12 15). Hotels. Retrieved from Hospitality Net: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/opinion/4017990.html

Bowie, D., Buttle, F., Brookes, M., & Mariussen, A. (2016). Hospitality marketing. London: Routledge.

Cai, L., & Hobson, J. (2008). Making hotel brands work in a competitive environment. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 197-208.

Halasz, P., & Stahl, A. (2011). Managing exclusivity issues in a multibranded environment. Franchise Law Journal, 31(2), 95–101.

Hepditch, D. (2015, 01 04). The Future of the Guest Pre-arrival Program. Retrieved from Hotel Executive: https://www.hotelexecutive.com/feature_focus/4180/the-future-of-the-guest-pre-arrival-program

Karunaratne, W., & Jayawardena, L. (2010). Assessment of customer satisfaction in a five star hotel-A case study. Tropical Agricultural Research, 21(3), 258-265.

Nieves, J., & Segarra Cipres, M. (2015). Management innovation in the hotel industry. Tourism Management, 46, 51-58.

Pemberton , B. (2015, 06 18). Two gets you a breakfast buffet, five a valet: What hotel stars REALLY mean, who awards them - and why many say the Burj Al Arab in Dubai deserves seven. Retrieved from Mail Online: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3129581/Two-gets-breakfast-buffet-five-valet-hotel-stars-REALLY-mean-awards-say-Burj-Al-Arab-Dubai-deserves-seven.html

Qiu, R., Masiero, L., & Li, G. (2018). The psychological process of travel destination choice. Journal of Travel & tourism Marketing, 35(6), 691-705.

riorini, S. (2017). How to Improve Brand Equity in Tourism. European Research Studies, 20(3A), 417-434.

Senior, M., & Morphew, R. (2009). Competitive strategies in the budget hotel sector. international journal of Contemporary Hospitality Managemnt, 2(3).

Turner, J. (2012, 07 19). Sofitel refocuses on approachable luxury. Retrieved from Hotel Managemnt Network: https://www.hotelmanagement-network.com/features/featuresofitel-robert-gaymer-jones-ceo-hotel-luxury-brand-repositioning-strategy-liquidity-so-bangkok-christian-lacroix-jean-nouvel/

Woo Gon Kim, B., & Hyun, J. (2008). Multidimensional Customer-Based Brand Equity and Its Consequences in Midpriced Hotels. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 32(2), 235-254.

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