Front office functions in hotels
This article explores the organisation of the front office functions in hotels. The front office staff must deal with all the guests, including checking them in, dealing with their complaints and requests, and providing them with information on local attractions, and services. It is a challenging job that requires a lot of knowledge, skills, passion, and patience. This article provides information on what hotel front office jobs are like, how to get a job in this field, and how to be successful in it.
Functional areas of the front office in hotels (What hotel front office staff do)
The front office of a company refers to the room or rooms where staff deal with the public. The executives of a company are also sometimes referred to collectively as the front office (Collins, 2022). The key functional areas of the front office in hotels are reservations, reception, guest services, concierge, and night audit.
The front office staff are responsible for providing a welcoming environment to guests. This includes greeting them, checking them in and out, dealing with complaints and requests, and providing them with information on local attractions and services.
Reception is generally located on the ground floor and is used to greet guests and provide them with information about hotel facilities and services. A reception desk is often used for this purpose and may also include a computer station, concierge service, or bellhop service.
Front office staff are also responsible for managing the reservations system, which involves taking reservations by telephone or online. They will often have to make sure that the hotel’s rooms are available. They also have to take care of any last-minute changes to the reservation.
Night auditors are front desk agents in hotels. They review all the financial activities of their hotel that have taken place in one day. Night audit is often called front office audit as many hotels usually perform it during the late evening hours.
Who should be a front office staff?
Front office staff must exhibit many skills, and qualities to perform their jobs well. They need to be good at multitasking and have a great memory, as they will be juggling different tasks all day. They need to be personable and confident as they are the public face of the hotel.
Front office staff need to be excellent problem solvers who can handle complaints and requests in a calm manner, even if they have to deal sometimes with somewhat difficult people. A person who is good at multitasking, is likely to have the confidence to deal with a multitude of demands and would make an excellent front office staff member.
HEG (2021) lists several skills and qualifications required to work in the front office of a hotel. For example, use of Windows, sales ability, adaptability, self-sufficiency, team leadership, good memory, self-control, being able to work at nights and weekends, and qualifications such as HND (Higher National Diploma) and A-Levels are some of the listed skills and qualifications.
Front office staff sometimes may have to coordinate special events at the hotel or assist with special requests from hospitality groups in town for conventions or other events. The most important thing required is to make sure the right knowledge and skills are matched with the job position.
How to find a job in the front office of hotels?
For people considering a career in the hotel front office, it is important to know how to find a job. There are many resources available on the internet to help them with this. Some of these resources include websites of the hotel chains and specific hotels that list current vacancies. Opportunities can also be found by searching job sites such as Caterer (Totaljobs Group Ltd) Indeed, Monster, and many more. Social media such as LinkedIn, and Facebook are also two great places to search for hotel and other work opportunities.
Asking friends or relatives who work in the hotel industry can also be a good way to get information on potential job openings. When contacting employers directly, applicants must ensure that they send a copy of the CV as well as a cover letter explaining why they are interested in the position and why they should be hired by clearly outlining their career goals and attributes.
How to succeed in the front office of hotels?
Hotel front office jobs require a lot of hard work, but they can be rewarding. It is a challenging work that requires a lot of knowledge but also a lot of discretion. Guests who are catered to in the right way often reward staff with good tips.
Front office staff need to be friendly, outgoing, and helpful. It is essential that they are able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing so that they can answer questions about reservations or items such as food service delivery times, accessing rooms or laundry services etc., which may not always be available through the computer system alone.
There is no doubt that the front office functions are the public face of hotels. Front office staff are the first point of contact for guests, and it is their job to make sure that the guests have a good experience. This means that they need to be professional, efficient, and friendly. A job in the front office typically requires a good command of language, a pleasant phone manner, and excellent customer service skills. Being knowledgeable about different services and rates available in the hotel are also necessary. Staff need to be punctual, neat and clean, and need to maintain a positive attitude at all times.
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Last update: 25 February 2022
Collins (2022) Front Office, available at: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/front-office (accessed 25 February 2022)
HEG (2021) Hotel front office job descriptions, available at: https://www.jobsinhotels.co.uk/hotel-front-office-job-descriptions.html (accessed 24 February 2022)
Author: Joe David
Joe David has years of teaching experience both in the UK and abroad. He writes regularly online on a variety of topics. He has a keen interest in business, hospitality, and tourism management. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management.