Tourism/Front Office

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Definition: Front office is a business term that refers to a company's departments that come in contact with clients, including the marketing, sales, and service departments. In the hotel industry, the front office (also known as front desk) welcomes guests to the accommodation section: meeting and greeting them, taking and organizing reservations, allocating check in and out of rooms, organizing porter service, issuing keys and other security arrangements, passing on messages to customers and settling the accounts. Why Front Office Is Important In Hotel First impressions are important, most definitely. Yet in the hotel industry, last impressions and every contact in between are equally vital. Front desk staff is essentially the “face” of business. From the moment they greet your guests until the final checkout, their professionalism and service leave a lasting impression. The Best Impressions Without a front desk manager who is committed to customer service, your front desk personnel may flounder. You need a professional who is experienced in leading and directing the work of others. Your manager must be able to handle complaints courteously, resolve guest problems expediently, and train the rest of your front office staff to do so as well.

The Big Picture While duties vary by hotel establishment, most front desk managers do more than just oversee the front desk staff. They may actively participate in coordinating reservations and room assignments, as well as oversee the concierge and valet staff. The best manager is able to juggle multiple priorities and adjust focus at a moment’s notice. This may require flexibility and creativity. It definitely requires the ability to perform under pressure.

The Bottom Line Your front desk manager plays a big part in the bottom line of your business. Directly, some managers are responsible for daily deposits and billing and well as negotiating and executing vendor contracts. Other duties may include setting room rates, approving purchases and creating department budgets. Indirectly, their training and supervisory skills determine the quality of your front desk staff, and thus the happiness of your guests. Unhappy guests rarely return. Hotel success is dependent, at least in part, on guest impressions. Make a good one, and the average satisfied customer will tell three other people about your establishment. Make a bad one, and they will tell eleven. Hiring the best front desk manager is one way to insure more of those impressions are good.