FRONT OFFICE:

 

1.0 FIRST YEAR SEMESTER SYLLABUS OF SIX SEMESTER B.Sc. IN H&HA

FIRST SEMESTER SYLLABUS OF SIX SEMESTER B.Sc. IN H&HA
BHM113 – FOUNDATION COURSE IN FRONT OFFICE OPERATIONS – I (THEORY) HOURS ALLOTED: 30 MAXIMUM MARKS: 100
S.No. Topic Hours Weight age

1

INTRODUCTION TO TOURISM, HOSPITALITY & HOTEL INDUSTRY .
Tourism and its importance , Hospitality and its origin,Hotels, their evolution and growth.Brief introduction to hotel core areas with special reference to Front Office

3

10%

2

CLASSIFICATION OF HOTELS

  • Size
  • Star
  • Location & clientele
  • Ownership basis
  • Independent hotels
  • Management contracted hotel
  • Chains
  • Franchise/Affiliated
  • Supplementary accommodation
  • Time shares and condominium

5

15%

3

TYPES OF ROOMS

A. Single B. Double C. Twin D. Suits

2

5%

4

TIME SHARE & VACATION OWNERSHIP

  • What is time share? Referral chains & condominiums
  • How is it different from hotel business?
  • Classification of timeshares
  • Types of accommodation and their size

3

10%

5

FRONT OFFICE ORGANISATION

  • Function areas
  • Front office hierarchy
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Personality traits

5

20%

6

HOTEL ENTRANCE, LOBBY AND FRONT OFFICE

A. Layout
B. Front office equipment (non automated, semi automated and automated)

3

10%

7

BELL DESK

A. Functions
B. Procedures and records

4

20%

8

FRENCH: To be taught by a professional French language teacher.

  • Understanding and uses of accents, orthographic signs & punctuation
  • Knowledge of cardinaux & ordinaux (Ordinal & cardinal)
  • Days, Dates, Time, Months and Seasons

5

10%

TOTAL

30

100

 

1.2. 

CHAPTER 01:INTRODUCTION TO TOURISM, HOSPITALITY & HOTEL INDUSTRY

A. Tourism and its importance

B. Hospitality and its origin

C. Hotels, their evolution and growth

D.   Brief introduction to hotel core areas with special reference to Front Office

 

A:Tourism and its Importance

Definition

Tourism is the temporary movement of people to destinations outside the place where they normally live and work. But to be defined as a tourist, they must stay for at least twenty four hours at their destination.

The tourism market is divided into two categories:

1.Leisure tourist– the term itself implies the meaning; Fine examples are pilgrim tourists, holiday makers, and all those who are travelling at leisure.

2. Business tourist – those who travel primarily for their business needs; in strict contrast to, leisure tourists.

 

Tourism can be divided into two types:

1.  Domestic tourism: residents of a country travelling within the borders of their home country.

 

2.  International tourism: those travelling from one country to another. This requires the need for a passport & visa.

Further, tourism market may, further be sub-divided into: 

a) Inbound tourism – this refers to tourists coming from another country.

b) Outbound tourism- this refers to residents of a country travelling to another country.

 

But with all the categories, divisions etc let us not forget the definition of a tourist-They must stay for at least twenty four hours at their destination.

TOURISM IS MADE UP OF FIVE ELEMENTS:

    1. Traveller generating region- the place of origin
    2. Transit region- the region, town, and city en-route
    3. Tourist destination region
    4. Tourist
    5. Tourism industry

All the above are influenced by the external environment.

 

POSITIVE IMPACTS OF TOURISM

 

1) Economic impact

a) Employment generator- hotel& restaurant staff, taxi drivers, travel agents, tour operators etc.

 

b)  Increases tax revenue- as tourists when they   spend have to pay taxes.

c)   Foreign exchange earner

d)   Rural development promoter

e)   Improved infrastructure

f)   Increase in GDP

g)   Multiplier effect in the economy

 

2) Environmental impact

 

a) Some tourist destinations like parks, wildlife and bird sanctuaries facilitate the maintenance of   the ecological balance

b)  Historical sites are preserved and restored

c)  Endangered species protected

d)  Forests are protected as there is awareness on protecting our environment

 

 

3) Socio-cultural impact

 

a)   Develops entrepreneurship

b)   Generates employment

c)   Enhances income

d)   Improves quality of life

e)   Preserves heritage

f)   Restores& revives art and crafts

g)  Helps national and international integration

 

4) Demonstration effect

a)   Welcoming Attitude

b)   Dressing and fashion

 

5) Cultural impact

a)   Helps in preservation of culture

b)   Rejuvenation of art forms- folk dances and         music

·

 

NEGATIVE IMPACT OF TOURISM

  • Economic impact- outbound tourism can hurt the foreign exchange reserves of a country.

 

  • Environmental impact

a)   Environmental pollution

b) Depletion of natural resources as unplanned development happens. Examples- Dehradun, Ooty and Goa

c)   Land erosion

d)   Loss of natural resources

e)   Traffic congestion& resulting pollution

f)   Garbage trails

 

  • Socio-cultural impact

a)   Rural urban migration

b)   Disruption of lifestyle

c)   Narcotics and drug abuse

d)   Decreased use of local language

e)   Health issues like HIV, AIDS, flu and virus

f)   Prostitution

g)   Alcoholism

h)   Crime rate going higher as tourists are easy prey

i)   Money laundering

j)   Loss of local customs

 

  • Demonstration effect

a)   Local or host irritation

b)  Hostility from locals

 

  • Cultural impact

a)   Social norms and customs are affected

b)   Cultural arrogance

c)   Dilution of culture

 

  • Political impact

a)   Leads to Terrorism

CONSTITUENTS OF THE TOURISM INDUSTRY:

Main Constituents of the Tourism industry:

 

1) Transport- means the means of travel. It includes:

a)  Airlines

b)  Surface Transport

c)  Railways

d)  Waterways

e)  Parking areas

f)  Airports

g)  Bus stands

h) Hotels

 

2) Food and beverage Establishments- The tourist requires the catering services which include

-Non-commercial outlets or welfare outlets- like institutes, gurudwaras etc.

-Commercial outlets

-Residential- includes hotels, guest houses, home-stays, resorts etc.

-Non-residential- includes restaurants, fast food outlets, takeaway outlets, dhabas, street side vendors etc, lounge, pubs & bars.

 

3) Natural attractions- hills, beaches, jungles and deserts

 

4) Man made attractions- resorts, amusement or theme parks for example- Disneyland, Appu Ghar etc

5)  Business attractions- MICE- Meetings, Incentives Conferencing Exhibitions

 

6) Historic attractions- heritage building, monuments, forts& palaces. For example Louvre- Paris

 

7) Cultural and ethnic attractions- fairs, festivals, cultural events etc

8) Special events- Sporting events, be it National Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games or Olympic Games etc

9) Medical attractions-spa, sanatorium,   unique &better lifestyle changers- ayurveda, yoga etc

10) Religious attractions- temple trail or for example Buddhist circuit.

11) Government attractions– White House, India Gate with our Legislature, Rashtrapati Bhavan and other fine structures

12) Retail and shopping- shopping malls, markets, hawkers etc.

13)Travel agents and tour operators- travel agents act as intermediaries serving between the various services providers and travel consumers. Travel agencies perform a number of functions such as providing travel information, planning itineraries, liaising with vendors, costing, ticketing, reservation, documentation, and settlement of account, MICE, foreign exchange& other related services.

Tour operators are different from travel agents. The Tour operator assembles all the different components of travel and sells it as a package tour, to and from a destination with all the logistics inclusive.

· Guides and Escorts- A guide is a travel industry representative; a public relations representative for his city, region and country- as well as an educator, an entertainer, and a public speaker.

The tour escort has to accompany the tourist from the commencement till the end of

the tour. An escort facilitates during check-in, customs clearance; accompanies the

tourist group during sight-seeing, shopping etc.

14) Tourism organisation- organisations are formed when a group of people come together for a common purpose. Tourism organisations play an important role in marketing destinations and managing tourism industry. There are many types of organisations: international, national, state and local bodies.  The World Tourism Organisation is the international organisation founded in the year 1975.

Other organisations are:

a)   Airlines- IATA

b)   Travel agencies- UFTAA, TAAI, ASTA

c)   Tour operators- IATO

d)   Hotels and restaurants- FHRAI

e)   Transport- IRU, IUR

 

 

SECONDARY CONSTITUENTS of the Tourism industry:

·         Shops and state emporiums

·         Art and craft

·         Local transport

·         Banks

·         Insurance companies

·         Communication services- include public phones,

Cell phones, internet café etc

·         Performing artistes

·         Publishers

·         Advertisers

·         Hawkers and coolies

·         Agents and brokers

·         Essential services- electricity, waste disposal, sewage, health facilities, security etc

 

  • Travel Motivators: factors that create a desire in people to travel. Motivators are the internal psychological influencing affecting individual choices.
  • Physical motivators-these are related to

a)  Physical rest

b) Relaxation

c)  Sports

d)  Health

 

  • Cultural motivators– these are related to

a)  Culture

b)   Lifestyle

c)   Folk art

d)   Music and dance

e)  Spiritual

f) Interpersonal-these are related to meeting

g)  Meeting friends

h) Meeting Family

 

  • Status and prestige motivators-

a)  Personal esteem

b)  Status symbol

c)  Education

d)  Pursuit of hobbies

e)  Business and work

 

DIFFERENT FORMS AND TYPES OF TOURISM:

1) Leisure -looking for a change in weather and place to enjoy the scenery to rest, relax and rejuvenate. Destinations include hills, beaches, deserts and islands. Facilities include ayurvedic holistic healing, body massage, steam and sauna bath, yoga, etc.

 

2) Adventure

Adventure on land-includes jungle safaris, desert safaris, motor racing, wall climbing, off-roading, trekking, camping, rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing, heli- skiing, etc

Water adventure-includes diving, scuba diving, snorkelling, parasailing, water scooters, water skiing, wind surfing, canoeing, white water rafting etc.

Aerial adventure-ballooning, parachuting, skydiving, para-gliding, parasailing, gliding,   bungee jumping, etc

 

Sports-oldest form being hunting, skiing and all forms of sports be it indoors or outdoors.

 

Religious– is also known as pilgrimage or spiritual tourism.

 

Health– people travelling to improve and rejuvenate. Includes, yoga,  Ayurveda,  reiki & pranic forms of healing etc

 

Cultural- lifestyle, dress, jewellery, dance, music, architecture and painting, customs, beliefs, fairs, festivals and religions practiced

 

 

3) Business and MICE- motive for travel is work such as attending meetings, conferences, and conventions, trade fairs, promoting & selling their product to their clients. Business tourists make up for 85% of the total passengers using air travel, with more than 50% hotel occupancy being the  business travel segment.  Business travellers look for the best facilities. As getting their work done quickly & efficiently is their prime concern. Duration of stay is short, destination business based.

MICE- Meeting, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions: not the main stream business travel but it is the subset of the business travel. It includes small meetings, training programs, seminars and workshops. MICE travellers expect a high level of comfort, hassle free movement and value for money

 

01:INTRODUCTION TO TOURISM, HOSPITALITY & HOTEL INDUSTRY

A. Tourism and its importance

B. Hospitality and its origin

C. Hotels, their evolution and growth

D.   Brief introduction to hotel core areas with special reference to Front Office

B:HOSPITALITY AND its ORIGIN

 

Hospitality

Hospitality in one sentence quoting India’s 1st Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who gave the world, without any doubt, the finest ever quote on hospitality succinctly, with  ” Welcome a guest, to send back a friend.”

Anything & everything you would do within your realm or beyond to convert a guest as a friend is hospitality, in its pure & pristine form. This where, service is practiced as an attitude.

 

The hospitality industry

Today, the industry comprises of

 

1. Lodging & catering establishments; for example-hotels, youth hostels, camping sites & restaurants.

2. Transport- logistics of airlines- railways, buses, taxis etc.

3. Others-casinos, amusement parks, cruise-liners etc.

In short any product or service that is a component of the tourism industry & contributes to it.

 

Hospitality and its origin

India has not been given its rightful place as the pioneer of the hospitality industry. As early as in the reign of Chandragupta Maurya’s reign (322BC-298BC)   the ‘serais’ existed. He got the Grand Trunk Road built originating in Chittagong- present day Bangladesh- to go inwards west to Howrah- Bengal, then to move in the north western direction through Delhi, Lahore-present day Pakistan, Peshawar and finally culminating in Kabul- Afghanistan. The humble hospitality establishments; the ‘serais’ were present to serve the the needs of the business traveller. ‘Business traveller ‘ a term used today to classify guests in a hotel.

Caravan serais, the local term for inns, were present then as the first hospitality establishments. Though, unorganised, but they served the purpose. They were simple resting houses, where a limited menu served with very modest boarding and lodging facilities, usually managed by the man and his wife, the latter cooking for the man to do the service. It may be presumed that at daybreak, once, the caravans rolled out, the woman with her man cleaned up the boarding facility.  Fodder and water, too was provided for the camels with a place to rest

The next time in Delhi you pass by or go to Lado serai, Berserai or Sheikhserai, remember, you are going back into the future!   Mughalserai just about 16 kilometres away from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh is located on the Grand Trunk Road

So how did Mughalsarai get its name? We don’t know; there’s precious little available in the archives that this correspondent dipped into. But going by its generic name and location on the Sadak-i-Azam or the Grand Trunk Road, one can assume that this must have been a busy night halt for travellers in Mughal India with several inns or serais (the largest Mughal inns had about 100-odd rooms with separate suites for rich travellers/noblemen). In fact, the GT Road, which stretched from Sonargaon in today’s Bangladesh to Peshawar in Pakistan, was dotted with caravanserais.

Not all the srerais were humble catering establishments. There was the begum ki sarai, at Chandni Chowk, built by the princess Jahanara-daughter of Emperor Shahjahan in the 17th century. She got this built for the wealthy Uzbek and Persian travellers which could well be the 5 star luxury serai then. (Courtesy– Swapna and Madhulika Liddle).

The caravanserais along with the kos minars (milestones), chaukis with harkaras and guards, rahdaris (toll gates) and cavalry patrols made imperial highways better and safer than ever before. This was one of the reasons why the Mughals were seen as “prajapalaks” (concerned about people’s welfare), and why the emperors were even compared to avatars of Vishnu by their Hindu subjects.

15539 After the battle of Chausa, Sher Shah Suri, the Turk, defeated Humayun, the Mughal, to take over as the Emperor at Delhi.  He rebuilt the GT Road, getting trees planted on both sides of the road, building rest houses for travellers on the road with all costs to be paid from the treasury. A welfare initiative… (Continued *)

 

 01:INTRODUCTION TO TOURISM, HOSPITALITY & HOTEL INDUSTRY

A. Tourism and its importance

B. Hospitality and its origin

C. Hotels, their evolution and growth

D.   Brief introduction to hotel core areas with special reference to Front Office

C: Hotels Evolution and growth 

In legal terms, ‘hotel’ or ‘inn’ is defined as place where a bonafide traveller can receive food and shelter, provided he is in a position to pay for it and is in a fit condition to be received.

A hotel is empowered to refuse to host any guest if he is not in fit condition- if he is drunk, disorderly or unable to pay for the services.

In simple terms, a hotel is referred to as a ‘home away from home’ as it offers all the services, amenities and comfort one is used to at home. A customer is referred to as a guest as he stays in the rooms provided, is served food & beverage of his choice by room service or at the restaurant, coffee-shop and other food and beverage POS- Points of Sale. He is made to feel comfortable, secure to get a feeling of being at home. Just like a guest at our residence. Don’t we go out of our way to look after the guest? Unlike the guest at home, in a hotel there are trained & developed professionals specialized in certain skills to do so. A guest has to therefore pay for the services rendered.

 

*After the Mughals came the British. They added their version of the serais on the Mughal routes for their own people—the dak bungalows. In the late 19th century, the British brought the railways to India, and Mughalsarai popped up on the railway map when East Indian Railway Company laid tracks connecting Howrah and Delhi. In the early 1880s, the Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway linked up with the East Indian Railway through the Dufferin Bridge (today Malviya Bridge) at Mughalsarai and the station became a junction.

As the railways united India, Mughalsarai entered the popular lexicon. Those travelling by train to the east would remember being told to eat whatever you could at Mughalsarai as “aage khaana nahin milega” (no possibility of getting food ahead). (Mughalserai details courtesy- Times of India).

The East India Company was slowly making its presence felt and with Akbar becoming the Emperor after Humayun, who got the better of Sher Shah, they increased their trade volumes.

After the British establishment officially took over the administrative control of India, they renovated and modernized very many of the then existing infrastructure for hospitality. The dak bungalows were their contribution.

 

Developments in Europe and the USA

 

The Inn: Public houses in early times in England were called inns. Normally the term inn was meant for the finer establishments catering to the nobles only while the Taverns were meant for the common man. The term hotel has its root in the French word Hotelleries.

 

Between the periods 1750-1820, the British Inns, earned the reputation of being the best in the business.

 

In France, Inns were termed as Hotellierries, while Taverns termed as Cabarets.

Hostel: Derived from the word host and was used till very late. The head of the hostel was called Hostler in French, while in England he was called Inn-keeper.

 

 

1794 New York – The landmark development in the history of the modern hotel industry, as the City Hotel, opened its doors. The first building designed & built for a hotel. Earlier hotels operated out of buildings which were not designed for hotel purposes. Hotels in the USA, were termed Coffee House.

 

The USA, became the leader in developing world class hotels for the rest of the world to follow suit.

 

1908-Ezra Statler opened the doors of the Buffalo Statler, in Buffalo City. He realized the value and importance of having a hotel group.  He pioneered the hotel chain concept.

Hailed, then, and today as the ‘Father of the Hotel Industry world-wide.

 

Then the USA went into earning its reputation for building top class hotels. The undisputed leader of the modern hotel industry worldwide.

India and her Modern Day Hotel Industry Development

1903- JRD Tata opened the doors of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay, now, Mumbai. Historic as this was the first hotel which also allowed Indians. Apparently Jamsetji Tata   had been thrown out of a luxury hotel as the board outside read ‘No Indians and dogs allowed.’ This Parsi industrialist and the founder of the iconic Tata conglomerate vowed to make the finest hotel in the world in India, which would not discriminate. True, to his word, he did so.  The first hotel in India with electricity and American fans built at a cost of   500,000 pound sterling. The iconic Tajmahal Hotel, Colaba  Bombay. She is today the flagship of the Taj group of hotels.  After a century of being built, she is mentioned among the top 10 hotels world-wide.

1934– A Punjabi gentleman then a clerk, but an entrepreneur at heart joins the Cecil Hotel, Shimla. Hard work, zeal and an extraordinary ability with some luck saw him become a manager and working partner at the Clarkes in Simla.  The English owner, Ernest Clarke deciding to leave India for England, offered him the hotel ownership for Rs. 20,000/-. A family member loaned him the money and Mohan Singh Oberoi, later to be known as the ‘Father of the Indian hotel industry’ bought this property and his next property in Kolkata. After that the Oberoi chain opened properties in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities in India and abroad.

1936- The ITDC (India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd) opens its first property, the Ashok, New Delhi. The ITDC stepped up its presence in other states too.

1975- ITC entered the hospitality industry with the Welcomgroup Chola Sheraton in Chennai.

Air India entered the hospitality industry with transit hotels brand name Centaur located near the airports.

Then, somewhere, in the late ’60’s, the hotel chains in India, started enjoying management contracts with international chains. It was a mutually beneficial relationship as the hotels in India, got expertise in professionally managing a hotel to world class standards. In addition, the foreign partner listed the hotel in India in their global reservation system. For the foreign partner, it meant, a source of revenue, as also a presence in India. The Oberoi Intercontinental, Dew Delhi in 1969 was the iconic hotel then, in India. The Taj group too followed suit, while in the 70’s when the Welcomgroup Chola opened its doors, it was as the Chola Sheraton.

Around 1991 the government of the day, with Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and his Finance Minister liberalized the Indian economy. This proved to be a huge boost for the hospitality industry as FDI flowed in. The industry, in a way, took off from then, evolving for the better with every change.

Today, it is easy to spot a Radisson, Marriot, Intercontinental, Hilton, Hyatt, or any other global hotel chains having their own properties here.

01:INTRODUCTION TO TOURISM, HOSPITALITY & HOTEL INDUSTRY

A. Tourism and its importance

B. Hospitality and its origin

C. Hotels, their evolution and growth

D.   Brief introduction to hotel core areas with special reference to Front Office

D: Brief Introduction to a hotel’s Core Areas (with special reference to Front Office):

Hotels, whether small, medium or large will have the four core departments namely:

a) Front Office

B) House-keeping

c) Food Production

d) Food & Beverage Service

Front Office department- otherwise known as the Rooms division deals with the reservation, registration and sale of rooms to guests (over the counter) as also billing them for the same. The Front Office department is the first and last point of contact with the guest. It is sub-divided into the ‘Front of the House’ area-Lobby and the ‘Back of the House’ area-   Reservations department& Communications department.

The Lobby- the area which guests who walk through the main doors find themselves in. They shall be witness to the Duty/ Lobby Manager desk and the Guest Relations Manager desk.

Normally, adjacent to the main doors shall be the Bell Desk manned by the Bell Captain with his team of bell-boys who carry the guest luggage on arrival & departure in addition to running errands for the guests.

The Front Desk, traditionally known as Reception is – sub-divided into Information, Registration & Billing would be placed strategically in the lobby, to minimize the guest effort to go there.  Information where guest room keys are maintained and messages as well, Registration where the guest registers on arrival for a room and the Billing Section which as implied suggests that guests settle their bills there.

 

‘Back of the house’ area- Reservations department. Note it is termed as a department, as it is the hub of the Front Office, where reservations are recorded, entered in the PMS, to be accessed at convenience, easily.

The Communications department with the telephone exchange may be found here in small sized hotels, but in medium and large size hotels, they are housed separately, within the hotel’s back of the house area.

Housekeeping -as implied.  It is their responsibility to keep the public areas and guest rooms clean as also manage linen, staff uniforms and guest laundry.

Food Production- or the kitchens is the area of the chefs and cooks where all the food is prepared to be served. The  the size of the hotel and star rating will determine whether there should be one central kitchen or a central kitchen with satellite kitchens attached to each food & beverage outlet. .

Food & Beverage Service- They serve the food & beverage to the guest prepared by the Food Production department.  Service be it Room service, or in the restaurants, bars, pool side cafe and bar, night club & discotheque all are managed by the  F& B Service department.

There are the support services of Engineering, Kitchen Stewarding, Purchase and stores department and many others that operate but do not generate revenue directly unlike Front Office and Food & Beverage Service departments but without whose support, the revenue producing departments would be crippled .

 

 

1.3 CHAPTER 02:CLASSIFICATION OF HOTELS:  

Why do we need to classify/ categorise hotels would be the question uppermost in every student’s mind.  In today’s world, with hotels customised and suited to a target segment, it is but important to classify/categorize hotels as it is impossible to categorise all under one term- hotels. Hence keeping in mind certain factors, a general classify/categorization is done based on the following:

  • Size
  • Luxury
  • Location
  • Ownership
  • Independent Hotels
  • Management Contracted Hotels
  • Chains
  • Franchise/ Affiliated
  • Supplementary Accommodation
  • Time share & Condominiums
  • Others

A: Size-

Size is determined by the number of rooms a hotel has. A 100 room or less hotel is termed small. A hotel with 100-300 rooms in today’s parlance is considered medium. In the 1960’s a hotel with 100-300 rooms was considered large. Today a hotel having 300- 600 rooms is considered large. The hotel having more than 600 rooms are termed very large. But, remember by 2040, these the terms small, medium, large and very large may change.

B: Luxury /Star

Luxury hotels- are those that have a star rating. Hotels are given a 5 star -1 star rating by a classification committee with members from the state tourism department, hospitality industry and educationists. Based on a checklist of factors & standards, the raring is awarded. For example  for a hotel to be awarded a 5 star rating, it has to have a minimum number of rooms, each room being spacious in area as  per set standards with a bathroom attached as per standards. Facilities of running hot & cold water with separated shower area and amenities as laid down. Even the guest room has to have amenities as laid down. The hotel must have 24 hours functioning room service and coffee-shop, a bar and restaurants, swimming pool,  and other facilities that an international traveller is used to having. Based on such guidelines, the hotel is awarded the star rating it deserves. Star rating is one of the finest ways to categorize a hotel as it involves a checklist to verify. Very clear inded. For a five star rating, the hotel has to have central air-conditioning, swimming pool, health club and shopping arcade. These norms change with time.

C: Location & clientele

As per location, hotels are defined as:

Downtown/ Commercial/ City/ Business Hotel– They are located in the heart of the city, in the business area. Land, being very expensive, they are vertical structures, optimizing every inch of space. Hence, even the services offered are very expensive. The typical guests who check-in here are those who come on their company’s work or business. The location of the hotel being in the vicinity of their work reduces their local travel time. For such guests, time is of utmost value. Normally such hotels witness a very high occupancy from Sunday evening to Friday mornings with the weekend occupancy low. The guests who stay in these hotels   travel with a fixed agenda to complete their work in a limited time period. From Sunday late evening, they start checking -in or by early Monday morning. The average length of stay would be 2-3 nights or 6 nights from Sunday to Friday. Daily they leave for their appointments for the day, having their lunch wherever their work takes them. Not, for them, the luxury of returning to the hotel to have lunch. They may stay back to host a client or a government official for breakfast/ brunch/lunch. Otherwise they return in the evening after the day’s work is completed. With many restaurants and fast food outlets in the same location, the guest has the choice of eating out along with the pleasure of enjoying a movie in the multiplex nearby. The reason for downtown hotels to have a food plan of room rate and breakfast. It is common to see such hotels serving a buffet breakfast in the coffee-shop. This  not only gives the guest an opportunity  to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast from a variety of choices offered as also do away ordering breakfast from room -service. Awaiting the waiter, which may delay the guest. The hotel too benefits as they  not only know the previous evening itself, the number of guests for breakfast. Since buffet breakfast is termed complimentary,  offering a wide variety of choices, all the guests prefer that then to order through room service and pay for it. Though, they are aware, the cost of the breakfast is factored in the room rate! For the F& B Manager and the Executive Chef, this is welcome as they need lesser human resources during breakfast times.  A majority of guests are repeat guests with payment of bills being cash earlier now replaced by credit/debit card or ‘bill to company’.

Suburban Hotel – As the name implies, these hotels are located in the suburbs. With land costs not high, such hotels have the luxury to be spacious in comparison to the downtown hotels.  They are used by HR Heads of corporate companies to conduct their training & development hotels as well as seminars for their employees. As the costs of transporting employees are also reasonable, such hotels have conference halls for such purposes. In addition to corporate guests, the suburban hotels may also have the typical downtown hotel guests who would prefer to stay here away from the city, yet close to it. As the room rates are reasonable, and normally the the airport located nearby. The traveller in transit and layovers as well as the cabin crew may be housed here.  The average length of stay of a guest would be a maximum about 2-3 nights for an HR program guest,   for the layover passenger and the traveller in transit, a night or two. The cabin crew at times for a night only or at most 2 nights. With the cities going beyond the earlier set territorial boundaries, the suburban hotel have in a manner of speaking, become a city hotel, but having  a twin advantage of being in the city yet in close proximity to the airport. Thereby reaping the benefits of being preferred over downtown hotels due to their room rates. Food plans are fixed according to the profile of the guest. For a residential HR program guests, the American plan is offered.  The   in- transit and layover guests are offered as per the guidelines of the airline while the business guest prefers the Modified American plan. The food plans are flexible as per the guest profile. A breakfast buffet and lunch buffet in the coffee-shop is normally the trend.  For the company’s HR programs, the bill is paid by the company, the business guest paying with a debit/credit card.

Transit Hotel- A transit hotel is located near the airport. They are ideal for passengers in transit who have to wait for some hours to catch a connecting flight, and for airlines to house their layover passengers and for their cabin crew.  With such a guest profile, transit hotels, charge the guest on the number of hours they have occupied the room. The emphasis is on the comforts than the luxuries; a 24 hour room service and a 24 hour coffee-shop is a must. For in-transit and layover guests the airline settles the bill as with the cabin crew.

Apartment Hotel are also known as Service Apartments are a new trend.  It comprises of a large & spacious hall, well furnished, with bedrooms and attached that are also furnished. A kitchen may or may not be an integral part. There is a caretaker who either serves food outsourced from vendors as per the guest’s choice or prepares it for them. Housekeeping services are generally outsourced.  The guests who prefer apartment hotels are families, a group of company executives or even individuals travelling on work or leisure. As there are individual bedrooms ensuring privacy and a common living room, it suits all type of travellers since, the hotel is located in the heart of the city, is economical as compared to a city hotel. The average length of stay is normally 3-4 nights.

The food plan in Apartment hotels is flexible with Bed & Breakfast being the norm with those wanting lunch and dinner to pay extra.

Motel– Motels are to motorists today, what serais were to traders on the silk routes .As the name suggests are hotels located on motor-roads/ highways. They are spacious, providing ample parking space for cars and buses to be parked.  They are normally single floor buildings with about 20- 50 rooms. In India, the increase in incomes after liberalization in 1991 along with the increase in the double income families (both husband and wife working), has seen the increase in the purchase of cars).  This has resulted in families taking a weekend break by driving to a scenic place outside the city, to enjoy with family.

When the family takes their annual holidays, normally in India, they prefer to go back home- their ancestral households in the village or in another town or, to stay with a sibling/ relative/ friend.   They leave early in the morning, to enjoy their breakfast at the motel en-route, stopping over for lunch tea and dinner if need be as well as to stay over for the night, if need be.  For the motorists having to start off early morning to their destination, motels shall have a 24 hours room service with one large dining hall to cater to the guests.

The average length of stay normally is for 1 night or 2 nights. Some families may schedule a family outing with other families to drive to a good motel to spend the long weekend there.  Motels charge room night charges on an hourly basis. There is no fixed check-in or check-out time as the guest is charged on the number of hours the room is used.

The mode of payment is restricted to cash or debit/ credit cards.

The increase in the number of motorists on the highways has seen the mushrooming of motels along the highways. Today’s motels not only offer guestrooms with bathroom attached. In addition, they may also have facilities of an ATM, a shop selling OTC drugs, sanitary napkins, mineral water bottles, biscuits etc which the family may require on their journey.

The food plan offered is European plan.

Resort- Resorts are located in places with natural settings. For example: beach resort, hill resort, jungle resort etc, far from the city limits.

Tourists and holidaymakers form the majority of clientele, but today, companies, to motivate their employees conduct their HR programs in resorts. The service is relaxed with the hotel staff usually wearing the resort’s branded T-shirts as uniform instead of the formal wear one is used to seeing in hotels. The building is normally spread out with very spacious guest rooms and very spacious public areas too.  The rooms could be in the form of cottages or villas or in a row house pattern.

The guests normally if they are on holiday may choose to rest and rejuvenate as also go out to enjoy the natural beauty. Since the resorts are in an area far away from human habitation, there would be no possibility of any restaurants nearby. Hence resorts normally offer an American plan. There would be a 24 hours room service and a multi cuisine -restaurant. Dinner might be ‘al- fresco’- on the lawns or near the artificial waterfalls to offer the guest a different experience. For HR programs, theme dinners are planned with the theme changing daily.

from the local produce, wholesome and varied. Youngsters form the clientele. Nowadays HR programs for leadership, team building and induction of new employees also form a growing slice of the clientele.

D: Ownership

Proprietorship- A hotel owned by an individual/ family is a proprietorship hotel. It would normally be a standalone hotel, of medium size.  Such hotels run into a problem, when they want to expand from a standalone hotel to a chain. Then they face a paucity of funds. A single owner proprietorship without a proper grooming of the next generation to take over usually finds itself into problems.

Partnerships- happen when more than one person joins for a common business objective. Each could be be an expert in their own areas. For example One partner to manage finance, one to overlook marketing and likewise. As each partner brings in her/his funds, partnership firms have more resources than proprietorship hotels. But, unless, the partners work in coordination without any friction, the objective of managing a successful hotel as well as expansion too, shall be smooth.

Private Limited Company- In this venture, shares of a company are privately owned; could be business acquaintances, family members or friends.  Usually the person who has the highest number of shares becomes the Managing Director and the others Directors. Unlike partnerships the Director’s liability is limited to the amount they have invested. Private Limited companies need a formal arrangement with the company to be registered with the Registrar of companies.  This enterprise has more resources than that in a partnership.

Public Limited Company– In this venture, the shares of the company are offered to the public at large as the company is listed on the stock exchange.  Depending upon the company’s perception by the individual investor and institutional investors, the venture’s shares may be oversubscribed or sink without a trace. It is the people on the board who make the difference in a positive perception or otherwise. Such ventures enjoy the luxury of huge funds at their disposal. They hire competent and experienced employees thereby, ensuring the growth, sustainability and progress of the company. Chain hotels usually, are owned by Public Ltd Companies.

 

E: Independent Hotels

Independent Hotels can be a sole proprietary / partnership/ limited company business, but are limited to one hotel operation only. They have their loyal clientele. They need not use their revenues to spend on advertising. Instead, use that money to upgrade the hotel’s amenities. They normally hire professionals to operate their hotels.

F: Management Contracted Hotels

A management contract is a contract between a hotel owner,    typically for a period of time with one of the major hospitality chains. For example the Taj Rambagh Palace, Jaipur is owned by the erstwhile royal family of Jaipur, but managed by the Taj group, unlike the Oberoi Jaivilas, Jaipur owned & operated by the Oberoi group.

The contract terms may vary, but the guidelines more or less are similar. The hotel owner has to pay in advance a negotiated amount fixed to the management company. A negotiated percentage of profits are to be shared by both. The GM and other HOD’s and other key managers, for example- Banquet Manager etc are employees of the management company, who remain on their parent company’s payrolls. The other employees, the hotel’s staff are on the payrolls of the hotel as it was before. The management company is responsible for training &developing the employees.

The hotel is listed in the inventory of the management company’s CRS. The Sales & Marketing team equally promotes this property as they promote their own hotels.  As per the terms, the parent company’s is at liberty to send their team for an audit- without prior notice.

 

G: Chains

Chains, as you are aware is a group of hotels operating under one brand name. Tajgroup, Marriotgroup, Westin, Radisson are, but some examples. They have a centralised policy, governing all the hotels in the chain.  They enjoy the benefit of having huge resources. A central pool of Sales & Marketing team supporting the unit teams, benefits of using the latest form of technology, multi cuisine outlets, centralized T& D team supporting the units, independent & centralized advertising etc

 

H: Franchise/ Affiliated Hotels

Franchise Hotels- is an arrangement wherein an independent hotel joins a chain of hotels by paying a negotiated amount and a percentage of the profits/ sale. Or this, the hotel is allowed to use the chain branding & logo. The chain in turn, adds this hotel to its list of hotels in the CRS.

Affiliated Hotels- In simple terms, hotels come together or affiliate themselves to a CRS. It saves them the costs of promoting their hotel far & wide independently. They reap the benefits of inter property network and streamlining reservation systems. The main advantage is being referred to by other hotels in the network. The central reservation system, which is connected to the individual hotel reservations network, automatically routes the reservations to the hotels in locations where rooms are available.

I: Supplementary Accommodation

Supplementary Accommodation includes youth hostels, camping sites, caravan accommodation etc. The YMCA/ YWCA are fine examples of youth hostels.  Camp accommodation- It’s a trend today for people living in cities to enjoy a different experience. Camp does that.  They travel outside the cities, for a trekking expedition their vehicles are parked in a spacious area meant for parking. They leave early in the morning to trek carrying essentials to return by early evening to refresh themselves for a high tea, enjoy a ‘campfire experience’ weather permitting, or sit around resting their limbs sharing their experiences singing songs, to tuck in an early wholesome dinner. They sleep in the protection of weather-proof tents. These locations are safe from wild animals and hooligans as the organisation managing this property undertakes this responsibility.  The food served is normally simple, but wholesome.

J:Time-share & Condominiums

Condominium- is an accommodation in which an owner of an apartment wants to rents out / leases his apartment, to travellers to the city. Such units are found in an apartment block specially, designed for this purpose; a caretaker is there to assist the guests. The owner informs the caretaker whenever he should not let out the unit, as per his needs, usually whenever he wants to stay there. All the conveniences are provided. The owner has to pay an annual maintenance fee for the air-conditioning, water and housekeeping services.

 

Time-share hotel- In this concept a unit of accommodation, be it a suite in a resort or a room or a cottage is owned by more than one person who has invested in it. This unit is rented out as in a hotel. A kitchenette is provided in case the guests want to prepare their own meals with groceries & other essentials available within the complex. Or, there is a dining are for food & beverage. The owners inform the management in advance of their visit for the unit to be blocked. Families on holidays form the typical guest segment along with honeymooners.

 

 

OTHERS

 

 

As per Food Plans

A food plan is a pricing tactic in which the room rate includes room rate only and may or may not include food component.

There are many types of food plans. We shall examine each in detail as also; understand how each of them is broadly linked to a category of hotel and a segment of guest.

  • European Plan– Obviously, the name indicates it originated in Europe. The room rate does not include any food component. Any meals consumed by the guest is charged. Used to be offered by downtown/city/commercial hotels in the 70’s & 80’s. The guest segment are normally being businessmen and company executives who may choose to eat out. Motels and Transit hotels may also, prefer to offer European Plan.
  • Continental Plan– Continent in this context also refers to Europe. Continental Plan includes room rate and continental breakfast with other meals being charged. Continental breakfast includes fruit juice, bread/ toast, butter, jam, marmalade and honey with coffee/tea.  Again, the segment of guests who prefer this are those who value time. Company executives on work and businessmen.  Earlier typically offered by city hotels.
  • Bermuda Plan– This food plan includes room rates and American breakfast, a very heavy breakfast.  The American breakfast includes fruit juice, toast, and eggs to order, cereals, bacon/sausages and preserves with butter, jam, marmalade and honey with coffee/tea.  Americans generally start their day with a heavy breakfast as they start work early.   Usually offered in hotels where the number of American guests travelling on work is more.
  • American plan / AP/ Full Pension-   In this plan room rates include American breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Conference Hotels and Convention hotels offer this plan as the guests have to be engaged in the hotel itself for the meeting/ convention they are attending.  Some resorts, offer this food plan when the holidaymakers or group have planned not to go out but to just relax, refresh.
  • Modified American Plan/ MAP/  Demi -Pension – Here as you must have logically presumed, room rates include American breakfast (as detailed above in American plan), lunch or dinner. Resorts favour MAP as the group/ holidaymakers have a heavy breakfast to go out on excursion/ sightseeing to have lunch outside.

 Footnotes:

  •  Today, hotels across the world factor in the breakfast cost into the room rate to offer guests a buffet breakfast in the coffee-shop.
  •  A guest ordering breakfast in the room has to pay for it.
  • It is not unusual to find an electric kettle with sugar sachets, tea bags and coffee powder sachets for the guest to make her/ his tea/coffee to their satisfaction.
  • Tea ordered from Room Service is charged.

 

Type of Guest

Business Hotel- In today’s parlance, a business hotel is typically the city hotel. Meant for the guest travelling on business; the corporate executive. The accent is on speed.  Guests have access to hi-speed internet. With lady executives travelling for work, such hotels, may offer them rooms on a floor only meant for lady guests with lady staff to wait on them. Corporate guests may have a couple of floors dedicated to them offering them the services of exclusive business lounge, small lounges to meet a guest.  Maybe, a library also with valet services. Needless to mention, the guest rooms would be much more spacious than the other rooms. The bathrooms too, shall be luxurious in terms of space, facilities and amenities.  Limousine services, same day laundry, separate elevators and pre-registration formalities are just an indicator of the services offered. Nowadays, the hotel staff checks-in for the guest on departure at the airport for the guest to spend that much time attending to work on hand. The guest on reaching the airport is handed over his boarding card.  Other services these guests enjoy in the rooms may be a giant screen TV and a customized mini-bar.

Convention Hotel- A convention hotel is a huge imposing infrastructure as it is meant to accommodate  2000-3000 guests, normally delegates attending a convention.

More than one plenary hall is there to seat the participants.  Other customized facilities include an office for the hosts, small meeting rooms, very large areas with large desks for registering participants, the dining halls would be huge, with at times a private area for the hosts.  There would be almost 500 rooms in such hotels with twin bedded rooms; the hotel will include the services of audio-video equipment on request. Such hotels are located normally in the city or in the suburbs. Parking space is large to accommodate   the large numbers of cars, mini buses and coaches.  Nowadays, convention hotels are planned & built with the 5 star hotel adjacent to it. If need be, the hotel’s resources of manpower and services can be rushed in a jiffy. Besides, in case of over-booking, delegates can always be accommodated in the hotel.

Conference Hotel- may be termed as a scaled down version of a convention hotel.

 

Luxury Rail Hotel- The first luxury rail hotel would be the Orient Express plying on the London- Venice -London route. Agatha Christie, the iconic crime fiction author is known for her thriller ‘Murder on the Orient Express.’ Passengers are guests with the comforts of a 5 star hotel on board with spacious, luxuriously designed private compartments with attached baths and butler service, dining room, bar et al.

But today luxury on the rails is redefined by the Palace on Wheels train that ferries passengers from Delhi to Agra, Jaipur and other historic places on the golden triangle of Delhi- Agra- Jaipur.

The Palace on Wheels has coaches that once were used by India’s erstwhile Maharajas.   It is booked a year in advance by the foreign tourists. And to believe that these coaches were lying idle. A civil servant on seeing these coaches thought of a Palace on Wheels.   The Indian Railways and the Rajasthan Tourism Corporation operate this luxurious train. Other trains in India are the Deccan Odyssey and the Golden Chariot.

 

Casino Hotel- A casino is a place where gambling is organized for the benefit of patrons. Las Vegas, in America, is the casino capital of the world. People fly there just to gamble. Besides playing poker, blackjack, roulette games there is the chance to make money on the slot machines. The hotels with casinos attached see the guests waking up late as the casinos open in the evening to go on past midnight. The gamblers wanting to maximize their time at the table tend to eat and drink in the casinos at times seated at the table. The rooms are luxuriously designed for the benefit of those who fly in, as they require such luxuries. Casino hotels make huge revenues from the sale of tobacco and alcohol.

Boutique hotel- is a little difficult to explain. It was in the ’80’s this term was used by hotels in London and Paris. It could be a unique theme or a unique selling point of a hotel that it is termed thus. A classic example of a boutique hotel is the Park hotel Anna Salai, Chennai, India. It is built on the grounds where earlier a premier film studio existed. The hotel interiors are thematic with films as the backdrop. Boutique hotels need not be restricted only to cities; resorts may well be boutique properties.

 

Heritage hotel- Any infrastructure or residence built before 1950 is termed as heritage. Reason why residences built before 1950 have been renovated retaining the heritage features to be converted into hotels. The typical guest segment being families, honeymooners and holidaymakers.

Palace hotel- The erstwhile royalty’s residences in India, the palaces needs large resources to maintain. The royalty stripped off their privileges after Independence   did not have the means and resources to do so. Hotel chains sensing an opportunity stepped in. The Rambagh Palace Jaipur, the Lake Palace & Shiv Nivas Udaipur and the Umaid Bhavan Palace are now luxurious hotels. Not only was a niche brand created but in the process, the erstwhile royalty had the satisfaction of seeing their magnificent palaces maintained in addition to be a good source of income. Besides, as a marketing tactic, the hoteliers promised the guests a tea or a dinner with the Maharaja. This gave the Maharaja an opportunity to wear his royal garments once again, with the guests charged a princely sum for the same returning feeling enriched carrying home a photograph posing with the Maharaja. As you must have reasoned out the majority of guests are foreign nationals on a dream holiday travelling usually in groups.

 

Youth hostel- The best example of a youth hostel is the YMCA & the YWCA. Typically, as suggested for youths, hence dormitories and common bathrooms are found with some rooms with attached bathrooms. A common dining hall is there for the three meals.

Length of stay is limited to 3-4 nights.

 

Cruise liner- Imagine you are in a 5 star hotel with an area of 250 meters length and 40 meters breadth with facilities of your room termed as a cabin, with a casino, shops, fitness center, open swimming pool and covered swimming pool, a fine dining room, basketball courts, table tennis facilities, tennis facility, library and all the other services and amenities offered by a 5 star hotel on board a ship, designed for this purpose. Cruise liners offer this luxury all over the world.

House-boats- the house boats in Kerala’s backwaters which ferry the tourist in comfort with accommodation too while experiencing the joy of the different hues of nature,

 

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CHAPTER 3 : TYPES OF ROOMS

A: Single Room –A single room is meant for 1 guest with one large bed.

B: Double Room-A room more spacious than a single room meant for two guests. A double room has one large bed meant for a couple as in husband& wife, while a twin room has the same area of a double room has two separate beds, separated by a ….  Normally meant for two gentlemen, colleagues, for a father and son, or for a mother and her son father and daughter.

C: Twin Room-   a twin room is double room with two separate beds, separated.  Normally meant for two male or two lady colleagues travelling together.  For a father and daughter, or a mother and her son travelling together.

D: Suite- A set of rooms with a sitting room and a master bedroom, very exclusive, in style & decor. Suites have a distinctive theme. A valet attends to the needs of the guest. In some hotels, there is a separate express lift service provided which only ferries the guest in the suite and visitors.

It is important to note that, nowadays, hotels have standardized their rooms, to charge guests on occupancy basis. Hence, the same type of room with one large bed is let out in case of  a single guest or a couple. Twin rooms are maintained with two separate beds.

1.5

CHAPTER 04: TIME SHARE & VACATION OWNERSHIP

 

Condominium- is an accommodation in which an owner of an apartment wants to rents out / leases his apartment, to travellers to the city. Such units are found in an apartment blocks specially designed for this purpose, a caretaker is there to assist the guests. The owner informs the caretaker whenever he should not let out the unit, as per his needs, usually whenever he wants to stay there. All the conveniences are provided. The owner has to pay an annual maintenance fee or the air-conditioning, water and housekeeping services.

 

Time-share hotel- In this concept a unit of accommodation, be it a suite in a resort or a room or a cottage is owned by more than one owner who have invested in it. This unit is rented out as in a hotel. A kitchenette is provided in case the guests want to prepare their own meals with groceries & other essentials available within the complex. Or, there is a dining are for food & beverage. The owners inform the management in advance of their visit for the unit to be blocked. Families on holidays form the typical guest segment along with honeymooners.

CHAPTER 05 : FRONT OFFICE ORGANISATION  

A. Function areas

B. Front office hierarchy

C. Duties and responsibilities D. Personality traits

 

A

Front Office department otherwise known as the Rooms division deals with the reservation, registration and sale of rooms to guests (over the counter) as also billing them for the same. The Front Office department is the first and last point of contact with the guest. It is sub-divided into the ‘Front of the House areas-Lobby and the ‘Back of the House area-   Reservations department& Communications departments.

The Lobby- the area which guests who walk through the main doors find themselves in. They shall be witness to the Duty/ Lobby Manager desk and the Guest Relations Manager desk.

Normally, adjacent to the main doors shall be the Bell Desk manned by the Bell Captain with his team of bell-boys who carry the guest luggage on arrival & departure in addition to running errands for the guests.

The Front Desk- sub-divided into Reception, Registration & Billing would be placed strategically in the lobby, to minimize the guest effort to go there.  Reception, where guest room keys are maintained and messages as well, Registration where the guest registers on arrival for a room and the Billing Section which as implied suggests that guest’s settle their bills there.

 

Back of the house area’- Reservations department. Note it is termed as a department, as it is the hub of the Front Office, where reservations are recorded, entered in the PMS, to be accessed at convenience, easily.

The Communications department with the telephone exchange may be found here in small sized hotels, but in medium and large size hotels, they are housed separately, within the hotel’s back of the house area.

 B

Staff Organization Structure

 

 

 

A Small Hotel :-(( less than 100 rooms)

The Front Office Manager remains the Head of the department, but with a difference. Here, the entire team directly reports to her/him. The team members have to be multi-skilled. Typically, the tam would comprise of the Reservation Clerk cum Secretary,   Front Office Clerks, Front Office Cashiers and Telephone Operators.  Among the Front Office Clerks, the three best or those with more number of years of service are designated Shift Supervisors.  In the absence of the Reservation clerk, the other Clerks take over. The Clerks are also adept at taking over the role of the telephone operators and Cashier, if need be.

 

 

A Medium Hotel-: (100-300 rooms)

If you compare the organization structures of a medium and small hotel, you will notice in a medium size hotel, there is an introduction of specialists. For example: Guest Relations Assistants, Lobby Managers.

 

A Large Hotel: (300-600 rooms)

The Rooms Division   is headed by an Accommodation Director overseeing both Front Office and House Keeping Departments. The Front Office Manager, The Chief Engineer and the Executive Housekeeper report to him.

The Lobby Managers report to the Front Office Manager, who in turn has a team of Front Office Supervisors with their team of Front Office Clerks (Receptionists, Reservations staff etc), Front Office Cashiers, the Guest Relations Executive and the Bell Captain with his Bell boys. A unique aspect of the large hotel is that the Health Club Manager and the Business Centre Head report to the Front Office Manager.

In a large hotel, in addition, to all the Heads of their teams reporting to the Front Office Manager, there is also, a Laundry Manager and a Linen Room supervisor who report to the Housekeeper.

C

Duties & Responsibilities:

 

 Front Office Manager

 

a) Prepare and monitor the department budget.

b) As the Head of Department, is the leader of his team

c) Conduct regular department meetings.

d) List the VIP’s in the day’s arrival and keeps all informed in the morning HOD’s meeting.

e) Join hands with the Sales Manager to make sales calls to business generating & potential business generating corporate companies. Maintain a good personal rapport with the leading travel agents& tour operators.

f) Whenever possible, interact with guests.

g) Take a look of the duty roster, assist his deputy, if need be.

h) Ensure all his team members are appraised annually.

h) Try to ensure all OOO/ Red slip rooms are made available for sale by Maintenance & Housekeeping.

 

i) At times, step in to resolve guest complaints& follow-up till the complaint is solved to the guest’s satisfaction.

 

j) Use yield management to maximize room revenue.

 

 Assistant   Manager-

 

a) Is in charge in the absence of the Front Office Manager.

b) Ensures the monitoring of the weekly roster in coordination with the Front Office Manager. As also, the authority to sanction leave & schedule the shift for each member.

c) Has to conduct daily briefing of the team members.

d) Attend & resolve guest complaints to the guest’s satisfaction. Ensure she/he manages this satisfactorily without involving Front Office Manager.

e) Monitor the rooms position tallying with the daily arrivals & departures.

f) Ensure, his team members keep their area neat& tidy with everything in order.

g) Always without being intrusive, monitor the front office operations quality, speed and diligence to the SOP’s.

h) Conduct regular training & development sessions.

i) Meet, greet & interact with as many guests as possible, specifically, the VIP guests.

j Appraisal of the staff’s performance and keep the Front Office Manager informed.

k) Step in to coordinate with his counterparts in the related departments.

l) Up sell and upgrade guests.

 

Front Office Supervisor

 

a) Ensure the staff on his shift maintain punctuality, grooming and other standards laid down.

b) Take over from the previous shift supervisor.

c) Allot tasks & responsibilities to his team members.

d) Brief staff before every shift.

e) Ensure the log book is maintained scrupulously.

f) Assist the Assistant Manager& Guest Relations Executive in welcoming the VIP guests.

g) Allot room numbers to the arrivals of the day after checking the Arrival & Departure list.

h) Coordinate with Housekeeping department, primarily, for releasing ‘dirty’ rooms to rooms for sale.

i) Preparing the daily statistics.

 

Guest Relations Executive

a)  Try to greet and interact with every guest on arrival & departure. Has to   greet and welcome the VIP guests.

b) Maintain guest history cards.

c)  Escort the VIP guests to the room.

d)  As they are trained in the duties & responsibilities of a Front Office clerk, they step in when there is an exigency.

e)  Check the day’s arrival & departure list to know of VIP arrivals & departures.

 

 

Bell Captain

–     a) Monitor and supervise the movements & activities of the Bell boys with the Bell boy errand card and Bell boy control sheet.

b) Prepare the daily roster for a week.  In coordination with the Assistant Manager sanction leave for the Bell boys.

c)  Ensure guest luggage is reached to the room by the bell boy on arrival, and on departure, ensure the guest luggage is placed in the vehicle.

d) Manage and maintain the baggage check room.

f)   Train lobby attendants to maximize departmental efficiency.

g) Organize and supervise check in/out baggage formalities of groups, crews etc.

h)  Control the sale of postage stamps and stationery to guests.

h) Maintain record of all guests with “scanty baggage” and inform assistant manager.

i) Conduct daily briefing of bell boys.

J) Co-ordinate and control the distribution of morning newspapers.

k) Supervise the storage & handing over of OTC medicines.

 

 

Front Office Clerks (Receptionists)

 

a) Be punctual and well groomed. Attend all briefings.

c)  Greet the guest warmly on arrival.

d Assist the guest to register or check-out as the need be.

e) Check the Daily Arrival & Departure list.

f) Keep the Guest Registration Cards pre-printed for the day.

g) Follow SOP’s on guest arrival of coordinating with other departments.

h) Likewise, on guest departure.

i) Assist the Shift Supervisor in carrying out tasks.

j) Assist the guest in request.

j) Coordinate with room availability position, monitoring it &Housekeeping to know of dirty rooms made available for sale. Likewise inform them on departures.

k) Maintain monitor & update room availability position.

l) Should be well-versed in taking down reservations/ amendments/ cancellations.

m)  Should practise the art of up-selling.

 

 

Reservation Clerk

 

a)  Manage all reservation requests with courtesy.

b) Be punctual & well groomed.

 

c) Up-date the reservation register/records in order to have updated      inventory of room availability.

d) Type out advance reservation slips and maintain reservation racks and correspondence files and in case of computers, update information in computers.

e) Carry out amendments and cancellations intelligently and accurately.

–            f) Keep availability status chart updated.

–            Display reservation position on “Flash Board”.

–            Check on reservation stationery and keep a satisfactory par stock of the same.

 

 

 

 

 

Personality traits of a Good Front Office Employee

1.  A warm personality.

2.  A keen interest to interact with people.

3. Grace. As courage is defined as grace under pressure.

4. A proclivity to assist.

5. Listening skills. Remember there is a world of difference between hearing & listening.

6 The art of coordinating with all the internal customers.

7.  Stamina to work long demanding hours, often on your feet.

8. Standing behind front desk and meeting any of the dozens of problems that arise in a hotel requires a reserve of energy.

9. Pleasing features.

10. The smile which should reflect in your eyes.

11.  Be able to report to more than one supervisor.

12.  Grooming and personal hygiene.

 

 

1.7 CHAPTER 06: HOTEL ENTRANCE, LOBBY AND FRONT OFFICE 

A. Layout

B. Front office equipment (non automated, semi automated and automated)

 

A

Layout- of a typical Front Office Department

 

 

Front Office department otherwise known as the Rooms division deals with the reservation, registration and sale of rooms to guests (over the counter) as also billing them for the same. The Front Office department is the first and last point of contact with the guest. It is sub-divided into the ‘Front of the House areas-Lobby and the ‘Back of the House area-   Reservations department& Communications departments.

The Lobby- the area which guests who walk through the main doors find themselves in. They shall be witness to the Duty/ Lobby Manager desk and the Guest Relations Manager desk.

Normally, adjacent to the main doors shall be the Bell Desk manned by the Bell Captain with his team of bell-boys who carry the guest luggage on arrival & departure in addition to running errands for the guests.

The Front Desk- sub-divided into Reception, Registration & Billing would be placed strategically in the lobby, to minimize the guest effort to go there.  Reception, where guest room keys are maintained and messages as well, Registration where the guest registers on arrival for a room and the Billing Section which as implied suggests that guest’s settle their bills there.

 

Back of the house area’- Reservations department. Note it is termed as a department, as it is the hub of the Front Office, where reservations are recorded, entered in the PMS, to be accessed at convenience, easily. The Front Office Manager’s Cabin is normally next to the Reservations Department.

The Communications department with the telephone exchange may be found here in small sized hotels, but in medium and large size hotels, they are housed separately, within the hotel’s back of the house area.

 

 B   Front office equipment (non automated, semi automated and automated)

The Front Office equipment varies  in each system:

Non- Automated system- The manual system for small hotels. It had the Diary System of booking. Each page dedicated for that day. All arrivals& Departures were noted in that. It was bulky, cumbersome and only one person could use it at a time. Became messy with use. As hotels started becoming bigger, it was outdated.

Semi- Automated system- In 1940, the Whitney Duplicating& Check Company, New York rose to the occasion. They innovated the Whitney System.

Metal racks with metal carriers in it to hold the Whitney slips/ Shannon slips. The slips contained details of the guest reservation, which was transferred from the Reservation Form. There was a ‘check& balance’ system in place. The Reservation forms were filed in alphabetical order in files; each dedicated to a particular date of arrival.  For the fortnight, there would be racks hung on the wall each with the date of arrival with the following day’s first in place and succeeding days of the month. For, the next month on wards,the slips of the entire month would be in one rack and likewise, yet segregated date-wise and within them alphabetically. The Advance Letting Chart was used to plot bookings. With every reservation/ amendment/cancellation, it was updated. At one glance, one could know the room reservations status of the day.

In the late afternoon, the Reservations staff would prepare the Guest Arrival List for the following day after  re-checking each slip’s details with the reservation form.

They would handover the day’s reservation rack, Arrival list and Reservation forms file to the Reception.Then, move the reservation racks to replace accordingly to fill up the vacant space. The next evening, the Reception staff would hand over the reservation rack, reservation folder and Arrival list. The latter was filed. The rack would be put to use. The reservation slips were  attached  to the Reservation form.

While the slips maintained by Reservations had details of guest name, arrival& departure dates, mode of arrival& timing, segment, type of room booked for and payment details and booked by etc. The slips with in the Reception would have all these details but with room number.  But regardless, of the place, slips were striped with different colors to indicate the segments- FIT, Company guaranteed rate, group etc.

The  Reception desk would have two two racks depending on the number of rooms. One rack as per room number, the other maintained in alphabetical order. This to track a guest either alphabetically or room number wise. The ‘check& balance system.’  After the the guest registered by filling in the Guest Registration Card, the Reception staff  entered the details on Whitney slips. The  Front Office Cashier made his own slip from the  details on the GRC  which would be clipped to the Guest folio handed over from Reception. The Housekeeping & Room Service likewise made their own slips on information from the Reception.

The semi-automation element in this system was the typing of the guest details on the slips and the daily arrivals list. It started off with the manual typewriter, to graduate to an electronic typewriter.

The Front Office Cashier used an NCR  billing machine.

Automated system- With hotels getting bigger& bigger, the Whitney system too, could not meet the requirements. Technology in the form of computers started getting used.  Minimum paper-work  required- For example- the Guest Registration Card. The Property Management Systems had formats designed. All that the staff had to do was to enter in the details as per the fields. Initially, it started off as individual systems. Then the networking within the hotel of all systems. Graduating to what we see today networking to a global level with the Central Reservation System.

But, technology, is dynamic. In The USA and in some countries in the Middle East, the guest would find no human element welcoming him  on arrival. Instead he would have to step into a kiosk for registration, to enter the automatically generated code, or his passport details as per the PMS, in the computer.  He receives his computer generated key and directions to his room, to carry his luggage to the room.

CHAPTER 7 : BELL DESK

 

A. Functions

B. Procedures and records

 

A  Functions of Bell Desk

 

The functions of the Bell Deck are manifold as they are the ‘eyes and ears’ of the Front Office Deportment.

On Arrival

The bell boy on the guest arrival carries the guest baggage to the Registration Desk. He informs, the Bell Captain in case, the guest is a ‘Scanty Baggage; Guest. An experienced bell boy can size up a guest by attending to his baggage.

He carries the baggage to the guest room after registration. En-route, He brief’s he guest on the restaurants & their specialities, as well as the other facilities.

On reaching the room, he will open the door to enter first switch on the Air Conditioning and the lights. Place the baggage on the luggage rack. Then, familiarize the guest with the room and its conveniences, the master switch, the bedside reading lamp switch, the TV  remote control functioning, the Air-conditioning remote functioning etc.

Then leave seeking the guest’s consent, to report to the Bell Desk.

On Departure

The bell- boy , when summoned to the room shall pick up the luggage, take a quick look in the room to check if any items are missing such as Air-conditioning remote, TV remote  etc.

Allow the guest, to leave the room first, switch off the main switch close the door, retain the room keys, if need be, escort the guest to the Billing desk. He shall hand over the room key to the Information desk and proceed to place the guest luggage at the Bell Desk. Then, after billing formalities are over, see the guest off, and placing his luggage in the vehicle.

Return, to the Bell Desk.

 

During Guest Stay

Run errands for the guest. Reach him OTC medicines if need be.

B Procedures and Records

 Procedures covered in the Functions section.

Records maintained are the Bell Boy Errand Cards, Bell Boy Movement Control Record in every shift.

The Scanty Baggage Guest record is maintained.

The Skipper guest record is maintained.

Postage stamps and OTC  medicines record is maintained.

Left Luggage record is maintained.

Record of Luggage and parcels for guests to check-in is also maintained.

 

 

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