Role of the Front Office in Interdepartmental Communications

Role of the Front Office in Interdepartmental Communications
The front office plays a major role in delivering hospitality to guests. It sets the stage for a pleasant or an unpleasant visit. The front office communicate guest’s requirement to other departments, which work in close coordination and cooperation to deliver required product and services. In order to maintain the desired level of service, the front office department communicate with the following department of the hotel:

1.   Marketing and Sales Department
The Front office department coordinates with the Marketing and Sales Department for the following information:
·         Guest Histories
·         Room Reservation Record
·         Current Room Availability status
·         Group, Corporate and crew booking
·         Setting the Transient and bulk room sales
Ø  The front office must take every effort to keep the information on room availability status and guest histories current and accurate.
Ø  The sales and marketing executive needs info on room availability to know what rooms to sell in future to design marketing strategies for off season.
Ø  Sales and marketing needs info on guest types/ origins to develop marketing strategy and target key guest segments
Ø  Sales needs FO support in selling rooms, facilities and services
Ø  FO needs info on special promotions (e.g. special rates and inclusions); campaigns (to anticipate increased demand); etc

2.   Housekeeping Department
Housekeeping and the front office communicate about housekeeping room status, the report on the availability of the rooms for immediate guest occupancy. Housekeeping room status can be described in the following communication terms:
·         Available Clean, or Ready: room is ready to be occupied
·         Occupied: guest or guests are already occupying a room
·         Stay over: guest will not be checking out of a room on the current day
·         Dirty or On-Change: guest has checked out of the room, but the housekeeping staff has not released the room for occupancy
·         Out-of-Order: room is not available for occupancy because of a mechanical malfunction
Housekeeping and the front office also communicate on the details of potential house count (a report of the number of guests registered in the hotel), security concerns, and requests for amenities (personal toiletry items such as shampoo, toothpaste, and mouthwash; electrical equipment). These issues are of immediate concern to the guest as well as to supervisors in the hotel.
3.   Food and Beverage Department
The Front Office department coordinates with the food and beverage department for the following information:
·         Arrival and departure of guests
·         Setting up bar in VIP rooms
·         Special arrangement like cookies, fruit basket, and assorted dry fruits
·         In house and expected VIP’s and corporate guest
·         In house and expected groups
·         In house and expected crews
·         The scanty baggage in house guests, all points of sale are notified to receive all payment in cash from these guests.
·         Groups and guests with booking of specific meal plan
4.   Maintenance or Engineering Department

·         The maintenance or engineering department and front office communicate on room status and requests for maintenance service.
·         Front office informs the maintenance department of any work required in guest room.
·         Maintenance employees must know the occupancy status of a room before attending to plumbing, heating, or air-conditioning problems. If the room is reserved, the two departments work out a time frame so the guest can enter the room on arrival or be assigned to another room.

5.   Security Department

·         Communications between the security department and the front office are important in providing hospitality to the guest.
·         These departments work together closely in maintaining guest security. Fire safety measures and emergency communication systems as well as procedures for routine investigation of guest security concerns require the cooperation of these departments.

6.   Banquet Department

·         The banquet department, which often combines the functions of marketing and sales department and a food and beverage department, requires the front office to relay information to guests about scheduled events and bill payment.
·         The front desk staff may also provide labour to prepare the daily announcement board, an inside listing of the daily activities of the hotel (time, group, and room assignment), and marquee, the curb side message board, which includes the logo of the hotel and space for a message.
·         The majority of banquet guests may not be registered guests in the hotel, the front office is a logical communications center.
·         The person responsible for paying the bills for a special event will also find his or her way to the front office to settle the city ledger accounts. If the banquet captain is not available to personally present the bill for the function, the front desk clerk should be informed about the specifics of food and beverage charges, gratuities, rental charges, method of payment, and the like.

7.   Controller
·         The Front desk provides a daily summary of the financial transaction after night auditing to the finance controller.
·         The information by the front desk helps the finance controller to make budgets and to allocate resources for the current financial period.
·         Front desk provides the controller the financial data for bilind and maintenance the credit card ledger.

8.   Human Resources Management Department

·         The human resources management department may rely on the front office staff to act as an initial point of contact for potential employees in all departments. It may even ask the front office to screen job candidates. If so, guidelines for and training in screening methods must be provided.
·         Some directors of human resources management depend on the front office to distribute application forms and other personnel-related information to job applicants. The potential employee may ask for directions to the personnel office at the front desk.
·         The human resources management department may also develop guidelines for the front desk clerk to use in initially screening candidates. These guidelines may include concerns about personal hygiene, completion of an application, education requirements, experience, and citizenship status. This information helps the executives in the human resources management department interview potential job candidates.

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