Over the years, the hospitality industry has become profitable compared to other industries. The hotel industry falls under a type of industry which provides direct service to their guests without any interruption from any third party. And the hotel front office is the only place where guests will come first after they enter the hotel, confirm the booking and solve all types of queries.
Usually, guests get this first-hand service only from the hotel front office along with a happy face. But behind the happy face of a hotelier has to deal with different difficult situations with the utmost calm mind.
However, this blog will open up the ideal situation of a hotel front office problems and solutions. And how to tactfully handle them with different hotel operation strategic plans.
Imagine you just step inside the hotel property and a warm, welcoming approach from everybody. One/two waiters will come towards you and free your tired shoulder by taking over your heavy-weighted luggage.
And as you start walking towards the hotel front desk, a cold breezy air will come onto your face and with great hospitality & patience, the hotel front officer will answer/solve all your queries.
Generally, a hotel is where you’ll get all sorts of accommodation services in exchange for a good amount of money.
"You Never Get A Second Chance To Make The First Impression,”
–Andrew Grant, British Writer
As soon as a guest enters the hotel, for hoteliers, it is the only first chance to impress the guest, and they know very well that he/she is never gonna get a second chance to impress them.
Usually, hoteliers use elements such as extravagant hotel interiors (just after their entrance), ambience (soft lighting & peaceful music), and helpful hotel front desk representatives to impress them.
But, it is the hotel receptionist’s responsibility to share all the important details about facilities & convenience available in the hotel, for instance, breakfast buffet, swimming pool, social check-in discount, restaurants, private bar, transportation service, room service, wifi password, spa and many more.
“Front desk officer is also called a hotel representative & a guest relation officer”
The hotel front desk is the first and foremost place where a guest will come as soon as he/she crosses the front door. “Hotel front desk” is a place where two dedicated hotel front desk representatives are assigned to help the hotel guest from check-in to check-out and also the first who will handle the guest.
Moreover, hotel front desk representatives are the one who is responsible for greeting the guests with a smile, welcoming them in accordance with the hotel standard, communicating with their preferable language, verifying their booking details, making them aware of the mode of payment, offering them a glimpse of the room, confirm the booking and assure a great a stay.
Additionally, a front desk officer also plays the role of a guest relation officer. A front desk representative also handles & controls all the challenging problems and arranges real-time solutions for the in-house guests. In short, ensure all the in-house guests have a pleasant stay and gain a wonderful experience.
I know most of the pissed-off hotel guests think, "A hotel front desk officer doesn't do anything, just sit around and converse with unnecessary purpose".
But unfortunately, you're wrong because the hotel front office is the only designated place where every guest comes in the first place whenever they face a problem or confusion.
But, before complaining, "have you ever thought about the job responsibilities of a hotel front officer?" below, I'll share the job responsibilities of a hotel desk officer:
It's very obvious that behind the gleaming-ness of a hotel, a hotel manager, guest relation officer, and the hotel front desk receptionist have to go through a lot of challenges to handle and maintain the guest experience.
Every day hoteliers have to deal with new challenges, and by following predefined standard operating procedure (SOP), they have to present a real-time solution to the guest. Among the ample number of challenges faced by the front office, I've jotted down 5 common front desk issues.
Indeed, no matter how messy the hotel front desk is, a hotelier doesn't expose them to their potential guests. But honestly, the hotel front desk office is one messy place because this is the place where a hotelier:
Maintaining a chronology to answer all the guest queries and solve the in-house guest issues is very difficult. And that's the part which every hotel front desk representative must cope with and keep the front desk crowd-free.
It's not that a hotel front desk receptionist intentionally piled & messed up the task or kept the guest waiting; nonetheless, the hotel front desk scenarios become so hectic that they sometimes fall into huge dilemmas, which to solve and prioritize first.
Suppose I may share the solution to this chaotic situation of hotel front desk scenarios. I suggest the hotel manager keep 2 to 3 hotel receptionists at the front desk. Each will be assigned to do individual tasks, and for better management of your hotel, you can adopt an efficient hotel management software.
Certainly a hotel management software, not only makes your management easy but also efficient in multitasking, along with dealing with multiple guests at a time.
One of the common front desk issues is facing guests with confused or unconfirmed hotel reservations. Usually, there are multiple mode open for the customer to reserve their desired hotel, for instance:
It's very natural that users might get puzzled while booking their desired hotel, and it's the front desk receptionist's responsibility to untangle the reservation confusion and correct the bed type, room preference, view preference or floor.
This confusion with the reservation schedule can be solved just by making your hotel website user-friendly or sending a confirmation mail as soon as the customer confirms with payment.
Honestly, it would be a foolish mistake if any hotel manager assigned any junior or any intern as a hotel front desk office receptionist. Since the hotel front desk is a crucial department where all new guests and in-house guests clear all their queries and, in return, expect an immediate reply.
Hence, if your hotel appoints an unskilled and non-knowledgeable hotel receptionist, then the hotel has to face terrible consequences.
For instance, not only hotel receptionists won't be able to not answer queries instantly, but they also won't have any clue what action to take in any odd circumstance, which might result in huge dissatisfaction for hotel guests.
Hence, the best solution for such problems is to train all the hotel staff once hired. Build a separate department for training the hotel staff, which should be both on-job and off-the-job.
After they are properly trained, deploy them to the hotel property under the "provisionary position" and also evaluate the performance monthly. Because, in the hospitality industry, only appropriate customer service can satisfy your hotel guest.
Tackling and solving different housekeeping issues is the most difficult part of hotel management. Since, day or night, if anything goes wrong in the room, the first thing a guest does is either directly come or call the hotel receptionist to complain.
The hotel receptionists are also responsible for communicating, coordinating, addressing and solving all the comments, queries and complaints regarding housekeeping issues.
For in-house guests, hotel front desk associates are the first person, or you can say, an open desk, to contact and get any type of explanation or solution of any kind of inconvenience while staying in the hotel property.
The appropriate solution for tackling housekeeping service is that as soon as any complaint arrives to the hotel receptionist, he/she has to take immediate personalized service.
In addition, to solve this kind of housekeeping issue, a hotelier can share all the important and necessary information, such as in-house restaurants, lounges, fitness centers, spas, swimming pools, retail shops, and other hotel amenities, just after hotel associates hand over the room keys.
As mentioned above, the hotel front desk receptionist manages guests starting from check-in to check-out. And briefing hotel guests about the expenses, for instance, food bills, resort charges, local tax, vehicle cost, and other due expenses, is the most difficult task.
A hotel front desk associate has to explain the list of bills, answer all guest queries, and mention the discount available for the guest.
The best solution to deal with these complicated billing queries is to provide them with a heads-up about expenses they made or record the date and time of the purchase. And while checking out, with the utmost calming mind, explain all the charges and bills to them.
Above sections, I have discussed the hotel front office problem and solutions, but how do you improve front desk customer service?
As a hotel entrepreneur, you should know facing new & complicated problems is a daily task for hotel managers and front desk representatives. Hence, both the hotel manager & hotel receptionist should be well-trained, knowledgeable, and proactive to handle any situation with utmost calmness.
Therefore, it’s best to develop some permanent solutions to improve the front desk customer service because this improvement will also help you shape up your hotel reputation and goodwill.
Honestly, it's very difficult to track the likes and dislikes of the guest's choice unless he/she is a celebrity or any popular figure. Since every individual guest demands for individual customer service from the hotelier.
But that's the game plan, man !!, as a hotelier, you have to find out and win the loyalty for life. Besides, it also helps you to provide your guests with personalized service along with standing out from the competition.
To accomplish that, you can provide a "QNA form" to trace down their preference during the checking-in procedure. For instance
Training is absolutely necessary to bring improvement not only in the staff employment but also helps them to enhance the customer service quality.
Arranging a regular hotel training program with some curriculum, such as time management, customer communication, and hospitality training.
Hence, it helps empower the hotel staff to take any decision confidently. To improve hotel management, the hotel manager can keep a hotel operation manual, using which front desk staff can make decisions without blunder.
It's kind of obvious that guests staying in the hotel migrate from another place and expect to enjoy the locality of that place. Since the guest doesn't have any idea about the local food, place, transportation fare, geographical location, shops etc.
Thus, it's very much needed for hotel front desk receptionists to be knowledgeable about the local area so that their guests don't have bad experiences or get into any sort of bad trap.
Therefore, a hotel front desk officer also has to play the role of a tourist guide, featuring popular tourist places, restaurants, markets and many more.
Playing as a tourist guide for your hotel guest might give them an unconscious satisfaction of safety in an unknown place.
In this modern generation, it’s become kind of mandatory to modernize the hotel property too.
Hence, to modernize your hotel management system, you can adopt hotel management software because it makes the whole hotel operation easy and effective such as reservation system, room management system, customer management system, user billing system, human resource management and account management system.
At the end of my blog, I just wanna say a hotel front desk representative has lots of duties and responsibilities to fulfill and, at the same time, maintain the hotel's brand value & hold up the expectation of guests.
It's kind of a daily task for a hotel front receptionist to deal with new challenges and manage an instant solution according to guest satisfaction. It's solely the hotel front desk officer's responsibility to hold up the hotel standard and brand value to potential and in-house guests.