front office manager hotel

Hotel front desk management: leverage system software in operation

To prepare for the extreme revival of hospitality, getting smooth hotel front desk software solves the delay in peak season and brings more revenue.

Many people believe that front desk hotel refers to the hotel business face, which heavily influences the visitors’ perception regarding hotel services. Accordingly, the hotel front desk department plays a crucial role, which deciding the guest experience and the retention rate for hotels.

Thanks to the advancement in mobile and location, software development solutions are commonly used in hotel front desks to accelerate the operation and productivity of the hotel process. Besides, adopting a suitable hotel front desk software promises higher efficiency and then higher profit to hotel owners.

In this article, we will reveal the concept of effective hotel front desk management as well as the influence of IT innovation in the operation.

Hotel front desk management in the context of digitalization

From the context of hotel management, the front desk or front office department impose the first impression of hotel guest. The front desk staff is the first one interacting with the customers after they walk into the hotel. They are in charge of handling requests and collecting information about guests. In other words, the operation of the front desk office will decide the first impression of hotel services. During peak season, the hotel front desk would be vulnerable to delay or overload.

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Hotel front office

The hotel front desk management means far from the receptionist solely of guest arrival. In the front desk department, the staff is responsible for taking care of a significant part of the guest cycle. Additionally, they would be divided into key tasks:

Tasks Description
Request handling Communication with guests to collect and process the booking request
Accommodation availability check For hotels executing online booking on multi-platforms, hotel front desk staff take charge of updating room availability on a real-time basis to deter over-book.
Guest registration Collect and update guest details and update to the central system
Account creating Create a new account for guests in the accounting system to manage payment and invoice
Room key management In terms of digital or biometric locks, the hotel front office has to issue them to the guest. Also, they have to keep an eye on privacy and security.
Payment receipt Managing guest checks out and updating payment into the accounting system.

The role of hotel front office in hotel management

As mentioned above, the operation of the hotel front office closely depends on the guest cycle. Generally, a typical hotel guest cycle is indicated by four core stages. Each stage has noticed the contribution of the front office manager hotel to forming visitor journeys.

  1. The Pre-arrival stage specifies the period before guests arriving the property. In which, it is time for visitors to plan their trips with hotel accommodation research and booking. In this stage, the online performance of hotel presence such as a website, booking engines, and review sites, proves its importance for guest booking decisions. You can wonder this stage have no appearance of hotel front office. However, guest impression and experience of the previous guest with the hotel front office profoundly affect the hotel’s online presence as hotel front desk management is the face of the whole business.
  2. The Arrival stage showed the significant role of the hotel front office, welcoming guests at the reception desk. For visitors, who have already booked rooms, the hotel front office staff are only asked to fill in personal information before handing over the Room key and Registration card. Besides, the hotel front office would hand over the guest details into the hotel database for storing and analyzing purposes.
  3. The occupancy period implies a perfect time for the hotel front desk to offer additional services and support. They are currency exchange, telephones, guest account management, and transport support. Also, the hotel front office clerk has to handle any issue that occurred during the stay, especially the pivotal services. In other words, during occupancy, the hotel front desk plays a connection role among guests and all hotel services.
  4. The departure stage, payment, and billing would be the primary concern of the hotel front office. During the guest departure time, front desk staff would offer a check-out process and also handle luggage.
front office software used in hotels

Hotel front desk software

Due to the enormous task processing by the hotel front office, it is necessary to apply the power of IT innovation to reduce human tasks. In this way, hotel front desk software was born to enhance the optimization of hospitality services.

Front office software used in hotels

Time-saving and human error elimination refer to the initial purpose of using front-office software. The rapid development of hospitality software development empowers hotel front office management with a hand of automation and accuracy.

In the past, long-time check-in counter made guests unsatisfied in the peak season. Today, mobile check-in, self-service check-in, or another type of automated check-in feature in front desk software reduces the wait time to zero. According to a survey done in hospitality in the US, Zero-wait check-in raises 50% of customer satisfaction. Check-in refers to an influential process in the hotel industry and never be a complete replacement. It helps hotel managers control the properties and guest identities for security purposes.

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Due to the responsibility of connecting guests and other parts of hotel operation, the communication issue of front desk management also challenges hotel managers. In this case, hotel front desk software is used as an efficient solution to decentralize control of multi-channel bookings, arrival and departure reception services. With the custom software development solution, front desk staff only needs to work with a single system to synchronize all necessary forms and information. Accordingly, it enables effective communication and smooth collaboration among all departments in the hotel.

Additionally, hotel front desk software supports staff for performing multitasks to reduce errors in stressful moments. Killing long process of traditional hotel front desk task, staff only need a feal click to solve most guest requirement, when all the history have been stored automatically. Accordingly, software solutions used in the hotel front office tend to be a primary application currently. It breaks through the next level in hospitality services.

Hotel front desk system: key functionalities and features

In terms of system functions, hotel front desk software offers a wide range of features assisting the operation. We will divide pivotal features based on the guest cycle.

Pre-arrival: 
1.     Room availability check  
2.     Booking reservation 
3.     Booking confirmation  
4.     Delay confirmation  
5.     Pre-arrival notification by SMS, email, and app push-notification  
6.     Waitlist update and maintenance  
7.     Hand over to-do list before departure  
8.     Housekeeping report 
Arrival: 
1. Access booking in the system  
2. Guest booking update 
3. Payment processing  
4. Receipts and billing generator 
5. Room key and reception card issue  
6. Self-services check-ins 
Occupancy: 
1.  Hotel communication  
2.  Add-on request receipt  
3. Apply travel ancillary fee and cost  
4. Housekeeping services check  
5. Additional services management 
Departure: 
1.  Account balance check  
2. Additional expense payment receipt  
3. Booking close  
4. Status updating  
5.  After-stay communication  
6. Review processing 

Types of front office systems

Today, hotel businesses have a high incentive to use an all-in-one front office system that covers all the functionalities. However, each hotel needs custom system types, fitting its operation demand. A whole system can be divided into various single systems supporting specific tasks.

  1. Hotel point of sale (POS): it applies for automatically managing guest expenses during their stay. The hotel could register a guest with a POS account, which allows them to make requirements right in the system.
  2. Self-service kiosks check-in: Without Wasting a long time for human receptionists, guests could use self-services check-in for having their reservation room. Self-service kiosks check-in are commonly set up in the reception area. All guest data will be directly driven into the central system for management purpose
  3. Mobile check-in: Similar to self-services kiosk check-in, mobile check-in allows guests to process check-in right on their phones.
  4. Digital key and card issuing tools help front desk staff go out of the storing problem of physical keys. Instead of classifying the appropriate key for the right room, the digital tool allows issuing a new key and card immediately at the reception desk.
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How does Hotel front desk software boost the hotel operation?

Obviously, hotel front desk software highlights productivity and efficiency in the operation context. In the business context, adopting a front desk software development create more profit than we can imagine. Especially in the era of data and big data, besides hotel revenue, one of the priceless assets of hotels tends to be guest data. It can be the root of feature development.

Digital guest insight ready to use

Like other service businesses, the success of the hospitality industry depends on customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, guest experience or guest satisfaction would be an ambiguous concept without tools for analyzing their instant feeling. Customers have less incentive to reveal their flavors, including cuisine favor, health notices, favorite colors, extra pillow, or other non-critical information irrelated to the check-in detail.

By the traditional method, understanding your hotel guest was seemingly impossible, and it posed a threat in the process of hotel services improvement. Hotel front desk software, on the other hand, indicates an evolution for guest insight analytic. It changes the way hotel businesses explore customer behavior. Previous record stored insight databased can become valuable evidence for predicting guest action. Accordingly, you could handily offer tailor-made services suitable for each particular customer to maximize his/her experiences.

One of the amazing applications belonging to innovative front desk software is the ability to predict issues even when it has not happened. The typical case in the real world could be predicted overload and enable overbooking. If you can foresee the booking cancel rate more accurately, you can allow overbooking, which accepts the number of bookings over the full hotel capacity to maximize the room usage.

Accelerate workflow by task prioritize feature

hotel front desk staff might get stuck with task orders in a stressful moment. At that time, they suffer trouble determining what work has to be done first. Especially in a hotel chain where all processes need the standardized and speed must be the key in operation, delaying in the front desk process induce enormous problem damaging the whole hotel reservation system.

Custom front desk software developed to fit with the natural operation of each hotel would be the critical solution to solve the above problem. Technology in front office management will let you know precisely what task to be done right now and what should be in a queue. Leveraging the authorism, task priority suggestions could be improved steadily based on real-world cases.

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Custom suggestion features for training

the hotel front desk also gives tools for not only the customer side but also internal staff training. Since all the performance can be recorded in numbers to assess staff soft skills like time management, communication, and problem-solving, front desk software could be used as a source of training lesions.

Based on records, the front office manager hotel could optimize the procedure documentation for applications in operation. Instead of the high cost of hiring a professional trainer with the risk of a business secret leak, all training processes currently can be done with in-house staffs

Adding automation in hotel front desk management

With the contribution of self-service receptions for hotels, you can lower the waiting time by leveraging the power of automation. In the past, communication via SMS or email for each order needs to process manually. Today, staff do it in one click. Notify email, pre-departure booking document, and more, would be automatically sent to guests’ email addresses right after booking is confirmed. All the task has been done in the system without staff keeping an eye on each case.

The major application for hotel automation in front desk performance is payment. The front desk accounting tool assured the accuracy of any transaction. That also offers a high level of payment security, protecting guest privacy. Accordingly, hotel staff has more time to do more complicated tasks, such as serving customers.

In conclusion, hotel front desk management refers to the key to proving the hotel service quality to guests, which highly influences the experiences of hotel visitors. Along with the innovation of the hotel industry, front desk software solutions are commonly used to replace human tasks, which deter errors for better guest satisfaction. For not lagging behind, hotel businesses have to keep up with the trend to survive and grow.

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