Booking rooms, answering questions, helping general hotel operations stay on track—the front desk is vital to your hotel. Keeping it running smoothly, however, is no easy task.
The front desk is a crucial point of contact for guests. It’s where you can make a lasting impression, and it’s one of your top opportunities for differentiating yourself from the competition. To ensure your front desk remains a picture of reliable, tailored service, consider the following four tips.
Leverage Your Property Management System
This is the command centre of your bookings. The right system will ensure your bookings appear in real-time, whether they’re made online or with agents over the phone.
The property management system (PMS) can also collect data on customers’ preferences or habits over time. With a PMS, your front desk can pull up a wealth of helpful information related to a guest’s reservation, their preferences, and your hotel’s room capacity. You can make notes about upgrades, requests, special occasions, allergies and other special details.
This service will help make the guest’s experience more personalized, while also giving staff the information they need to adjust or change a reservation immediately.
Empower Your Staff
Front desk staff should have all the elements they need to do their job effectively. This includes sufficient training so that they can answer every question a guest might ask or direct them to the right person if they can’t.
Because your hotel management system can give your front desk staff plenty of information related to a customer’s preferences, history, and current booking, give them expanded responsibilities to change or enhance that guest’s booking—responsibilities that might once have resided only with senior staff. For example, allow a front desk agent to change a guest’s reservations or upgrade them if the right parameters are met. This will greatly speed up each interaction while freeing up management to work on strategic tasks.
Create a Plan B for Busy Times
Don’t make guests wait. Build flexibility into your operations in order to keep your guests happy and your business running efficiently.
Ensure that you have enough staff to handle arrival and departure traffic, as well as ad-hoc requests. If a line becomes too long, have cross-trained staff members in slower areas available who can pick up some of the overflow. Even your managers should be prepared to hop on a computer to help out during busy times.
Make electronic check-in available or provide a staff member with a tablet and the proper software so that they can pre-screen guests as they wait, ensuring their reservation number is correct. This face-to-face interaction will relieve some of the frustration of an extended wait. At the end of a guest’s stay, direct them to “express” or electronic check-out options to ensure a quick and efficient process.
Collect Feedback—and Use It
As a manager, you can’t be at the front desk all the time, so you need your employees to be your eyes and ears. Ask your staff for their feedback on how the desk is functioning. Include a question about the front desk experience in your guests’ post-stay survey. They may give you great insight into processes or operations that could be improved, such as a lengthy check-in system or inefficient shift switches.
Travelling can be stressful. Checking in, checking out or asking questions should never add more to a harried traveller’s getaway experience. Make your front desk the first and last place guests need to go for exceptional service, and they’ll never forget it.
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