Front-office and guest accommodation services are responsible in many ways for the customer's first impression of one or another hotel. If not to take into consideration the descriptions in the guides or in the Internet, front-office service at the hotels is the first acquaintance of the guest with the place of his/her accommodation.
The personnel engaged in accommodation services in the hotel are: administrators, porters, booking managers and telephone operator. Not so long ago a relationship manager, who typically works with VIP-clients, was also included into the front-office personnel structure.
Each subdivision of front-office service consists of several employees, including chief manager. Front-office includes booking department, luggage delivery service, commutation department and cashing department.
The level of salaries for front-office service employees depends on many factors, including the operator, the seasonality of the hotel and so on. According to the newspaper <<Vedomosti>> in 2008 in Russia the average level of salaries of front-office service workers ranged from 10 000 RUR (hall porter) to 20 000 (administrator or front-office clerk).
Front-office service in small hotel is usually limited to administrator and porter. In this case, an administrator is responsible for most of the front office services, from receiving calls to guest reception itself. Porter, in addition to luggage delivery, serves as a receptionist, showing the client his room and telling the rules of the hotel. Nevertheless, most of the small hotels (20-30 rooms) are trying to keep the general structure of front-office and delivery services, having at least one employee for each of them.
As to big hotels, front-office service there is often multilevel and branched. Each department consists of three to five people, and PR department has one of the leading roles. Head of front-office service in a big hotel is often subordinated not to a hotel director, but to a manager, who oversees all the work with clients at the hotel, including the operation of catering service, chambermaids, floor supervisors. Such merger of services, which directly contact with guests, is called front-of-the-house.
Work in the front office is extremely fatiguing. Front-office service works in the round-the-clock mode, with daytime, evening and night shifts. Front-office service specialists are required to have a good understanding of room booking process and take part in guest settlement. They should be able to resolve conflicts with customers and often demonstrate outstanding diplomacy, even in cases, when eccentricity of clients goes beyond the common sense.
Photo: Alexander Wallnöfer, sxc.hu