Development My Personality Front Desk
 
“First impression” is the most important way in human’s society . How we can make the “first impression” deeply and indelibly ?
Smart face, gently behavior, quickly reaction and excellent communication are the keys for the “first impression”. These keys will be used in humans’ world when people meet another people.
So, as the hotel want to show their customer a very deep impression . The Front Desk is the main window which can give the “first impression” . Because of Front Desk is the FACE of the hotel !
 
Front Desk is a section in Front Office. The main task for this section is response guest check-in, check-out , currency exchange , provide hotel information and travel information , answering the questions , satisfy guest needs and etc…,but as the “first impression” to say , only these points is not enough for the high standard hotel. We have to be more smart ,more gent and more excellent when face to our guest.
 
Front Desk always plays very important role, not only in hotel, but also in Front Office. Most guest view the reception area as the focal point of the hotel operation. It is where they will come for information about the hotel and seek assistance and support during their stay . For this reason many departments such as Reservations, Guest Relations and Concierge are based in reception to handle the needs of guests. Reception staff need to be multi-skilled , being able to provide a wide range of information about the hotel and its functions such as room rates, restaurant operating times , location of shops and recreation and what kind of service we offer . Reception is part of Front Office and all hotels now are use software database to assist us to organize and manage the Front Office function. This software keeps all the information about reservations and guests who use the hotel . The guest history is a record of all guest who have used the hotel in the past and it is the main tool to keep track of guest information.
 
According my observe these months. I would like to indicate several points in our front desk.
1—  Service consciousness
Service consciousness is the basic level for every front desk staff . And this is the basic way to test the hotel qualified or not
Our team has a very clear service consciousness , we smile to every guest, greeting and asking weather our guest need assistance or not . Though we are already reached the standard, but some of the staff still need to training . For instance, we are not used to address guest last name when talk to the guest . Normally after we knew guest family name, we have to always say “ Mr/Ms XXX ”, how may I help you . But most of us never has this common sense . This is just a small point to show our basic service consciousness .  And we also have to focus on some details service  to achieve our standard perfectly.
2—  SOP ( STANDARD OPERATION PROCEDURE )
Standard operation procedure is a case of standard operating procedures and to specify the format described, used to guide and regulate the day-to-day work. SOP of the essence is to quantify the details, more commonly used words, the SOP is a procedures in the critical control points to refine and quantify. 
Our every Front Desk job task has the completely SOP as the working guide kept by soft and hard copy documents files both. Such as check-in procedure, telephone answer procedure, rooming guest and check-out procedure …etc….From the view of the working status, we still have to re-emphasize to all of the receptionist about significance of the SOP. Especially to the new staff. So that means detailed and complete training contents have to be prepared for the new persons coming.  
3—  The quality of staff
A key skill required by reception staff is their ability to speak courteously and tactfully with guest , both face to face and more important by telephone. Receptionist must be smart and quick to react to problems and situations and be able to make decisions correctly and confidently . They must be excellent team members to efficiently carry out the day to day operational requirements of the department .
The members of us are all qualified receptionist who can capable the daily job task. Senior staff help junior staff to improve their skills and knowledge. Supervisor inspecting the front desk running all the time and making the training plan for us when problems show up .
4—  Communication in real-time.
Communication is the most important way to pass the important information to each other. As we all know, hotel is a very complicate environment , messages , phone calls, notices, memos could be exist everywhere and anytime. So every department ,even sections has to keep communicate with each other for maintain all the information been updated.
For us, we have many ways to keep communication . We have daily briefing every day at 3:00 or 4:00PM . And we hand-over shift with all the details. LOGBOOK is the most usually tool for front desk communication . Everything , anything has to be recorded in that LOGBOOK for every staff view at the beginning of work .
5—  Security issue  ( cashier )
Front desk cashier have very responsible and exacting jobs which different from normal company cashier . They prepare and settle bills that they create, except those bills that guests charge to their room account . These bills are posted to the Guest Ledger Account and will be handled by the front desk cashier at the time of check-out. Currency exchange is a normal function of the front desk cashier ,although what they are allowed to do is very strictly controlled. They will be able to accept foreign currency and travelers checks as well as credit cards, but will not be able to exchange local currency for others currencies.
Due to the facilities limited ,though every one can do reception and cashier both but our front desk’s reception and cahier is separate. And the method of handover in cashier is not safety.
The first is the cash drawer : how come we use the wood drawer for safe more than ten thousand of cash?
The second is not every on duty staff has the cash box , normally we have four staff on duty per shift ,but only two person take-over cash box , one man take the main cash drawer , the other one take the small cash box . My question is how we can process the smooth operation under the heavy check-out with only two person?
The third is our cash handover book . It is too simple and mess. If some part of one goes wrong , it is very difficult for us to check .
So after my research on cash handover book and front desk daily cashier record . I designed the following Excel form for the new cash handover sheet sample.
 
Date : 2008 jan.1
total amount  credit(-)  cash in(+)  cash out(-)  debit(+)  loan slip  exchange  refund
30,0000       
100000     +20000    -10000          80000      N/A        20000     
100000     +0             -90000         10000    +10000     80000     
20,0000
 
6--- Management Supervision
Management is the main nerve centre of hotel . Organizing each department to be connected as the whole team . programming the issue for the future, supervision their own department operation and planning the future of hotel.
Our front office management team is the very strong and efficient .Under their backup , Front desk team always shows the excellent performance in the front of line.
 
Summing-up the upwards we can easily divided two different conceptions : MARCROSCOPICAL condition and MICROCOSMIC condition.
The MARCROSCOPICAL condition including SOP, The quality of staff , Security issue  ( cashier )
The MICROCOSMIC condition including Service consciousness , Communication in real-time and Management Supervision.
With this two new conceptions , we may obviously conclude front desk operation status , to see weather need improve or reform . As the management , it is extremely necessary for them to think and inspector all the details which on front desk’s mirror image return . For both find the needs of the guest and the needs of the employee .   
 
So, till here , I would like to mention that a good and useful front office is the “first impression” for hotel . Just like people’s face , be always smile, always politely , always wisely and always energic .
 
 
Irini Lu
 
l   Thanks for reading my personal opinion and conclusion.
l   Please be kindly give me more suggestion and instruction.