A Quick Walkthrough for a Seamless Front Desk Operation

A Quick Walkthrough for a Seamless Front Desk Operation

Debiprasad Sarangi
Debiprasad Sarangi

The Front Office Department is the face and voice in a hotel business. It is a common link between the business and guests. It is considered to be the nerve center of a hotel. They will be the one to strike the first impression about hotels to guests. As soon as a guest walks through the door, a front desk should make a positive impression on them. Front desk staff members will be responsible to greet the guests, handle their requests and the transaction between the hotel and its guests.

The front office department includes:

  • Front Desk
  • Concierges
  • Uniformed services
  • Front office Accounting System

A front desk team must be able to effectively address any kind of issues. Not following the standards expected by the guest can result in losing revenue and bad reviews. Thus, it is vital to take a closer look into the role of the front desk, identify major challenges faced by them and suggest proper strategies.

When guests have problems, they will directly visit the Front Office. This is one of the major operational and revenue-producing departments of the hotel. 

Importance of Front office Department

Traditional front office functions include registration, reservation, guest services, room status, room and rate assignment, maintenance and settlement of the guest account and keeping records of guest history.

Front desk is the area where guests appear for checking in and checking out. It acts as the public area for the entire hotel. This is where guests will receive assistance with their luggages, transportation, swapping, upgrading rooms and get necessary information about guests and then pass them down to other various departments in the hotel. It is the first and last contact for a guest, thus it needs to be completely seamless. The front office is responsible for coordinating guest services, maintaining a comprehensive database of guest information and then ensuring guest satisfaction. 

  • Handling guest accounts
  • Ensuring guest satisfaction
  • Handling in-house communication through PBX
  • Create guest database
  • Coordinate guest services request seamlessly
  • Trying to sell a service

What are the Common Challenges Hotel Front Desk Operations Face?

Front desk staff have to deal with demanding requests and impatient attitudes. Stress level heightens during the arrival time of guests. It is crucial for them to fix every issue that arises in a timely, efficient and courteous manner. Identifying the issues is the first step towards solving every front desk issue. Further in this blog, I am going to share common challenges and provide you with necessary solutions to resolve them.

1. Managing Innumerable Calls at Once

Taking up calls from guests on a daily basis takes up more than half of their day. It takes time to get a clear understanding of the query of the caller, deciding the best course of action, who to escalate or direct the call or how to make them understand the solution in a step-by-step format. When the front desk staff do not have anyone like managers or colleagues near them, it becomes more hectic for them. And while the frontdesk staff is communicating the solution, there are multiple callers who are eagerly waiting to explain their query. This results in a bigger backlog.

2. Maintaining Happy Guests

Pleasing a guest is never an easy task. With clear instruction from the hotel manager, front office members are required to keep costs to a minimum. This often leads to dissatisfied guests who make up their mind on not visiting the hotel ever again.

3. Personalizing guest’s experience

Modern guests are pretty demanding. Thanks to the growing competition in the hotel industry, meeting expectations of guests is becoming even more challenging. Gone are those days when simply a good service could satisfy them. Now they are looking for what extra hoteliers are ready to offer to make it a grand experience for them. Guests prefer hotels that pay heed to their personal expectations. As a hotelier, you will require powerful and robust technologies to store, capture, analyze, and interpret customer insights on a macro level and in real time.

4. Unable to Align Tasks on Basis of Priority

As a front desk manager, you will always have plenty of things to handle. They are responsible to check the arrival and departures, cross check guests folios for bill posts, align pickup and drop, forward guest’s requests to a particular department, or assist a bell desk with handling luggages. Front desk staff tend to miss one or two tasks without having a proper to-do list. 

5. Not Having Sufficient Staff 

A front desk office manager is there to welcome guests, provide all necessary details to guests to make their stay in the hotel easier. They cannot move away from the front office as they are constantly attending guests. Not having enough staff members makes the process tougher for front desk staff. They need to assign tasks like luggage handling, or sending a staff to clean the room. Inadequate staff members will only make their day stressful and the queue of guests will continue going bigger, resulting in guest dissatisfaction. 

6. Maintaining Important Reports

Maintaining important reports is one of the most essential tasks in hotel front office operations. Every department is asked to submit its individual report at the front desk at the end of the day for analyzing. Not getting accurate reports from departments will make it tough for front desks to survive. This is because these reports help with generating revenue based figures like total sales, ADR, ARR, revPAR, total revenue generated and so on. Missing any of these reports may result in a lot of miscalculation.

7. Handling Room Inventories

This is probably the biggest issue the front desk staff face when confirming booking requests and taking notes of preferences of guests. They receive booking requests from multiple modes like from walk-in guests, websites, and OTA platforms like Booking.com, tripadvisor, Airbnb and Expedia. As they try doing it manually, it often leads to overbooking or double booking. At the end, it is the front office’s responsibility to untangle the confusion and correct the room preferences, bed type or any request they might have mixed up. This confusion can be easily solved with the help of a PMS software application. It will keep all your inventories updated so there is no mixed up and list down all the preferences of guests for your convenience.

Now that you have identified all the possible challenges that front desk staff members encounter, let’s discuss the strategies that help you provide a seamless front desk operation.

7 Key Strategies to Enhance Front Desk Operations

Every hotel task comes with a predefined SOP which requires it to be upgraded over time. Each guest needs to be interacted with the front officer either virtually or in person, thus making it one of the most essential places within the property. So how your front desk staff handle interaction can become a brand differentiator. Frontdesk is a nonstop job where the task often needs to multitask.

Read on to optimize how front desks can operate:

1. Create daily checklists

A daily checklist can help the front office manager to coordinate all activities. It creates a proper routine for them and helps them stay organized. At the end of each shift, they can just check off the tasks that are done from the checklist. A night audit also helps in keeping the checklist consistent. It can serve as a helpful reminder and reinforce specific procedures of the property.

Type of checklists a front desk manager will manage:

  • Arrival checklist
  • Departure checklist
  • Daily activities, events and holidays checklist

2. Divide and prioritize different tasks

A front desk staff member has to handle multiple tasks at once. Front office departments prioritize tasks on the basis of the types of property. For instance, larger hotels are known to optimize for speed, whereas smaller boutique hotels optimize as per the guest experience.

Thus, it is vital to identify your target audience to determine what you need to prioritize. Efficiency and professionalism comes first when it comes down to looking after business travelers. On the other hand, consider creating a fun and memorable experience when you are serving families. 

It is crucial that your employees understand their key responsibilities and get a better understanding of their priorities before their shift begins.

3. Recognize your guests

This strategy specially implies for regular guests who ask for particular amenities or services everytime they book hotel rooms. Before they can ask you for the same facilities, why not arrange them beforehand? This will be only possible when you keep a proper record of all the important information and preferences of guests. Front desk staff should stay prepared with all necessary details before guests walk through the door. 

A front desk officer needs to collect, analyze and study all the data of the guests carefully. It can become a tedious task if done manually but with an advanced and robust technology, you can easily accomplish it. Later, in this blog, I will discuss the right application to help you understand your guests better.

4. Go contactless

Going contactless is the key to providing a seamless user experience. Greeting guests with folded hands, using QR code-based-payment mode, keyless entry – various techniques are used to offer contactless services to guests. This also includes placing food orders from the hotel’s app, payment links for billing and providing feedback forms to gather reviews. 

5. Train your staff to provide local guidance

Your guests are more likely to ask the front desk team for recommendations on the best restaurants, tourist spots and the suitable traveling options. Train them to become local experts so they prove to be resourceful to guests. 

Here is how you can do it:

  • You can take your employees for lunch or dinner at local restaurants in town.
  • Give them an afternoon off and take them to a hiking expedition along a nearby trail. Let them live like tourists and encourage them to get insightful information that can help them when they attend their guests.

Bonus Tip: Get them involved with local tourism groups so they know at the top of their mind about when travelers seek recommendations. This way they will be able to get to know about all local event calendars.

6. Implement changes after taking feedbacks from guests

Taking feedback from guests will not be enough. You also need to solicit feedback from guests to get a clarity on what they liked and where they would like to see changes. In case, you discover common changes, make sure to prioritize it. You must adapt your policies and procedures to ensure that you are listening to everything guests have to stay.

If you claim to possess one of the best hotels, make sure the front desk staff feels like a trusted friend.

7. Create plan B for busy times

Never keep your guests waiting. It is essential to build flexibility in operations to ensure guests are happy and satisfied. Thus, it is necessary to have enough staff who can handle arrival and departure traffic, handle luggages and also can take additional requests. Make sure to prepare a plan B in case things get hectic like a line becomes too long. Your managers should also be prepared to help you jump to the computer and help you out during busy times.

How to Harness Technology for Front Office Management? (H2)

Modern hotel management needs advanced technology. An ideal front office software can give everything to the team to succeed. You should respect the time of your guests. HOTEL PMS can streamline operations for front office staff. It can help in managing the front-office. It can save the information, history and preference in its guest profile, capabilities like check room availability, track check-ins and check-outs, manage room rates and billing, room assignment, book reservations. It will automate administrative tasks of hotels like room inventory, reservation, performance reporting and folio and even payment processing. 

Thanks to the automated PMS software, front desk officers do not need to tie-down to the front desk all the time and thus can seek out guests proactively. They can focus on greeting them properly, arranging staff who can guide them towards the right directly or even assist them where they want to go.

 A PMS software helps you save the history, information and preferences and assist you with offering personalized assistance. It can anticipate the needs of guests so front desk staff can effectively respond to them. 

Training and Development of Front Office Members

It is necessary to ensure that the front office receives the best training since they are the customer-facing departments. You must set the right tone from the moment customers walk in to the door. You need to provide proper training to the front office manager so they know how to deal with the most difficult visitors and guarantee a positive customer experience.

Here are some of the efficient training strategies:

1. Greet your customers

When the front desk staff members greet guests directly, it should give a sense of trust and safety. And this should start right at the moment they set their foot through the front door. Welcoming and greeting customers appropriately will give a feeling of security. It will show that the visit to the guest is highly valued, improving the chance of guests leaving a positive review.

Customer greeting can directly impact the reputation of your brand. It will be really helpful for your staff if you show them how to break the ice during the small talk.

2. Resolve guest complaints patiently

Nobody is perfect. So it is understandable if you have got any guest complaints. Regardless of the type of problem a guest might be facing, it will be reported to the front office. Let your customers vent out their frustration and emotional distress. The next step is going to be showing empathy and apologizing for the action. Resolve the issue and take follow-up to ensure guest satisfaction. 

3. Train them on operating PMS software

They should have first hand experience on operating a PMS software. It will make their front desk task much easier. The front desk office manager will have all the updates regarding the guests, making their work easier and faster. It is necessary for guests to experience a smooth experience. So train the staff members on how to use the PMS software properly to make their job easier.

Hotelogix PMS comes with a self-learning tool called A.C.E. which you can choose by opening a trial account. It is an automated coaching engine that can prove useful for your hotel staff. It consists of audio and visual explanations that will give your staff a thorough step-by-step guidance and also in-hand experience. Hotel staff can access it whenever they need guidance. It has got everything operation team members may need. 

4. Structure hotel front desk training sessions

On the basis of how you wish to present the information and time you believe will be taking to complete, structure your training method accordingly. You can choose a combination of videos, templates. Presentations, worksheets and manuals.

5. Align on safety

Discuss the expectations you have got for customer interactions, especially during the time when some tense issue arises. Clear up confusion regarding when front desk staff is expected to prioritize the standard code of conduct, when they should prioritize themselves or their coworkers. This also includes situations like emotional or physical danger. 


Front desk team is the middlemen between guests and other hotel staff members. A hotel needs a proper functionable front desk team who can quickly handle any kind of issues and address necessary demands of guests. As you fail to meet the expectations of visitors, you will be risking negative reviews and losing more revenue. Impolite, disorganized or accommodating staff or a lack of professionalism can truly be a turn-off for guests. This will leave your guests dissatisfied, annoyed and unlikely to return. Well-trained, and friendly staff will exceed expectations of a wide range of hotel guests.