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  1. THE FRONT DESK This is where the guests register, request information and service, relate complaints, settle their accounts, and check out.

  2. Front Desk Design • Prominently located in the hotel lobby • A typical front desk surface is a counter approximately three-and-a-half feet high and two-and-a-half feet deep

  3. The length may vary according to the number of rooms in the hotel, duties performed at the front desk, and he physical design of the hotel lobby • Signs may be placed on or above the desk to direct guest to the proper activity center for registration, cashier, check-out, information, and mail handling, and other guest services • Partitions may screen front office data from guests or visitors standing at the desk, since much of front office information are considered confidential and proprietary.

  4. Functions of Front Desk • Assigning of rooms and registration of arriving guest according to established procedures; • Handling of guest room keys, mails, cables, parcels, messages, etc.; • Serving as a communications center for the guest while he or she is registered in the hotel, providing the needed information not only about hotel facilities and services but points of interest like post office, flight schedules, areas of entertainment, tourist spot, etc.; • Control and updating of room status rack;

  5. Preparation and maintenance of reports or records pertinent to the guest stay in the hotel; • Submission of night sales report indicating the number of rooms sold, vacant rooms, average rate total revenue, occupancy rate, etc.; • Coordination with other departments in the performance of its function especially with the Housekeeping and Accounting section.

  6. Front Office Equipment

  7. Room Rack Considered as the most important piece of front office equipment. This is an array of metal file pockets designed to hold room rack slips that display guest and room status information.

  8. The room rack is normally recessed into the front desk counter, tilted against the desk, or mounted below or behind the desk. When key slots are added to the room rack, it can serve as a combination room and key rack.

  9. The room rack contains a summary of information about the current status of all rooms in the hotel. A room rack slip or in some hotels, the guest registration card itself can be inserted into the room rack to display guest data, room number, and room rate. • One glance at the room rack should immediately inform the front desk agent of the occupancy and housekeeping status of all rooms.

  10. The room rack may also contain information about room types, features, and rates. Front desk agents normally use this information to match available rooms with guest needs during the registration process.

  11. Mail, Message, and Key Rack A key rack is an array of numbered compartments used to store guestroom keys.

  12. Key racks used to be visible to individuals both behind and in front of the desk. Today, key racks are often placed in front desk drawers to ensure the safety and security of guests.

  13. To minimize the number of racks in the front desk area, hotels may combine the key rack with either the room rack or the mail and message rack. A combination of mail, message, and key rack can be either a free-standing wall unit or an under-the-counter row of apartments.

  14. Some front offices use this rack as room divider by placing it between the front desk and the switchboard areas of the front office. When the mail and message compartments of the rack are open fro both sides, telephone operators (who are positioned on one side of the rack), and front desk agents (who are positioned on the other side of the rack) have equal access to rack contents. Operators who record telephone messages for guests can insert them into the rack from the back side; front desk agents can retrieve the messages from the front side.

  15. Reservation Racks Racks which store the reservation rack slips or registration cards for anticipated arrivals. Front office uses both two types of reservation racks: the advance reservation rack and the current reservation rack.

  16. In an advance reservation rack, reservation rack slips or registration cards are arranged by the guest’s scheduled dates of arrival and, within each day’s grouping, alphabetically by the guests’ or groups’ names. A current reservation rack is a portable subset of the advance reservation rack. Early each morning, the advance reservation rack slips or registration cards for the days expected arrivals are loaded into the current reservation rack and taken to the front desk. The current reservation rack is used by front desk agents to assist in processing guests during registration.

  17. Information Rack An information rack is an index of in-house guests, by both last name and room number. An information rack is commonly used to assist front office employees with proper routing of telephone calls, mail, messages and visitor inquiries. The information rack normally consists of aluminum slots designed to hold guest information slips.

  18. Folio Trays Folio tray or folio bucket is where the guest folios are stored and arranged by guestroom numbers. Guest folios remain in the tray throughout the occupancy stage of the guest cycle, except when they are used in posting transactions.

  19. A second folio tray is normally located in the hotel’s accounting office. This tray contains the folios of departed guests being directly-billed or of guests who paid by credit card. Once these accounts are settled, the folios are moved to a permanent storage location.

  20. Account Posting Machine An electro-mechanical or electronic device used in semi-automated hotels. An account posting machine is used to post, monitor, and balance charges and credits to guest accounts.

  21. Voucher Rack A container for storing vouchers for future reference and verification during the night audit.

  22. Cash Register Used to record cash transactions and maintain cash balances.

  23. Telephone Equipment Call Accounting Systems – a device linked to the telephone system that identifies each phone number dialed from guestroom telephones. It provides a record of each room’s local and long distance phone calls so that appropriate charges may be posted to the guest’s folio.

  24. Automatic Call Dispensing – is limited to wake-up call into computer, and at the scheduled times, a telephone call is automatically placed to the guests’ rooms. Telephone/ Room Status System – assists with rooms management and prohibit the unauthorized use of telephones in vacant rooms. Fax Machine – makes it possible to transmit or receive full-page documents. Call Detection – works with the main telephone equipment and call accounting systems. Call detection equipment has the ability to pinpoint the exact moment when a telephone call is connected.

  25. Support Devices Credit Card Imprinter – an imprinter presses a credit card voucher against a guest’s credit card. The impact causes the raised card number, expiration date, and name on the card to be recorded on the voucher for use in credit card billing and collection procedures. It may be manual or electric.

  26. Magnetic Strip Reader A magnetic strip reader, reads data magnetically encoded and stored on the magnetic tape strip on the back of a credit card and transmits this data to a credit card verification service. On the basis of the credit card data and transaction data, the credit card verification service either approves or disapproves the transaction.

  27. Time Stamp Folios, mail, and other front office paperwork are inserted into a time stamp device to record the current time and date. This recording can be very important in establishing a chronology of events.

  28. Security Monitor (Closed Circuit Television or CCTV) closed-circuit television monitors allow front office or security personnel to monitor certain areas of the hotel from a central location.

  29. Wake-Up Devices This is usually a specially designed clock with multiple alarms setting to remind front desk agent or telephone operators to place wake-up calls. A wake-up call log kept beside the clock informs the agents or operators which room numbers are to be called at what times.

  30. Self-Registration / Check-out Terminals Fully automated hotels provide self-registration and check out terminals for guests. These terminals do not eliminate front desk agents, but can free them to attend to other hotel duties – which can enhance guest service.