How to Optimize Your Property’s Front Desk Operations

By Cloudbeds, November 11, 2019

The front desk is one of the busiest locations inside your property. At some point, each guest will have to interact with your front office staff either online or in-person. For some hotels, hostels, apart-hotels, even vacation rentals, it’s a brand differentiator. All lodging businesses strive to make guests’ interaction with the front office as smooth and as efficient as possible but often enough, it can become a bottleneck. Different types of properties use their receptions differently but there are a few things every business can do to improve. In his article, we’ll see 5 ways to optimize front desk operations, no matter the property type or size.

First up, what are the main responsibilities of a hotel front office?

  • Guest services such as check-in, check-out, room assignment, processing guest requests, room service
  • Reservation-related tasks such as payment collection, invoice generation, upsells, and more
  • Coordinating efforts with other departments such as housekeeping, maintenance, finance, and more

1. Divide Front Desk Tasks by Priority

Most check-in and front desk experiences are unique. Busy large hotels have to optimize for speed, while a smaller boutique hotel may optimize for a special experience. Depending on your property type and how you operate, the way you can manage front office operations will differ, and that’s important to keep in mind. Varying levels of service and different types of travelers will have different expectations for your property. Business travelers likely value speed, while leisure travelers expect more attention.

2. Create a Daily Checklist

Any smooth-running operation will have a daily checklist to coordinate daily activities. A list helps create a routine and keeps your staff organized. Depending on how many team members you have, it may or may not be helpful to have your employees check off and submit their checklists every day.

For example, if you run a hostel that employs volunteers and there’s high turnover, daily checklists may be essential. But, if you have experienced employees who have been trained extensively over time, a checklist may just serve as a helpful reminder.

  • Compile a list of daily reports

There are over 10 different reports that we believe each property show complete on a daily basis. They include the room and tax report, shift audit report, departures report, arrivals report, housekeeping report, and the continuous report. 

  • Prepare for your incoming guests

Using your arrival report, prepare for guests who will arrive that day. Obviously, new and returning guests all require different processes that take different amounts of employee effort and time. Knowing what to expect and when to expect it, will help create a more smooth experience for everyone. It also helps with staffing and placing employees in the right place during busy periods.

Your arrivals report should include a guest’s name, room assignment, notes, and hopefully their projected arrival time. If the guest has special requests or requirements, make sure to address each issue before they arrive. Preparation is everything!

  • Prepare for outgoing guests

To ensure that your departing guests have a smooth exit, know who and when each customer will leave. Depending on your check-out processes, it may take no effort from your staff or it may be more hands-on. If you accept express checkouts and don’t require guests to talk to your team before they leave, then make sure all accounts are settled before the end of the day. The last thing you want is for guests to leave the property with account balances.

  • Know who your continuous guests are

Your in-house guests will likely require less time from your front desk staff than incoming and outgoing guests. While many may have questions or requests, the time you know you’ll need to spend with them is more variable. 

  • Make a list of daily events, activities, and holidays

Make a list of everything that may affect your property that day. From local events to national holidays to conferences, it’s important to be prepared for and adapt the front desk activities accordingly.

  • Prepare a list of daily tasks

Create a list of tasks your team needs to complete every day that are a part of their normal routine, as well as extra tasks that may need to be completed. From checking reservations to answering reviews, potential customer emails, and questions. Depending on the size of your property, your employees may have a wide range of daily tasks or fairly specific ones.

  • Prepare for the next day

And then after you’ve done all this, it’s time to do it all again: i.e prepare for the next day. Remember to include carryover tasks that weren’t completed during the day but need to be completed during the next.

 

front desk operations

3. Train Your Front Desk Staff Continuously

The best way to empower your front desk department is by providing continuous training and support. A motivated team can make decisions on the fly and respond to situations in a professional way. Make sure you have a well-documented plan to train people on your processes, as well as additional skills, such as client communication, time management, organizational skills, and more. We also suggest having a go-to person responsible for troubleshooting problems and issues during different shifts.

4. Apply Changes Over Time

Another one of the most important parts of optimizing your front desk’s job is to talk to your staff and make changes over time. Not every process will remain efficient forever, and it’s important to analyze and improve. As you implement new plans and track progress, you’ll find new and better ways to run your front desk. Your front desk is probably one of the highest traffic areas at your property, so it’s important to continually work on the good processes that drive it.

5. Use Top Software  

Running a property in this day and age requires more sophisticated products and software. Managing several distribution channels, incoming bookings, customer service, guest communication, reviews, and other tasks, take a lot of work. Without the right tools, property owners are overwhelmed and put themselves at risk for overbookings and unhappy guests.

To optimize your hotel front desk office, give your employees the skills and tools they need to handle reservations, arrivals, departures, guest requests, POS capabilities, etc. And of course, you can do all of this with a cloud-based property management system. Using excel spreadsheets or pen and paper, you not only put yourself at risk but dramatically slow down your daily activities. Many experts agree that the hotel front office software of the future will combine functionalities for maximum efficiency. 

Cloudbeds

About Cloudbeds

Cloudbeds is the fastest growing hospitality management software suite in the world, providing tools to manage properties of all types and sizes – building revenue, driving bookings and increasing operational efficiency. Trusted by more than 20,000 hotels, hostels, inns, and alternative accommodations in more than 155 countries, the Cloudbeds suite includes a powerful PMS, a leading Channel Manager, and a conversion-driven Booking Engine. Through access to 300+ integrations available via the marketplace, Cloudbeds helps properties unify their management, reservations and booking systems, grow revenue and automate workflows with confidence and ease. Founded in 2012, Cloudbeds has expanded to more than 400 people with local teams in 40 countries. 

You might also be interested in...

Cloudbeds Introduces New Payments Solution To Further Streamline Hotel Operations

The fully integrated, easy, and secure payment solution is now available in the US, Canada, Europe, and the United Kingdom, […]

Introducing Cloudbeds Payments: A simple, integrated payment solution for hoteliers and hosts

  Introducing Cloudbeds Payments Hotel payment processing has been complicated for too long. Independent hoteliers and hosts have had to […]

9 Ways to Use Social Media for Your Hotel Marketing

No doubt about it: Social media is one of the most crucial hotel marketing tools for business promotion and advertisement. […]

Attract business travelers with a Hotel GDS

GDS is one of the best ways to promote your hotel in the global corporate travel market. For this reason, […]

Better Together

Cloudbeds loves helping Hoteliers and Hosts grow
their business. Let us show you how.

Book a Demo
Cloudbeds