Estefania Escobar

Are you committing one of these 7 front desk mistakes?

October 20, 2016

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From communications to accounting, hoteliers depend on many things when it comes to keeping the business afloat. The front desk is the center and front face of your property and making sure it runs like clockwork is essential. Are you guilty of committing one of these front desk mistakes?

Most commonly referred to as the front area or reception, a hotel’s front desk is the first physical encounter between your guests and your property, and as the adage goes, you’ll never have a second chance to make a great first impression.

Keeping this in mind, we have collected some flops hoteliers, and their teams often fall into in their front desk, and we suggest how to change and learn from these situations.

1. Poor software and hardware?

It’s no secret hospitality is one of the slowest industries when it comes to technology adoption. A study last year exposed how 25% of hoteliers in the United States still manages their property with pen and paper, and 16% of hoteliers have no system at all. The implications of not using the right tech tools can range from low reservations to missing marketing and distribution opportunities in OTAs and metasearch engines.

Having poor software can profoundly affect your daily operations and ultimately even jeopardize your financial performance. With new technology, hoteliers can simplify their operations and business dynamics, increase profits and gain time to improve your business and spend time with guests.

2. The invisible front desk?

This comes from my experience. I have been to many hotels where I only talk to the staff to a) check-in and check-out; b) complain.  Are you one for those? If you are, then you’re falling into something I like to call the ‘invisible hotelier syndrome’. Some hotels don’t interact with guests unless they are approached first by the guest, and the syndrome also applies when you only greet your guests on their way in or out from the hotel.

Your staff often forgets the amount of information they possess about their guests, even before guest register. How can you analyze the data and turn their stay into an unforgettable experience? It’s rather easy. We have spoken about turning social media into actionable insights in previous posts; transforming you guest’s journey, or telling your guest’s stories and having ambassadors.

3. Ask the question(s)

Additionally, make the best of registration time and ask questions. Don’t turn it into an interrogation, but be polite and interested in your guest. You never know who’s crossing your front doors and how you can create an unforgettable stay.

4. Business in the front, party in the back?

The front office is the core center of a hotel property. It is the face and main contact point between you and your guests. From a business perspective, communications and finances are the two core functions happening in the area. The first relates to a guest, employees, and other hotel areas; while the second involves charging guests, minibar or Point of Sales expenses, among other costs.

5. Is organization the answer?

An excellent front office is organized, therefore not only protecting your business but projecting an overall professional image of your hotel. Organization should be your priority. This extends to your booking engine, channel manager, reservation system, and property management system and Point of Sales (POS).

6. Know your tools?

Does your staff know how those tools work and are they using them to their full potential? It’s common to talk to hoteliers who have fantastic software in their hotels but fail to implement core functions on their properties.

7. Messy housekeeping?

Connect your housekeeping team with the front office and save time. A great example I like to think is how hoteliers can organize their housekeeping activities from their PMS with Base7booking. From the front desk, you can review the status of each room and alternatively assign tasks or set reminders to your staff. This simplifies the work from your room division manager to your general managers. This translates into time and cost saving.

And the extras…

Distribution analysis?

You know you’re connected to this and that OTA and have done a cost calculation of commissions, continuously improving your pricing strategy, and enhancing your distribution strategy to increase your revenue. Or not?

Some hoteliers sign up to distribution channels but forget to look into the numbers to understand the distribution landscape and hotel performance based on channel mix. This includes guest type, channel performance, financial tracking, and how those channels are changing. A thorough distribution analysis can also help hoteliers improve their forecasting, understand rates, understand incentives for early bookings or corporate accounts, direct bookings, and ultimately make informed decisions about many other areas. All this information is at your front desk.

Active responses?

I must confess I don’t write many hotel reviews unless I had a fantastic or lousy experience. And those reviews I’ve written have never been answered by an hotelier. Yes, you read that right. NEVER. I call this the ‘silent reader’ syndrome when the hotelier revises (or not) reviews but just refuses to answer. Why, should you ask?

A TripAdvisor study revealed that 62% of travelers think that review responses make them more likely to book a stay at a hotel. Considering that 77% of travelers read those reviews and 80% read between 6 to 12 reviews before booking a room, hoteliers should cure the syndrome and write back.

The question now is: are you guilty of falling into those pits? If you are, don’t worry. As hoteliers, we’re always trying to spot mistakes and improve business.  Do you have any questions or want guidance to stop the flops? Let us know in our social media on Facebook or @Base7booking, and we’ll give you great ideas and suggestions for your property.

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