By Barbi Snyder
The “Front Desk” could be the subject of many different types of businesses from an office environment, a retail outlet, an industrial sales of car sales business and many more. For the purpose of this article, we are referring to the ever present and all important front desk of a lodging, hotel or motel business! Nonetheless, the “Front Desk” is, in most cases, the first person a client comes in contact with, thus the first impression and the last person the client encounters, thus the lasting impression!
The “Front Desk” person in a large lodging business is usually someone other than management or a business owner. Oft-times in a “stand alone,” one unit operation, the owner or manager could find themselves at the front desk. By all means, “Front Desk” jobs are a good place to learn the business and in the writer's opinion, anyone getting in the business should be required to work a tenured period at the “Front Desk” if they are training for a management position in the business.
Along with the preconceived and common sense of a pleasing personality, and personal appearance of the “Front Desk” associate, there are a few other points concerning the surroundings of the front desk area that make for a pleasing experience at the onset of the check-in experience along with the final check-out experience. It is worth mentioning, that if the associate at the front desk does not possess a patient, cheerful personality and attractive demeanor and looks, all else is in vain!
An always present associate!
In the case where a front desk associate performs “away from the counter” tasks and a bell has to be rung to obtain check-in service, the experience is off on the wrong foot. If that is the case, however, it is imperative that the associate that is away from the desk appears as soon as possible at the beckoning call of the attention getting bell!
Tokens of welcome!
A perpetual urn of fresh coffee with accompaniments, a bowl of fruit, a dish of assorted candies or at the very least a pitcher of cold water with cups etc. will give the client the impression that this visit will surpass their expectations and make them feel legitimately welcome to the establishment!
Clear directions to room and other amenities!
Certainly a map of the facility clearly showing “where you are” and “ where you need to go” is essential. However if the facility has a restaurant, bar, fitness room, pool, ice machines, vendor machines etc. it should be highlighted and pointed out. If there are certain hours or restrictions on any of these amenities, it should be explained by the associate.
These small touches leave a lasting impression and make the client feel special and important to the establishment. The room attendant leaving a card with their name and date the room was “serviced” is one of those touches. Others are turn-down service, candies or flower on the pillow, name tags identifying all personnel etc. Everyone, including the maintenance personnel, are important to the overall impression of the hotel and should be identified by name tags and possibly matching shirts etc.
Prolonged waits at check-in or check-out!
Erratic flows of clients at both of the afore-mentioned events are inevitable. If not handled correctly, bad first and last impressions prevail. Ideally, and usually prevalent in most units, are additional check-in, check-out areas. The key, therefore is to have personnel adequately trained to fill in as needed to handle the overflow. If that is not the case, the associate at the “Front Desk” must acknowledge each individual forced to the wait and estimate how long the wait may be enabling the party in question to make calls or whatever they can do while waiting. All lodging businesses should offer “automatic check out” which is quite simple whereby the credit card used at check-in is charged and the client is informed of the charges by leaving an itemized bill under the door early in the morning of the check-out date.
Barbi Snyder is a new contributor to Hospitalityjobsite.com and possesses a myriad of experience in the hospitality industry. She has worked in t he fitness industry, alternative healing, restaurant and bar, lodging and marketing to name a few! She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see more of Barbi's blogs on hospitaliityjobsite blog. Don't for get to check Beyond for job postings and other information!