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As front office is a critical department in a hotel in view of its revenue generating capacity and influence in image-building, the staffs working in this department assume a special importance.

Great care is taken in the section of front office staffs as they play certain key roles as –

Ensure salesmanship:

They motivate the guest to spend more on various hotel facilities.

As a problem solver:

Guest invariably approaches the front office for the help. In case they have a problem or complaint, the staffs have to be diplomatic and resourceful to solve the problem at the shortest possible time.

A reference point:

Guest, who wants information or wants to pass information, uses front office staff for these purposes. The front office staff should have the excellent intra-communication skills to provide best possible reference point for the guests.

As a coordinator:

Since they are reference point, the front office staffs are required to coordinate with other departments, airlines, travel agencies and city tour officers to give the guests personalized services.

As an image builder:

As an extension to their salesman’s role, front office staff can certainly generate a good image for the establishment in their manner of dress, communication, personal conduct and efficiency.

In view of the important role they play the front office staff must have the following essential attributes –

A high sense of personal grooming:

Uniforms must be clean and neatly pressed. Hair should be groomed well. It is preferable for ladies to tie their hair up in a bun. Nails should be manicured. Soft cologne is preferable to heavy perfumes. Jewelry should be restricted to one ring and a necklace for ladies. In short, the front office staff must be seen at their best at all times.

Personal hygiene:

This is imperative to front office personnel. As they are constantly exposed to hotel guests, a clean appearance helps to project a good image not only of them but of the establishment as well.

Self confidence:

This is necessary as front office personnel meet guests of different countries, statuses and cultures. These guests should be comfortable and feel at ease in dealing with these people.

Correct and clear communicator:

It is preferable that front office staff know more than 1 language. It helps in communicating with guests who cannot speak English or the local language

Diplomacy:

Diplomacy is the greatest attribute required. Very often there are situations, where a guest is irate over something; a diplomatic dealing helps in diffusing the explosive moments. It is quite common for a busy hotel to have no rooms to offer a guest who has come with a confirmed booking. A diplomatic approach is the only way by which the guest can be pacified.

Calmness:

Front office staff should have high degree of the nature of calmness to take the busy demands of a front office’s operations. Being the never center of the hotel, the front office is constantly in touch with guests and therefore invariably comes under tremendous pressure. The guests always expect personalized, priority treatment and pressure of demand never ceases. Coupled with this are difficult guests who can unnerve a person. The front office staff should thus have a high degree of tolerance for pressure of work and be calm and composed at all times.

Strong memory:

Front office staff should have ability to remember names and faces. This single attribute distinguishes the good from the average amongst the front office staff. Every individual has an ego and his/her name is most precious and personal to him/her. If the front office staff can call most guests by their names, this immediately flatters them and personalizes the guest experience. The guest begins to feel he/she is welcome to people recognize him/her by name.

Best mannerism:

As hotel is a meeting place of social elites all the grace and etiquette associated with good society comes into play. Guests of all statuses come to stay in the hotel and they are used to good manners and politeness. Wishing a guest the time of the day and saying “thank you” are basic etiquettes shown.

Smiley face:

This is very becoming to front office operations. Guests like to be handled by a cheerful staff at the desk. Their smile exudes cheer to the guests and put them at ease.

Physical ability:

Front office operations required the staff to stand for long hours at a stretch.  The staff must be sturdy, agile and active.

Quick decision making ability:

Guests often approach the front desk with problems and requests. Front office staff must be able to decide quickly a course of action that satisfies the guest, at the same time keeping the interests of the organization alive.

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