CUSTOMER SERVICE

 THE POWER OF INTERNET MARKETING: HOTEL I

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HOTEL INTERNET MARKETING

Hospitality industry is one of the superficial industry I have known, since it’s the only sector that is based on the perfection of everything from the building to the employees to the service delivered to the guests.

2017-HOSPITALITY

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Ten years ago, the marketing mantra that worked best for hotels was the creation of a brand; make it exclusive, market the experience as surreal and the customer’s decision to purchase was expected to automatically follow suit. This worked at that time because there was a narrow playing field with few domestic and international hotel chains in the country.

Paradigm shift towards Rural Tourism / Agri Tourism, Eco-Tourism; Medical Tourism launched as a new product  in tourism so the hospitality industry has changed with more domestic tourists visiting our country where do they stay in the hotels  so we will first  and foremost  understand what the hospitality operations are like as we look into the changing trends of the hospitality .

Essentials of tourism and Hospitality operations and we are going to look into details what entails.

The dynamism around the world has many reasons. Tourism organizations are working in order to make all corners of the world easy to visit. The globalization as defined by Scholte J. (2000),”A world wide process of spreading objects and experiences to people at all the corners of the earth (e.g. spreading computing, television, etc.)”, lead the tourism to merge.

A hotel is an organization that plays a major role in the tourism and hospitality operations. It has several departments with specific roles.

Examples of these are: Front office, food and beverage, housekeeping, maintenance and security. All these departments work together, for the guest to have a good stay. This team work contributes to make more profit for the hotel. States Huyssten et al (2001)

This assignment is focus on the front office and housekeeping and based on researches from different writers and the pepper club hotel. Pepper club is a five star hotel located into Cape Town on 167, loop street. Pepper club has 210 bedrooms, a fitness room, an Odeon cinema, a bar called paparazzi, a restaurant called Sinatra, penthouse with swimming pool. Pepper club hotel is not far from the wonderful table mountain. Their future plans are to develop all the sectors of the hotel. Hassanien et al (2010) recommends that a hotel should consider updating facilities and all the sectors of the hotel.

 

The front office

The front office is the front of the house. This is the department that welcomes the guest and helps him for checking in and out. The front office manager is responsible of all the activities in the front office and for training all the workers in this department. In order to maintain the standard, he has to make sure of selecting good personnel, easy to be trained and quick learners. This people should work with high manners and behaviors in a professionalism way. Gillespie (2007). Many services are organized in the front office, such as reception, switchboard, reservation, concierge, potter, casher and guest relation. The same, as listed, at pepper club, these are the services organized in front office. But at pepper club, the potter is working under the concierge and it is called concierge and pottering.

Reception

A receptionist is the person who is handling guest’s check-in and giving him information about the entire department in the hotel. “A well-functioning reception gives the guest a good impression of the hotel. This helps to establish the hotel’s image and reputation, as well as to encourage the guest to return in the future”.page107, Baker et al (1994). Being the first person to meet the guests on checking in or when he/she walks in for any information, the receptionist should be able to give a good impression to the guest with a nice smile, a tone of voice, though the first impression last. Baker et al (1998)

At pepper club, the reception is the first service to interact with the guest when arriving at the hotel. The main duties are: welcoming and checking-in of a new arrival, selling the facilities of the hotel, providing guest information for other services of the front office and other departments of the hotel. For a group arrival, at pepper club, the reception has to prepare documentations that will be required by the guests. Envelopes are prepared with letters inside to explain facilities to the guests in the language they understand

Switch board

As similar to Kappa et al (1997), this is the controller of the calls from outside and sends them to the relevant department or room. The person working here should be able to listen and speak clearly to the phone and have a good telephone manner. At pepper club, the switchboard does the same. But it also help in switching calls from one service or department to another, in case, if the caller does not know the number of the relevant service or department.

Reservation

In the same idea with Henning, R. (2003), there are many ways of doing reservation. This can be done through internet (web site, e-mail, twitter, face book), telephone, fax, walk in.

As we advertise the hotel we must be able to handle with reservations in any way that it comes to us. There for we should have trained personnel who can professionally handle it. According to Gillespie (2007), all the workers should behave professionally when doing their duties. There are procedures to follow to make a reservation, and these are the same for everyone. There are not special enquiries for any reservation. It is very imperative to have a reservation chart so we will not keep the guest waiting

while we are busy looking for information to give him. “The most important administrative document is the reservation chart”. Henning, R. (2003) This should be checked to see if there are available rooms.

Taylor, M. et al (1999) identifies two ways of making reservation, as follow:

-Advance reservation:

At pepper club the person working in this area makes bookings, deal with agencies and writes queries. In planning and preparing the guest’s needs, the advance reservation is preferable, because it gives you more time to do so. This idea is also supported by Taylor et al (1999).

The reservation in advance is better because nothing will be in rush, you know already about the guest arrival and you expect him to arrive. If it comes that you find out about the reason of the guest’s trip, you will be able to prepare decoration for such event. For example a booking for a honey moon, I will organize a decor according to the event.

-same day reservation:

This kind of reservation should be handled with lots of care. States Whyte, S.(2006), some tourists arrive in town with nowhere to sleep and start to look for accommodation, calling here and there. A guest, who calls for same day reservation, should pay in advance and his referral source and preferences should be recorded. The person who’s doing reservation uses two types of reservation system. At pepper club they use the electronic system and the manual system. The electronic system used at pepper club is opera system, for any reservation on line. The manual system used at pepper club is the reservation chat. Hunters, G. et al (2010) states, “An operation system of reservation enquiries tracks availability and rates and provide management and supervisors with essential reports.” page 369

Check-in and out

This will be explained according to the pepper club’s way. After arriving and entering inside the building, the guest has to present his/her passport. A registration card recorder will be given to him to fill up (home address, mobile number, etc…) and the receptionist will make a copy of it. After that he signs and binds himself to the rules of the hotel. The receptionist will ask the guest’s credit card for the credit card authorization for any extras or incident that can happen during his stay. The guest will always be accompanied to his room, by an associate. He will receive a call, from reception within 20 minutes of arrival. No guest will ever be roomed in unmade accommodation. Should there be early arrivals that cannot be accommodate immediately, areas will be arranged with coffee, tea, Danish, newspaper and the availability of telephones/email for the guest in the lounge area. On checking out all the bills will be printed and presented to the guest. If there is any change to give to the guest that will be ready, for the guest will not have to wait. Everything should be done the night before the departure day of the guest. The potter will carry the luggage from the room to the car.

Concierge

At pepper club the concierge is focus on all guest’s services, he is responsible of all the potters. The concierge is locating the guest sites to visit, organizing transport, he also get all the deliveries for the guest from outside. Huyssten et al (2001) identifies that, the concierge is the person who links the guest to the outside services, such as tourism agencies. Being, in charge of the guest satisfaction, he consults to make itinerary.

Potter

At pepper club, the potter is working under the concierge but having specific duties such as: caring the luggage for the guest to and from the room. Rooming the guest when he checks- in. Huyssten et al (2001) support this idea saying, when the guest is checking out, the potter has to make sure that the guest did not forget anything behind and he should check the room if there is any damage and report to the reception.

If the guest booked the hotel’s car, the potter is the one who will be in charge to go with the car and the guest from the airport.

Cashiering

At pepper club, the cashier is dealing with all the cash in the hotel. He also deal with end of shift, balance the total cash, credit card transaction and foreign currency. Huyssten et al (2001) share the same idea with pepper club, saying that, he closes the specific transactions taken for the day and get generally get checked to see it balances.

Guest relation

At pepper club, the guest relation is the guest assistance provider. He gets closer to the guest, provides assistance for him, sold guest’s problems and make the guest feel comfortable offering him personal service. Denney et al (2007) says, to provide assistance he has to know the guest’s preference, request, there for, programs can be designed, where by all guest’s requests, preference, will be logged.

The link

The link between the front office and other department is to make each department aware about what is happening or what is going to happen about the guest’s need, concern and what he expect from the hotel. Because each department has got responsibilities, for the guest to have a good stay. The food and beverage for example, has to know about the arrival to prepare food and drink according to the number and preference if there is any. The room service should also be kept in touch, for; the guest can request any service in the room. If it is about fixing anything the maintenance should be aware. Huyssten et al (2001) identifies that, the front office is the link between the guest and all the departments.

Guest cycle

The front office department has got large responsibilities to support guest’s services. There for the front office operations are largely defined by the type and number of transactions made during different stages of the guest’s stay. As mentioned by Baker et al (1994), a typical stay will be divided into 4 stages: pre-arrival, arrival, occupancy and departure.

At pepper club the guest cycle is considered as the guest journey through the hotel, from the reservation (pre-arrival), arrival (check-in), occupancy (enjoying), to departure (check-out).

Agreeing with 4 phases of the guest cycle, but after departure, still the hotel will follow up to know about the feedback. Did he enjoy his stay in our hotel? I will suggest a fifth phase which is the feedback.

Methods of payment

The method of payment is the way which the guest handles his payment through. There are different methods of payment. Each guest has his way of payment which is easy or possible for him. Some of these methods are: cash, credit cards, travelers’ cheques, cheques, credit facilities, travel agency voucher. Huyssten et al (2001)

This applies also at pepper club, this methods of payment are experienced in the same way.

Daily banking

According to the pepper club way, all charges, postings, payments dealt with during the shift must balance with opera. At the end of the day, the audit casher closes the baking but before that he/she has to check all the balances on opera.

Housekeeping

Keeping the house is to maintain it in a good state. The housekeeping plays a major role to develop the economy of the hotel. By keeping the establishment and all the furniture clean, the housekeeping saves as many costs as possible. Branson, Lennox (1998)

Role of the housekeeping

The role is basically, cleaning and maintaining the standard. Make sure that all the public areas are clean. Branson, Lennox (1998) states, in any establishment, the housekeeping is the department that works to make people feel comfortable staying in the building.

At pepper club the housekeeping should service daily the suites, during late morning and early afternoon or at the guest convenience. Essential high quality toiletries will be provided and the turn down service will be prepare in the early evening. An overnight laundry service will be also offered. A daily pre-shift meeting will be held by the executive housekeeper. This will cover the previous day’s inspections, cleaning procedures, wearing of uniforms and guest relations.

Furniture

As the hotel is receiving guests from different background, countries and cultural traditions, each guest should be comfortable to stay in our hotel. Henning et al (1999) states that, “furnishing should look comfortable and welcoming, so that guests can feel that they can relax there. Use as much upholstered furniture as possible.” All furniture should be according to the standard of the hotel and the status of the room where the item will be used. I agree with Branson, Lennox (1998) saying, it will be very important that the item should be easily movable.

Cleanliness

Cleaning is to maintain the good state of the house hygienically and by appearance. Cleaning keeps the house and all the furniture against deterioration. For all the linen used in different sectors in the hotel, the housekeeping is responsible of keeping them clean and ready to be used. In the same idea with Branson, Lennox (1998), kitchen, bar, restaurant, banqueting, etc, the supervisor or manager of these relevant sectors should keep a happy atmosphere between him and the housekeeper to ensure that all the linens are exchanged on time.

What happen at pepper club is the suites will be serviced daily, during late morning and early afternoon or at the guest convenience. Essential high quality toiletries will be provided and the turn down service will be prepare in the early evening. The hotel will also offer an overnight laundry service.

*Turndown

All suites must be serviced nightly; bed turned down with sheet folded, on the entry side, at a 450angle. Curtains closed, one or two lamp turned one according to the procedure. Room attendant to replace all dirty towels with clean ones, toilet articles rearranged, toilet papers refolded. Bath to be cleaned, friction towels placed on floor at each bedside, gowns and good night amenity placed at bedside, any loose clothing or shoes should neatly folded and hung in closet, fresh ice should be brought in and placed in room with mineral water and fresh lemon slice. The turn down service will not start before 7:00 pm.

*laundry and valet

As an extra added service to the hotel, pressing is to be made available throughout the day. This service is available seven days a week with the quickest possible return. As a guest will be taken to his/her suite on arrival, the associate will ask if there is any immediate pressing to be done and take some to the valet.

Guest pressing will be done immediately. Suits and dresses are to be returned in wicker baskets with a paper inlay.

*Public rest rooms

They must be checked every 15 minutes by the public areas attendant, as the hotel is also judged by the rest rooms. Both hand cloths and paper cloths will be provided.

*Pool procedures

The houseman will arrange and rearrange, however necessary, throughout the day, the pool area as uniform as possible. He will clean the pool before it opens in the morning and at the close in the evening. The pool area will be policed during the day for cigarette butts, paper container, etc. The houseman will arrange lounge chairs for guests and ensure necessary towels are available. At night he will leave the pool deck thoroughly clean and rearrange the furniture as per standard set-up. Magazines, lotions, tanning oils, sunglasses, baseball caps with logo will be available for sale.

Inspection

To inspect is to control if the level of the cleaning performance reaches the standard. Though a cleaning schedule should be designed to specify who is doing what, when and how. For Henning (2007), the supervisor or the executive housekeeper will check-up to appreciate or correct if necessary.

Security

To secure is to keep out of danger. In a hotel, it is very important for all the staff to mind the security, as it is not only one person’s matter. Danger could come from any sector, so everyone working in the hotel should be able to report suspicious movement or any hazard around the building. “Security is not the prerogative of any one person in an establishment …Staff should realized the necessity of not giving information regarding internal matters”.page54 Branson, Lennox (1998)

Conclusion

Economic, politic, religious, social, cultural, etc, these may be reason of the dynamism around the world. Spreading objects and experiences to people at all the corners of the world, makes people move around. Our assignment was showing a good welcoming procedures, to people visiting our place. From different writers and the pepper club hotel, we can understand the major role of the hotel within tourism and hospitality operations. One of its departments was subject of our studies. We are so glad finishing explaining and describing the front office and housekeeping and their role within a hotel. We are great full to the pepper club hotel staff for their assistance which was very helpful. It could be difficult for us to complete this assignment without their help. All the ideas in this assignment did not come from us, the books we red from different writers were also very helpful.