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Six Steps to Improved Hotel Front Office Organization

Being organized is the key to being successful in all areas of life. For a hotel front desk team, organization is critical to ensuring staff and guest satisfaction. It will not only have an immediate and visible impact on your team morale and guest satisfaction scores, it will assist in keeping the entire property running smoothly. Take a moment to review these six steps to improved front office organization.

 

Keep everything in its place

The front office is the catch all space of the hotel. When it doubt give it to the front desk, they will know what to do with it! Does this sound familiar? Take a moment to review the front office space every quarter – and minimize what the staff has to work with, through and around to make them more successful. Use the parameters below to evaluate what is kept there. 
- Does it make sense? Are the items that are used multiple times a shift in the proper location and easily accessible?
- What doesn’t need to be there? The menu and coupons from the restaurant down the street that closed 2 years ago can probably be tossed out. If it has not used it in the past quarter, you do not need it. Get rid of it.
- Does it have to be printed copy? Can it be saved or scanned to a shared drive, desktop, or folder?
- What is the guest visual? Multiple times per week walk through the front entrance of the hotel. What do the guests see? Is the front desk organized and free of clutter? What can they see when they are checking in or checking out?
 
Use a calendar, planner and/or smartphone
How is the Front Desk keeping track of VIP arrivals or special requests? New technologies like Alice App or the famous “Red Book” are both ways to keep organized for the Front Desk agents. Regardless of how you do it, find a system and stick to it. Work with the team to see what works best. When managing deadlines and meetings, an online calendar is your friend. Be it Outlook, Google, or the one on a smartphone - calendar everything.

Make lists/review checklists
Lists and checklists are only as good as what is put on it and what is crossed off of it. If they are not going to be used or checked - it won’t work for an FOM or their teams. Successful Front Office Managers make a list for the week, month, and life. Getting organized is all about priorities.
- Do the front desk shift checklists make sense? Does it have times for when the tasks should be completed? Is the FOM checking team’s checklists? Where do they put them when completed? Review all shift checklists quarterly to make sure they are current and applicable. When completing shift checklists, add times to when items are to be complete to assist in team member’s ability to manage their time.
- Make a list for the day – the daily list should never be more than 5 items long or it is a set up for failure. Starting the list can be daunting; when determining the list start by deciding what will have the most impact and start there. What has been committed to complete to or for another person? If it can’t be completed, they should be made aware as soon as possible and then move on to the next priority.
 
Plan ahead
Are department schedules made 2 weeks out? Of course schedules change based on occupancy, but think about creating schedules 2 weeks out vs 1 week out so the team can plan ahead. It can always change it if occupancy increases or decreases.
 
Work efficiently
- Delegate 
Most tasks are better complete than set aside to be completed perfectly. Delegating is an exceptional tool for the manager and the staff members. It teaches staff not only how to do complete the tasks, but also how to address related problems. There are team members in every hotel that want to learn, grow and help. Let them shine – let them help you shine.
- Make more decisions 
Disorganization is often the result of failing to decide what to do about, or with something. Start making decisions about little things and soon you will find yourself more confident about taking more action – Try it today!
- Turn cell phones OFF 
Even when a cell phone is on vibrate mode or quiet it is a distraction. Productive people take time away from their phones during the day. Try it when completing the schedule for the following week or doing monthly inventory. Tasks will be accomplished much quicker. This is especially true for tasks that may not be a favorite one.
- Turn off e-mail pop up notification
We are all susceptible to distractions – big or small. When working on a project or task, what do your eyes do when an e-mail notification flashes on the screen? You know you should finish what you are doing but now you are distracted and stop what you are doing to read the e-mail. It is the same theory as to why we all slow down to look at an accident – we are human. To stop this go into your outlook options, mail, message arrival, unclick next to show desktop alert and all options.
- Take the clock off your desktop
Have you ever wondered why there are no clocks in casinos in Las Vegas? It is because they don’t want you to focus on the time, they want you to focus on the task at hand (losing money J). The same rule applies to your desktop. We all have plenty of clocks in our offices; between our cell phone, office phone and clock usually on the wall we are aware of the time. When overwhelmed it feels as if the illuminated clock on the desk top as if it is mocking you. You are thinking “Is that really the time”, “What do I have left to do”, “How am I going to finish everything”. Guess what? You just wasted 5 – 10 minutes looking at a clock, and thinking about what you are not getting done vs actually getting it done. To remove this distraction right click or click (based on your version) on your tool bar, click on customize, turn systems on or off, and change option next to clock to off.
- Shut the door
“I have an open door policy” that makes a good manager right??? Technically WRONG. An open door policy means managers  are available for team member’s questions or concerns based on your schedule. It doesn’t mean the door is kept open at all times. Pop-ins average 10 – 15 minutes each time. Manage your office door like you manage your calendar.

TAKE ACTION
What are you going to do differently? What suggestions would you offer? What has worked well for you? Are you looking for assistance in managing a front office team? Want to see more efficiency and organzation? Contact PHD Hosptiality at 602-714-2442. We will help you streamline operations and maximize efficiency leading to improved profit margins.