|Subject Code and Title||FOO101 Front Office Operations|
|Assessment||Assessment 4: Case Study Report|
|Length||2000 words (+/-10%)|
People travel for a variety of reasons requiring different facilities and levels of luxury to suit their needs and budgets. To target specific consumer markets, hotel organisations have diversified their portfolios by opening a range of brands. These organisations have developed specific structures and operations that align to each brand’s purpose to allow consumers to clearly define the differences between each brand. The Rooms Division and Front Desk departments play a key role in the success of each hotel’s operations, quality of service and guest satisfaction. This assessment will allow students to develop an understanding of the facilities, operations and services that differentiate a luxury brand from a budget brand. Students will also investigate the different responsibilities of the Rooms Division for each brand and the strategies used to communicate with other departments within a hotel to allow the property to meet and exceed guest expectations.
Marriott International Inc. and Accor are two global hotel organisations that have successfully developed multiple brands in an effort to address the needs and expectations of different types of travellers. In this assessment, students are required to discuss the different strategies used by hotel organisations to meet and exceed guest expectations.
Students are required to choose one (1) hotel organisation (either Marriott International Inc. or Accor) and select one (1) luxury and one (1) budget brand from within the organisation. Students will compile a report in which they analyse the differences between the two chosen brands. The report should address the following:
This assessment must be submitted in compliance with the following:
Front Office Operations
The hospitality sector is a broader element of the service industry that involves hospitality unit like hotels categories from budget to luxury brands. People travel for several reasons and need a variety of facilities and a level of luxury to suit their budget. In order to target diverse customer in the marketplace, hotel organization has diversified their portfolio through an opening range of brands. In relation to such aspects, the assessment unit aims to provide an understanding of services, operations and facilities that differentiate a budget and luxury brand. The assessment will discuss responsibility or roles of room division for Marriott International Inc brand and communication strategy they use. Moreover, additional strategies that budget and luxury brand might take to improve customer satisfaction is also explained.
Background of two selected hotels
In order to briefly explain the relationship between hotel organization and front office department, Marriott International Inc organization is chosen. The luxury brand of Marriott International is Marriott Hotel, and Fairfield Inn is one of the budget brands of the organization. Marriott International Inc provides superb and bespoke services and amenities. It is a multinational diversified American hospitality organization that franchises and manages broader lodging and hotel facilities (Marriott, 2019). Marriott Hotel has been the flagship of Marriott International with approximately 500 global locations that constitute advancing art of hosting their guests brilliantly. The respective luxury brand with their well-crafted and skilled hospitality services aims to deliver authentic, luxurious and conformable atmosphere to their guests (Marriott, 2019). On the other hand, Fairfield Inn one of the budgeted limited service brand of the Marriott International. The Fairfield Inn guarantee their customer heritage warm hospitality and makes it right to be simple. It was founded in the year 1987 and now is the wider part of Marriott that is upscale brand with involving 285,000 rooms (McNew, 2019). It is one of the budget brands of the Marriott International, where it accommodates both business and leisure travellers with cutting-edge accommodation and hospitality services through distinctive local character (Fairfield by Marriott | Business Hotels, 2019).
Differences of the responsibilities of the Rooms Division department in luxury and budget brands
The room division consists of several personnel and departments essential to facilitating the related products and services to the visitors or guests during a hotel stay. In hotels like Marriott Hotel that is the luxury brand of Marriott International and Fairfield Inn that is the budget brand of same hotel organization, room division department often helpful to create high revenue than another division.
Figure 1: Responsibilities of the Rooms Division department
(Source: Abed, 2017)
The room division includes housing and front office departments (Abed, 2017). The hotel organizations irrespective of being luxury or budget brand constitute room division that has the responsibility to handle the needs of guests and offer a comfortable and smooth stay. In respect to luxury hotel brand like Marriott Hotel, it can be noted that room division has a responsibility to work collaborated with other departments to please and satisfy guest through world-class services. In budgeted hotel brand like Fairfield Inn that are often smaller than luxury brands, room divisions departments might be decreasing in size. However, they still require serving guests to have high retention. The responsibilities of Fairfield Inn’s room division departments incorporate providing contemporary hotel ambience and rooms that are infused with tradition of warm hospitality inspired through effortless and inviting experience (Fairfield by Marriott | Business Hotels, 2019). The department requires acting in favour of building healthy and profitable guest relation along with simplified sequences of events, which occurs from guest making reservation, call for enquiry and until they check out. The hotel rates range from low to high prices that are often considered reasonable by diverse customers, thus increasing hotel’s accommodation rate in different seasons (Fairfield by Marriott | Business Hotels, 2019). On the contrary, room-division department in luxury brand as Marriott Hotel noted to achieve guest satisfaction goals through glamorous, personalized, super-modern and classic services. They have the responsibility to arrange preregistration of guests, check complementary rooms in a certain case, efficient attend guests, review night occupancy, scheduling housekeeping and making employee adjustments etc. With providing high-class guest securities, their innovative process of guest services including skilled and professional service executives constitute towards their competitiveness in the market (Marriott, 2019). The room rates are higher than budget brands due to exquisite service facilities, and every guest associates are cross-trained in every aspect of rooming and greeting their guests.
Outline of Front Office operations executed at luxury hotels
Front office department in a part of room division departments and it has been the nerve centre and hub of the hotel organization in the hospitality sector (Petkova, 2017). The department has been responsible for establishing the first impression of visitors and guests as well as one on which customers relies throughout for any information, services or stay related enquiries.
Figure 2: Front office operation at Fairfield Inn
(Source: Fairfield by Marriott - Marriott Hotels Development, 2019)
In the budget brand as Fairfield Inn of Marriott International, the front office operation has a duty to improve guest services by continuously enhancing service qualities as per guest demands and needs (Fairfield by Marriott - Marriott Hotels Development, 2019). The front-office operation executed at the budget hotel brand involves responsibility to up-sell and sells rooms (Petkova, 2017). They are handed over all available rooms and expected arrivals after reservation for which it had to make necessary arrangements. The respective department tries to sell-out all available rooms to walk-in or call-in visitors to confirm 100% occupancy. Maintaining balanced visitor account; provide services like handing faxes, emails, hotel information, reply to customer enquiry, coordinate effectively between check-in and check-out are some other operation at front-office (Szende & Reddy, 2017). The mid to premium range of room rates tend to improve room demands and ultimately increase the operation of front office management to advice room service and housekeeping.
Figure 3: Front office operation at Marriott Hotel
(Source: Marriott, 2019)
On the other hand, the front office operation undertaken at the luxury hotel brand is somewhat up-scaled than budget brand along with including similar front-office function. At the Marriott Hotel, room sales have been the primary income source, and front-office operations have a significant contribution towards achieving it. The front office manager is responsible for the operation of every front-office operation and employees that involves guest service, bell employees, Switchboard operation, gift or retail shops, and front desk as applicable. The operation at front-office focused on thriving in staffs and visitors satisfaction with adequate work environment as well as providing amenities that reflect the comforts of home (Marriott, 2019). The employee at front-desk works throughout 24-hours in three shifts and checks on the number of check-out expected. They track room status as well as records of arrival through double checking registration on computer and cards to be an update of night occupancy. During an average day, at Marriott Hotel the front-office operation incorporates reviewing VIP list and arrange preregistration. The execution of quality services through front-office operation involve friendly or warm welcoming of guests, manage room changes as per the demand of guests, check issues, meet with lead GSAs and genuine greeting at check-outs (Marriott, 2019). It can be noted that Front-office is a place, where visitors go after arriving at hotel organization. They might involve front-desk, reservation, concierge, housekeeping and reception. They play an important role in both budget and luxury hotel brands as they are the face of hospitality and hotel establishment.
Three various tools and communication for communication
Communication channels are a logical connection or physical transmission medium that helps an organization to perform their services and meet customer needs effectively. In the hotel sector irrespective of the organization to be budget or luxury brand, success is driven by loyal and happy guests. In order to achieve such, excellent internal communication across various departments lead to the efficient management of hotel employees and operation that focused on outstanding customer services. The globalization at current years has contributed hotel organization to incorporate several technological aspects to undertake effective internal communication across departments. The luxury hotel brand as Marriott Hotel observed to combat internal communication barrier through the channel of staffs portal for every kind of resources involving: onboarding initiative, incoming VIP visitors, safety and health instruction (Marriott, 2019). This tool contributes towards improving transparency in operations and frequent staff training workshops provided over portal has been helpful ensure improved customer satisfaction. Additionally, the respective luxury hotel also found to significantly utilize social media and CRM as an effective channel to communicate across the different department in the organization. The social media platform has been significant for the hotel to target customer as their needs and customized services as per their demands to offer the best customer satisfaction (Xie, Chen & Wu, 2016). The communication channel like CRM or Customer Relationship Management has been a simplified tool to develop business relationships. It is used to maintain the proper flow of information from the top level to lower level departments to thrive in operational effectiveness. On the other hand, a budget hotel brand ‘Fairfield Inn’ that has often have fewer costs to invest in highly technological communication note to use emails and mobile communication to achieve productive operation and potential customer satisfaction. Moreover, Fairfield Inn noted to utilize HSIA network that has been accessible to authorized viewers as effective communication channels after email tool for a solid system of internal communication to gain high connectivity for customer satisfaction (HospitalityNet, 2019). Employees using a mobile app facilitate management that is accountable, where they may respond quickly for any concerns. Customers also like accountability, and in here mobile apps provide written confirmation of their request. It is easy for guests to book through mobile at any time, where hotel room images, facilities, amenities are uploaded to offer true services. The above mentioned internal communication tool varying in accordance budget and luxury brand have been effective for an organization to operative effectively and potentially achieve high customer satisfaction.
Identifying the target markets
A target marketplace is a group of consumers, where products and services delivered as per their needs and demands. They are the group of probable consumers to whom organization wishes to sells their services and products. The Marriott Hotel has noted to build varying target market in the sector with specifically targeting requirement of their guests. The business entity to be part of a luxury brand, the customer often expects a luxurious and comforting atmosphere like never before during their stay. Marriott primarily targets diverse customers of America as it is parent nation; however, it is with multinational reach target customer across the globe. The potential customer is mostly individual travelling for business, self-defined, an individualistic and sophisticated traveller that willingly spend large money on their accommodation in the hotel (Marriott Hotels for Leisure and Business Travel, 2019). The hotel incorporating elegant atmosphere and excellent intuitive services that have been helpful to satisfy customer needs significantly. On the contrary, the prime target markets for Fairfield Inn hotels are customer of the nation, where it is headquartered. In order to carter the expectation and needs of customers that want effortless and comfort facilities in visitors-room, hotel amenities are infused with vitality and pleasure of getting things that are expected. It is being a budget hotel brand, targets middle-upper and upper-high income class people across the globe. The quality services to potential customers range are delivered through diligence, warmth and entrepreneurial mindset of teams that exceed and anticipate guest expectation and needs. Fairfield Inn even to be budgeted hotel, work effectively to offer everything that goes as expected by customer along with making it simple and right (Fairfield by Marriott | Business Hotels, 2019).
Current Strategies for each brand
Customer satisfaction refers to the measure of services or products offered by the organization in the market to surpass or meet customer expectations. The key element of competitive guest satisfaction in Marriott Hotel has been its eCRM application. With the inclusion of such application the hotel has been able to deliver various latest services that developed its hospitality quality. The official hotel website incorporated under the e-business system has become frequently visited sites in the industry, giving visitors or clients access to services provided by the entire Marriott chain of resorts and hotels (Marriott, 2019). Moreover, the two strategies that respective luxury brand by establishing to improve customer satisfaction would be personalised and after-sale services. Personalised services can help to confirm that the customer does not end up talking to an automated machine and proving offer and customized message as per customer needs. After-sale services would help to build a sense of trust and loyalty among targeted customers. On the other hand, Fairfield Inn as the budget brand noted to effectively use its services through social-media platform to deliver strong guest satisfaction. The interactive platform serves to be a goldmine for customer recommendation and services, thus helping the hotel to keep in the track of customer needs and demands (Social Listening Insights for Marriott International Hotel Brands, 2019). Additionally, to improve guest satisfaction two of the strategy that budget hotel may undertake are providing product training and a concierge desk. The product support and training would be designed to confirm that guests achieve maximum value from services or products and have assistance to guide through product helps. The virtual concierges on the property would be helpful to ensure that guest does not require going downstairs to lobby for having concierge make a dinner reservation, inform about nearby museums or visiting sites and help plan special nights.
The assessment undertakes in-depth understanding of hospitality management and responsibility of room-division departments. The complete range of front-office operation involves preparation for guest arrivals, managing guest department, register and welcoming guests. The key factor in keeping the customer satisfied, happy and loyal is the quality and timely delivery of products or services.