The purpose of the study is to research into room division operation of an organisation. For this purpose, the organisation chosen was The Landmark London. The hotel is a leading five-star hotel of England situated in Marylebone Road, London. The hotel is located at a prime location and has nearly 300 rooms and suites.
a) Legislation and regulatory requirements relevant to room’s division operations
Hotels generate revenue from all types of customers and are occupied by guests like business persons, bureaucrats, tourists etc. There are also the staff and managers working in the hotel premises. It becomes the responsibility of the hotel management to take care of the security of its staff and its customers along with their belongings and luggage. Providing safe and secure rooms and hotel premises is the liability of hotel management. All safety kits like fire extinguishers, CCTV cameras, secure locks, security guard teams, ambulance should be installed in hotel at all times. There are laws which keep a check on the hotels that are they providing good rooms within nominal charges or not (Denney and Michael, 2005).
The staff members are also a liability of hotel management. The Equality Act 2010 protects the employees from being discriminated on age, disability, gender, caste, race and religion. Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 ensures that there are proper risk assessments of hazards and hotel is prepared with mitigation strategies. Workplace Regulations 1992 ensures that there are proper health and safety measures for the employees. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 keeps a check on safety of machinery and equipment used. Thus, the legal frameworks ensue that there are proper and safe facilities for staff and guests.
b) Roles and Responsibilities of accommodation and reception staff
The accommodation and reception staff services play a major role and are much responsible for customer satisfaction from hotel services. They are the public faces of the hotel. The reception desk is where a customer communicates for the first time and also during staying and vacating the room. The Front Desk Manager is responsible for customers comfort in the hotel. If a customer wants or there are any shortcomings or complaints related to room the customers can call the bell boy using bell service provided in the rooms (Jerris, 1999). The Night Auditor is responsible for auditing the hotel accounts after the day hours. He is also responsible for adding surcharges on the customers which is a part of day to day billing.
The accommodation staffs are concerned with the utilities provided in the rooms and hotel premises. It has two sections namely, housekeeping and engineering. The engineering staff present looks after the installation, maintenance, overhauling and repairing of the electrical and mechanical systems present. The machinery includes air conditioners, electricity system, steam generators etc. This department is responsible that these appliances work safely and there is no danger to the life of staff and customers (Abbott and Lewry, 1999). The housekeeping department looks after the rooms, lounges and recreational facilities. It ensures that these are well maintained and well equipped. Maintained and well equipped rooms add to the credits earned by the hotels in serving their customers.
c) Evaluation of the variety of services offered by rooms division
The importance of rooms division can be felt from the fact that room charges constitute majority of the revenue generated in a financial year by the hotel. The customers lay emphasis on the availability of rooms, clean and equipped rooms. It is the role of rooms division to fulfil this condition of the customers. The Rooms Division can be divided into the following sections:
1) Front Office and Accommodation: The accommodation and front office services hold the most important responsibility of serving the customers from the time of entry till the customer check out. Their role is important because they make the customer feel comfortable with their politeness and willingness to serve in the best possible way (Allen, 1990). The customers make their first relations with the staff members of these departments. Therefore these departments are public faces of the hotel and they earn the maximum credits through their services. As a result these are considered most important sections in hospitality industry. Other services can’t make a difference if these services fail to win the confidence of customers.
The front office is considered important because the customers communicate with it at all times. The front office holds the responsibilities of reservation of rooms for customers, checking in and checking out formalities, generation of bills, dealing with customer complaints and suggestions. It ensures that customer gets home like environment even far from their homes. The front office desk is managed by experienced and skilled persons. Generally, it is managed by two managers in large scale hotels and may require only one member in small scale hotels.
The accommodation facilities may differ from institution to institution. The hotel accommodation department manages hundreds of rooms with an emphasis on customer comfort and satisfaction. Therefore, it requires a larger and skilled staff to maintain rooms and handle customers. But in institutions like universities conditions may be different. The value of Students residing in hostels is less than the guests residing in hotel rooms (Allen, 1990). The main aim of the accommodation department in learning institutions is to provide the students with basic amenities only and not with the luxurious comforts as in case of hotels. Therefore, the number of staff members is also small and may be unskilled as compared to hotels.
2) Reservation: The reservation department is responsible for reserving the rooms for guests prior to their arrival. The reservation departments handles the customer request for reservation of rooms i.e. the type and number of rooms customer want, rooms to be booked are for individuals or groups, are the rooms demanded available, maintains a record of the rooms occupied and vacant. The reservation department makes ensure the customers that their room is booked. It also informs the front office about the date and time of a customer arrival. Therefore, it remains in direct contact with the front office at all times.
3) Housekeeping and Uniformed services: These include the staff members responsible for maintaining clean and equipped rooms. The uniformed services are meant for special services. The concierge attends the phone calls for guests on their behalf, can act as travel guide and take care of all needs of the guests. The valets attend the guests in general services. All these are under direct control of front office manager.
d) Importance of the front of house area and the accommodation service
The front house of the hotel is a window to the outer world and customers which allows them to get an idea of the capabilities of the hotel management and also about the arrangements and facilities offered by the hotel management. While the accommodation services ensure that the customers are staying with comfort and are feeling safe and secure. Therefore, it is of utter importance to manage these two departments skilfully. The front area comprises of restrooms, bar area and dining area. There is always a large number of customers present at these places. Therefore, these should be designed properly designed with full calculation about the space available and customers to be handled to reduce chaos. The front house manager and staff should be skilled and experienced (Baker.et.al, 1995). If the front house of the hotel is managed well the other services revolving around it are also managed well enough. Managing accommodation services is of relative importance as ultimately the customers have to stay in rooms. Providing them with exceptional rooms at low prices adds to the credits earned by the management of the hotel. Also it wins the confidence of the customers and helps to build good customer relations which ultimately results better revenue generation and growth in business.
e) Key aspects of planning and management of the front of house area
The front office and accommodation service leave great impact on the mind set of customers. Therefore, planning and designing of front office area and managing good accommodation services are of great importance. They add to the value of the hotel services. While constructing the hotel, proper designing and planning of front house should be kept in mind. The front house restrooms should be designed according to the maximum accommodation which can be provided. The recreational facilities should also be managed accordingly (Baker and Huyton, 2000). The dining space should be planned so that it accommodates a good number of guests at peak seasons. The space to arrange buffet for groups residing should be provided separately. The dining space should serve all meals from breakfast to dinner including in menu all types of cuisines. The front house staff and waiters should be well trained so that they can handle a large number of guests in an efficient manner. The number of staff members should also be kept according to maximum capacity. The management should infuse a sense of responsibility, dedication and confidence among the staff members as they represent the image of hotel every single minute in front of the customers.
The accommodation staff should also be well trained and skilled to serve the customers in best possible way. The engineers should be recruited separately for each and every utility. Also they should be well trained to repair and maintain the utilities efficiently. The housekeeping staff should be well spoken dedicated towards their duties and should respect the customers.
f) Operational issues affecting the effective management
The success of any business environment depends on effective management. Successful Businessmen and professionals understand the importance of effective management in developing and running a successful business. The operational research and rigorous evaluation carried upon by trained analysts has led to effective management of businesses (Bardi, 2000). Also evaluation of the operations carried on by the companies has led to cost effectiveness. For good operation and management the staff at front office should be well trained to handle all conditions which occur with customers in hospitality industry. The staff should be properly guided and trained well to attain expertise in handling critical situations. The staff should be skilled and qualified which helps in handling all type of customers. A skilled staff can reduce the expenses done on them by the management and can generate better revenues by showing their skills in an efficient manner. The staff should be developed in a way such that it gains skills to be proactive. This reduces the time consumed to attain good results out of same staff. Experienced staff should guide the new staff continuously.
Another factor is using the time and money efficiently. The managers should use the money earned in a judicious way to ensure better facilities are provided to customers every time they arrive. The last operational factor which leads to effective management is that there should be no communication gap between staff members from different sections (Bardi, 2000). This also leads to reducing ambiguity among different departments and saves a lot of time and money. Thus, effective communication is necessary between departments and members for better management.
a) Yield Management
Yield management can be defined as extraction of maximum revenues from a fixed source by applying flexible strategies according to the change in market behaviour. The maximum the yield from the sources, the better the growth is. The hotel management should apply various strategies to increase average room occupancy. Increased room occupancy over a financial year provides the management with better yields (Branson and Lennox, 1990). For better occupancy, rooms should be allotted according to the needs of the persons. Single persons should be allotted single rooms by the reservation department. Taking into account the case given, out of 75 single rooms available, there are 20 rooms vacant which can allotted to single occupants. Also there are 40 double rooms allotted to single persons. Thus simply there is a waste of resources. If these 40 single persons were allotted single rooms and may be twin rooms, the 40 double rooms would have been vacated which could be allotted to customers who demanded double room. Thus there would have been an increase in occupancy and yield per room. The average price, occupancy rate, and average revenue should be considered while deciding yield management strategies.
b) Analysis of sales techniques
Marketing strategies and sales techniques play a major part in increasing the occupancy and generating greater revenues. Better management of the room allocation process and deciding attractive prices with better facilities may help in getting higher revenues from rooms. Another marketing strategy is to provide recreational and dining facilities which generate added on revenues. Increasing the rent of rooms during peak seasons is another strategy to earn higher profits. Discounts to regular customers, providing them membership cards, providing them with liability points are also the sales techniques to attract customers. This type of customers stays in hotels of same chain on their business tours. Sometimes hotels in their websites mention about their special tour and packages to attract families (Jones and Paul, 1990). The sales and marketing team regularly keeps in touch with corporate teams to offer them meeting rooms, banquet halls. Another revenue generating source for hotels is tour guides. Special facilities and rewards are given to tour guides for including their hotels in the tour packages. Sales and marketing team also focuses on advertisement. Advertisement of its plans and displaying rooms and packages online increases the number of customers.
c) Use of forecasting and Statistical Data in room division
Forecasting room availability is guessing the rooms present in the hotel that can be allotted to customers. Also forecasting includes the number of customers expected in the coming future. This enables the reservation and front desk team to manage prior reservations of the customer. Apart from reservations, it allows the hotel management to decide upon what marketing strategies they should apply to increase the occupancy and get higher revenues. It also helps in prior managing and maintaining the other facilities like recreational and dining beforehand so that the customers face no discomfort. From the table given, if the management uses this data it can get to know how many single rooms and double rooms can be given to individual tourists and families respectively (Wood and Verginis, 1999). This requires proper allocation of right type of rooms to right persons. This increases the overall efficiency of each room and thus the revenue generated. Forecasting the number of customers also helps in modifying the schemes and strategies accordingly. For example, in the month of December occupancy is high. Therefore, increasing the room revenue, planning new attractive offers for customers, proper planning of all event parties, deciding new menus beforehand are some important places where forecasting and other previous statistical data can be of great advantage.
d) Calculation of performance indicators
The success of the hotel depends on its management and market strategies. These strategies should be renewed from time to time. If the performance of a department is good, then the management can decide to continue with the strategy thinking over the future scope of that strategy. If not the strategy has to amended keeping in mind the statistical data. Department wise performance indicators make it easy for the hotel management to decide where the scope of improvement is. Taking the case above, the rooms’ division department can improve the room occupancy. Out of 40 single occupants who are allotted double rooms, 20 can be adjusted in single rooms. Therefore, adjusting 20 single occupants can give vacancy for 40 persons who are in demand of double rooms but right now they are being denied by the reservation department due to unavailability of double rooms. If those 20 double rooms are allotted to right persons, it will increase the occupancy as well as the revenue generated. Thus, here the performance indicator of reservation department is low on performance. Hence, reservation department may have to restructure its strategies. Thus department wise planning helps in a better way to monitor performance.
The Landmark London has been a leading hotel in London in attracting the customers and has remained as the first choice of visitors. The Landmark London has maintained a great standard in terms of room services. The staffs of the hotel are well trained and are very helpful and appreciated by customers. The hotel has been booking regular profits which it attributes to its front of house and service teams.
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