How to optimize your front desk's performance (and increase revenue)
In this short guide, you will discover how to make your front-desk staff more efficient, improve the guest experience, and increase your hotel's revenue.
With all the technology available today, does it still make sense to optimize staff performance at the front desk?
The tools and methods of front desk work have changed in recent years, but the essence remains the same: satisfy the customer and increase sales.
In the next few lines, we show you what actions to put into practice to improve your front desk performance.
Why is the front desk in hotels important?
In addition to increasing revenue through upselling and cross-selling activities, the front desk serves to convey the image and hospitality of your hotel.
Indeed, it is not enough to invest in designer furniture or hire a good chef to improve your hotel's reputation.
Rather, you need to offer service that always meets, or even exceeds, your guests' expectations.
Front desk staff can do this, here's how.
Get to know the customer
The front desk staff's first task is about listening.
Listening to guests' concerns, problems, and moods is critical to providing the best possible guest experience.
Of course, in the digital age, this information can be obtained on the web before guests arrive at the property.
However, the front desk's work goes through many more stages and is able to go much deeper than what can be inferred online.
If it is not clear what your guest really wants, even the most sophisticated upselling strategy is doomed to fail miserably.
In fact, without a real need, any proposal from your staff will be rejected.
In contrast, if you listen and know the customer's needs thoroughly, proposing an ancillary service will embellish the overall experience and enhance it in the eyes of the guest.
Truly getting to know the customer requires a reception staff that is not only accurate, polite, and organized, but can be alert, receptive, and empathetic to create a positive relationship with guests.
Set goals and priorities
Guests are not all the same: each has very different problems, tastes, and opinions, sometimes even contradictory.
Let's say, for example, that in your spa hotel you find yourself hosting both couples and families with children around the holidays.
Children's access to the spa may not be a good fit for couples seeking intimacy.
If your overall goal is to target families rather than couples, accommodating the former will be a priority.
Consequently, staff at the front desk need to know this so they can provide the right information to different types of guests.
Define (and record) procedures
We have mentioned how important the skills of front desk staff are to perform well in selling and conveying the best corporate image.
However, to best express their skills requires consistent performance.
Consistency of performance is achieved through the systematic application of procedures.
Writing down the procedures to be followed according to the most common or most critical scenarios represents the most widely used methodology in the hospitality world.
It serves to give stability to the most complex procedures such as security, logistical and administrative coordination.
But it also serves to make communication with guests more effective without leaving too much to chance and the sensitivity of the individual employee.
You can write the procedures in the form of a concise handbook that only hints at solutions, or in the form of precise checklists where you can report actions and even expressions to be used with guests.
The choice between the two modes is very subjective and depends on the type of internal structure and organization.
One thing, however, is certain: the choice of the timing, manner and words with which the front desk communicates with guests is really important, more so than the message itself sometimes.
So in some cases it pays to opt for a precise formula to be read or learned by heart.
One example is telephone answering "scripts".
Calling a hotel and being answered with a simple "hello," not followed by the name of the facility and operator, does not help project a professional image to a potential customer.
Conversely, writing in black and white the phrase that everyone should use when answering the phone conveys a much more welcoming idea of a hotel.
Personal skills and procedures are great prerequisites for optimizing your front desk performance.
However, communication techniques, operational and sales support tools, not to mention administrative and security procedures, are constantly evolving.
This means that to maintain a high standard of performance, it is necessary to continually train and update your front desk staff.
The supply of professional training is growing constantly, thanks in part to remote training tools or the work of professional associations and local agencies.
Training can also become a form of corporatebenefit for your employees.
Use technology for support
Technological tools can help your hospitality facility in several ways:
- to learn more about your guests' habits and preferences (marketing tools)
- to improve guest communications management (PMS, CRM etc.)
- to sell better and more (RMS, Channel Manager, Booking Engine...)
- to better manage logistics and administration (PMS)
- to monitor the level of satisfaction (reputation manager)
- and more...
A front desk can be incredibly empowered through the use of the right supporting technology.
Provide your staff with access to the best technology tools you have and properly train them in their use.
Upselling means selling the customer who has already purchased a product/service, a product or service of a higher category (and price).
The most effective way to increase front desk sales performance is to instruct staff to propose, propose, and propose.
For example: a customer purchasing a standard room stay might be interested in purchasing a discounted upgrade to a deluxe room.
Have your staff propose this when the guest arrives at the front desk.
Doing cross-selling means selling the guest a product or service that is ancillary and/or complementary to the stay.
For example, the same guest as before might be interested in buying a discounted admission to the hotel spa, a ride on a tour bus, dinner at a participating restaurant, etc.
Cross-selling, like upselling offers, can add profit margins to those from the room stay.
At this point, you may wonder when is the best time to offer these solutions to the guest.
The right answer is, as often as possible and especially when the customer listens to you the most.
Usually, the times of greatest customer interest/listening are:
- the moment of requesting a quote
- the actual moment of the purchase of the stay
- for customers with a large booking window, two or three days before arrival
- for last-minute customers at check-in
- for each client, the moment of check-in
- when the customer is at the facility
The most effective method is always a verbal proposal from a trained and knowledgeable salesperson.
However, visual and digital media (brochures, signs, video and audio announcements, messages) are also useful in order to reach customers in a broad and targeted manner.
Now that you have discovered which activities can help optimize your front desk performance, it is time to put them into practice.
The easiest and most efficient way, is to follow a checklist with all the steps to follow.
We have created one for you.