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Loss Prevention/Security

The loss prevention department can be very important to a hotel. The main
priority of loss prevention is the safety and security of all hotel guests and
employees. Members of the loss prevention staff patrol the hotel common
areas and guest room hallways. The director of loss prevention must ensure
that all accidents and guest complaints are handled professionally and
thoroughly. Large hotels in crime prone areas may hire off-duty police officers
to enhance their loss prevention capability. In many hotels, loss prevention
also serves as a shipping and receiving department.
The loss prevention team may be one of the smallest of the rooms division
(often one or two people), but their responsibilities are quite large. The
size of this team can grow as hotel operations warrant. For example, a large or
mega-size hotel casino may have a substantial loss prevention team on hand
to ensure safety and deter theft. Loss prevention can also work to limit future
hotel liability by facilitating continuous employee safety and awareness programs.
As has been reviewed, the rooms division area is perhaps the largest
and most visible of all hotel departments. The front desk and uniform services
have the highest amount of guest contact within the hotel. Reservations, night
audit, and housekeeping play vital roles “behind the scenes.” A very good
way to understand the functions of the rooms division departments is to
examine the role each plays in the arrival and registration of hotel guests. The
process of a guest arrival and registration is summarized in a sequential format
called the arrival chronology addressed in the next thread. However, with
this basic understanding of the rooms division, one can begin an analysis of
other hotel departments.

[ by Rooms at 2-4-2009 07:21 edited ]

Food and Beverage

As we have come to understand, only full-service hotels will have this functional
department. The size of this department will vary greatly based on the
food and beverage outlets available at a particular hotel. The responsibilities of
the food and beverage department are:
 Kitchen(s)
 Restaurant(s)
 Lounge/Bar(s)
 Room service
The food and beverage functional department has minimal interaction
with other departments. Some hotels do not have integrated computer systems
(called property management systems) to track guest charges throughout
the hotel. In those cases, members of the food/beverage team must bring individual
guest charges to the front desk so that they can be added to an account.
This process, called manual posting, ensures that all outlet/ancillary charges
are accounted for.
It is useful for all hotel employees to be familiar with their hotel’s food
and beverage operation so that they will be able to notify guests of what is
available at the hotel. Many hotels regularly invite staff to dine at the various
outlets in order to ensure that they remain familiar with offerings, specialties,
hours of operation, and the like. In essence, by recommending the hotel’s outlets
to guests, the staff become part of the hotel’s marketing effort.

Accounting

Because hotels operate just like any other business, someone must monitor
and mange the money. The financial responsibilities of the accounting department
can also vary with the size and scope of the hotel. Numerous food and
beverage outlets and other ancillary revenue sources can affect the size of this
department. Accounting also shares a duty, called night audit, with the rooms
division. Accounting handles the following duties:
 Credit
 Accounts receivable
 Accounts payable
 Night audit
Credit is extended to individuals and groups based on certain preset criteria.
Accounts receivable tracks the revenues due the hotel. Accounts payable
manages the hotel’s expenditures. Again, detailed discussion of the night audit
function will come later, but basically it serves to reconcile the hotel’s books
on a nightly basis.
Accounting works very closely with most hotel divisions on a variety of
issues. Credit may be extended to certain guests and groups, so the front desk
and sales/catering must understand the role of accounts receivable. In fact,
reservations must also understand the role of credit as initial reservations may
be made with certain credit provisions. Accounts payable would play an
important role in ensuring that the supplies for housekeeping are ordered and
paid for on a timely basis. Of course, as has been stated, there is a large overlap
between night audit and the front desk.
Accounting also manages the currency control process at the hotel. Front
desk cashiers may handle many cash transactions in a given day. Although this
specific process is addressed in a later thread, it is important to realize the
impact accounting has on the entire hotel.

[ by Rooms at 2-4-2009 07:21 edited ]

Human Resources

In addition to the accounting function, hotels share other needs with most
industries. Hospitality is an industry that relies on people. Hotels succeed only
with the right personnel in the right places. It is the responsibility of the
human resources department to find and retain these people. Within human
resources, the staff performs the following duties:
 Payroll
 Benefits
 Recruitment
 Career development/ Training
 Conflict resolution
 New hire orientation
With staffing levels at some mega-size hotels reaching 1,000 employees,
managing the payroll can be a daunting task. Nothing reduces employee satisfaction
faster than an incorrect paycheck. Continuously monitoring trends in
employee benefits ensures that the hotel remains competitive. Recruitment of
new employees is perhaps the most important role of human resources.
Creating and implementing various training and career enhancement programs
has been proven to improve employee retention and reduce turnover.
Human resources can also play a vital role as an impartial mediator in employee
conflicts with each other and conflicts involving superiors.
Staffing and recruitment are perhaps the most important ways human
resources can impact the entire hotel. Although final hiring decisions are usually
left for the department heads, human resources acts as a “filter” by providing
a pool of qualified candidates for the decision-makers to choose from.
Housekeeping, food/beverage, and night audit have traditionally high turnover
rates, so keeping this pool of candidates available is very important to
those areas. Training programs on guest service and satisfaction impact the
front office because they have arguably the most guest contact. The new hire
orientation process ensures that new employees understand the basic hotel
philosophies and processes before they begin their first day of training on the
job. The orientation typically is conducted on a regular basis, say weekly or
monthly (depending on the size of the hotel and its turnover rate).

Engineering

The physical structure of a hotel must be maintained and nurtured just like
the people inside. The myriad systems within a hotel, including electrical,
ventilation, heating/cooling, water, phone, computer, and others, must be
continually checked and repaired. The building(s) themselves must also
be maintained. Within engineering, the responsibilities are:
 Maintenance (repair and upkeep of the internal and external hotel
structure and equipment)
 Groundskeeping (maintenance and upkeep of the facility grounds
and landscape)
 Capital improvements
Capital improvement is the process by which a hotel undergoes renovation.
The dispensation of these capital improvement funds, sometimes called
FF&E funds (furniture, fixtures, and equipment) may reside with the hotel
owner. FF&E funds are usually allocated in one of two ways: (1) soft goods,
or those goods that are easily replaced (e.g., bedspreads, drapery, wallpaper,
etc.) must be changed or updated often; (2) hard goods (sometimes referred
to as case goods), or those goods that are associated with the infrastructure of
the hotel. Items like the bed frame, lighting fixtures, and guest room furniture
must also be replaced regularly to keep the facility up to date. Certain
lodging associations, namely management contract and franchise, require
that owners set aside a certain amount of each yearly budget for FF&E.
Because of the disruptions that can occur with a hotel renovation, extensive
planning by the director of engineering can help to minimize the impact on
the hotel guests.
Hotel engineers maintain many parts of the facility by implementing a
preventive maintenance program. A preventive maintenance program is
structured so that engineers constantly inspect and monitor various aspects of
a hotel to ensure that all items are in working order. The thought is that these
programs help find small problems before they become bigger (and possibly
more costly) problems. The “PM” programs, as they are referred to, rely heavily
on observations from all staff.
Engineering works very closely with housekeeping in maintaining the
quality of the physical guest room. Housekeepers are encouraged to report
problems with a guest room’s plumbing or electrical systems immediately to
engineering for repair. The front office staff is usually the first to notice problems
with the hotel common areas, as they are generally located in the lobby.
Computer system malfunctions and PBX-related issues are also the responsibility
of engineering. The catering staff reports problem areas in the banquet
rooms to engineering as well.

Sales/Marketing and Catering

A full-service hotel that has meeting space requires a department to maximize
that space. As the hotel success triangle showed, maximizing the revenue impact
of this space, as well as the other two sides of the triangle, helps ensure that the
hotel makes the most out of every available revenue source. Sales and catering
encompasses three departments that directly impact the hotel success triangle:
 Catering sales
 Group sales
 Transient sales
The catering sales team works to sell the function space side of the success
triangle. The group sales team sells sleeping rooms, the second side of the
triangle. Combining transient sales (reservations) and group room sales endeavors
to fully occupy the hotel’s rooms each night, which in turn impacts
the outlet/ancillary side of the triangle. This effort attempts to minimize the
opportunity cost of unsold rooms. The marketing responsibilities of the hotel
(such as advertising) also reside with this group.
The transient sales team (reservations) with its “dotted line” reporting
structure to the rooms division interacts with the front office often. The group
sales effort, as was reviewed in earlier threads, books groups into the hotel.
These groups can impact the entire hotel in various ways. In addition to front
desk and housekeeping, these groups affect the outlets, meeting space, and
ancillary offerings. The group sales team must communicate relevant group
facts and characteristics to the hotel. These relevant facts might include an
early check-in, which would impact housekeeping, or a late checkout, which
would impact the front desk. If the group is on their own for lunch on a given
day, the food/beverage outlets would like to know in advance in order to prepare
for possibly higher volume.

[ by Rooms at 2-4-2009 07:22 edited ]

GROUP RÉSUMÉS

Communication inside a hotel is vital. Many reports, memos, and
other documents are created daily to ensure that each department is
fully aware of the issues that may affect them. The sales and catering
department creates many documents to make the hotel aware of
groups that are due to arrive. One of these documents is called the
group résumé. The group résumé summarizes all the sleeping
room and catering requirements of a particular group. The résumé
(also referred to as a group profile or group cover sheet) communicates
with each department within the hotel. It summarizes the size
of the group, the number of overnight rooms, the number and scope
of on-property functions, and so on. Information pertinent to the
kitchens, reservations, outlets, front desk, housekeeping, and other
departments are included so that the requisite staffing and purchasing
tasks are completed in advance.

PRACTICAL AREAS

Six functional departments can be divided into two broad practical areas.
Within the hotel industry, the level of guest contact defines the practical areas.
Those with the most guest contact are considered front line, or front of the
house. Those who serve more of a supportive role, with minimal guest contact,
are considered back of the house. The relationship of the two practical
areas is symbiotic. They need each other in order for the hotel to perform optimally.
The rooms division, food/beverage, and sales/catering departments are
considered front of the house. The human resources, engineering, and accounting
departments are considered back of the house (see Figure 2).
2.gif
2-4-2009 08:15

FIGURE 2
Front versus back of the house

[ by Rooms at 2-4-2009 08:15 edited ]

ORGANIZATIONAL DEPLOYMENT EXAMPLE

Functional departments and practical areas are generally accepted as integral
to the organizational structure of all full-service hotels. An in-depth look at
the specific titles and responsibilities of a hotel’s organizational structure
requires selecting a specific hotel profile. The most useful profile incorporates
many levels of management within each functional area, while remaining
realistic.
The organizational criteria for this example are as follows:
Organizational Criteria                         Example Profile
Size classification                       Large (401 to 1,500 sleeping rooms)
Location type                                       Resort
Product type
  Service level                             Upscale service level
  Target market                          Standard target market
There are two distinct methods of hotel organization that differ in structure:
traditional deployment and revenue-based deployment. The first method
reviewed here is the traditional organizational method of hotel deployment.
Later in this thread, an analysis of revenue-based deployment is conducted.

[ by Rooms at 2-4-2009 07:22 edited ]

Top Level Management

From top level managers, to those working on the front line, the organization
of the leadership structure serves to ensure that it functions properly. The first
logical place to begin looking at the organizational structure of any organization
is at the peak. The top level manager at any hotel is most commonly
called the general manager, who is ultimately responsible for the hotel. The
general manager may report to a regional manager if the lodging association
of the hotel is with a chain or management company. Other associations may
require that the general manager report directly to the hotel owner. In
Europe, the general manager is often called the managing director or general
director. Whatever the title, the general manager directly or indirectly (via
other managers) coordinates the hotel’s operational and sales efforts.
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