In today’s environment, it is not just important to meet guests expectations, but to exceed them. The cost of obtaining a new customer is much greater than keeping an existing one, which requires every hotel to really put the guest experience front and center. A satisfied guest is a happy one – and much more likely to refer family and friends. And when a guest is onsite, the front desk is mission control for managing the guest experience.
Nearly every guest interacts with the front desk reception area. That’s why it naturally becomes the hub of a hotel’s operations – and places front desk staff squarely at the intersection of guest expectations and needs and internal hotel operations teams and processes. The right software can help the front desk run a smooth front of house, ensuring guest requests – or complaints – are handled appropriately and quickly and ensure that internal ops teams have the information they need to do their best job possible.
What is front desk software? Hotel front desk software is the system your team uses to communicate internally with all the various operations teams and manage guest requests, service recovery, and more.
There are several front desk software options on the market today, but not all of them are created equally. Since this is such a critical backbone to the day-to-day business operation and plays such a big role in the guest experience, it is important that you consider these 4 must-have features when selecting your hotel front desk software
Communication is critical for all teams to be successful and it is important that hotels have a way to efficiently share information beyond the staff at the front desk. the best hotel software has an easy to use Hotel Log which works not only on a desktop computer, but also on a mobile device will help teams stay in the loop no matter where they are working in the hotel. The front desk can quickly share out critical information to the entire team such as a large group of guests arriving at the hotel on a bus to check-in or an unexpected pool closure. The Hotel Log serves as the go to place to check for information about a package pick-up when someone from FedEx arrives or to ask if anyone has seen a valuable item that a guest has lost or to celebrate a big milestone with pizza in the break room. This feature makes sure that all the staff has the same information in a timely fashion while fostering collaboration across the team.
But sometimes there is also a need to have a bit more personalized communication to a smaller, select group of staff working on a particular project or for one-on-one messages to ask a member of the team a specific question. This is where a staff chat messaging feature comes in handy. It allows all work messaging to happen in one place without the need to exchange personal mobile numbers or other messaging platform details. It is an inclusive way to communicate with everyone on the team included and new team members who can instantly get up to speed on what’s going on once they are added to the platform.
Although the hotel’s language is most likely English, sometimes there is a wide variety of language expertise amongst the hotel staff. Some staff members might be more comfortable communicating in their own native tongue. Therefore, it’s really helpful to have an auto translate feature so that there are no language barrier issues between the front desk and the broader team.
The best front desk software also adds transparency and accountability for the various tasks the front desk staff manage – and greater efficiency across the entire hotel operation. From opening and closing procedures for cash drawers, to AM and PM task to do lists, shift checklists provide structure to the staff completing the works – ensuring they know exactly what needs to be done and when – but it also enables managers to track compliance and productivity.
Also, as the workforce moves toward more flexible working scheduling, communication and collaboration tools across shifts is becoming increasingly important. According to a McKinsey & Company survey, more than ever, today’s workforce expects greater radical flexibility and the current labor market demands more variability in shift schedules. Among people who temporarily left the workforce, 44% of those surveyed said their top reason for returning to work was due to employers offering more flexibility with the way they work. So tools – like digital shift checklists that enable staff to track what’s been done and ensure critical tasks are completed as staff transition between shifts – are becoming a vital piece of software for hotels. Active, virtual checklists will help with the hotel’s overall efficiency as it is possible to see exactly where someone left off and it doesn’t require duplicating work that has already been done.
The front desk at a hotel manages a lot more than just check-in guests in and out of the hotel. They often get busy with a wide range of requests such as more towels, a wake-up call at 4:30 am or asking for more shampoo. All of these requests need to be tracked and handled in an efficient manner so that other guests that need to interact with the front desk aren’t kept waiting. This can all be handled with a simple Guest Request software feature so that no matter who is working at the front desk, it is clear what the request is, who is handling the request and its status.
Besides just addressing guest needs, it is also important to close the communication loop with the guest so they are proactively informed when an issue has been addressed. This is where a guest chat feature can really help boost your customer service. It makes it easy to get in touch with guests staying at the property and provide timely updates on their requests.
Hopefully it doesn’t happen too often, but when something isn’t working quite right in a hotel room and it requires someone from maintenance or housekeeping to take a look, having an easy to use Work Orders feature is critical. This will help the front desk record that a guest has reported an issue and then track it to its completion. When the front desk enters into the system that the light on the nightstand in room 405 isn’t working, they also have the ability to assign it to someone who is working that day from maintenance. This helps the team stay focused and makes sure those who are responsible for addressing issues are notified in a timely manner. Complaints concerning smells in the hotel room or something not being cleaned properly can be routed in the same way to a member of the housekeeping staff.
Work orders and housekeeping requests can sometimes require a team member to gain access to a particular storage area or other secure area. Instead of having a written Key Log that needs to be filled in and is cumbersome to read, a digital one can help speed the process to check out or assign a key while digitally keeping a log of which employee has a key and when it was received and returned.
When staff have access to the necessary tools to help them ensure that the hotel’s operational needs are being met in a timely manner, these must-have features are really important to ensure that guest’s have a positive experience. As with any technology – it’s important to select front desk software that is user-friendly so that it is quickly adopted by the staff and in turn helps everyone perform their job well.