Benchmarking best practice in hotel front office: the Western European experience
Baum, T. and Odgers, P. (2002) Benchmarking best practice in hotel front office: the Western European experience Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality and Tourism, 2 (3-4). pp. 93-109. ISSN 1528-008X
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During the past decade there have been significant changes in the hotel sector, the marketplace and its operations. This paper reports a research study across a number of western European countries into the changing functions within front office operations and the role of personnel in a range of hotels and locations. Issues addressed include the flattening of organisations; the increasing expectation of multi-tasking and multi-skilling; and creating a balance between technological solutions and the delivery of quality customer care. These issues are linked to wider findings on the growth in the need for the more generic skill types together with the importance of personal attributes as key selection criteria and the growing emphasis of the employers role in providing training for vocational skills. Work in these areas has seen a decline in routine activities and has become increasingly complex, involving the use of a wide range of software, maintaining in-house systems and the expectations of faster response to more complex methods of communications. Industry has realised the importance of customer care and the subsequent increase in focus by operators on its provision. These issues have led to the setting of procedures and benchmarks for the various functions and services of front office and the empowerment of employees in their implementation. The paper provides an insight into changes in front office and the manner in which technology is acting as an enabling force rather than replacing traditional roles. The paper addresses education and training implications for the hotel sector and education providers by examining current curricula and training provision and questions the relevance of some “sacred cows” that have traditionally been taught. The paper concludes with recommendations for future education and training provision.
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