Budget Your Time and Be More Successful
One of our company's most valuable assets is its Front Office Manager and his time. A certain amount of structure is necessary in the typical business day of a Front Office Manager.
While the circumstances of every hotel are different due to size, level of service, number of departments, etc., and therefore one daily schedule does not work everywhere, we can outline a basic schedule as a starting point for a Front Office Manager to develop his own schedule.
I feel it is important for a Front Office Manager to make and keep lists in an organized fashion. A number of Post-it notes and numerous separated sheets of paper will not work. It must be a notebook, pad or Scan Card System.
The suggested schedule outlined below is designed to keep the Front Office Manager focused on various tasks and minimize interruptions. While this schedule will not work for everyone and certainly won't convert a disorganized scatterbrained person into a model for a time management class, it will serve as a workable, beginning structure for many. It is based on dividing the day into quarters.
During this period the first thing to be accomplished should be a walk around the hotel to ensure that the day is starting smoothly with proper staffing, morning operations are well underway and that the hotel is presentable to guests who are coming from their rooms or into the hotel for various events.
Following that walking inspection, the Front Office Manager should stop by the Reception to become familiar with the previous night's occupancy, front office log and the expected departures and arrivals situation for the next day or two. Subsequently he/she should collect the various reports prepared overnight and retire to the office to complete the various daily reporting and administrative chores required.
During this period interruptions should be kept to a minimum, no appointments should be scheduled and receiving telephone calls should be avoided. They can be returned later. This is a good time for the Front Office Manager to work on any tasks that he does not particularly like to do in a rush. Following this schedule during the first portion of the day should result in the hotel getting off to a good start and the Front Office Manager completing most of the required administrative and mundane tasks early in the day.
This period of time, which runs to or through lunch, should be used for inspecting and training. It is a good time to walk through various parts of the Front Office or even the hotel again to see what has been accomplished and how well it was done.
Stop and visit with supervisors and line staff in order to be familiar with them and their current challenges. It may be a good idea to set up one or more brief meetings to discuss problems / solutions or to work one-on-one training key people.
Right at noon return telephone calls, which were received, earlier from people whom you do not particularly want or need to talk to in your time zone.
Overall, this time is when the Front Office Manager gets around the hotel to do many of the hands on things it takes to successfully manage his department and interacts with the staff.
This period typically falls in the first half of the afternoon. This time might be used as marketing time outside the hotel, longer staff and training meetings, and various other tasks. This time is less structured and can be used to make and receive telephone calls, etc.
This time segment should include finishing up any projects, which need to be completed, and various items from the previous periods of the day. The time should also be used to tour the hotel and make inquiries as to its preparedness for the evening's business and the appearance of the property. This is also the time where the Front Office Manager should review notes and lists made during the day, cross off items accomplished, follow up on critical complete items and add items for the future. It may also be used to pick up the telephone and check with subordinates about their own lists.
I believe Front Office Managers should vary their arrival and departure times and should approach the hotel from different directions and enter through different doors. He should park the car in different places around the hotel's property and even on adjacent streets occasionally. The reasons will become self evident in a short time.
Front Office Managers need to help their staff manage their time in an efficient way. Over time I have found that strong time management skills have the biggest effect on a hotel's success.
The Front Office Manager should set the example on good time management and efficient work habits so that the key staff also learns to remain focused on the various tasks, projects and goals they are working on rather than jumping from one issue to another without ever competing one.