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The Registration Process

From a front desk agent's perspective, the registration process can be

divided into seven steps:
1. Preregistration Activities
2. Creating the Registration Record
3. Assigning the Room and Rate
4. Establishing the Method of Payment
5. Verifying the Guest's Identity
6. Issuing the Room Key
7. Fulfilling Special Requests
Preregistration Activities

– Preregistration activities (registration activities that occur before the guest arrives at the
property) help accelerate the registration process.
– Guests can be preregistered using the information collected during the reservations
– Typically, preregistered guests only need to verify information already entered onto a
registration record and provide a valid signature in the appropriate place on a registration
form or card.
– Preregistration normally involves more than merely producing a registration document in
advance of guest arrival. Room and rate assignment, creation of a guest folio, and other
functions may also be part of the preregistration process.
Creating the Registration Record

– After a guest arrives at the hotel, the front desk agent creates a
registration record, a collection of important guest information.
– Registration records facilitate the registration process. The registration
record requires a guest to write down (or simply verify, if the registration
record has been pre-printed by the property management system) his or
her name, address, telephone number, company affiliation (if appropriate),
and other personal data.
Assigning the Room and Rate

– Room assignment is an important part of the registration process. Room

assignment involves identifying and allocating an available room in a
specific room category to a guest.
– When the guest request is ambiguous, or when a room is unavailable in
the guest's preferred category, a front desk agent may query the front
office system to locate an acceptable available room.
– Effective room and rate assignment depends on accurate and timely room
status information. Room status information is usually discussed in terms of
two timelines.
Assigning the Room and Rate

– In the long term (beyond the present night), a room's readiness is

described by its reservation status. In the short term (tonight), a room's
readiness is described by its housekeeping status, which refers to its
availability for immediate assignment.
Typical housekeeping statues descriptions include:
– Occupied - the room has a registered guest or guests in it.
– Vacant - the room is currently unoccupied.
– On-Change - the room is currently being cleaned for the next guest.
– Out-of-Order - the room has a condition that does not allow it to be rented.
Assigning the Room and Rate

– Room status discrepancies can occur in front office systems for several reasons.
First, there may be an actual variance, caused by incomplete or inaccurate
recordkeeping. Also, when a guest leaves the hotel without settling his or her
account. Another room status discrepancy may arise from delays in communicating
housekeeping status information from the housekeeping department to the front
– In many properties, a front desk agent is responsible for producing a daily front
office report called occupancy report. The occupancy report lists rooms occupied
for the current night and indicates those guests expected to check out the
following day.
Assigning the Room and Rate

– At the end of a work shift the housekeeping department prepares a

housekeeping status report based on a physical check of all the
guestrooms. This report indicates the current housekeeping status of each
– A room rate is the price of the hotel charges for overnight
Establishing the Method of Payment

– Regardless of whether the guest intends to pay by cash, check, credit

card, or other acceptable method, the hotel should take precautionary
measures to ensure payment.
– Effective account settlement depends on the steps taken during registration
to determine the guest's method of payment.
– The establishment of proper settlement or credit authorization at the time
of registration will greatly reduce the potential for unauthorized settlement
and subsequent collection problems.
Establishing the Method of Payment

Methods of payment typically include:

1. Cash
2. Personal Checks
3. Credit and Debit Cards
4. Direct Billing
5. Special Promotions Payment Methods
Verifying the Guest's Identity

– Many hotels require positive identification to complete the registration

– This is a common practice in Europe, especially for foreign guests. It is
very common to have the front desk agent ask for guest passports for
positive identification of the guest's name, address, signature, and
– Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, verifying the identity
of guests has become common practice at US hotels as well. Hotel
managers want to be sure they know who is staying at their property.
Issuing the Room Key

– By issuing a room key, the front desk completes registration process. In

some hotels, a newly registered guest is simply handed a guestroom key
and directed to the guestroom by the front desk agent.
– Hotels should have written procedures governing guestroom key control.
These procedures should state who is authorized to issue guestroom keys,
who receives such keys, and where and how guestroom keys are created
and/or stored at the front desk.
– For security reasons, the front desk agent should never announce the
room number when handling a guestroom key to a guest.
Fulfilling Special Requests

– Part of the registration process involves acknowledging and acting on special requests that guests
make. For example, a guest may have requested connecting rooms during the reservation process.
Other special requests may involve guestroom:
– Location
– View
– Bed type
– Smoking/no-smoking status
– Amenities
– Special furnishing for disabled guests
– High-speed Internet access
– Entertainment systems
Creative Registration Options

Some hotels have experimented with different techniques to make

registration more efficient and effective. Techniques tried, with varying degrees
of success include:
1. Eliminating the front desk
2. Registering group guests at a special location
3. Creating a unique, separate registration area for VIP guests
4. Combining the hotel registration with the meeting registration in a
separate area of the building
5. Registering guests off-site

– A concept that is being used more and more in front office registration is
– Self-registration terminals may be located on or off hotel grounds. Self-
registration may be available through a mobile handheld terminal, kiosk
resembling an ATM device, or specially designed PDA.
Selling the Guestroom

– Front desk agents will not have the chance to use efficient or innovative registration
techniques if the guest is not convinced of the value of renting a hotel room.
– Part of the front desk agent's job is to create consumer acceptance of the hotel's
products: guestrooms, facilities, and services.
– Front desk agents can take several approaches to selling guests on the value of staying
at the hotel.
– Upselling refers to the efforts of reservations and front desk agents to offer guests the
opportunity to rent rooms in categories above standard rate accommodations.
Denying Accommodations

Walk-in Guests
– A walk-in guest who has been traveling for an extended time may be disappointed to
find that a hotel that is fully occupied.
– Hotels have no obligation to accommodate guests who arrive without a reservation when
no rooms are available.
– If a walk-in guest cannot be accommodated, front desk agents can assist the guest by
providing directions to nearby hotels. The front desk agent might also offer to contact
another hotel for the guest.
Denying Accommodations

Guests with Non-Guaranteed Reservations

– A number of situations or circumstances can delay a guest's scheduled arrival. Guests
frequently do not have the chance to change a non-guaranteed reservation to a
guaranteed reservation by the time they realize they will arrive past the hotel's reservation
cancellation hour.
– As a result, the hotel may not hold the reserved room for the guest and may not have
a room available by the time the guest arrives. If the hotel cannot provide a guestroom,
front office management must be extremely tactful when informing the guest.
– Blame should not be placed on either party, since the lack of accommodations may not
be the fault of the guest or the hotel.
Denying Accommodations

Guests with Guaranteed Reservations

– If reservations are carefully handled and sound forecasting procedures are followed, the
property should not have to deny accommodations to a guest with a guaranteed
– It is a serious matter to turn away a guest with a guaranteed reservation: some states
have laws prohibiting hotels from doing so, and, should a hotel not be able to
accommodate such guest, penalties may be imposed upon the hotel by the state, at the
guest's request.