Chapter I hotel English Part I the Front Office

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Chapter I Hotel English

Part I The Front Office

  1. Teaching objectives & requirements:

  • To have a good command of oral English of the Front Office;

  • To master working procedures in different sectors;

  • To know well how to handle emergency and complaints.

  1. References:

Practical Hotel English ( edited by Guozhaokang, North-east Finance University Press);

Hotel English Alive ( edited by Guozhaokang, Fudan University Press);

The Way to Communicative Ability in Tourism (edited by chenkecheng, East China Normal University Press);

English Situational Conversations in Tourism (edited by Lidelai, Guangdong Tourism Press)

  1. Key points :

  • Working procedures in the Front Office ;

      1. room reservations

      2. check in

      3. extending the stay

      4. changing rooms

      5. foreign currency exchange

      6. check out

  • How to deal with emergency and complaints ;

  1. slow delivery of baggage

  2. complain about mixed up of room reservation

  3. Changing rooms

  4. Complain about the slowness in service

  5. Charging more

  • Hotel phraseology in English

Room reservations(客房预订),group reservations (团体预订), a face-to-face reservation(门市预订),check- in (登记入住),a walk- in guest (过路客人),check out (结帐),foreign currency exchange(兑换外币),general switchboard(总机),home away from home (家外之家),receptioninst( 接待员), reservationist(预订处值班员), doorman, concierge, cashier, bellman, arrival list, room availability(可用房情况), room occupancy, room rate, no show(DNA), cancellation, waiting list, cut-off hour, rooming list, room charge sheet (房价表),luggage stand, voucher, assistant manager(AM), spare room(未预订房间,空闲房间),switchboard operator, incoming call, flight reservation(机票预订),booking agency(票务代理处),etc.

  1. Difficult points:

  • Working procedures;

  • How to deal with emergency and complaints.

5. Teaching steps:

  • To start with a question for students to think about;

  • The students’ understanding of the question;

  • Explanation on the main points of the lesson;

  • Students’ presentation according to given situations ;

  • Point out the inadequacies in the presentation;

  • Assignments

  1. Teaching method:

Taking the interactive communication between the students and the teacher in class as a major teaching method, with the teacher’s explanation as a supplement.

  1. Teaching time: 30h

7. Teaching Contents:

Part I The Front Office

I. Introduction:

1.The global concept of service

The global concept of tour guide service contains 7 meanings represented by the word “SERVICE” with 7 initial letters.

“S”, the first letter stands for SMILE meaning that the tour guide should provide smiling service. In other words, the tour guide is supposed to smile while rendering service to tourists.

“E”, the second letter represents EXCELLENT which indicates that service should be performed in an excellent way.

“R”, the third letter symbolizes READY which shows that the tour guide is constantly ready to serve tourists.

“V”, the fourth letter stands for VIEWING which indicates that each tourist should be treated as a distinguished guest with his or her special needs.

“I”, the fifth letter shows INVITING which means that tourists will want to return after he or she leaves the city or the country.

“C”, the sixth letter stands for CREATING which shows that the tour guide should create an amiable and harmonious environment for tourists.

“E”, the seventh letter indicates EYE which means that each tour guide pays a close attention to tourists with keen observation, anticipates their needs and provides his or her service in time which makes tourists feel that they are carefully and constantly concerned by tour guides.

2. The importance of the Front Office:

  • “shop window”, “nerve centre”

  • Liaison between the guest and the hotel

  • The guests have direct contact with the hotel employees

  • The focus of guest requests for information and service

  • The profit center of room sales

3. The major functions performed by the Front Office:

  • To sell guest rooms,( including the acceptance of reservations, the handling of walk-in guests, the completion of the registration procedure, and the assignment of rooms.);

  • To provide services such as handling mails, telegrams and messages for guests; provide information of the community, the city and any special attractions or events;

  • To coordinate guest services;

  • To chart room status reports;

  • To maintain guest accounts, determine credit, render bills, receive payments, and provide the proper financial and credit accommodations;

  • To settle guest accounts;

  • To construct guest history file for future references.

4. The sectors include in this department:

  • Reservation

  • Front Desk

  • Service Staff (doormen, luggage clerks and the concierge )

II. Reservations ( )

2.1 Functions to be carried out in this sector

  • Guests’ first contact with the hotel;

  • To achieve profitability efficiency and guest satisfaction;

  • To receive and process reservations;

  • To forecast occupancy levels and room revenue

  • To maintain room availability.

2.2 Different means of reservations:

  • By telephone;

  • By fax;

  • By letter;

  • By telex and telegram;

  • By the guest in person

2.3 Types of reservations:

  • Non-guaranteed reservations

→ Rooms are held by the hotel until a certain cut-off hour which is set by hotel policy;

→ Rooms are returned to the room inventory after the cut-off hour has passed and can be sold to a walk-in guest.

  • Guaranteed reservations

→ A room will be held until the check-out time on the day following the date of arrival.

→ The hotel will receive payment if the guest doesn’t arrive and does not properly cancel the reservation.

→ Credit card guaranteed reservation—the guest provides the hotel with a credit card number to hold the room;

→ Prepayment guaranteed reservation ---- Guests make full payment for the stay prior to arrival;

→ Advance deposit guaranteed reservation --- A specific amount of money is requested from the guest prior to his arrival;

→ Travel agent guaranteed reservation --- This reservation is made and guaranteed by the travel agent. The hotel bills the agent for a no-show;

→ Corporate guaranteed reservation --- A corporate contract guarantees payment for no-show travelers of that corporation.

  • The reservation record should contain the following information:

→ Guest name, address, and telephone number.

→ Arrival date and time, and length of stay.

→ Type and number of rooms and number in the party.

→ Rate quoted

→ Guaranteed method.

→ Information such method of payment, special request (non-smoking room handicapped) and the purpose of guest’s visit is helpful in satisfying the guest’s needs.

2.4 Useful patterns:

  • What kind of room would you like to have?

  • When would you like your room, please?

  • How long do you plan/intend to stay?

  • For which dates?

  • When for, sir?

  • Which date would that be?

  • May I know your arrival date?

  • How many nights?

  • We have rooms available in that period.

  • I’m afraid our hotel is fully booked on that night.

  • We can put you on our waiting list and call you if we have any cancellations.

  • Which airline are you flying with?

  • How would you like to pay, Sir?

  • What’s your flight number, Please?

  • Thank you for calling us.

  • We look forward to seeing /serving you soon.

  • We look forward to having you with us.

  • You are expected to be here then.

2.5 Procedures for room reservations

  • Greetings(Good morning /afternoon/evening, xxx Hotel, Reservations/ Reservation Desk, May I help you?/ What can I do for you?)

  • *Find out what the guest wants including special request ( non-smoking room, handicapped)

  • *Find out the purpose of guest’s visit

  • *Tell the guest what kinds of room your hotel provides

  • Tell the guest the room rate

(If you need to check the computer records for room availability)

  • Ask the guest to wait ( One moment , please/ Just a moment, please.)

  • Tell the guest what you will do ( I’ll check the room availability for that day)

  • Thank the guest for waiting

  • Find out the guest’s name, telephone number and address, arrival date and time, length of stay/departure date)

  • Repeat the information you get from the guest to make sure it is correct

  • Ask the guest how to make payment ;

  • *Thank the guest for calling

  • Express your wishes to serve the guest

( For peak season, there is no room available , the receptionist/reservationist should

  • apologize to the guest for the inconvenience ( I’m terribly sorry, sir. We are fully booked on that date./ We won’t be able to guarantee you a room for that day.)

  • offer an alternative to help (Would you like us to put you on our waiting list and call you in case we have a cancellation or we can find you a room in another hotel.)

2.6 Reservation Application Form

According to the international practice, to make sure a smooth hotel check in , guests must reserve rooms in advance, which is generally done through telephone or internet. With regard to the hotel staff, on the one hand, s/he should learn to make a concise reservation form. On the other hand, s/he must make sure that guests fill out the form correctly, rapidly and clearly.

2.6.1 Notices to making and filling hotel reservation form:

  • personal information, which includes the guest’s name, company, nationality, city, address, Fax, email, certificate etc. As guests are from different countries and regions, many people bear the same names. In order to avoid the possible misunderstanding, the information filled in the form must be clear and correct.

  • Clearly record guests’ requirements. To convenience guests and the effective management of the hotel as well, while the staff makes a reservation form, de the check-in and check-out time, type of rooms, special requests etc must be included. Each blank should be filled in for a reservation form.

2.6.2 Sample 1


May 22, 2001

Guest Name: John Paley

Company: General Motors

Title: Sales manager

Arrival 5/22/2001 Month/Date/ Year

Departure 6/4/2001 Month/Date/Year

Transportation Arrangement: Single Trip(*) Round Trip( )

Flight: ETA: 8:00 a.m. May 22 ETD: 11:30 June 4

Type of Accommodation required

Single room


Special Discount

Corporation Discount(*)

Travel Agent Discount

Airline Discount

Person: one

Firm/ Travel Agency

Pacific Travel / Agency

Payment Instructions:


Guest Account

All expenses : R/Transfer

Name of Applicant:

John Paley

A/c No: 2123994000323

Phone Number: 001-446-238-6837

Fax Number: 001-446-237-7856


Special RM RT Approved By:

Received By:

Tom Lily

Reconfirmed By:

Kern Jude

VIP Approved By

CIP Approved By

Please note that reservation are held until 6 p.m. unless arrival details are notified.

Sample 2

Hotel Booking From

Please fill out the reservation form below, we will send the Confirmation Invoice detailing the bookings, terms & payment via email within 24-48 hours.

Surname: Miller

Other name: Dillon

Company (if any): Universe Computers

Address: No. 280 Deland Avenue, London

City: London

Country: Great Britain

Tel: 002-885-813-3598

Fax: 002-885-814-8320


(Please check again if your email address is correct)

Check-in date: December 21, 2001

Check-out date: December 29, 2001

Name of Hotel: Sunny Hotel

Second Choice: Seaside Paradise

In which City : Honolulu

No. of Room Required: Five

No. of Adult: Eight

No. of Children: Two Age: Five

Occupancy: Single: none, Double bed: Four, Twin bed: One

Price Per Room Per Night in This Hotel: $150/room

Any additional information or requirements:

2.7 Situational Conversations

27..1 A Long Distance Call Reservation

Scene: Mr. Kang Hong(K) is now a reservation agent. The telephone rings and he picks up the receiver.

K: Good morning. Shanghai Grand View Hotel. Reservations. May I help you?

Customer(C): This is Richard calling from the States. I came across some information on your hotel from the Internet. I’d like to reserve a double room.

K: For which dates?

C: From Sept. 20th to 23rd.

K: Would you give me your full name?

C: Richard Adams.

K: Thank you, Mr. Adams. Do you have any special needs?

C: Yes, my wife is disabled. Do you have facilities for the disabled?

K: Yes, sir. We have special rooms with a wide door into the bathroom, which is equipped with appropriate washing and toilet facilities. Besides, there’re no steps between the street and the entrance to the hotel. There is a special elevator from the car park to the ground floor, and elevators are all wide enough to take a wheelchair.

C: That’s good.

K: Well, you need a double room for the disabled from Sept.20th to 23rd . Am I correct, Mr. Adams?

C: Right you are. What’s the room rate?

K: 80 dollars per night, including breakfast.

C: OK. What shall I do if I want to guarantee my reservation?

K: I’ll just need your credit card number, and I’ll take care of the rest.

C: AE card. No. 1734 4018 2273 1868.

K: Thank you, Mr. Adams. You’re expected to be here then. Thank you for calling.

C: Thank you. Bye-bye.

2.7.2. Taking Reservations

R: Good morning. Maria Hotel. Reservations. May I help you?

C: Good morning. I’m calling from San Francisco. I’d like to book a room in your hotel.

R: When would you like your room, please, sir?

C: From July 4 to July 8.

R: What kind of room would you like , sir?

C: A single.

R: Could you hold the line, please? I’ll check if there is a room available for those days.

C: O.K.

R: Sorry to have kept you waiting, sir. We have rooms available in that period. May I know who’s making the reservation, please?

C: Mr. David Johnson.

R: What time will you be arriving , Mr. Johnson?

C: Around 5:00 p.m. Do you have pick-up service?

R: Yes, we have an airport representative to receive our guests there. Well, Mr. Johnson, a single room from July 4 to July 8. Am I correct, Mr. Johnson?

C: Yes, thank you.

R: Thank you for calling Maria Hotel. We look forward to seeing you soon. Good-bye.

2.73. A Group Reservation

Scene: Mr. Brown (B), an old customer of Grand View Hotel’s, walks in to make a group reservation.

Kang Hong (K): Good morning, Mr. Brown. May I help you?

B: Yes, please. The staff of my company’s East Asia branch are coming to Shanghai on a convention tour next month. I’d like to book rooms for fifteen.

K: We have deluxe suites, junior suites, deluxe double rooms, standard rooms, and single rooms. Which do you prefer?

B: One suite for its head and seven TWBs for the rest.

K: Could you tell me their arrival and departure dates?

B: From 1st to 3rd . What’s the discount this time?

K: How are you going to pay?

B: My company will cover all the expenses with our voucher.

K: Very well. Please tell me their flight number and arriving time, so that our airport representative can arrange pick-up service.

B: Sorry, I have no idea. But I’ll send you a fax to tell you the details.

2.7.4. Revising the Reservation

Scene: Kang Hong (K) is now receiving a lady(L) at the reservation desk.

K: Good morning, madam. May I help you?

L: Good morning. I’m the secretary of general manager of the Far East Company. I’ve booked two rooms from next Monday to Wednesday. It’s for Mr. and Mrs. Smith and their two children. I’ve come to revise the reservation.

K: Yes, madam. Let me have a check. Here you are. You booked two deluxe doubles for the Smiths from Oct.12th to 14th. How would you like to change it?

L: Last night, Mr. Smith phoned us that their children wouldn’t come with them.

K: Oh, you mean you will cancel one deluxe double?

L: Not nearly. My boss has decided to upgrade to a suite, if one’s available.

K: Yes. We do have suites in British, French, Spanish, Japanese and presidential styles. Which do you prefer?

L: A Spanish suite, please. The Smiths are Spaniards. One more thing, they want to stay one more day, till Thursday.

K: A Spanish suite from Oct. 12th to 15th for Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Am I correct?

L: Yes, Sorry to have caused you such trouble.

K: Not at all. I’m always at your service.

2.7.5. A Face-to –Face Reservation

Scene: The receptionist (R) receives a client (C).

R: Can I help you, sir?

C: I’d like to book a single room with shower for Mr. George Smith. He plans to arrive on the 20th of this month.

R: How long will he be staying?

C: I don’t know, but it could be anything from seven to ten days.

R: Then we can only confirm a room from the 20th to the 27th. I’m afraid we won’t be able to guarantee him a room after the 27th. We usually have high occupancies in the peak seasons.

C: What if there isn’t any room then?

R: Don’t worry, sir. We can either put him on a waiting list or find him a room in a nearby hotel.

C: I see. One more thing, Mr. Smith is handicapped. Do you have facilities for the handicapped?

R: Yes, sir. We have special bedrooms which all have a wide door into the bathroom with appropriate washing and toilet facilities. Besides, there’re no steps between the street and the entrance to the hotel. There is a special lift from the car park to the 1st floor, and lifts are all wide enough to take a wheelchair.

C: Fine. How much do you charge for a single room for the handicapped?

R: For one night, the hotel cost would be 200 yuan. How will he be paying, sir?

C: His company will cover all the expenses. We’ll send you a check right away.

R: Thank you, sir.

C: Thank you. Good-bye.

2.7.6. Reservation(no room available)

( R: Reservationist G: Guest)

R: Advance Reservation. Good morning! Can I help you?

G: I’d like to reserve a single room with bath for the Sept. 24th.

R: Just a moment , please. I’m sorry, sir. We are fully booked on that date.

G: Oh, bad luck!

R: Would you like us to put you on our waiting list and call you in case we have a cancellation?

G: Thank you. That’s very kind of you. But could you recommend another hotel that won’t be full up?

R: Of course. Where would you rather like to be, in the city center or in the suburbs?

G: I prefer a place close to the city center because most of our clients’ offices are in the downtown business section.

R: In that case, I would suggest that you try the Imperial.

G: Do you know the rate per night for a single with a bath there?

R: Well, there is a minimum price for off-season stay and a maximum price for peak-season stay. A single with bath at the moment would run you between $60 and $80.

G: I see. Do you mind telling me what the Imperial is like?

R: It’s the oldest and largest hotel in this city. It was renovated just two years age. It’s rated as a for-star hotel. Though not so luxurious as ours, it’s just as busy and convenient as ours. Our hotel is better – known but then the Imperial is less expensive.

G: Well. One more thing, do you have their telephone number?

R: It’s 500-4305.

G: Thank you very much. I really appreciate your help. Good-bye.

R: Good-bye, Thank you for calling us.

2.7.7. Reservation

A: Room Reservations. Good afternoon. May I help you?

B: I’d like to book a double room for Friday and Saturday next week.

A: Very good, sir. A double room for next Friday and Saturday, March 24th and 25th . With a lake view or a hill view?

B: What’s the price difference?

A: A double room with a lake view is US$140 per night plus 15% service charge, one with a hill view is US$120 plus 15% service charge.

B: I think I’ll take the one with a lake view.

A: OK. Could you tell me your name and your time of arrival?

B: Mr. and Mrs. Brown. We will arrive at 3:00 p.m. on March 24th.

A: Thank you very much and we look forward to seeing you next weekend.
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