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“Enhancing the Guest Experience at the Fort Aguada Beach Resort, Goa”

IHM-A

INSTITUTE OF HOTEL MANAGEMENT,


AURANGABAD, INDIA

University of Huddersfield, UK

Pathway: BA Hons – Hotel Management

UNDERSTUDY PROJECT

Year – III

2010-2011

“ENHANCING GUEST EXPERIENCE THROUGH STRENGTHENING FRONT


OFFICE OPERATIONS AT THE TAJ FORT AGUADA BEACH RESORT, GOA”

Dhananjay Singh Rathore (H-1526)

“Submitted in fulfilment of the requirement for


B.A. (Hons.) in Hotel Management”

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

SERIAL NO. TOPIC PAGE


NO.
1 DISCLAIMER 2
2 DECLARATION 3
3 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 4
6 SYNOPSIS 5
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 6
1.1 Introduction to Goa 6
1.2 Introduction to Taj Fort Aguada Beach Resort, Goa 9
CHAPTER 2 NATURE OF THE ISSUE 14
2.1 Statement of Aim 14
2.2 Statement of Objectives 14
2.3 Scope of the Research 14
2.4 Limitations of the Research 15
CHAPTER 3 ANTECEDENTS OF THE ISSUE 17
3.1 Check in Procedure 17
3.2 Check Out Procedure 18
CHAPTER 4 OPERATIONAL FACTS AND OBSERVATIONS 23
4.1 Guest Cycle 23
4.2 Tasks performed by the Front Desk 24
CHAPTER 5 COMMENTS FROM THE MANAGEMENT 25
CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION 26
6.1 Suggestions to strengthen bell desk operations 26
6.2 Suggestions to enhance Check-in experience 27
6.3 Suggestions to enhance Check-out experience 28
BIBLIOGRAPHY 31

LIST OF FIGURES

SR. NO. LIST OF FIGURES PAGE NO.


FIG.1 Fact Sheet of Goa 9
FIG.2 Sample Departure Letter 30

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DISCLAIMER
The information contained herein is in no way to be construed as recommendation by
the Institute of Hotel Management, Aurangabad, India, for laying down any industry
standards or as any kind of proposal to be adopted by or be obligatory upon any member
of the hospitality industry.

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DECLARATION
I declare that this Project is the result of our own collective efforts and that it conforms
to university, departmental and course regulations regarding cheating and plagiarism.
No material contained within this Project has been used in any other submission, by the
authors, for an academic award.

Student’s Name:
Dhananjay Singh Rathore
(H-1526)

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I would like to take this opportunity to express gratitude and acknowledge the following
people who have made this project successful and memorable.

Mr. Rajiv Khanna, General Manager, Taj Fort Aguada Beach Resort for giving me
the opportunity to work on this project.

Mr. Dennis D’Costa, Executive Assistant Manager (Accommodations), Mr. Aloysius


Saldalna and Mr Darryn Dias, Duty Manager’s at Taj Fort Aguada Beach Resort, Goa,
for providing me with the required information and assistance on this project and
guiding me all through out.

Mrs Mani Malhotra, Learning and Development Manager, for providing me the
opportunity to carry out the understudy effectively and for sending regular feedbacks to
the institute.

Our humble appreciation to all the staff of the front office department and the other
departments at Taj Fort Aguada Beach Resort, Goa for their support and
encouragement. Without them this understudy would not be as enriching and fun as it
was.

Mr. Satish Jayaram, The Principal IHM-A, for giving us the opportunity to work on
this research document.

We would take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Abba Joshi, Course Manager for Year-3,
who has supported our research. We would also like to thank Chef Gokhale and Mrs.
Tanushree Sinha for all the help before, during and after our Understudy respectively.

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SYNOPSIS
This Understudy Research Project has been carried out at Taj Fort Aguada Beach
Resort, Goa. This research has been done over a period of five months and in two
phases – The Operations Phase (4 Months) and The Project Phase (1 Month).

In the Operations Phase, the researcher worked in Front Office Department (Bell desk,
Reception and the airport). During this phase, the researcher gained an understanding of
the operations of the hotel. The researcher has used this experience to look for various
opportunities for improvement.

In the Project Phase, the researcher, based on his experience of the operations phase,
decided to improve on some of the weaker areas whiles still continuing the operations.
The researcher has analyzed these areas and provided the management with various
recommendations respective to each area.

This project has been undertaken by the researcher to help enhance the GSTS scores of
front office operations. The project will focus on how the researcher came up with the
proposed concept and an argument supporting the same.

This project documents in detail both phases of the Understudy concluding with the
various solutions and recommendations provided by the researcher.

The entire concept of the project revolves around customer satisfaction and their needs
and expectations. It’s only after going an extra mile that their requirements can be met.

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CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1 INTRODUCTION TO GOA


Goa has it all, sand, sun, sea. It is nature’s present to mankind. An exceptional blend of
Latin and Oriental, unbelievably rich in monuments and historical sites, dazzling
variety of exotic flora and fauna. Lush green surroundings, rivers that offer water
adventurous sports that provide ecstasy beyond expectation.

Goa has a timeless charm. Its exclusivity lies in the fact that whilst creating a delicate
blend of various cultures, it has retained its inherent soul. The Portuguese named it
“The Pearl of the Orient.” Goa owes its dominant Christian influences to almost four
Portuguese rules. The consequent Portuguese influences produced a blend of East and
West, which is unusual and distinct. Christmas and Carnival are celebrated as
enthusiastically as Diwali and Durga Puja. Goa has some old forts and haciendas, which
are worth exploring providing a legacy on the different bastions of command in Goa.

Fort Aguada is the largest and best preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa and was built
in 1608–12, to control the entry to the river Mandovi and protect Old Goa from political
enemy attacks. The area around the Fort housed a large well and a number of springs
that provided fresh drinking water to the voyagers that arrived by ship.

Having been the meeting point of races, religions and cultures of East and West over
the centuries, Goa has a multi-hued and distinctive lifestyle quite different from the rest
of India. Hindu and Catholic communities make up almost the entire population with
minority representation of Muslims and other religions.

Panaji (Panjim) is the state capital located on the banks of the Mandovi River and
Vasco, Margao, Mapusa and Ponda are the other major towns. Goa has an
international/national airport located at Dabolim near Vasco. An intra-state and inter-

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state bus network also plays a crucial role in getting locals and visitors to commute in
and around Goa. Renowned worldwide for its spectacular beaches that are among the
finest in the world, Goa in the west coast of India is like paradise on earth. The 125 kms
coastline is dotted with numerous palm-fringed sandy beaches which offer the perfect
destination for a romantic honeymoon or a perfect vacation. A definite favorite with
travelers from all corners of the world, the beaches in Goa attract thousands of beach
lovers and other tourists from far and wide. The beaches are the most significant aspect
of tourism in Goa.

NORTH GOA:
North Goa is one of the two districts that make up the state of Goa, India. The district
has an area of 1736 sq km, and is bounded by Sindhudurg and Kolhapur districts of
Maharashtra to the north and east respectively, by South Goa District to the south, and
by the Arabian Sea to the west.

The coastline is marked by beautiful historic war – torn forts, from the Reis Magos
royal fort to Goa’s north most outpost Tiracol whose church still serves the few hundred
Catholics living in this area. Beautiful beaches, lonely stretches or widely cluttered, are
all within easy reach of some of the most important cultural sites.
Ponda, sanguem and Sattari, the landlocked provinces of Central and Eastern Goa’s
attractions are mainly historic. This area opens a whole new, rich and rewarding
perspective to Goa. The beaches in north Goa stretch over a distance of 30 kilometers.
The beautiful beaches are the venues of entertaining parties, carnivals and adventure
sports activities. The beaches in North Goa are -
• Arambol
• Morjim
• Chapora
• Vagator
• Anjuna
• Baga

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• Calangute

Anjuna, Vagator, Baga, Dona Paula and Bambolim are among the most famous beaches
in Goa. They offer a great deal of relaxation and recreation to the tourists.

SOUTH GOA:
South Goa has become immensely popular since the flood of charter flights began in
1980‟s. Its beaches are beautiful yet less crowded. The landscape is lush green with
paddy fields and thick coconut groves. Some of the finest churches in Goa are found in
south Goa. The deepest imprints of Portuguese culture are embedded in the
surroundings and the lifestyle of the people. In the interiors are centuries old mansion
estates. All in all, romantic, beautiful and a complete Goan experience. The beaches in
South Goa offer tourists relatively quieter and secluded ambience, along with splendid
natural beauty. The beaches of south Goa are as follows:
• Bogmalo
• Majorda
• Colva
• Benaulim
• Varca
• Cavelossim
• Mobor
• Canaguinim
• Agonda
• Palolem

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Figure 1: Fact Sheet of Goa


Capital: Panaji
Language: Konkani, Marathi, English, Hindi
Area: 3,702 sq. km
Tourist Season: October to March

Climate: Coastal
Population: 1.3 Million
Religion: 70%Hindus & 30% Christians
Literacy Rate: 82%

Tourism is Goa's primary industry: it handles 12% of all foreign tourist arrivals in
India. Goa has two main tourist seasons: winter and summer. In the winter time, tourists
from abroad (mainly Europe) come to Goa to enjoy the splendid climate. In the summer
time (which, in Goa, is the rainy season), tourists from across India come to spend the
holidays. Tourism is generally focused on the coastal areas of Goa, with decreased
tourist activity inland.

1.2 INTRODUCTION TO FORT AGUADA BEACH RESORT

Fort Aguada Beach Resort is built on the ramparts of a 16th century Portuguese Fortress
in year 1974 situated along Sinquerim Beach and is a tropical paradise set in 45 acres of
landscaped gardens overlooking the Arabian Sea. The resort has rooms located in the
main complex and cottages located on a hillock overlooking the sea and the gardens.
Most of the rooms offer a fantastic view of the sea. The resort offers a wide variety of
cuisine choices ranging from authentic Goan, to Mediterranean, Italian, Oriental, Indian
and Continental. Guests staying at Fort Aguada Beach Resort can avail of the
restaurants and other facilities at Taj Holiday Village, Goa and vice versa. This offers
an added variety of options to our guests. No other hotel offers a choice of almost 9
restaurants in one complex. The Jiva Spa offers Indian royal and holistic treatments for

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guests to de-stress and relax. We also have a dedicated Activity Team at the resort
which organizes a range of recreational options- including adventure activities such as
rappelling, jummaring and rock climbing. A specially designed children’s activity
centre at The Taj Holiday Village with age- appropriate activities is also available
ensure that your young ones are suitably occupied.

The hotel is approximately 45 km from the airport, 25 km. from the nearest railway
station and 15 km from the main bus stand.

The hotel is finely divided into the main hotel building and the hermitage with a total of
145 rooms in all. In the main building there are three categories of rooms which are:

Superior Garden View Rooms with private sit out- 20 No (312 sq. ft)
The Luxuriously appointed single rooms in the main building offer a view of the
landscaped gardens. Inter-connecting rooms are available on request on the ground level
only. The rooms also have a stocked mini bar at charge.

The Superior Sea View Rooms- 24 No (312 sq. ft)


The luxurious single rooms on the ground and first floor in the main building offer a
view great of the sea. Inter connecting rooms available on request. The rooms also have
a stocked mini bar at charge.

The Superior Sea View Rooms with private sit out- 24 No (312 sq. ft)
The luxurious single rooms on the ground floor in the main building offer a splendid
view of the sea. Inter connecting rooms available on request. The rooms also have a
stocked mini bar at charge.

The Terrace Suites- 24 No (604 sq ft)


The luxurious recently renovated rooms with one bed room, a living room or an
attached powder room and a private terrace. The rooms are available on the lobby level

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and one level higher in the main building. They have a superlative view of the sea. Inter
connecting rooms available on request. The rooms have a stocked mini bar at charge.
The resort also offers charming cottages situated on a hillock across the main building
& Villas comprising of 1, 2 & 3 bedrooms which are as follows:

The Cottage Garden View Rooms- 38 No (400 sq. ft)


Nestled on a hillock behind the main building are spacious single rooms set in a block
of 2 or 4 units. Being the most newly renovated rooms in the hotel equipped with all
modern features have a partial view of the sea. The rooms are available on the ground
and first floor. Inter connecting rooms available on request. The rooms have a stocked
mini bar at charge.

The Villa One Bedroom Garden View- 8 No (700-800 sq. ft)


Influenced by Portuguese style of architecture, nestled on a hillock behind the main
building are very spacious, luxuriously appointed, stand alone one-bedroom villa with a
private lawn and verandah. Some villas have an attached dining room.

The Villa One Bedroom Sea View- 4 No (700-800 sq. ft)


Influenced by Portuguese style of architecture, nestled on a hillock behind the main
building are very spacious, luxuriously appointed, stand alone one bedroom villa with a
private lawn, verandah and a view of the sea. Some villas have an attached dining room.

The Villa Two Bedrooms Sea View- 2 No (1650 sq. ft)


Influenced by Portuguese style of architecture, nestled on a hillock behind the main
building are very spacious, luxuriously appointed, stand alone villa with two bedrooms,
a dining room, a living room and a verandah. These villas enjoy a superlative view of
the sea. It has a private lawn with a hammock and a stocked mini bar at charge.

The Villa Three Bedrooms Sea View- 1 No (2253 sq. ft)


Influenced by Portuguese style of architecture, nestled on a hillock behind the main
building are very spacious, luxuriously appointed, stand alone villa with three

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bedrooms, a dining room, a living room and a private verandah. The villa enjoys a
superlative view of the sea. It has a private lawn with a hammock stocked mini bar at
charge.

F&B OUTLETS
The hotel has four F&B outlets with a varied range of cuisines to allow guest to enjoy a
variety of tastes, aromas and atmospheres. Listed below are the outlets

Latitude, the multi-cuisine all day dining restaurant, serves buffet breakfast, A la carte
lunch and dinner with live entertainment in the evenings.

IL Camino is an authentic Italian restaurant, serving an array of authentic Italian and


Mediterranean cuisines. The restaurant has live pizza oven, live entertainment enlivens
the ambience.

SFX stands for St. Francis Xavier. This relaxed, all-day lounge bar by the sea serves a
variety of snacks and fast food.

Morisco & Martini bar is the seafood specialty with an open kitchen, serves fresh sea
food grills and innovative cuisines along with a poolside bar.

Banquets - The hotel has 2 meeting rooms with a capacity of 200 and 50 covers in
theatre style seating. The maximum banquet capacity for one event is 600 covers
for outdoor banquets, and 150 covers for an indoor banquet.

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At, Fort Aguada Beach Resort, Goa the front office department comprises of the
following:
Front Office Structure

Front Office Manager

Duty Manager

Cashier Travel Desk Guest Services Manager

Front Office Assistant Airport Representative’s Operators

Bell Captain

Bell Boys

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CHAPTER TWO: NATURE OF THE ISSUE

2.1 STATEMENT OF AIM


To enhance guest experience through strengthening Front Office Operations at the Fort
Aguada Beach Resort, Goa.

2.2 STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this research project are as follows:


• To analyse the existing arrival and departure procedure at the hotel
• To check for Brand Operating Standards for arrival and departure procedure at
the hotel
• To recommend effective and non-cost bearing methods for increasing guest
satisfaction during check in and check out of the guest
• To create various Forms & Formats that would facilitate smooth functioning of
the bell desk operations

2.3. SCOPE OF THE PROJECT


The scope of this research is to first and foremost understand operations and the
operational procedures and situations specific to the hotel – Fort Aguada Beach Resort,
Goa. After gaining an understanding of the situation in practicality, the researcher will
attempt to find opportunities for improvement within the Front Office department.

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2.4 LIMITATIONS OF THE PROJECT

Due to the very short period of time within which this project has been carried out
combined with the researcher’s limited exposure, this research has the following
limitations:
• The research will encompass the guest feedback in the form of GSTS scores and
verbal feedbacks based on a specific period of exposure in the department.

• The extent to which the recommendations were implemented has not been
mapped.

• This research has been unable to map the actual performance of the hotel after
the implementation of the recommendations.

• Training imparted can be effective only if the executives’ themselves show the
zeal and passion towards excellence. Therefore, a lot depends on the executives’ desire
to learn.

• This research has not taken into consideration any laws, be it local, national or
international relating to any aspect of the hotel.

• All the recommendations as an outcome of this research have not been


implemented in the unit due to various reasons.

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CHAPTER THREE: ANTECEDENTS OF THE ISSUE

The Hospitality Industry is a 3.5 trillion dollar service sector within the global
economy. It is an umbrella term for a broad variety of service industries including, but
not limited to, hotels, food service, casinos, and tourism. The concept of hospitality
business started when people started travelling away on business and they needed a
place away from home which could cater to all their needs and that is when hotels came
up.

A Hotel can be defined as a commercial establishment that offers lodging to travelers.


Hotels often provide a number of additional guest services such as restaurants,
conference services, meeting rooms and other services. The guests, who stay at a hotel,
have to go through a 4-step cycle of activities which is known as the guest cycle.

In hotel terminology, the Guest Cycle describes the activities that each guest passes by
from the moment he/she calls to communicate a reservation inquiry till he/she departs
from the hotel. In fact, the guest cycle encompasses 4 different stages, which are
depicted in the underneath, diagram:

Pre-Arrival ⇒ Arrival ⇒ Occupancy ⇒ Departure

The first step is the pre-arrival stage. At this stage, the guest decides to stay at a hotel
and makes the reservation for the same. Doing this initiates the hotel guest cycle.
Reservation records help personalize guest services and appropriately schedule needed
staff and facilities.

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The next is the arrival stage. At this stage, registration and rooming functions takes
place and the hotel establishes a business relationship with the guest.

The third is the occupancy stage in which the guest stays at the hotel and uses the hotel
facilities and services. At this stage, the front office department coordinates guest
services in a timely and accurate manner. Efforts are made to minimize the guest
complaints and enhance their stay.

The last stage of the guest cycle is the departure stage. Departure, or checking-out of
the hotel, refers to the process where the guests vacates the hotel room, settles his bills
and leaves the hotel. The stages of the guest cycle become really a cycle (i.e. start from
where it ends), when the guest is given a warm farewell and encouragement to come
back again.

It is no doubt the last interaction of the hotel with the guest; therefore, the hotel should
make certain that the guest has a lasting impression and an unforgettable experience.

When we talk about departure experience, it includes all the activities right from the
moment the guest informs about his departure, till the time he is given a warm farewell
and he leaves the hotel. If this simple departure of the guest is transformed into a
‘departure experience’, the researcher believes that it will lead to enhanced guest
satisfaction, and thereby, increasing the number of loyal customers and positive word-
of-mouth publicity.

3.1 CHECK IN PROCEDURE

1. Arrival of the Guest to the hotel: Guest arrives at the lobby after a long drive of
45 minutes from the airport by coach is very tired, so he expects a quick, pleasant
and courteous receptionist to greet the guest at the porch.

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2. Escorting of Guest to the lobby : The receptionist then escorts the guest from the
porch to the lobby, while the bell boy assists the guest with the baggage from the
porch to the lobby. The guest is then seated in the lobby.

3. Service of Cold Towels & Welcome Drinks: Once the guest is seated in the
lobby, the guest is offered a cold towel & a welcome drink as refreshment. This
ensures that the guest has got a warm welcome at the time of arrival. Meanwhile the
guest enjoys the beautiful oceanic view of the Arabian Sea from the lobby.

4. Registration: The receptionist who escorted the guest from the porch to the lobby
registers the guest to the hotel by reconfirming the date of departure, mode of
payment, collection of personal details and reconfirms the meal / room package to
the guest. Personal details can be a PAN Card, driving license, voter’s id or any kind
of photo identity and a valid passport & visa for foreign travellers.

5. Escorting of Guest to the room: Once the registration process is done, the guest
is escorted to the room along with the baggage brought by the bell boy, during the
escorting, the guest is briefed about all the available dining options, their offerings
along with the operational timing. Apart from that the guest is also briefed about the
recreational facilities offered by Fort Aguada Beach Resort & Taj Holiday Village).
The guest is also briefed about the places to visit in Goa. During the room
orientation the guest is briefed about the various special features of the room while
the baggage is placed on the luggage rack.

CHECK OUT PROCEDURE


1. Acknowledge and greet the guest:
Whenever any guest approaches the cashier’s desk, the cashier must maintain a smile
and a welcoming look on his/her face. The cashier should greet the guest according to
the time of the day and offer assistance. If the guest wants to check out, the cashier
must request his permission to proceed with the billing process. The cashier must

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always keep eye contact and smile at the guest, giving the guest undivided attention
during the checkout.

Sometimes, if the cashier’s desk is busy, the Front Office Executives or the Duty
Manager must assist the waiting guests. All guests waiting must be acknowledged
within 30 seconds and given an assurance that they will be attended soon. A staff
member should be there to assist the guests, standing in queues and if possible, try to
assist them in the queue itself.

2. Offer luggage assistance :


All guests approaching the cashier counter for check-out with baggage must be assisted
by the bell desk always. If baggage assistance is required in the room, it should be
picked up from the guest room within 10 minutes of the departure request. A departure
tag is used to mark the room number. If the guest wishes to leave the baggage at the
hotel, for him to collect on his next visit or after a few hours, he is given a ‘baggage
slip’, which is to be presented at the time of collecting the baggage.

3. Enquire for any recent charges and mini-bar consumption :


The cashier must enquire about the mini-bar consumption and any other recent charges,
like laundry, etc. All disputed mini bar charges, under Rs.2000/- are allowanced off
without any further discussion with the guest.

4. Enquire about transportation:


The cashiers ask the guest if he needs a hotel car. If so, the charges should be posted
after informing the travel desk. If there is a car already booked, he must reconfirm
about it with the guest and also the time the car is required. The cashier must update the
travel desk about the same.

5. Enquire about the guests stay:

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The cashier then enquires from the guest if their stay at the hotel was comfortable and
satisfactory. If the guest is unhappy with his or her stay, there is an opportunity to make
service recovery, after considering it with the Duty Manager.

6. Present the information print out to the guest:


After ensuring that all the outstanding charges have been posted and taking into account
the billing instructions of the guest, the cashier presents the information print-out to the
guest for verification of all the charges. He explains any query about the bill or charge
politely, and if there are any changes to be made, they must be done here. The cashier
must always take the signature of the guest on the information printout.

7. Confirm the mode of settlement and settle the bills:


The cashier then asks the guest about the mode of settlement of his bills. If the guest
wants to settle his bills using a credit card, the cashier requests for it and continues the
bill settlement after considering the amount of pre-authorization taken on the card, at
the time of check-in. A signature of the guest is taken on merchant copy of the charge
slip and the customer copy of the charge slip is attached to the guest bill.

The guest also has an option of settling his bills using cash. If the amount is below Rs.
25000/-, the billing is done as usual. But, if the amount is more than Rs. 25000/-, PAN
number of the guest is required [valid only for Indian residents]. A cash receipt must be
made for all cash settlements and the original copy of the receipt is to be attached to the
guest bill.
If the bill is being taken care of by the travel agent, then a travel agent voucher is
requested from the guest, with his signature on it.

8. Present the bill and vouchers [if requested] to the guest in the departure envelope :

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All bills along with supporting vouchers (if requested by the guest) should be neatly
folded and presented to the guest in the departure envelope.

9. Encourage the guest to return :


The cashier will always smile at the guest while bidding fond farewell to the guest. He
must express a desire to see the guest again and enquire about future reservations.

10. Escort the guest till the main porch/ car :


All guests should be escorted from the cash counter till the main porch by the cashier.
The cashier should help the guest to identify the bags and inform the bell desk to have
the bags sent outside.

According to the Taj Leisure Experiences, the following points need to be kept in
mind while taking a check out:
• Once a guest has given information or instructions about their departure details,
they will never have to repeat it.
• If a guest’s departure time is known, they will not be disturbed in their room
before that time by any staff member or housekeeping, mini bar, etc.
• The first person advised of the guest’s departure will collect all relevant
information, including baggage and transport requirements, and asked if they
would like the bill prepared; if so, late charges will be ascertained.
• After settling a bill, guests will be escorted to the curb side and accompanied
until their vehicle is prepared to depart.
• The vehicle will be ready and waiting at the curb side when the guest arrives to
depart; baggage will be loaded and reconfirmed before departure.
• The final farewell phrase will be Namaste or Goodbye depending from city to
city.

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Within the Front Office, there are some drivers which most affect the GSTS while
others have a lesser impact. As per the report, the areas in the Front Office Department
which should be improved in order to improve the overall satisfaction of the guest are:
• Check-in Experience
• Check-out Experience
• Airport Transfers
• Baggage Handling

The above mentioned factors are in the order of their impact on the GSTS scores.
Improvement in the above mentioned areas is necessary as these issues are based on the
feedback and satisfaction of the guest at the hotel and these are directly reflected in the
GSTS scores of the hotel.

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CHAPTER FOUR: OPERATION FACTS / CONSTRAINTS


APPROACH AND CONTRIBUTION

4.1 GUEST CYCLE

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Figure 2:

The guest chooses a hotel during the pre arrival stage of the guest cycle. The guest’s
choice can be affected by many factors, including previous experiences with the hotel;
advertisements, recommendations from the travel agents, friends, or business
associates; the hotel’s location or reputation; and preconceptions based upon the hotel’s
name or chain affiliation. The arrival stage of the guest cycle includes registration and
rooming functions. As the centre of the hotel activity, the front desk is responsible for
coordinating guest services. Among many services, the front desk provides the guest
with information and supplies. The final element of guest service is processing the guest
out of the hotel and creating a guest history record. The final element of guest
accounting is settlement of the guest’s account (that is bringing the account to a zero
balance). The researcher is mainly concentrating on the below mentioned functions:

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4.2 TASKS PERFORMED BY THE FRONT DESK


The time the guest enters the hotel, the guest is offered Welcome Drinks by the
receptionist, the hotel use to lack in variety of welcome drinks, apple ice tea was served
to the guest. The concentrate of the flavoured ice tea settles down after a while, so the
taste of the drink is not very refreshing to the guest. Now days the guest has a lot of
loyalty cards and privilege cards while coming for a vacation, the guest expects the
hotel to except those privilege cards at the time of check-in so that the guest can get all
the benefits. The receptionist most of the times does not inform the guest about all the
available tie-ups. The Brand Operating Standards for all Taj Premium Brand says that
‘No courtesy call to be given after the guest has checked in’; the researcher believes
that by not giving courtesy call to the guest, you are not aware if there is anything that
the guest is looking on the stay. On a low occupancy day, short stayers should be
upgraded on a complimentary basis; this was not honoured at the time of check-in in the
hotel. Departure Call/letter was not given to the guest prior to the departure, this
facilitates the guest and the cashier to function smoother and faster. For a departure
guest, the front desk team use to inform housekeeping to send someone for checking the
Mini-bar, this use to take more time for the guest to check-out. Guest expects that all
the bills to be ready in advance, and if possible a copy of the bill to be sent to the room
a night before check out or at around 11:00 hrs to facilitate a smooth check-out.

CHAPTER FIVE : COMMENTS FROM THE MANAGEMENT

The researchers presented the project to the management of The Taj Fort Aguada Beach
Resort, Goa. The comments received from the management are as follows:

General Manager - Mr Rajiv Khanna was highly impressed with the ideas and the
way they were presented in the presentation by the researcher and also complimented
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the researchers saying that the ideas and the way the presentation was made was very
innovative and creative. He also enlightened the researchers on the latest trends in the
hospitality industry and also discussed other ways in which the check in and check out
experience be efficiently increased with the current staffing. Finally he congratulated
the researchers on the successful completion of the understudy programme at the
property.

Front Office Manager- Mr Dennis D’Costa was very pleased with the efforts taken by
the researchers for doing a through research on the issue without leaving any stone
unturned. He appreciated the inputs given by the researchers on the various causes
which were mainly responsible for the GSTS scores in the department and finally he
also gave the researchers a few valuable suggestions.

CHAPTER SIX : CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATIONS

To enhance the overall guest experience, various recommendations and formats were
created to improve the GSTS scores for the Front Office Department. As mentioned
earlier the researcher mainly focused on three levers:

6.1 SUGGESTIONS TO STRENGHTEN BELL DESK OPERATIONS

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• Baggage Delivery:
1. Copy of an Arrival list by Room to be handed over to the Morning Bellboy.
2. Copy of Departure list by time for the next day to be given to the Night Bellboy.
3. Group Arrival list should also be handed over to the bell desk on a daily basis
(Rooming list, expected arrival time and number of rooms).
4. A separate Group format should be created for group arrival & departures.

• Guest Call & Message Delivery


1. A separate format created for all Guest call & Message delivery.
2. Message Envelope should have a Serial No. for verification.

• Newspaper Delivery:
1. A separate format created for recording number of newspapers issued and
received on a daily basis
2. Any requests for any special newspaper must be acknowledged wherever
possible.

• Maintenance of Buggy:
1. Buggy Checklist to be made and to be filled by Night Bellboy.

All Formats to be signed by the Duty Manager on a daily basis.

6.2 SUGGESTIONS TO ENHANCE GUEST CHECK IN EXPERIENCE

1. Welcome drinks like Kokum Sharbat to be introduced (cost effective &


quality).
2. Guest to be briefed about all available tie-ups.
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3. Courtesy calls to be given to the guest after he/she checks in to the room.
4. In-Room Check-In must be adhered on a less arrival day / TIC members and
Villa guests.
5. GRE to check for preferences of all guests checking in the next day.
6. Central look up for all guests profiles checking in the next day.
7. Room Upgrade to be honored for all short stayers and first timers (subject to
availability).
8. Bed type should be reconfirmed before escorting the guest to the room.
9. All Hermitage guests to be informed about the Double-lock system and the
buggy facility during room orientation.
10. Requests for interconnecting and adjoining rooms to be honored on a priority
basis as it immensely affects the Check-In Experience.
11. A pamphlet providing information regarding the various dining options
offered at FABR & THV with their respective timings to be placed in all the
rooms.
12. Associate achieving the maximum number of excellent on their respective
Check-in to be recognized on a weekly basis in the departmental meetings.
13. Guests to be briefed about the various on going F&B promotions and weekly
dinners. For Ex-Wok of Life & IL Fiesta.

6.3 SUGGESTIONS TO ENHANCE GUEST CHECK OUT EXPERIENCE

1. Late Checkout to be acknowledged. (Subject to availability)


2. Mini-bar postings to be done in stipulated time so as to reduce checkout time.
3. Guest needs to be anticipated (customization of bills).
4. Information regarding any changes in EDC machines to be given prior to the
morning shift.
5. Posting done by THV in the name of “THV POS” to be replaced with something
relevant. For Ex-Using the name of the outlet/service used. (Reduces Check out
Time)

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6. The associate who has taken a check-in must interact with the guest at least once
after check-in; if possible meet on check-out.
7. If a guest has had a complaint during stay, the duty manager to meet compulsory
on departure & apologize for inconvenience, Goan tile can be given.
8. An additional printer can be installed at the duty manager’s desk or at the bell desk
along with a wireless credit card machine can prove vital during group check-out
& also on the days of bulk FIT departures.
9. Departure call / letter to be given prior to checkout.
10. Guests to be asked about any privileged membership so as to feed in the points.
11. All charges to be posted correctly to Guest Bill Folio.
12. Bottled Water to be given at the time of departure.
13. Fond farewell to be given to every guest on a priority basis.
14. When a late checkout is given a new key card to be coded post 1400 Hrs.

PRE-CHECKOUT
a) New Departure Letter: This new format is far more professional and it also shows
how much the hotel cares for its customers. It’s also a way of enhancing the overall
checkout experience as everything with regards to a late check out and details of
departure are filled in by the customer or informed to the reception.

Fig.4 Sample Departure Letter

In Residence:

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Dear

We do hope you had a pleasant stay with us and will carry back memorable moments of your
holiday. Given below are some essential details, which would facilitate your smooth departure
from the resort tomorrow. Please hand over this form to the front desk.

Drive time from the Hotel to the Airport : 1 hour

Reporting Time Domestic Flights : 1 hour (Or as per your flight operator)

Reporting Time International Flights : 3 hours (Or as per your flight operator)

An information copy of your bill can be made available to you at your request on calling the
reception at Extn: 0. In case you would like to have a private car to the airport, we request you to
contact the travel desk at Extn: 45 to book for the same.

The late checkout facility is subject to room availability and is available at a charge. To ensure a
punctual departure from the resort we request you to meet at our lobby fifteen minutes prior to
your departure time. If you are scheduled to depart before 0700 hrs tomorrow, a take away
breakfast can be arranged if prior intimation is given today before 1900 hrs.

Your baggage will be collected from the room at : ……..

Your Flight/Train timing will be : ……..

Your departure time from the Resort will be at : ……..

Please contact the Duty Manager at extension ‘41’ if you would like to checkout later than 12:00
noon.

It was indeed our pleasure having you stay with us. We wish you a safe journey back home and
look forward to welcoming you back at the Fort Aguada Beach Resort, Goa.

With Warm Regards,

(Front Office Manager)

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Guest expectations are exceeding in the coming times. To meet the expectations of the
guest, it is necessary to focus on the overall experience of the guest. When the guest
gets an online GSTS, the guest fills the feedback form after 2 days after the guest has
departed from the hotel. So the notion which the guest has taken back is only the good
memories of the hotel, if for instance there has been a minor complaint, the guest
overall experience gets spoilt. So he rates all the parameters as fair or good not
excellent. This affects the GSTS form for the particular guest. The case in point from
the above research, which the researcher could draw, for some guest rating good on the
GSTS form is the best rating he rates a hotel. In that case the hotel can’t really improve
the GSTS scores. If the guest was delighted at the time of arrival, but during his stay,
there was some F&B complaint, it is possible that the guest would rate the welcome
experience as fair or good. Overall experience of the guest depends on all the factors,
right from the welcome experience of the guest, till the fond farewell given to the guest
at the time of departure. For a hotel it is important to work on the Overall Experience of
the guest, rather just concentrating on any one of the factors.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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BOOKS:

1. Kasavana M., Brooks R. (1995) Front Office Procedures, Educational Institute


of the American Hotel & Motel Association.

WEBSITES:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hospitality industry
2. http://education.in.msn.com/careers/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1165546
3. http://www.bharatonline.com/goa/travel-tips/facts.html
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goa
5. http://www.tajhotels.com/Leisure/Fort%20Aguada%20Beach
%20Resort,GOA/rooms.asp

ARTICLES:

1. Shoemaker S. and Lewis R., (1999), “Customer Loyalty: the future of


hospitality marketing”, International Journal of Hospitality Management, Vol.
18, pp. 345-370.
2. Choi T. and Chu R., (2001), “Determinants of hotel guests’ satisfaction
and repeat patronage in the Hong Kong hotel Industry”, International Journal of
Hospitality Management, Vol. 20, pp.277-297.

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