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Today, if a hotel's computer system suddenly went down, chaos would erupt. Software programs ensure that front desk, housekeeping, restaurant and management staff will perform their roles smoothly. They are also a means for communication between all departments. Most of all, hotel personnel are able to serve customers more promptly by using computers.
Front Desk Staff
Front desk staff use computer software programs to make reservations. Using the program, they determine which rooms and rates are available for a specific night or range of nights. Front desk representatives also use the software to check-in and check-out guests and to print off bills. Additionally they may check the computer to see if a room has been cleaned before checking in a guest. Finally, front desk staff enter guest names and mailing addresses into a database to use for future reservations or to send out information.
Housekeepers use the same software as front desk staff to verify which rooms are checking out and staying over each day. That way, they know which rooms to completely clean and which ones to simply tidy. Housekeepers use the software to communicate to the front desk, letting them know which rooms are clean and available for check-ins.
Hotels that have a restaurant may employ a computerized point-of-sale (POS) system. Waitresses enter food and drink orders into the POS system, which prints chits for the kitchen and bar staff, so they know what to prepare. Waitresses also print off bills using the POS system. Additionally, the food and beverage manager may use a computer to prepare and print new menu inserts. For hotels that cater to conferences and weddings, they may use a computerized banquet booking system.
Lodging managers and/or night auditors use computer software for daily and overall accounting purposes. This includes reviewing the day's check-ins and check-outs, payments received and owing and comps given out, to make sure all is in order. Lodging managers also use computers for keeping track of inventory and ordering supplies, to verify conference schedules and to create reports for the higher-ups. Finally, managers work with information technology professionals to make sure computer programs for staff and for guests, if applicable, are running smoothly.