What is the Guest Cycle in a Hotel?

Guest cycle specify to the distinct stages of guest communication between the hotel and guests. On the basis of the stage of communication and activities involved, the Guest Cycle is hence classified into four main stages. 

These are: Pre – Arrival, Arrival, Stay/Occupancy and Departure.

Front office executives must know about all the process of guest services and guest accounting activities at all stages of the guest stay. Front office executives can effectively serve the guest if they have a clear understanding of the flow of business in the hotel. 

What are the Stages of the Guest Cycle in a Hotel?

Pre-arrival: The communication between a guest and a hotel before the guest arrives at the hotel forms the pre-arrival stage of the guest cycle. Reservation is the most important pre-arrival activity. During pre-arrival phase, the guest first selects the type of hotel they want to stay. The guest’s choice about a particular hotel is affected by factors like services, recommendations from family and friends, previous experience with the hotel, location, etc. Once a hotel has been selected, the guest contacts the hotel through telephone, e-mail, or fax for booking room/s for a future period. The reservation request is received by the reservation executive, whose efficiency and competence in handling the guest request creates a first impression of the hotel in the mind of the guest. For the confirmation of reservation the hotel asks for advance payment or credit card guarantee from the guest. The hotel also makes note of any special arrangements to be made, like a room decoration, or airport pick up, or extra pillow in room, etc. Below are the functions that are included in the pre-arrival stage:

a) Processing a new reservation request of the guest. 

b) Creation of guest folio if the hotel has received any advance payment.

 c) Blocking the room as per the guest choice. 

d) Making special arrangements for the guest (if requested).

Arrival: Guests have their first face-to-face interaction with the hotel staff when they reach the hotel during their arrival time. This is an important stage as guests form an opinion about the standards and services that hotel will provide them during their stay. The responsibility of Front Office on the arrival of a guest includes: 

a) Receiving and welcome of the guest.

b) Registration of the guest

c) Assigning of room to the guest according to guest preference.  

d) Front office executive hand over the room key to the guest 

e) Luggage is handled by the bell desk executives.

Stay/Occupancy: During this stage of guest cycle, the guest gets an experience of the facilities and services offered by the hotel. These services are the most important part of a guest’s overall experience at hotel. The stay phase is the most important stage in the guest cycle, as guest’s comfortable stay at the hotel would bring repeat business and positive feedback from the guest for the hotel. The responsibility of the front office during the stay of a guest includes.

a) Handling guest accounts: The creation and maintenance of guest folio by the front desk cashier. 

b) Message coordination: Receiving messages on behalf of the guests when they are not in their rooms and ensuring the delivery of the same on their arrival by the information desk. 

c) Key handling: Accepting the room key when the guest goes out of the hotel and giving back the keys to the guest when he comes back to the hotel. These days, hotels issue Card keys to guests at the time of arrival, therefore key handling, as mentioned above, in large hotels is not required. 

d) Guest mail delivery: When a guest is not in his room, the front desk receives the guest mail, keeps it in the message rack, and delivers it to the guest when he returns to the hotel. The mail is later attached to the guest registration card, which is handed over to the guest at the time of check-in process. 

e) Guest Paging: Locating a guest in the hotel when he/she is not in present in their room. 

f) Safety deposit locker: Providing the locker facility to guests to keep their valuables like important documents and jewelry. The guest has to fill safety deposit form with their government identity card. Safety lockers are located at the back of front office department.

g) Guest room change: Changing guest room, in case the guest’s does not find the room comfortable to stay. The room can also be changed if there is any defect in the room that requires maintenance work and has been allotted to the guest by mistake. 

h) Handling guest queries and complaints

i) Providing information about the hotel and its services like SPA, restaurants,etc.

j) Providing information about the city. 

k) Making travel arrangements for the guests, if required.

Departure and Post Departure: The front office should try to cover up any unpleasant happenings during guest’s stay by making sure a smooth and hassle-free departure of the guest. Below are the functions of front office at the time of departure stage:

a) Preparation and presentation of guest bill: The front desk cashier prepares a guest’s final bill on the basis of financial transactions between the hotel and the guest recorded in the guest folio. The bill is presented to the guest for making their account zero.

 b) Luggage handling by bell desk 

c) Left luggage handling 

d) Sales and Marketing activity for future reservation: Giving promotional materials to guests, informing guest about upcoming offers, and making future bookings.

 e) Warm farewell greeting.

Blog by: Monika Manjul