Desk is an extended arm of front desk. There are many activities at the time of arrival, during stay and at the time of departure of guest which cannot be carried out from the front desk but are to be carried out essentially, in order to provide services to the guest. As the name suggest it is a small desk /counter in the lobby near the main entrance of the hotel. The bell desk should be situated in clear view of the front desk, cashier and particularly the doorman standing outside the lobby, so that the doorman may signal for a bellboy at the arrival of a guest. Further, it is also important that the bell desk is situated near the luggage centre and luggage entrance.
Equipments used at Bell Desk
The list of various equipment required for efficiently performing the bell desk function is very exhaustive and comprehensive and depends upon hotel to hotel, its standard and degree of automation used in the hotel. But generally the following items are important.
- Luggage trolleys and bell hop trolleys: It is important that the trolleys are well maintained, proper greasing and oiling is done in time and in case of brakes, make sure that they function properly. Also make sure that their movements are well controlled and move only in required guided direction. There is no squeaking or rattling noise when the trolleys are moved. However avoid excessive oiling as the oil drops may cause stains on floors and carpet which may be difficult to remove and may also cause accidents. The trolleys should fit in easily along with the guest and bellboy without creating overloaded condition in the elevator cage.
- For proper and effective intra-communication with front desk areas and intercommunication with other areas of the hotel as well as outside hotel the bell desk must be equipped with intercoms, telephone and computers, etc. For written communication proper proformas should be there.
- Postage weighing machine is also important.
- Franking machines for printing the value of postage.
- Date and time punching machine for putting the date and time of reviving the mail and message by the bell desk.
- Luggage net for identifying and separating the luggage of groups usually.
- Stamp folder, glue, twines, scissors cardboard for packaging etc.
Function of Bell desk
1) Luggage handling:
Luggage handling of the guest is done at various occasion such as arrival, during stay (change of rooms) and at the time of departure. At the time of arrival when the luggage of the guests moved from car/taxi to the lobby and further to the allotted room, the activity is called “Up bell activity’’. When the luggage of the guest is moved from room to lobby and further to the car/taxi at the time of departure the activity is called ‘’down bell activity’’.
Apart from luggage handling the bell desk is also responsible for paging a guest. The paging is a system of locating the guest in the hotel. Many times the in-house guest expects a phone call or a visitor but decides not to wait in the room, and might decide to go to public area such as bar, restaurant, swimming pool, lobby or lounge etc. of the hotel or may go out of the hotel. In such cases hotel request the guest to tell about his whereabouts through a location form. This proforma may be kept in the stationery folder in the room as well as at the information section of the counter. Usually it is filled in by the guest but many times it may be filled in by the hotel staff on the instructions of the guest.
3) Mail and Message Handling:
The bell desk’s function is also to handle and distribute mail and message received by the front desk in the absence of the guests to their respective rooms. Also distribution of newspapers and magazines etc. to various rooms and the areas of the hotel and keeping a record of the same is done by the bell desk.
4) Delivery of newspaper:
As per the hotel policy all hotel guests receive a copy of hotel newspapers each morning. The bellboys in the night shift are responsible for delivering the newspapers to all occupied rooms.
5) Collection of Room Keys at departures:
Another very important function of the bell desk is the collection of room key from a check out guest and depositing the same at the information desk.
6) Miscellaneous Jobs:
Miscellaneous jobs such as postage stamps handling, taking care of outgoing mail of the guest, carrying out outside errands for the guest and hotel such as buying of cinema tickets, moving of files and documents etc. for the guest as well as going to banks, post office and FRRO police station for delivering of ‘C forms’ etc.
The information counter at the front office will indicate that the guest has been allotted a room by handling over the errand card which mentions the room number. The room key is also handed over with the errand card. Bring to the guest’s attention any baggage damaged to protect the hotel from blame.