Registration in Hotel

  • Post last modified:16 April 2023
  • Reading time:17 mins read
  • Post category:Hotel Management

Registration Requirement for Guests

Registration is a mandatory requirement that all guests over the age of 16 years – irrespective of Indian or foreigner, ordinary personnel, or VIP. Regardless of the size of the hotel, be it small or large guests, must provide basic information about themselves and fill up either a visitors register / hotel register. The register may be a Red Book/form or a card also called G.R. Card (Guest Registration Card). The guest has to fill in the form and attest his signature. This agreement between the hotel and the guest is known as a simple contract.

Registration Process

The registration process has the following basic concepts.

  • Collection: It is the gathering of information about the guest such as date and time of arrival, guest personal information (name, address, nationality, occupation, etc), the purpose of visit, and date of departure.

  • Product Matching: Assigning the right room to the guest as desired based on availability.

  • Revenue Management: The billing instructions i.e. mode of payment through cash, credit card, traveler’s cheque, etc.

  • Rooms Management: The duration of stay of the guest. The availability of the room for resale for the next guest.

  • Completion: After the guest has registered a rate for the room is decided and a room is assigned after establishing his creditability. Then the guest along with his luggage sent to his room. After that, the receptionist would complete the paper and other work related to the new arrival.

Registration Record

The registration record is a collection of important personal and financial guest information. A typical registration record includes:

  • Guest name and surname
  • Guest address and telephone number
  • Company affiliation (if applicable)
  • Expected arrival date
  • Planned departure date or length of stay
  • Required room rate
  • Required room type
  • Room number
  • Method of payment
  • Special requests
  • Signature of the guest.

Guest registration information details forwarded to different areas and functions of the hotel are.

Registration Methods

Three methods are used for registration by hotels:

  • Bound Book: It is a big bound book. Guest on arrival fills his details in a line and signs in this book. It is often used in small hotels. The disadvantages of this book handling are:
    • Confidentiality of guest information cannot be maintained. The next guest can easily access the details of the previous guests.

    • The book is bulky and gets dirty and torn very soon due to frequent usage.

    • Pre-registration of VIPs and others cannot be done.

    • Only one guest can register at a time.
  • Loose Leaf Register: In this system, a separate loose leaflet is used for each day instead of a consolidated / bound register. To some extent, the confidentiality of guest information can be maintained. It is mostly suitable for medium-sized hotels. The disadvantages of this method are:
    • It can be easily misplaced, if the desk clerks are careless.

    • The leaflet may not be filled or on some occasions, the single sheet may not be sufficient.

    • The filing also becomes a problem

    • Only one guest can register at a time.
  • Individual Registration: In this system, a separate card is used for each guest. The cards may be designed to serve various purposes. It may be made in duplicate or triplicate with the help of carbon papers so that one copy can be sent to Government departments and the other retained by the hotel. The following are the advantages of this method:
    • The size of the card is small and quite handy.

    • They may also be used to serve as guest history cards.

    • The complete privacy of the guest is maintained.

    • Many guests can be registered in the rush hours at the same time.

Systems of Registration

  • Manual System: This system is used by small hotels. In this system, all the documents including the guest folio, arrival notification slips, and C form (to be filled in by foreigners) are prepared and distributed manually. The accuracy shall depend upon the guest’s legible and accurate completion of the card. This is a rather slow and time-consuming method and is prone to errors hence not suitable for large hotels.

  • Semi-automatic System: All those hotels which do not operate on computers and are either medium or large use this method. Office machinery such as typewriters and various clerical equipment, racks and filling racks, etc are used in this method.

  • Automatic System: Automatic systems use computers. They are very efficient, accurate, and fast. It helps in smooth and speedy check-in and the guest can simply sign in the registration documents generated by the computer.
  • ExpressCheck-in System: In some fully automated hotels the arriving guest can self-register himself through self-registering terminals located in the lobby. To facilitate a speedy registration process, these registration terminals of the hotel may also be located in airports, international bus terminals, and car rental agencies. This is a very fast method of registration.

Room Status

At registration, check-in clerks shall contact the housekeeping department to seek the latest information about the status of hotel rooms so that they can assign only clean and available rooms for sale to their guests. That’s why, the Front Office, Housekeeping, and Reservation Department shall maintain a high degree of collaboration between them.

The front office and housekeeping department shall continuously update the status of every single room. Below is the typical housekeeping room status flow for any single room:

  • Occupied
  • On-change
  • Clean and Available for Sale

The front office and Housekeeping Department shall frequently reconcile and compare their updated reports (especially under the manual system) for any possible room status discrepancy.

To be sales-minded and convince potential guests to accept the highest-priced rooms, the front office clerk shall be aware of the characteristics of each room type, and the differences within the same room category (i.e. furnishings, amenities, and location).

Issuing Room Keys

With the issuing of room keys, the rooming process gets to an end. However, concerning room keys, front office clerks shall respect the hotel’s written policies governing guestroom key control. As an illustration, front desk agents shall only handle the room key to the guest without announcing and/or spelling out the room number. This is a vital requirement to protect and ensure guest safety and privacy. After the guest is handed over his / her room key, front office clerks shall offer bellboy assistance.

Fulfilling Special Requests

Front Office Department shall watch for special requests by guests and try promptly to satisfy them. This creates a good impression and lasting professional relationship with the guests and increases the probability that the hotel will receive these guests many more times to come in the future (i.e. repeat guests). Guests’ requests are usually grouped under the following categories:

  • Room type
  • Bed type
  • Location
  • View
  • Amenities

Room and Rate Assignment

The hotel shall identify the room preference of the guest and allocate an available room from the existing specific room category (i.e. type & rate). That’s why, under semi and fully-automated systems, reservation and check-in clerks shall be sales-minded while negotiating room and rate assignments with guests. This fact applies to registration clerks under the manual system as well. Moreover, while assigning rooms, check-in clerks shall keep an eye on the hotel’s reservation commitments and not assign a room to a guest, while that very room is pre-assigned to some other guests for the same period.

Room Rates

While pricing rooms, the hotel shall keep in mind that the rate should be between a minimum (determined by cost structure) and a maximum (determined by competition structure) boundary as depicted below:

  • Minimum (Hurdle Rate) < Room Rate < Maximum (Rack Rate)
  • Cost Structure < Room Rate < Competition Structure
  • Rack rate: The price a hotel charges for a room before any discount has been taken into account. The published rate for a room is sometimes set artificially high to accommodate and used to calculate a variety of discounts.

The front office department shall finalize room rates with guests during the registration process. Moreover, rack rates shall only be applicable for walk-ins, especially during the high season. Lastly, room rates might be affected by:

  • Seasonality
  • Service level
  • Room location
  • Type of Guest and/or usage (eg. commercial, corporate, complementary, group, family, day, and package-plan, etc.).

Methods of Payment

Guests, at the registration stage, shall communicate or confirm their intended method of payment. Below are the common methods of payment accepted by hotels:

  • Cash: Guests intending to settle their accounts by cash shall have no in-house charge privileges and, hence, all their purchases should be paid in advance (i.e. PIA status), which means that as guests purchase any kind of service or product, they shall pay for it immediately. In accordance to cash payment, registration clerks shall prepare lists of PIA guests and communicate them to all Point of Sales outlets.

    On the other hand, paying immediately might not suit some guests (even though intending to settle their accounts by cash), that’s why hotels might give guest charge privileges, on condition that they provide an imprint of a valid card or an approved direct billing privilege at registration.

  • Personal Cheques: Very few hotels still accept personal cheques as a method of payment due to the high probability of fraud associated with this method. In fact, in order to accept personal cheques, most hotels necessitate that these cheques be supported by a credit card with a cheque-cashing guarantee, that the amount to be cashed against cheques shall be within the hotel’s established limit, and preferably accept personal cheques only during standard business hours where banks are open.

    If personal cheques are to be accepted, front office personnel shall imprint the credit card on the backside of the guest’s personal cheque and record the Guest’s ID card or driving license certificate along with the guest’s address and telephone number on the face of the cheque.

  • Credit Cards: Nowadays almost all mid-sized and large hotels have credit card machines. Credit cards have become a preferred method of payment for guests and hotels. The guest’s credit card is swiped on the spot and the amount is credited to the hotel’s account.

  • Direct Billing: Some guests (especially VIPs) do not prefer to wait at checkout queues like other guests before departure. They, rather, prefer, only to sign their guest folios, go to their homes, and later receive a certain invoice detailing their charges while they were staying at the hotel to be settled by payment to hotel bank accounts. In order to satisfy the needs of this category of guests, hotels created the direct billing process.

    To be eligible for a direct billing privilege, guests shall at the pre-arrival stage or maximum at the arrival stage fill out a hotel credit application form along with the provision of an imprint of a valid credit card. This form is sent to the Front Office Manager or Rooms Division Manager for approval.

  • Special Programs: Special programs are any form of vouchers, coupons, or any special incentive awards received.
Article Reference
  • James A. Bardi (2002), Hotel Front Office Management, Wiley.

  • Ahmed Ismail (2002), Front office operations and management, Thomson Delmar Learning.

  • Michael L. Kasavana and Richard M. Brooks (2005), Managing Front Office Operations, Educational Institute of American Hotel & Motel.

  • S.K. Bhatnagar (2002), Front Office Management, Frank Bros. & Co. (Publishers) Ltd.

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