The arrival procedure appears routine and
standardized. And it is, although a wide
choice of sizes, classes, and types of hotels
means no two arrivals are exactly the same.
If all front-office functions are running
smoothly and all systems are working in
unison, the arrival is an auspicious one.
Moments of Truth
Arrival time signals the sharpest distinction
between the industry’s many levels of
Limited-service guests who use self-check-
in terminals may see no one at all!
Full-service hotels make the arrival
procedure part of the guest’s experience,
one of many moments of truth.
Parking attendants greet guests arriving by private
Urban parking is a revenue center of the hotel.
Parking arrangements may be reversed with the
parking company paying the hotel for the right to
pick up guest’s cars.
The valet attendants are the parking company’s
employees, not subject to hotel control.
The presence of a door attendant makes a strong
statement about the hotel, its concern for guests,
and its level of service.
The doorperson is part concierge, part bellperson,
part tour guide, part host, and part friend.
Without question, doorpersons in their splendid
uniforms make an impressive impact and a
comforting presence at the hotel’s entry.
Arriving guests may or may not hold reservations.
Those with reservations are handled quickly
because the information is already in the
Registration is handled as if the guest were a
Guest-to-agent interaction changes dramatically
when the house is full: 100% occupancy. A quick
and caring response from the hotel staff might
convert a traumatic experience into a positive
moment of truth.
Registering walk-ins takes more time than
Sales to walk-ins boost the hotel’s bottom
line. Walk-ins are the final tier of the yield
An inviting lobby is the first means of
capturing the sale. A cordial,
knowledgeable guest-service agent with the
right message is the second.
Registered, Not Assigned (RNA)
Early arrivals, especially those who appear before
the check-out hour, may need to wait until a
departure creates a room vacancy.
The registration card is completed but marked
RNA, registered but not assigned.
Early arrivals who come after rooms have been
vacated are assigned immediately, but not given
the key while the room is on change.
Room charges are the real issue with early
Hotel executives must balance the four elements
of waiting lines: arrival population; service
population; and queue and service disciplines.
Management’s failure to attend to the four parts of
queuing theory creates negative moments of truth.
Frequent-guest members, important persons, and
premium corporate accounts are registered in a
different area by the concierge or a hotel
Registration pods don’t eliminate lines, but they make
the experience more cordial.
Self-service check-in is viewed as a special
accommodation rather than a reduction in service.
Initially, self-check-in terminals required the arriving
guest to hold a reservation and a payment card, either
credit or debit.
When all rooms are taken and only a few suites are
available, it challenges the terminal’s capability.
Rather than walk the arrival, the desk clerk will likely
upgrade the reservation to one of the suites.
The Registration Card
Guest-service agents greet arriving guests with
pleasantries and a registration card.
Timing applies to the registration cards as well.
Guests with reservations are accommodated
quickly because registration cards are preprinted
as part of the previous night’s audit.
Release of Registration Information: names,
addresses, company affiliations, times of arrivals
and departures, telephone and internet records,
credit-card data and more.
Contents of the Cards: name and address;
number in the party; room number; date of
departure; rate; agent’s identification; folio
number; disclaimer of liability.
Points of Agreement: to minimize
misunderstandings, the agent repeats several
facts as the registration closes.
New social issues have added to the guest-
service agents’ responsibilities. Where
appropriate, Points of Agreement have
expanded to include no-smoking rooms, pets,
and “green” facilities.
No-Smoking Rooms: Gradually, as calls for
no-smoking grew, hotels set aside entire
floors or wings for nonsmokers.
Pets: almost every chain has some type of
The Assignment Process: blocking the
room; choosing—selling—the room;
Did Not Stay
In very rare instances, the arriving party
may register and leave immediately.
Typically, no charge is made if check-out
takes place within a reasonable time, even if
the room was occupied briefly.
The completed reg card is marked DNS and
given over to a supervisor.
Establishing Credit and Identity
Guests with reservations have already
established a preliminary level of credit and
Credit cards help establish the guest’s identity,
but some jurisdictions require additional
Associates throughout the hotel must be vigilant
if the paid-in-advance system is to work. Without
a card on file, all services must be paid on cash.
ROOMING THE GUEST
The Uniformed Services: uniformed service
personnel are minimum-wage workers, but are the
top of all hotel wage-earners.
Rooming Slips: rooming slips ask the guest to
verify three bits of information: name and
spelling, date of departure, and the rate.
Arriving at the Room: registration completed, the
bell person moves toward the elevators with the
guest in tow.
Green Hotel: lodging’s early efforts at “ greening”
the industry were chiefly cosmetic.