Module 14: Introduction to Hotel Management

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Organization and Function of Hotel Departments

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Hospitality Management

Organization and Function of Hotel Departments

The day-to-day operations of a hotel are the key factors determining the success or failure of its service.

It is necessary to understand the structure of hotels in order to get an overview of how the
organization fits together.

Regardless of the size of a hotel, the organizational structure will be basically the same.

It is usually divided into several distinct departments, each responsible for a particular area of work.
The larger the hotel is and the more facilities that are offered, the more specialized the departments become. For example, the front office and housekeeping department are under the control of the director of rooms.

Hotel executives should have knowledge and experience developing and managing hotels throughout the hospitality industry.

The head executive in a hotel would be the General Manager (GM).

The main responsibilities of the general manager would include the following:
- Providing leadership to the management team.
- Coordinating the work of all departments.
- Participating in the formulation of hotel policies and strategies.
- Leading hotel staff in meeting, financial, environmental and community responsibilities.
- Assuming full responsibilities for the overall performance of the hotel.

Another key hotel executive is the resident manager. He/she is on-call any time of day or night and their purpose is to to assist the General Manager with the smooth and profitable running of the hotel.

Resident Managers sometimes live on-site.

The main responsibilities of the resident manager include the following:

Responsibility for developing and executing plans developed by the owner, general manager and other members of the management team.
Checking on operations, providing feedback and offering assistance when needed.
Completing, reviewing and summarizing statistical reports and sharing them with the general manager.
Assuming responsibilities for the daily operations and management of the hotel.

A hotel’s different departments all play a crucial role in ensuring the success of the business.

While each department has its own functions, they must all work together to provide a positive experience to the hotel guests.

Two major hotel departments are engineering, responsible for all hotel mechanical systems and security, responsible for protecting the safety and security of the hotel, the guests, visitors and employees.


The security department is responsible for implementing procedures which aim at protecting the safety and security of hotel guests, visitors, hotel employees and the hotel itself.

Examples include monitoring surveillance equipment, patrolling the hotel premises and maintaining alarm systems.


The engineering department is responsible for maintaining the physical plant machinery of the hotel such as electricity, plumbing, air conditioning, heating and elevator systems.

Engineering also oversee all the mechanical and technical conditions of the hotel.

One effective way to examine how a hotel can be operated is by studying the organizational structure and the functions performed by the different departments.

Human Resources

The human resources (personnel and training) department is responsible for hiring, orientation, training, wages and benefit administration, labour relations, employee relations, and staff development.

Food and Beverage

The food and beverage (F&B) department provides food and beverage services to the hotel guests and visitors through a variety of outlets and facilities/services.

Examples include lounge, bar, coffee shop, restaurants, banquet service, room service (also called in-room dining) and cake shop.


This department is responsible for monitoring all of the financial activities of a hotel. Examples include overseeing accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, and cost control systems of the hotel; keeping records of assets, liabilities and financial transaction of the hotel; preparing the monthly profit-and-loss statement, and handling guests s’ inquiries about billing.

Sales and Marketing

The main functions of the sales and marketing department involve generating new businesses for the hotel, coordinating advertising, as well as sales promotions and public relations activities aiming at enhancing the hotel’s image

Rooms Division
Rooms, as the core products of a hotel business, are managed by the department of rooms division.

However, not all hotels, particularly some small-scaled ones have rooms division due to their limited room numbers and human resources.

Rooms division usually comprises two major departments - front office and housekeeping. In fact, a typical structure of the rooms division also comprises other sub-units.

Rooms Division
In general, the rooms division comprises two major departments, the front office and housekeeping, which are involved in the sales or services of rooms to guests.

There are some reasons why hotels would prefer to combine the front office and housekeeping departments into one single division.

As front office depends heavily on housekeeping for their cleaning of rooms before they can be sold to the guests, there are always conflicts and pressure among the staff of the two departments.

Director of Rooms
Managers of the two major departments would find it quite difficult to resolve problems and it is quite obvious that they may sometimes be biased in protecting their own staff.

The position of director of rooms division helps solve this problem as he/she is the only one who manages both departments.

The position requires the manager to have solid experience in both front office and housekeeping who will have a better understanding of the operations and strategies in handing the conflicts between the two departments.

The director of rooms is responsible to the general manager for the effective leadership and smooth operation of all the departments and staff that make up the rooms division.

Conflicts Between Front Office and Housekeeping Departments
Think about the following situations and how they may lead to conflicts between the front office and housekeeping departments.

A VIP repeatedly asked the front desk to change his room. (Over several times in one day).
A guest found out that the room she had just checked -into had not been cleaned.
Too many requests for rooms at 2:30 p.m. and not enough clean rooms were available.
A front desk clerk forgot to update and input the ‘Do Not Disturb’ request for a guest.