HOW CRAFTY HOTEL FRONT OFFICE CASHIERS EARN MORE THROUGH FIDDLING
In a hotel, lodge or inn, the front office cashier is responsible for the collection of hotel revenue. His or her responsibilities include receiving money for hotel accommodation and services like room upgrades, exchanging foreign currency for international travelers, dispensing small change and sometimes providing safe deposit services to guests. He is therefore able to interact with virtually all guests in the establishment as they check into the hotel, and as they check out. These encounters enable the cashiers to build enough rapport with the guests, gaining their complete confidence and trust, especially on money matters. Here are some methods front office cashiers employ to ensure they end up with some cash in their pockets as well.
Foreign currency transactions; most hotels offer this service to their local and international clients as a way to make extra income. It means their exchange rates, therefore, have to be lower than the current bank exchange rates. If a hotel guest needs to change some foreign currency, but does not insist on a receipt, it is an opportunity for the cashier to make some money on the side. This is how it works; the cashier will bring with him a large amount of local currency with which to purchase foreign currency. This will be done in collusion with unscrupulous guards at the hotel staff entry and exit points, although other hotel personnel could also be involved. The cashier will collect all the foreign currency he can purchase, then sell it himself at the local bank or exchange bureau at a profit.
Safe Deposit Rentals; In the absence of a proper control procedure in the issuance of safe deposit boxes, a clever cashier is able to easily outfox the hotel management and make some money for himself. It works like this; front office cashiers are, in most establishments, responsible for the issuance and sale of safe deposit facilities both in the guest rooms and the shared safe-room at the lobby. Cashiers sometimes collude with guests (because they are getting a lower rate), and fellow technical staff so that the company loses income from the safe rental sales.Especially in establishments that have yet to embrace modern technology in their safe sales handling, and where controls are lax, this is achieved by willfully neglecting to enter important details correctly, such as the duration of the rental. Since almost all safe rentals in hotels are charged daily, the cashier may pocket a nice sum.
Walk-in guest accommodation payments; this one may involve the housekeeper and the receptionist. This is how it goes; a guest walks in without a reservation and requests a night's accommodation, is allocated a room by the receptionist, who asks him to settle up at the cashier's desk. Since the guest is staying for only a short while (and is probably in a hurry and forgets to ask for his/her receipt), the trio may very well pocket the whole amount paid. The housekeeper will enter a 'vacant room' instead of 'occupied' status in his/her report. This is easy to accomplish especially in hotels that are understaffed and therefore may not have adequate personnel to patrol rooms physically.
Check/bill kiting; this simply means transferring a bill that has been settled by a guest to a different account. This is how this one goes; the cashier receives payment from a guest who is checking out (this guest may be in a hurry and forgets to ask for a receipt). The cashier transfers the guest bill to the account of a guest who is staying on, and pockets the full amount paid. If the latter is not observant, or if they are not in the habit of carefully going through their hotel bills, they may end up paying this. This happens mostly when the bills involved are small enough to be hidden among other larger bills.
If you are a hotel owner/manager and you feel like you are losing money in your organization, the front office could be an area to scrutinize. A crafty employee could be laughing all the way to the bank at your expense.