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KR Mag. Susanne Kraus Winkler
IMC – May 2011
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The Pre-Opening Process

The Pre Opening process covers the “necessary pre operation management up to the
Hotel Opening”. The pre opening management knows exactly what is needed for the
successful opening and operation of the hotel. It requires many small, individual
steps, the first of which is taken long before the hotel opens its doors.

The Pre Opening Budget

The pre opening budget contains gross estimates for the various activities such as
advertising, manpower etc..

Details of sales & marketing costs according to the Sales & Marketing plan for the pre
opening period must be indicated.

Timing of hiring and the start date of all department heads and associates must be
indicated by position. A complete budget for compensation and benefits in the pre-
opening period is needed.

General Manager expenses must be detailed by category, travel, office expense, other
promotions, legal fees, recruitment fees, training fees and other operator expenses
during the period, etc.

A realistic time frame to enrol the required personnel in the payroll is crucial. This is by
far the largest expense during the pre-opening phase and must be monitored very
closely in order not to overrun the budget. The recommended time frame must be
presented and discussed with the owners well in advance. In most pre openings,
according to the hotel’s size and facilities, the following time frame should be adequate in
order to ensure a smooth opening:

• The General Manager (12 to 14 months before the expected opening date)
• Personal Assistant (PA) to the GM (10 to 12 months before the expected opening
• Director of Engineering (10 to 12 months before the expected opening date)
• Director of Finance (8 to 10 months before the expected opening date)
• Director of Sales and Marketing (8 to10 months before the expected opening

The pre opening budget consist mainly of 3 main expense categories:

1. Sales & marketing expenses

2. Payroll of all pre opening staff
3. All other expenses like expenses for legal advice, office rent, etc.
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Pre-Opening Marketing Services and Expenses

The Pre Opening Marketing Services include the following services, as defined in a
management contract or pre opening contract between the owner and the operator of the

1 Manager shall, prior to the Opening Date, which will be scheduled according to …….,
render the following pre-opening services:

(a) Recruit, employ and direct the Sales & Marketing staff

(c) Develop and implement a pre-opening marketing plan for the Hotel and enter into
agreements with domestic and international travel agents and tour operators.

(d) Develop a homepage, brochures, flyers, printed matters such as menus and the like,
advertisements, direct mailings, familiarisation-trips, press invitations, PR-events to
business multipliers etc., and initiate and prosecute sales, promotion and publicity
programs designed to attract guests to the Hotel on and after the Opening Date.

(e) Negotiate lease agreements for gift shops, office space etc. within the Hotel premises
with Owner's prior approval.

(h) Not later than 90 (ninety) days prior to the scheduled Opening Date, prepare and
submit to Owner, for review and approval, the annual budget for the first Fiscal Year.

(i) Define the distribution channels strategy and start distribution activities like: integrate
the Hotel within a world-wide global reservation service, define and start e- & m-
commerce activities.

(m) Preparing the inaugural ceremonies (i.e. Grand Opening)

(n) Undertake other necessary steps to ensure broad market penetration and efficient
operation of the Hotel.

Owner shall provide Manager a pre-opening office on the site equipped with all necessary
communications technology (telephones, fax machine, P.C., calculator, paper etc.) as well
as initial office supplies etc.
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Pre Opening Marketing Consulting

Sales & Marketing Consulting in the Pre Opening Process of a hotel:

Modul I:
Development of a strategic Marketing Plan including the Pre Opening Marketing budget.

Modul II:
Development of a strategic PR and communication Plan

Modul III:
Applied Marketing Consulting - execution of operational PO Marketing activities,
implementation of a Sales & Marketing department, reporting and controlling of all S&M

Modul IV:
Selection, implementation and training of a new Sales & Marketing team.

What do we charge:
Modul I and II – fixed amount
Modul III and IV – price per hour, per day, per month or fixed package for a period.
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in the Pre-Opening Sales & Marketing process

• Check the Sales & Marketing Pre Opening budget amount

• select an advertising company for assistance (graphic design, texts, selection of logos,
• produce a first fact-sheet on your computer (easy but including the most basic infos you
know at this time)
• inform all regional and national offices that are of interest for your hotel that you are
here now
• produce printing-material – envelopes, paper
• read hotel-plans and specification lists in order to get an overview
• do a brief site-inspection at the building-plot
• order information-material from the whole area and prospective future-partners
• do a site-inspection of all hotels in the area that could be your future competitors –
as a “mystery shopper”
• after the site-inspection do a competition-analysis
• prepare your pre-opening marketing plan in order to your budget
• if necessary, prepare a presentation for your investors
• fix your pricing-policy
• calculate first offers and packages
• produce a shell-folder for first information
• check for employees for the Sales & Marketing team – do first interviews
• check the fairs you would like to participate – they often have to be booked at least half a
year in advance
• negotiate with tour-operators for contracts incl. catalogue-productions
• organize a photo-shooting at the building-plot
• do a press-mailing “Start of DOSM”
• create a PR and communication plan
• do a mailing to your partners – eg. in a chain to all partner-hotels in the country, to all
regional sales offices, to all head-offices, etc.
• do a mailing to regional tourist-boards
• prepare a presentation-map for first sales-calls
• do personal sales-calls to the most important national companies
• prepare image-folders
• prepare a pre-opening media-plan together with your advertising-agency
• do first site-inspections with interested companies and tour operators at the building-
• organize first events at the building-plot resp. client’s events together with your partner-
hotels eg. Christmas-tree cutting, wine-tasting, etc.
• start building-up your team
• select sponsor partners ( for events, company car for S&M team, media cooperations,
etc. )
• create a Sales & Marketing handbook for staff including all standards, information,
forms & specimen ( flow charts, templates, sheets, etc. )
• prepare for the opening-celebration
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• also most of the time done by your investor/owner
• in the pre-opening period the working account and the bank might be different to the bank
after opening

installation of an office:
• the easiest and cheapest way is to install your pre-opening office at a partner-hotel
• advantage: you get assistance and feedback from your colleagues and they immediately
get do learn the new property and do cross-selling
• furniture: take care to buy furniture that can easily be transported to your main-office in
the hotel after the pre-opening time
• do not forget to book computer-installations resp. software-installations and trainings in
time – the computer employees are often very busy!
• try to make a pre IT organisation-plan before buying

• in the pre-opening the DOSM is often using his/her private car due to the fact that no
additional investments should be made until effective business has started
• advantage for the DOSM: additional salary out of km-payment (no taxing on it) and
therefore extra benefit & motivation

selection of an advertising agency:

• this is one of the most important decisions at the beginning
• invite companies you know resp. ones that are recommended to you resp. that got a lot of
experience in hotel and/or regional advertising: give them a short briefing of what you like
to produce within the first months and let them work out a presentation with first
“dummies” to get an impression if the way of presentation fits to your needs
• try to work on a “project-based salary” – only do monthly contracts with a fixed amount
when you already know the ad-company
• the personal feeling from both sides must fit together – you do not only sell facts but also
emotions and therefore the relationship between you and your “executives” must be

• this is the first real “media” you present to the public – therefore make it as good as
possible, because: “First impressions go a long way!”
• the following facts should be in:
• opening date
• rooms + description (size, no. of rooms, equipment, etc.)
• interior business portfolio like restaurants with theme, bars, banqueting facilities, Club-
Lounges, Room-service, recreational facilities
• incentive-programmes
• location of the hotel + area-description (only if necessary)
• CONTACT address +, fax, e-mail, web-site, mobile phone, etc.
• Maybe transfers, airport-connections, etc. – any point you feel that is necessary to give an
overall impression

information of all regional and national offices:

• as you are the first official representative of your new hotel, let the others know that you
are “on duty” now – they maybe often need a lot of information from you, on the other
hand you can ask them if any questions or problems occur
• inform you regional and national tourist-board (personal sales calls, mailings, e-mails,
telemarketing, send fact-sheet) as well as all of you investors

produce printing-material:
• in order to transport your CI and your logo (done by your advertising-company or you got
an existing logo from your hotel-chain anyway) right from the beginning, let print
envelopes in different sizes, letter-paper (1st and 2nd page!) and maybe already
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• additionally to that let print your business-cards in the correct CI, also include the info that
this is the pre-opening office and maybe also the opening-date of your property

hotel plans and specification lists:

• even if you do not know how to read a plan, contact the architect and let yourself explain
reading it – you get a lot of information out of it!
• specification lists: also good for understanding and to get an overview! The architect has to
do a specification for every room-type, every area in the hotel incl. small plans of the area,
patterns of wall-papers, carpets, description of all materials, plans of the furniture and
other material, address of the delivery companies, etc.

site-inspection at the building-plot:

• you cannot sell or work for anything you do not know personally very well – so do a site-
inspection at least every 3 to 4 weeks at the building-plot
• ask the architect resp. assistants of him to guide you – they can explain you much more
then you see by yourself – most of the time they are working on the project already for 2
or more years

• in order to know what is going on in the area your hotel is built, let yourself put into the
mailing-list of important hotels in the area resp. of hotels of interest (the ones you could
learn something of or you can compare with)
• if these hotels know you by name, you can also ask friends and relatives to get into
• additionally check the information-material of all competitors in the area resp. try to get
image-brochures of the region to get involved
• if there are any tourism-fairs the region/hotels of interests participate – go there as a
regular client
• nowadays it is very easy through internet to get updated information easily – almost every
hotel and region already got an own homepage with updated, actual information – take
your time and check-it up at least once a month!

site-inspection of all hotels in the area/of future competitors:

• become a “mystery shopper” by checking the locations in your region resp. your
prospective competitors with a site-inspection
• if you got enough time and your investors allow you – also check-in for a few days at the
top hotels in the area to get the imagination of the houses “live”
• after “mystery shopping” resp. test-stays write down personal impressions as well as the
strengths and weaknesses of the houses

competition analysis:
• after figuring out the strengths and weaknesses of your hotel and the other visited hotels,
you are able to do your competition analysis
• the following facts should be included:
• name, year of building, stars of the hotel
• brief description of restaurants, bars, banqueting facilities, recreational facilities incl. exact
• facilities belonging to the hotel like tennis-courts, golf-courts, kindergarden, etc.
• facilities close to the hotel like eg. helicopter-landing-area, fitness-centre, lake, etc.
• comparison of prices (rack rates, seasonal offers, packages, conference-all inclusive offers)
• USPs + shortcomings of different hotels
• Positioning of other hotels in comparison to your hotel

prepare a pre-opening marketing plan:

• as you always get a pre-opening budget at the beginning from your investors, start to do a
pre-opening marketing plan after knowing your hotel, the area and the other hotels
• by knowing your hotels´ and the other hotels strengths and weaknesses you are able to
filter out your USPs
• also organize the marketing plans from the regional departments and from your partner-
hotels resp. your head-quarter – if you can participate in any event, you do not only save
costs but also labour-force!
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• simply start with things you need every month like eg. travel expenses or enrolment-fees
and go step by step until the opening
• generally keep most of the budget for the last three months before the opening – in this
time most of your advertising efforts should take place

presentation for your investors:

• especially for large hotel-projects and in hotel-chains you have to present your hotel to
investors and/or regional bosses
• therefore best use “Power Point” (easy to handle and with good effects) and include the
following information:
• Operation philosophy: mission, background information incl. competitors, USPs and
• Pre-opening budget
• Pre-opening marketing programmes (not too detailed) incl. target markets and maybe a
• Pre-opening human resources incl. human-resources charts, employment timing (when
does with position start – especially for the department heads)
• F & B concept incl. all F&B outlets with restaurants, bar, banqueting facilities
• If there is any special marketing for any F&B outlet, also mention it – it could be another
USP for your marketing plan (eg. themed restaurant with best quality in town, greatest
winery in town, etc.)

fix your pricing-policy:

• depending on the prices of your competitors in the city/area, you should now fix your
rack rates, FIT-rates, group rates, LCRs, diplomatic, day delegate rates and other rates
• normally in a chain-hotel you have strict odds about your pricing-strategy – how many
prices, which price is how many percentage below the other one, etc.
• the prices should be fixed for at least half a year in the beginning (not too many
seasonal changings) in order not to make it too difficult for your reservation, sales & front-
office staff
• if you work with yield management, you should additionally set up negotiable rates as
assistance for your colleagues
• depending on the area your hotel is located and on the fact if it is a private or a chain-
hotel, you set the prices with or without breakfast resp. half-board and additionally
you have to check if you install room rates or rates per person
• TAKE CARE: never forget to calculate the local tax (given to the municipality at the end
of every month) and the different room categories (suites, business-rooms, deluxe
rooms, with balcony/without balcony, city-centre view, etc.)
• Seasonal surcharges could be calculated for: special holidays (eg.: Christmas, Easter,
New Year), festive days (national holiday), high-season for your area , special events like
congresses, fairs, etc.
• In order to avoid higher prices for eg. holidays you could also increase the minimum
stay from 1 night up to eg. 3 nights (especially done for fairs, holidays)

calculate first offers and packages:

• after having your overall pricing-policy confirmed from your investors/GM, you start
calculating your packages
• therefore you should have enough information material from other competitive hotels in
the area to know what they are doing and information from you local and national tourism-
board as well as from future partners you are going to work with (taxis for airport-
transfers, city-tours, incentive-programmes, etc.)
• depending on your segmentation and the season, you calculate your packages: eg.
when you are focusing on clients playing golf, you at least have 2 golf-packages
• like in a conference-package the following should be included: at least 2 overnight-stays, 2
to max. 8 other items like green-fees (golfers), sight-seeing tours, beauty-treatments,
airport pick-up/transfer, local give-aways, etc.
• very “in fashion” nowadays are “test-packages” incl. 2-3 overnight stays and 2-3 items to
learn to know the hotel and its facilities or so called runners like “7 = 6” or “Weekend
specials with 50% off – only 1 person has to pay, the 2nd is for free”
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• in general the overnight stays are calculated at a lower rate than the rack rate (10 to
20% lower) and also the other items should be purchased at a lower price (negotiations
with your partners is therefore necessary)
• you can include items that do not cost you very much, but have a higher value to the
client like welcome-cocktail, late check-out, VIP-treatment in the room (flowers, pralinés,
bath-robes, personal welcome-letter, information map, a bottle of champagne, additional
guest supplies, etc.), free ticket for public means of transport during stay, complimentary
use of in-house fitness-centre and sauna, children in the room of the parents free of charge
(especially interesting for holidays), etc.

production of a shell-/rack-folder:
• the so-called shell- or rack-folder is most of the time the first printed item going to the
clients (after your fact-sheet) - therefore you advertising company has to put big effort in
• you can include facts (how many rooms, exact opening-date,…), first image-texts,
mission statements, a slogan, as well as rack-rates and first packages
• as your photo-material is limited at that time buy pictures from picture agencies like eg.:
Pix or talk to the local tourism-board for assistance
• a drawing or computer-animated version how the hotel and the rooms will look like should
be included as well as pictures from the region/town to get a first imagination of the site
• never forget a small map, a description of the access (highways, streets) and distances
to the next airport resp. train-station
• often after the official opening shell-folders are updated, new prices and pictures are put in
and they are used for giving first, short information (especially for fairs, TOs, at the front-
desk for walk-ins, etc.) to avoid a high production of the more expensive
• printing-material – if the guests and companies are still interested, you can afterwards
send them more detailed information-material (banquet maps, image-brochures)

Hiring of employees:
• “Good employees are the key to be successful in the long-run!”
• therefore take care about the hiring, start with the hiring-process on time and do at least
2 interviews with every employee: a pre-selection can be done by yourself resp. by the
HR-manager and the 2nd interview has to take place with the future department head,
because the liking of each other plays an important role as everyone in the business has to
deal with a lot of stress, must be flexible all the time and therefore fit into the team
• to get employees, you could do the following:
- put advertisements in national, regional or special interest media (like “Rollin Pin”,
Traveller, etc.)
- place the ad in your internet-system (when you belong to a hotel-chain)
- check the employees in the area (at your competition hotels, because they know
the job, the area AND the competition!)
- ask a “head-hunter” for assistance

• If the future F&B Manager and other department-heads are not yet employed, you also
have to take care about first decision of your inventory
• Most of the time you must not care about gathering information, because as the other
companies also want to sell something, they find out who is working in the pre-opening
department and therefore you often get more information-material and calls as you wish to
• Select the best ones and gather the information for your colleagues later on
• There are additionally a lot of special fairs for hotels that offer all needed items
(glassware, cutlery, guest-supplies, washing-machines, caddies, towels, etc.) – you
normally gather all needed information within the visit of one specialized fair eg. in Austria
“Gast” – taking place every year in November for 1 week in Salzburg
• If you have to take first decisions about your inventory by yourself (often they have to be
ordered months in advance as they have to be produced specially in your wished quality
with your logo), check your inventory-lists incl. your budget first, let the companies
make offers and let them bring patterns (it is usual that you get free patterns)
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• Not only the design is important (style of glasses has to fit to style of cutlery, etc.)! You
also have to test these pattern-items on their quality (eg. put the towel 30 times to
washing-machine, scratch the cutlery, etc.), before you take the final decision.

• As you have to book fairs 3 to 12 months in advance, inform yourself at the fair-offices
you know directly, ask your colleagues in the chain for assistance or contact your tourism-
board for additional information (normally a fair-calendar is released every year from the
national tourism-board incl. exact dates, costs, locations and contact addresses)
• To save costs try to find a partner (another hotel in the area that is not your main-
competitor, a partner like a travel-agency or taxi company or a hotel from your chain).
Often you can also participate at the booth of your local or national tourism-board
• It is important to know in advance, how you are going to present yourself as the
professional fair-organizers worldwide already need very detailed information when booking
a booth (m², tables & chairs, lights, electric-power in VAT, water, floor-coverings and
colours, flowers, etc.)
• If you are not experienced, ask for help in your advertising agency or at the fair itself –
they always offer the service of booth-designing, lightening, etc. – this of course costs you
more, but it is better to do it in a professional way (as the booth itself already costs you a
lot, you shall not save money on the wrong place!)
• Also check flights and accommodation on time – especially international fairs like WTM in
London or IT & ME in Chicago require bookings of at least 6 months in advance!!!

Contracts with Tour-Operators:

• Catalogues of big operators are done at least 1 to 1 ½ years in advance.
• Before being able to contract, you should prepare the following items: pictures (or
computer-animated pictures), image-texts, prices (gross and net prices)
• Advise your advertising agency to save all necessary items (especially the pictures in so-
called high-grade or fine-tuned dates) to be able to send the information within a few hours
(normally by ISDN, E-mail in “jpg” or “tif”-format or by CD-ROM)
• If possible, do a personal meeting with the responsible production-manager from the tour-
operator and negotiate prices (net prices or commission on rack-rates of 20 to 30%),
-allotment rooms incl. release-dates and printing-fees for the catalogue as well as
payment-requirements (voucher-based payment, pre-payment, etc.)
• You often can avoid too high printing-fees when you offer a “barter-transaction” eg.
complimentary vouchers for travel-agents
• The texts and prices are normally put into a contract by the tour-operator and you get a
copy to sign
• For the catalogue page itself ask for a printing-proof to do final corrections and to avoid
mistakes done by the tour-operator
• Also negotiate about extra promotion – eg. free internet-link to your homepage, special
promotion for travel-agents in your property, etc.
• Especially in the beginning you should cooperate with TOs because they bring you fixed
basis-business and do the advertising for you. As the contracts normally last from ½ to 2
years, you can change conditions with every contract – eg. lower contingent-rooms, longer
release-dates, etc.
• Often guests book in a travel-agency for the first time and later on they book directly in
your hotel!

• Organize a photo-shooting as soon as your first “show-rooms” resp. “mock-up rooms” are
• You can ask your advertising agency for assistance – most of the time they already know
good photographers. You can also invite some, check their work they did up to now and let
them make an offer
• A professional photographer costs you a lot of money but is at the end worth it –
normally in Austria you can calculate for 2 days including all material (films, light, prints –
best in slide-format, medium size) approx. € 2.500,--
• Photographers are artists – therefore make the working-atmosphere as cosy as possible!
• Additionally you need professional models. You get them from model-agencies or check
model-cards by yourself. If you use non-professionals, check in advance how they will look
on pictures with make-up. Often natural beauties do not look good any more on pictures!
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• Also check for a visagist and hair-dresser (often the same person) – do not try to save
that money, it can make one model look completely different!
• Prepare a list with all necessary accessories – it otherwise can hinder your work
tremendously! Check for flowers, books, drinks, guest-supplies, etc. on time.

• Inform the press that you are here!
• Normally the local press and the tourism-press is doing this for free – check the exact
responsible persons in advance in order to avoid your mailing to land in the dustbin!
• Include your name, your age, your actual position, your former career and some
important point about the hotel (opening date, how many rooms, specialization) and a
picture in good quality
• If you want to do something special (in order that everyone keeps you in mind), include a
funny picture – see example!
• The press-release is not only good for the information of your colleagues and competitors
but is also the first good advertising for your hotel!

Mailing to your partners

• Mailing to regional tourist-boards:

• Include besides a fact-sheet, the shell-folder and a business-card also a picture of you in
order to stay in their mind!
• In a cover-paper include the most important facts again and tell the future-steps and an
information when you will contact them again resp. where they can get more detailed
information from.

Presentation map:
• To be able to do your first sales-calls, you should have a good-looking presentation map
including the following:
- pictures in good quality in A4-format (no colour-copies!) with head-lines
- fact-sheet
- shell-folder
- folders about the region
- idea for incentive-programmes
- prices
• Alternatively a good Power Point Presentation on your laptop is a good tool to support your

Personal sales-calls:
• Most of the time a lot of companies contact you personally as they heard of your new
property – these have to be visited first as they are really interested!
• For the next appointments contact your colleagues in the hotel-chain resp. your tourism-
board resp. the government for helpful addresses
• Before doing personal sales-calls, check the interest with telemarketing. If they are
interested, suggest a date for your visit. To get an appointment it is better to suggest a
certain date - then they just say YES or NO. Most of the time then they offer you an
alternative date by themselves. If you ask them when they got time, you will often find out
that they won´t have time within the next months…..
• If they are not interested at all or not for the moment, put them into your computer-
system with a FUP-date for later on (maybe you check again one year later – a lot could
have changed in the company in the meantime).
• Always be careful with your addresses – YOUR ADDRESSES ARE YOUR ASSET!
• For the sales-call itself be dressed in a proper way, be on time (at least 5 minutes before
the official appointment-date, but not too early!), get all information requested with you
and also bring a give-away. How the appointment itself is working depends a lot on your
selling-experience and of course on your prospective client! It is the best when you ask for
his requirements first and then present the property – the rest is arising from itself!
At the end always thank your client for the time and try to arrange a second appointment
resp. any FUP-action. To stay in your client´s memory you could bring a small give-away
that he/she keeps in his/her office (maybe a nice pen, a calendar, a paper-weight, etc.
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Preparation of image-folders:
• When you got all pictures in the desired quality, all the regional information and the first
feed-backs from your prospective clients, it is time to produce your image-brochures
together with your advertising agency.
• A lot of meetings are necessary to get the final result – either you let the agency produce
first dummies by themselves without giving any input (in order not to block any creativity)
or you give them a small briefing on how it should approximately look like.
• Normally you control and correct the dummies ongoing: paper quality, size of the
brochures, texts, content of the texts, headlines, pictures, headlines to the pictures.
• The printing-order finally is going to the most experienced AND in addition to one of the
cheapest printing-offices. Be sure to get a final “digi-proof” to avoid missprints before
the litho is done. If you have a full-service advertising agency they should be present
when starting the print as especially final colour-corrections have to be done in the last
• Also let people that are not directly involved in the production process read through your
dummies – they can give you important inputs from the “non-professional” side: What is
missing? What is not clear and easy to understand? What do they think is not necessary to
put in? Maybe they also find any spelling-mistakes (often you and the employees of the
advertising agency read through the text 50 times and then you do not see the mistakes
any more!).

Preparation of a pre-opening media-plan:

• In cooperation with your advertising-agency you should prepare your pre-opening media-
• Make a rough draft which segments you want to reach with your ads and then choose the
best ones – depending on their media-dates resp. on the appearance and availability
(read them to get the best imagination).
• After selecting the media negotiate about prices (the official ones normally are never
sold!), the placing of the ad (very important as the people always see the right side first)
and additional promotions eg. winnings with complimentary vouchers. Many newspapers
and magazines are also interested in barter transactions.
• Nowadays “classical ads” are more and more coming out of fashion – you should do
image-ads and even better: editorial ads (they are cheaper and you do not see from the
first looking that it is an ad).
• After this you prepare a media-plan including the exact segments, size of the ads, 4c or
b/w, setting in mm – never forget to calculate the litho-costs, necessary ISDN-costs and
taxes (they often differ from area to area resp. from media to media).

First site-inspections:
• In order to learn to know your property right from the beginning, you can do site-
inspections already at the building-plot. Take care that no safety-problems occur and that
the show-rooms are in a good condition (no old flowers, no dust, no emptied mini-bars,
etc.) – always check with the architect before entering the building-plot!

• The advantages of site-inspections:

- You can get a better imagination than from pictures
- For your prospective clients it is kind of adventure (many hotels do not give the
possibility for such site-inspections)
- They feel involved from the beginning – it is then also “their” project as they were
one of the first people that saw it “live” – therefore make them to your to your
“partners” and you will have “assistance in your sales-team”.

• If possible, also invite your guests for lunch, dinner or at least a coffee to create a more
cosy atmosphere, make a polaroid at the building-plot for their office (maybe with helmets)
and give them a give-away to stay in their mind.

Organize first events:

• You could either involve your building-plot in any client´s or press events or you choose
other places of interest – maybe a special fashionable restaurant in the area where it is
difficult to get a free table, a castle for a knights-dinner, etc.
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• Whatever you do a the beginning, stays in mind for a long time! So be careful when
preparing first events.

Building-up you team:

• You should be careful in selecting your employees – it is hard to get “pearls”!
• For the interviews check point 20)
• If you already have an existing mini-team, they should be present for the second or third
interview, because the team has to fit together!!!

• If you want to have something special, you should plan an opening-celebration at least ½
year in advance! The moderation, the music, the artists – everybody is having a full time-
• If you plan something that does not fit in your budget, you can also check for sponsors
and co-investors: Often future suppliers are interested in participating – either they give
you cash-money or products for free!
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EXAMPLE for (SOPs) standard operating procedures / handbook:

Reservation Department Summary

Key Duties:
• Sell every available room at most profitable rate possible.
• Anticipate future room availability, must be aware of existing reservation, must have
effective procedures to handling telephone reservation requests, must co-ordinate
with sales dept. On convention or group reservation.
• Must provide written confirmation of reservations.

Reservation department staff includes:

-Reservation Manager
-Staff of Reservationists

Reservation manager:
• Works under direction of FO manager or S&M Manager.
• Is responsible for complete processing of reservations and reservation
• Maintenance of up-to-date information concerning room availability and statistical
control of rooms and reservations
• Preparation and distribution of reports on reservations to all relaxant departments.

• Maintain up-to-date, accurate reservation records.
• Keeps convention history records and suite and VIP accommodations lists.
• Supervises daily preparation and distribution of special attention list „SPAIT“ .
• Takes charge of the reservations office and all of its functions during the absence of
the reservations manager.

Additional responsibilities of Reservationist are:

• Maintaining all records for the statistical control of rooms and reservations.
• Inputting and processing of reservations, confirmations, and reservation change
• Selling rooms by telephone in accordance with existing procedures.
• Exchange room availability information with front desk personnel.
• Assisting in maintaining the availability board.
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EXAMPLE Training Plan in Pre Opening Process:

21 Day Training Plan

Front Desk

Date ______ Day 1: Orientation - Day One- (Conducted by human resources.)

Date ______ Day 2: Orientation – Day Two- Pick up new Employee in H. R.

1. Locker Operation
2. Uniform Issue Location
3. Employee Entrance to Dept (Show the way)
4. Departmental Tour (Introductions)
5. Review Schedule
6. Time Clock (Location/Operation
7. Review Footwear
8. Introduce Training Plan/ Manual

Date ______ Day 3: Hotel Tour from Department

1. Introduce to key personnel

2. Give Administrative phone listings
3. Brief description of department responsibilities.
4. Thorough tour of Front of the House areas (explain Interdepartmental

Location of Supplies and Equipment

1. Show front desk supplies and explain flow of work.

2. Requisition book (Procedure)

Room Tour

1. Floor Plan
2. Types and Rates
3. Connectors as room types
4. Smoking and Non Smoking
5. Business Club and Amenities

Review AM Procedures

1. Daily Line-up and review

2. Ten Day Spread
3. AM Check List (H)

Review Telephone Etiquette

Date ______ Day 4: OFF

Date ______ Day 5: OFF

Date ______ Day 6: Interdepartmental Communication

1. Schedule Request Book

2. Late absent policy and forms
3. Log Books
Pre Opening Process Seite 17 von 25

4. Message Board Information

5. Resumes
6. Location of forms
7. AM/PM Check lists
8. Front of the House Manager trace File
9. Department Meetings

Review Lost and Found Procedures

Review Safety Deposit Box Procedures

1. Location of Employee and Guest Safety Deposit Boxes

2. Show an in–room safe
3. Explain key issue and front desk responsibility.
4. Show how to fill out a safety deposit box card.
5. Explain MOD Vault

Review Outlets and Hours of Operation and all Hotel Services

a. Introduce to Restaurant Reservations 45 min

o Explain all outlets and reservation process

o Give thorough tour and explain menus

a. Fitness Center

o Golf Reservations and course review

o Tennis reservations and procedures
o Locker procedures
o Bicycle rental
o Nature Tours and Fishing Excursions

a. Pool and Pool Bar

o Hours of Operation
o Banquet functions (What happens)
o Locker Rooms

a. Beach, facilities and operation

b. Playground and kids program

Date ______ Day 7: Introduction to property management system

1. How to Log on to System

2. How to Sign in
3. How to navigate

Review the reservation Screen

1. Review Room type Codes

2. Review Subtype codes (Bedding, smoking, connecting)
3. Review all remaining fields

Review Front Office Screen

1. Review Split Screen(F1)

2. Review Special Service Codes
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Review Room Status

1. How to read the count for the day.

2. Explain all information

Review Availablity

1. Explain process for looking at available room types 10 days out

2. Availability for future Reservations

Reservations (1 – 2 Hours)

1. Go to reservations and learn the concept of how reservations are made

2. Central reservations office
3. Wholesalers
4. Holidays (Christmas, New Years, etc.)
5. Where back-up information is kept for research
6. Inter-department Communications

Set up appointment with Credit Manager for Day 10

Date ______ Day 8: Transportation

1. Review our Fleet

2. Hours of operation
3. Communication (Daily manifest)
4. How to make or cxl reservations for transportation 24 hours
5. Introduce to staff

Front Office Procedures

1. Check Out Procedures

o How to pull up a guest account

o How to print a folio
o How to display a folio
o How to transfer charges to other accounts

a. guest accounts(explain and go through all accounts)

b. other guest folios
c. line transfers

o How to post adjustments

a. Allowance slip procedures

b. Copy to Rooms Exec.

1. How to handle skip accounts

2. How to create an Incidental folio
3. How to post cash/checks and paid outs.
4. How to process a credit card/void payment
5. How to change method of payment
6. How to process a final check out
7. Review departure verbiage

a. Inquire how stay was

b. Inquire on any additional charges (Mini bar)
c. Inquire on additional assistance with luggage or transportation
d. Wish a fond farewell and speedy return. (Use Guest Name)!
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1. Practice Check out procedures and review different billing with groups
2. Do a roll-out

a. Run a cashier report

b. Ensure there are no hanging balances
c. Show how a deposit works cash + checks — paid outs = Deposit
d. Balancing your bank
e. What back up is needed for Rollout

Making Room Keys

1. Duplicate keys
2. Suite and connector keys
3. Meeting room keys ( Security)

Handling guest comments

1. Basics of complaint handling

2. Report form and hotline explanation
3. Amenity process
4. Comment card processing and rating

Review the days work and lessons

Date ______ Day 9: Credit Card Information

1. How credit cards work?

2. Authorization (1 Nt. R/T and $100 inc.)
3. Releasing CC Authorizations
4. Declined Credit Cards
5. AM Credit Procedure
6. Explain problems with check cards

AM Morning Checklist

1. Emergency Reports (where to file)

2. VIP rooms
3. Late check out request
4. Clean and review mail in accordion file
5. Restock front desk supplies
6. Inventory and supply check list

Room Orientation

1. Alarm Clock
2. TV

a. In-room movies

1. Shopping Station
2. Review account balance and check out
3. Nintendo

a. Cable Stations
b. TV Guide

1. Telephone

a. Computer Hook ups

b. 2nd line extensions
Pre Opening Process Seite 20 von 25

c. Voice mail
d. Local and Long distance charges

1. A/C and temperature control valve

2. In Room Safe
3. Laundry bags and process

a. Concierge desk (Laundry pick-up)

b. Time of operation
c. Press only

1. Shoe shine process

a. Business Club floor and VIP complimentary posting process

1. In-Room paper products, stationery, room service menu

2. In-Room Amenities

a. Robes
b. Bathroom
c. Ice Service

Currency Conversion

Review the day

Date _____ Day 10: MID SHIFT

Review checkout procedures

1. Group Billing
2. Resumes’

Meet with Credit Manager and go over Accounting Procedures

Review check- in computer procedures

1. How to pull up a reservation (last name or confirmation)

2. How to scan for a specific room type or all available rooms
3. How to establish a method of payment
4. How to put a master account number in for billing
5. How to create an Incidental folio

a. What do you do if you create one by accident

1. How to create a Share With folio

a. Billing for S/W folios

b. Importance of having all guest names registered

1. How to put the room rate on the appropriate account(Group /wholesale


a. Confidential rates
b. Comment fields
c. Special Service codes

1. How to complete the check-in process
Pre Opening Process Seite 21 von 25

a. Review Front Office Rooming Procedure

b. Review Registration Guest Recognition process
c. Emphasize the importance of name recognition

Review Housekeeping Status Screen

1. Meaning of codes

Booking a Walk-in Reservation

1. How to check for Availability

a. General
b. Room Type
c. Rates

1. How to book a reservation

a. Package codes
b. Rate Codes

1. Copy guest drivers license

Practice Guest registration

Date ______ Day 11: OFF

Date ______ Day 12: OFF

Date ______ Day 13: PM SHIFT

Review Registration procedures

1. Front of House Manager to do role play for check–in

Review Wholesale Accounts

1. What are wholesale accounts?

2. International Etiquette
3. Processing Vouchers

Meet with Trainer and sign off on completed standards of performance

Review Housekeeping Screen

1. Modify current status of a room

2. Display in room assigning sequence
3. Do not Rent

a. Who places a DNR?

b. Why rooms are placed in DNR?

Review PM Checklist procedures

1. PBX – posting off-line PBX charges

2. City Ledger

a. Review folios
Pre Opening Process Seite 22 von 25

b. Group Billing

1. Registration Cards

a. Repeat Guests (Guest Recognition Report)

b. Log Book
c. Confidential Rates

1. Bucket Check
2. Final Balance
3. Room Rate Variance Report
4. Complimentary Rooms report
5. Departed Group folios

Review Day with Trainer

Date ______ Day 14: PM SHIFT

Meet with Front of the House Manager

1. Review training agenda progress

2. Guest Problem resolution
3. Comment Cards
4. Department Goals / Strategic Plan

Review PM Front Office Procedures

Blocking VIP’s

1. How to block rooms

Trace and Accordion File

Front desk side work

1. Folding check-in and check-out packets

2. Making mini bar keys
3. Clean out Accordion File

Date ______ Day 15: MID SHIFT

Concierge Department

1. Review restaurant reservations

2. Most recommended restaurants
3. Department Responsibilities
4. Stamps
5. Taxi-cabs
6. Brochures
7. Shopping
8. Misc. Information

Bell Staff

1. Department Procedures
2. Interdepartmental Communications (Introduction to a check-in)
3. Room Changes (keys, information)
4. Delivery of faxes / messages / packages
5. Luggage and storage procedures
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Front Door

1. Valet Procedures
2. Luggage (Arrival/Departure)
3. Warm Welcome
4. Escorting guests to front desk upon arrival
5. Lap-top procedures
6. Golf bag storage- Bag pulls

Front Desk- practice guest registration

Charges after departure

1. Posting spa
2. Posting restaurant charges
3. Posting laundry


1. Business club amenity process

2. VIP amenities
3. Group Amenities
4. Specialty Catering vs. Room Service
5. Turndown/ Blocking Rooms for amenity delivery

Review the Day

Date ______ Day 16: MID SHIFT

Meet with Housekeeping Coordinator

1. Waits
2. Turn down Service
3. Guest Requests
4. Engineering vs. Housekeeping (Guest problem resolution)

Front Desk – Special Requests

1. Guest request log

2. Basic follow up procedures within 20 min

Common guest requests for front desk

1. Late C/O
2. Early C/I
3. Inroom movies
4. Wake-up calls
5. Messages
6. Special Billing
7. Faxes ( Sending)
8. Room Changes

a. How to set up a room change in PMS

b. Room change log
c. Amenity and follow-up on room change (new)

Room Waits

1. Waiting a room
2. Computer process
Pre Opening Process Seite 24 von 25

3. Office Coordinator responsibility

4. How to move room blocks
5. Paging room waits (new)
6. Calling waits to Housekeeping
7. Offering restaurant recommendations
8. VIP or Family waits
9. Club waits

Relocating guests

1. The Last Resort

2. Relocation Letters and log
3. Reciprocal rates and recommended hotels
4. Who should never be relocated

Disabled Guests

1. ADA Rooms
2. TTDY sets for hearing impaired
3. Beach Wheel chair
4. Security assistance
5. Back of the House access
6. Legal Obligations

Review the days training.

Date ______ Day 17: PM SHIFT


1. Interdepartmental Communications
2. Faxes incoming
3. Emergency Procedures
4. Voice Mail
5. Text messages
6. Daily function sheets and extensions
7. Maintenance and repairs

Front Desk technical repairs and operations

1. Changing paper in speed and terminal printers

2. Repairing speed and terminal printers
3. Operating and repairing Copy machine

Review Performance Standards

Date ______ Day 18: OFF

Date ______ Day 19: OFF

Date ______ Day 20: PM SHIFT

Focus on the ability to do room moves

Perform PM shift responsibilities on own

Hotel Safety Standards

Material safety data sheets
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Handling Emergencies

1. Hurricane
2. Bomb Threat
3. Power Outage

Handling Media and Press

Confidentiality (Guest Information)

Frequent guest program Rewards

1. Logging points
2. Reference manual
3. Certificates (Processing and rate)

Special Promotions Manual

1. awards
2. currency
3. Gift Certificates

Memo Book and Information Routing

Date ______ Day 21: Meet with Front of the House Manager and Trainer

1. Review 21-day training plan and performance standards

2. Put action plan together for additional training in mastering Front desk
procedures and skills.
3. Discuss 45 day review process
4. Night Audit Training and Office Coordinator Training
5. Questions