Reference no: EM131151702
Donna Shader, manager of the Winter Park Hotel, is considering how to restructure the front desk to reach an optimum level of staff efficiency and guest service. At present, the hotel has five clerks on duty, each with a separate waiting line, during the peak check-in time of 3:00 pm. To 5:00 pm. Observation of arrivals during this time shows that an average of 90 guests arrive each hour (although there is no upward limit on the number that could arrive at any given time). It takes an average of 3 minutes for each front-desk clerk to register each guest. Donna is considering three plans for improving guest service by reducing the length of time guests spend waiting in line.
The first proposal would designate one employee as a quick-service clerk for guests registering under corporate accounts, a market segment that fills about 30% of all occupied rooms. Because corporate guests are preregistered, their registration takes just 2 minutes. With these guests separated from the rest of the clientele, the average time for registering a typical guest would climb to 3.4 minutes. Under Plan 1, noncorporate guests would choose any of the remaining four lines.
The second plan is to implement a single-line system. All guests could form a single waiting line to be served by whichever of five clerks became available. This option would require sufficient lobby space for what could be a substantial queue.
The third proposal involves using an automatic teller machine (ATM) for check-ins. This ATM would provide approximately the same service rate as a clerk would. Given that initial use of this technology might be minimal, Shader estimates that 20% of customers, primarily frequent guests, would be willing to use the machines. (This might be a conservative estimate if the guests perceive direct benefits from using the ATM, as bank customers do. Citibank reports that some 95% of its Manhattan customers use its ATMs.) Donna would set up a single queue for customers who prefer human check-in clerks. This would be served by the five clerks, although Donna is hopeful that the machine will allow a reduction to four.
1. The current system at the hotel has a separate line for each clerk. Can you think of another business where you have seen this configuration?
2. One proposal under consideration is using a single line and having the first available clerk serve the next customer. Have you ever seen a business that uses this configuration? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the having all five clerks serve one line versus having each clerk serve his/her own line?
3. If there are 5 clerks, and the average time to serve each customer is 3 minutes, then how many customers can be served each hour? How many customers arrive per hour?
4. What are some sources of variability in the current check-in system? In other words, why might the check-in time be more or less than 3 minutes? Why might there be more or fewer than 90 customers arrive in a given hour? In light of these factors, reconsider your answer to question 3 above.
5. Which of the proposed changes to the check-in system would work the best? What are some other ways that the check-in process capacity could be increased?