The front office is the most visible department in a hotel. From the time a guest makes a reservation and arrives at a hotel through to the time he or she departs, the front office personnel play a central role in meeting the guest's needs. Front office personnel have more contact with guests than do staff in most other departments. Guests come to the front desk to register, to receive room assignments, to inquire about available services, complaints, facilities and about the city or surrounding areas. Front Hotel Desk Clerks are usually the first people to greet and welcome hotel guests. They tell the manager when important guests arrive. In addition, front office may also be a base of operations during an emergency situation such as a fire, bomb threat, medical emergencies etc. The work of Hotel Desk Clerks is different depending on the size of the hotel. In small hotels they may process mail, collect payments, record accounts, handle reservations, operate the telephone switchboard and do simple bookkeeping. A capable, courteous and professional front office staff can make each guest's stay a pleasant experience and ensure the guests' willingness to return. In doing so, the front office meets the needs of guests, while also ensuring the smooth and profitable operation of the hotel. Front office functions include reservation, registration, accounting, telephones, bell desk/ concierge, guest relations, credit control, budgeting, statistics, yield management and crisis management.