By John Erhart
As hoteliers we all know that one of the largest controllable expenses in the hotel industry is labor. Unfortunately, this is where we have seen massive fluctuation. Nearly four million hospitality jobs were lost last year, and at least 2 in 10 hotel employees who were working before the pandemic have still not returned to work*.
While hotels want to retain their talent, it’s critical that they manage their staff in a way that protects their bottom line. Operating leanly, and capitalizing on opportunities for reducing costs will be the name of the game this year. The best way hotels can recover is by embracing technology tools that help control expenses.
I’ve included some thoughts below on why hotels (and franchisees, owners, etc.) should embrace management systems to relieve financial strain.
Increasing Efficiency and ROI
Technology should always remove barriers, and cloud-based solutions do it best because they are accessible from anywhere. But this does not guarantee a significant ROI. Efficiency is the key to success, so hoteliers should look for management systems that reduce the time spent on redundant tasks like manual data entry. This leads to fewer errors, and also streamlines the analysis of hotel-specific metrics. We see the most positive impact when software can reduce stress, eliminate the guesswork and allow for top-to-bottom transparency. The best solutions will produce real-time metrics, keep budgets in check, and set clear expectations for hotel staff.
Avoiding Wasteful Spending
Management systems can curtail many of the operational challenges that hotels face every day, especially those with financial implications. It’s critical for hoteliers to find a software solution that helps them see, understand and control all of their expenses from cleaning supplies to labor. You should expect your platform to relate these expenses to hotel specific metrics like POR and allow cost comparison across your portfolio. Robust forecasting and budgeting play a significant role in avoiding wasteful spending and projecting the bottom line.
Getting Staff Back To What They Love to Do
Getting your hotel staff away from spreadsheets and heavy data entry allows them to do what they do best – taking care of guests. Using a management system will reduce the labor needed for this type of work, allowing front desk staff and general managers to focus their time on creating a meaningful guest experience. This is needed more than ever as nervous or anxiety-ridden travelers start to venture back out this year.
Maintaining Accuracy, Scalability and Ease of Use
There are three main benefits to consolidating hotel accounting: accuracy, scalability, and ease of use. You gain accuracy when you eliminate the number of systems you’re using for operations and reporting. Then, as your operations grow, management systems must be able to scale to keep up as the portfolio expands. An ERP solution allows owners to streamline operations for Accounting, Labor Management, Payroll, Sales, Procurement and more. Using one centralized platform creates benchmarks across properties and can help identify new opportunities for improvement.
While it’s difficult to try and find a silver lining, the good news is that the hospitality industry has always found a way to rebound and thrive. It’s important to be strategic and embrace different modes of technology that will help the industry stay on the steady road to recovery.
John Erhart is the CEO of Inn-Flow, a hotel management platform that consolidates all hotel operational needs into one comprehensive solution. Schedule a meeting with him and the Inn-Flow Team at HITEC and visit the website at www.inn-flow.com
* US News, Coronavirus Pandemic Sets Hotel Industry Back 10 Years, Report Finds