What every successful hospitality professional needs to know
You might remember when electronic property management systems and online hotel reservations were new, edgy concepts. Who knew that responsive digital platforms would become a must-have for managing every aspect of your hospitality business? But if you think the primary tools your hotel management needs today are a great PMS, a booking engine, and some spreadsheets, you’re kidding yourself. Every successful modern hotelier must equip themselves with the right tools, and we’re here to walk you through five tips for successfully managing hospitality in the digital age.
1. Eliminate human errors
You might be able to manage your data manually using spreadsheets, but with manual work comes human error. Have you thought about the downstream implications of a simple human error? How much time does each mistake cost your business, especially if you run multiple properties? The sheer volume of data generated daily in a property means that human errors and costly corrections are unavoidable, so save yourself the pain of manually juggling numbers.
What the modern hotelier needs is a digital dashboard tool, and that holds true whether you own a small hotel chain or you’re the CFO of a hotel management company. Business dashboards can monitor REVPAR, ADR, promotional rates, sales, marketing, infrastructure…everything! But how do you go about choosing the right digital tool for your business? That brings us to our second tip.
2. Find an all-in-one dashboard
Going digital with a software tool can totally backfire on you if you’re trying to juggle multiple dashboards. Switching costs are real; jumping back and forth between dashboards is not only challenging but costly. Furthermore, a limited capability or low-quality software tool may leave you desiring some functions or data reports. A sub-par tool could leave you stuck in the worst-case scenario: a limbo between automated and manual where you waste time updating software but are still confined to manual management and calculations. If you’re opting for a dashboard, go digital all the way.
That’s why today’s resourceful hoteliers are using all-in-one dashboards. This is the kind of tool that covers both front and back office operations that consolidates data into one location.
Multiple brands? Don’t worry, find all your information in a single consolidated portfolio. Different organizational tiers using the tool? Customize each user’s dashboard, whether they view specific statistics or a single property. That means you can visualize custom statistics daily, whether a graph showing ADR vs RevPAR, or a revenue breakdown pie chart.
Remember, an all-in-one dashboard will eliminate the error-prone, time-consuming manual calculations of the past and enable fast, consolidated reporting—but it is critical to choose the right tool with flexible commands and an intuitive UI to save you maximum time
3. Go Paperless
Have you ever found yourself or your staff digging through boxes and piles of papers to find the right file? Hotels are notorious for excessive paper printing, and paper document management is a common headache among hospitality managers. Hotel properties generate records galore, from ledgers and tax records to financial statements and payroll. All of these records and documents must be housed and organized somehow, which means stacks and boxes of paper. Some teams opt for banker’s boxes, which are not only expensive themselves, but also spawn a series of intangible costs such as labor and retrieval time. In fact, printing and paper themselves are expensive and become a steady cash drain. So why not go paperless and manage your business digitally? Going paperless comes with a whole slew of benefits:
- Eliminates storage cost from banker’s boxes
- Saves the time required to travel to a storage facility and search through boxes
- Allows searchability (e.g. pull up all orders by a particular customer)
- Allows accessibility from your mobile device at any time
- Security and reproduce-ability; digital records can be backed up and duplicated, but paper records can easily be destroyed
- Accountability and trackability for changes made
- Standardization and, again, eliminating human error
If you’re still not convinced, remember that going paperless also commits your business to sustainability and going green. Most group travel now requires an answer to sustainability initiatives underway at your hotels.
One element of going paperless is finding yourself that perfect all-in-one dashboard we talked about, but the other element is finding a paperless night audit tool. Along the same logic of finding a robust dashboard, you should find night audit software that allows remote access by PC, smartphone, or tablet. The keyword to look out for is “cloud-based:” software that stores your information in a central cloud-based repository that will allow access from mobile devices.
Another key feature to look out for is a maintenance-free tool. After all, what’s the point of going paperless if you still have to spend time and money maintaining and organizing your cloud storage? Find yourself software that offers 24/7 IT support, and ideally a repository searchable by name, date, and property. Be smart when going paperless; you can certainly save your business a lot of time and money, but only if you choose the right tool with the right features.
4. Make Better Smarter Faster decisions
Today’s world is moving faster than ever, and consumers are becoming pickier than ever. In today’s fast-paced environment, a hospitality executive must ensure smooth operations and fast service to win customer satisfaction. For a large property, that means managing huge amounts of data and people and getting hundreds of gears to turn in synchrony. For a small property, that means struggling to keep up with the expensive training programs and content management platforms that a larger business can afford.
Regardless of where you fall on this size spectrum, remember that the problems vary but there is a common solution: make better, faster, and smarter decisions. The tools and systems you use are crucial to decision-making speed. For example, digital software pulls up information much faster than an employee slogging through a banker’s box, allowing for faster decisions. Similarly, a dashboard-savvy manager can visualize revenue breakdown much faster with a digital tool than an old-school manager, again allowing for faster decisions.
Business Intelligence or as we like to think of it “Property Intelligence” platforms connect the multiple systems required to run a property in a single system, giving your entire organization a 360-degree view of your business data. It makes it easy to create reports and dashboards that contain powerful insights into how to elevate your operations and customer service to new heights – fast. Only organizations that have experience in the hospitality space should be considered for help. These organizations have empowered thousands of valued customers by transforming their relationship with their data so that they can streamline operations and better serve their guests. Your data is not generic.
Everything in this industry is about making the best decisions, and you can improve your decision-making speed and strategy if you have digital tools to assist you.
5. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
This final tip applies to executives in many industries, but is especially pertinent to the hospitality executive who must manage moving parts and day-to-day operations with a direct customer interface. Although many modern executives have recognized the need for change and an updated system, only some have successfully embraced the need for simplicity.
Don’t make the mistake of creating a system that adds steps to the process or slows processing time. Adopting any new digital tool will come with a slew of tasks and even obstacles, but the key is to always move towards simplicity. Every page you can avoid printing and every system you can consolidate will save you time, and we all know time is money. If you can view all your properties at a single glance, that’s better than toggling between different properties. If you can search through documents on a cloud, that’s better than slogging through physical paper.
Simplicity is king in modern day hospitality, and you not only need to embrace that at a leadership and operational level, but you also need to translate that message to each and every one of your staff. A great digital system may also motivate your front-line team to provide better service or make your back office staff happier by saving them trips to the storage facility. By simplifying your team’s job, you are giving them more time and energy to spend on the customer. All the endpoints of a well-run hospitality business, such as maximized occupancy and high profit, all depend on a simple and dependable operating system.