Hotel Owners: 5 Ways to Start Saving Money with Back Office Automation Today

There are quick and easy steps to back office automation that hoteliers can implement today that will make employees more productive and lead directly to cost savings across operational departments.
Hotel Owners: 5 Ways to Start Saving Money with Back Office Automation Today

As you wrap up your 2024 budget and begin implementing strategies to exceed it, undoubtedly there’s one column that sticks out: rising year-over-year expenditures. Even with steadily rising demand and continued pricing power, the spike in the costs of supplying, maintaining and staffing your hotel are undoubtedly squeezing profit margins.

With labor most often being the largest operating expenditure on a hotel owner or manager’s P&L, leaders can make a significant impact toward reducing costs by increasing employee productivity. In the front of house, this typically involves more dynamic scheduling, cross-training and multi-tasking for guest-facing team members like front-desk agents and housekeepers. In the back office, or at the regional and corporate level, increased productivity is often obtained by removing “busy work,” such as data entry, allowing team members to focus on tasks that will make a larger impact on the success of the business.

A recent study by Hospitality Technology magazine shows that, while building more personal guest connections is top priority for hoteliers in 2024, increasing employee productivity follows closely behind. In “The 2024 Lodging Technology Study: Digital Transformation & ROI,” 76% of hotel leaders said “increasing employee productivity” is their top focus for the year ahead. 

“Investing in technology to streamline daily operations, improve communication, and empower staff not only results in more efficient service delivery but also contributes to higher job satisfaction among employees,” the report suggests.

Fortunately, there are quick and easy steps that hoteliers can implement in the back office today that will make employees more productive and lead directly to cost savings across operational departments. Many of these processes rely on technology to assist humans in collecting data, analyzing numbers and making automatic adjustments that simply cannot be done faster or more accurately by a member of your team. 

Below, we outline five quick ways to start saving money with automation now.

Automate Centralization of Data and Reports

At MCR Hotels, leadership faced a common challenge: disparate data across a portfolio of properties operating on different property management systems that led to inconsistencies among datasets. In November 2021, MCR adopted Otelier’s DigiAudit, which digitizes the night audit process, to make property-level teams more efficient by removing many manual tasks and to keep leadership informed of property-level activity in real time. On average, MCR properties saved 150 hours of labor per month by automating data collection.

 By turning to Otelier to centralize critical night audit reports and provide access to leadership through automated reporting, department heads across MCR are now making aligned decisions off the same sets of data.

Automate Daily and Monthly Accounting

Modern accounting practices, such as automating income journal entries, can provide a dynamic path to cost savings. For Hersil Patel, a seasoned hotelier and accountant, removing the time-consuming process through a partnership with Otelier has significantly streamlined financial processes.

For Patel, automated postings save time and increase efficiency, which enable him to scale the business and repeat processes at additional hotels.

Automate Financial Reconciliation 

Automated financial reconciliation involves processes that identify and resolve discrepancies in financial records, preventing unnecessary revenue and expense drainage with little manual effort. In a recent Hospitality Upgrade column, hotel tech expert Doug Rice focused on the crucial topic of financial reconciliation that can save your hotel or hotel company thousands of dollars per month. 

“I was shocked when I heard some of the revenue/expense recovery numbers, sometimes running into $10,000 or more per month for a full-service hotel, not to mention labor savings from eliminating manual processes,” he wrote.

Tools like Otelier can lead to substantial revenue and expense recovery, Rice says. The costs involved are minimal, and certain solutions, particularly those addressing OTA revenues and commissions, pose no financial risk to hotels, as payment is based on results.

Automate the Budgeting Process

Let’s face it: you spend an inordinate amount of time in the fourth quarter each year gathering the right data and preparing your annual budget. Hoteliers that have adopted modern budgeting and forecasting  software significantly reduce the time dedicated to “budget season” and produce more accurate final projections.

Otelier automates the ingestion of audited actuals from accounting systems, which jumpstarts the financial planning process, producing plans with the right level of fidelity. Automated integrations not only accelerate the planning timeline but also ensure that the plans are grounded in the latest and most accurate financial data.

To learn more about adopting the right budgeting tool for your business, tune in to our upcoming webinar, “Navigating The Complexities Of Modern Hotel Budgeting And Forecasting,” on March 5.

Stay Prepared for Internal and External Audits

The adoption of digital tools in finance and accounting, including moving night audit reports online, has proven instrumental in streamlining the audit process. Whether it’s your brand, owner, asset manager or local tax authority asking to see your records, Otelier’s automated signature workflows and compliance dashboards ensure you’re storing all the correct documents.  

With automated accounting tools, indexed data and standardized reporting, hotels can ensure they’ve got the proper procedures in place to make a financial audit go quickly and smoothly.

Turn to Automation Today

There are practical ways hotel owners can save money today through automation in various operational aspects. The rising costs of labor, for example, can be offset by increasing employee productivity. Investing in technology for streamlining operations and empowering staff contributes not only to efficiency but also to higher job satisfaction among employees.

Learn how Otelier can automate key areas of your back office to drive profitability.

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