Increased profitability is the obvious goal of every hotel, but there are many ways to get there. The four key approaches are to increase revenues, cut costs, become more productive, or be more efficient. Today we will look at the cost side of the profitability equation. The aim here is to reduce your hotel’s costs without having a significant negative impact on the quality of the product you offer.
The best place to start is with labour, since this can amount to around half of a hotel’s total cost expenditure. The key consideration is that the demand for your services probably fluctuates – by which I mean you’ll have busy periods when staff are run of their feet, and slack periods when there’s not much going on. Setting fixed labour schedules would be a disaster in this situation, so flexibility is required. Staff should be on hourly rates, and if around thirty percent of the employees are part-timers, this can also contribute to flexibility. This way, you won’t be paying people to be present and doing nothing, and you won’t have to pay too much overtime either.
It’s tempting to have staff who specialize in their own particular area of expertise, but unless these people are fully occupied all the time, it can be much more effective to train people to handle a number of different roles. This adds to your scheduling flexibility, reduces the problems which can arise when employees leave your organization, and can also ensure that you can provide staff with work to build up their hours when there isn’t enough work for them in their regular roles.
Very few hotels today are unaware that you can play upon environmental concerns and encourage guests not to have their towels and bed sheets changed every day. But how many hoteliers know that there is actually an Association for Linen Management which offers lots of advice on the potential for textile-related savings? It has been reported that daily savings of around 6 USD per occupied room can be made through a suitable linen management strategy, as less water is used, and the labour costs involved are lowered. Furthermore, if guests seem unwilling to comply with requests not to have their towels washed daily, it often helps to tell them that most of your hotel’s other guests are supporting the program. An imagined need for social conformity can quickly have these guests doing their bit to save the environment and lower your bills.
Lights and temperatures
Considerable electricity cost and replacement cost savings can be made simply by switching to LED lights if you haven’t already done so, thanks to their longer lifespan and greater efficiency. Another related idea is to install occupancy sensors to control lighting and also temperature settings so you’re not needlessly using electricity in empty spaces.
If you’ve never bothered to check your bins – and it doesn’t necessarily project the right image for the General Manager to be seen rummaging through the trash after his shift – you might be amazed at what gets thrown out. It’s all too easy for cutlery to end up in the bin with the slops, or items which are just too hard for lazy employees to clean to find their way out to the dump. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep a very close eye on food waste so you know exactly what is being used, and more importantly, what isn’t. On a more sinister note, the easiest way for hotel staff to steal items from the property is to slip them into the bins, and then return later on to collect the goods. Knowing the exact contents of your rubbish bins can be an excellent way of keeping your costs in check.