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When we talk about the internet, it is hard to remember a time when we didn’t have Google, Wikipedia, and now a host of other apps that help us with anything from planning your meal for this evening, rostering staff, or checking the security monitoring cameras at your premises. The amount of information available to us is incredible, and in business it can be quite overwhelming if we don’t personally control how we use it.

Hanrick Curran has been advising hotel owners for over 30 years, and a crucial element of successfully managing a venue boils down to getting accurate, timely information in the right format to support decision-making. Some board reporting packs we’ve seen can be an inch think! How much information do we really need to run a hotel, and what information do we choose to focus on when making important business decisions? Here are our top 10 information picks for keeping a finger on the pulse of a hotel business:-

  1. Daily and Weekly sales. The lifeblood of any business. Without sales, nothing happens. Getting daily information from your point-of-sale system for each department will help you keep your finger on the pulse. A check on week to week sales will also help you monitor trends and seasonality. We recommend viewing weekly sales graphically for a rolling 52 week period and have a comparison with the previous year.
  2. Weekly Rosters. The biggest cost of running a hotel is labour and a key component is the weekly roster. It is really helpful to look at the roster against the hourly sales for each department and make sure that you have the right staff on at the right time. Look at the mix of full-time and casual staff, start times, finish times and check the break times.
  3. Monthly Stocktakes. The second biggest cost for a hotel is the cost of goods sold. Liquor stock is vulnerable to theft and one of the best control measures you can put in place is a stock control system that reconciles your physical stock count to your point of sale system. If stock is “going missing” you will soon find out by doing regular stocktakes and can then investigate the issue. In some cases it may be necessary to stocktake daily, or even by shift, on categories that are missing in order to solve the problem.
  4. Till Variances and Safe Counts. Having tight controls around the handling of cash is an important feature of management and should be a KPI for senior staff. Check the cash floats and investigate any discrepancies and shortfalls.
  5. Monthly departmental P&L to budget. A well prepared budget that clearly sets goals and limits for each part of the business is a very important management tool. And then reporting actuals against that budget on a monthly basis will help you understand how your business is performing against expectation.
  6. Bank Reconciliation. A quick review of the monthly bank reconciliation will give you confidence that the accounting system is up to date. Don’t forget to sight the bank balance on the statement.
  7. Gaming Machine Performance. Gaming revenue is generally one of the most profitable areas of the modern suburban hotel and understanding how the floor and individual machines are performing is really important. Check the turnover by machine, by denomination and also your RTP %. Gaming product is constantly being developed and it is important to keep your fleet up to date to optimise your revenue.
  8. Incident book. Responding to issues around WH&S, liquor licensing and security is an important part of managing a hotel. Not only do we have a duty of care to our patrons and staff, but there are legal liability issues if we don’t respond appropriately.
  9. Customer Feedback. With a host of forums on social media such as Facebook and Zomato we can now get almost instantaneous feedback on how are customers are feeling about our business. Understanding what is working and what is not working, helps us to develop the business.
  10. Staff Feedback. Regular meetings and one-on-ones with your key managers and staff will help you build the team and communicate goals and objectives to improve the business.

Every hotel owner and manager will have their own list of information they need to operate and control the business. The key in this day and age of endless information is to focus on what is important and avoid getting distracted or overloaded with too much information. The old adage “KISS: keep it simple stupid” is as relevant today as it was before the internet was invented.

If you need assistance developing information systems to manage and control your hotel business, then please contact our hospitality specialists Peter Maletz, Kim Hanrick or Ian Van Der Woude in Brisbane on 3218 3900 or Cairns on 07 4052 7524.


Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.