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  • Members Only: IT Spending in the Lodging Industry Three-year Analysis: 2015–2017

    By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Arlene Ramirez, CHE, CHAE; and Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. PART II: An analysis of IT spending data in the lodging industry based on reporting in the new USALI Schedule 6 — Information and Telecommunications Systems.

  • HITEC Special: Revenue Strategy: Not Just a Fancy New Name for Revenue Management

    By Cindy Estis Green. A strategic view of revenue calls for proactive business mix planning and decision-making around deployed resources, well beyond reacting to what comes over the transom. Excerpt from the 2018 HITEC Bytes Special Report.

  • HITEC Special: Forecasting Accuracy: The Living Forecast

    By Jill Wilder. Forward-looking, continuously updated statistical trend analysis is emerging as a strategic tool that performs the practical magic of creating an accurate forecast you can take to the bank.

  • Members Only: IT Spending in the Lodging Industry

    HFTP Research Report: The new USALI Schedule 6 — Information and Telecommunications Systems and the effects thus far on the industry. An analysis of IT spending data in the industry and compliance practices by lodging executives.

HFTP Announces Three New Global Chapters and Expands Student Chapter Networks

HFTP ·10h
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) is excited to announce that three new, local chapters have recently been chartered: HFTP Greater Louisville Chapter, HFTP New York University Student Chapter and HFTP Kansas State University Student Chapter. HFTP chapters provide a wide array of benefits to an association's membership -- not the least of which is the collaborative building of knowledge and camaraderie among local and like-minded industry professionals.HFTP's local chapters help industry professionals in the area expand their network, increase educational opportunities and build strong face-to-face connections with peers. Moreover, HFTP chapters give association members support, tools and resources to advance in their hospitality career."We are pleased to welcome these three new chapters to HFTP," said HFTP CEO Frank Wolfe. "HFTP is determined to efficiently serve its members across the globe, so we are excited to provide more expanded networks in additional local areas."HFTP currently has more than 76 local chapters providing opportunities for networking and education throughout the world. HFTP members can attend chapter meetings to connect with their local network of HFTP members and share solutions with professionals in the community. Chapters hold regular educational and social meetings, as well as participate in projects to benefit area charities.HFTP's Greater Louisville Chapter is currently is led by: Chapter President Joshua Bergen, CHAE, CHTP, controller at VENZA; Chapter Vice President Deuce Sapp, CIO at Al J. Schneider Company; Chapter Treasurer Ashley Barke, senior tax manager at MCM CPAs & Advisors; Chapter Secretary Paul West, hospitality technology consultant at Technical Solution Services.HFTP's New York University Student Chapter is currently is led by: Chapter President Hartanto Yuwo, CHIA, student at New York University; Chapter Vice President Harini Premnath, student at New York University; Chapter Treasurer Xinyi Zhu, student at New York University; Chapter Secretary Yixuan Li, student at New York University; Chapter Faculty Adviser Recep "Richie" Karaburun, clinical assistant professor at New York University.HFTP's Kansas State University Chapter is currently is led by: Chapter President Neda Shabani, student at Kansas State University; Chapter Vice President Prasanna Kansakar, student at Kansas State University; Chapter Treasurer Vahid Behzada, student at Kansas State University; Chapter Secretary Dalton Hahn, student at Kansas State University; Chapter Faculty Adviser Arslan Munir, Ph.D., assistant professor at Kansas State University.For more information about HFTP chapters, visit For more information about HFTP's new chapters, read this blog on HFTP Connect.About HFTP Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP), established in 1952, is a hospitality nonprofit association headquartered in Austin, Texas USA with offices in Hong Kong, United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Dubai. HFTP is recognized as the spokes group for the finance and technology segments of the hospitality industry with an international network of members and stakeholders. HFTP uniquely understands the industry's pressing issues, and assists its stakeholders in finding solutions to their challenges more efficiently than any organization. HFTP offers expert networks, educational resources, career development programs, research, leadership opportunities and conferences and events. HFTP produces international events throughout the year, including the world's largest hospitality technology tradeshow and conference brand: HITEC. The association also owns the world's only hospitality-specific search engine: For more information about HFTP, visit the latest news, visit the HFTP News page at and the HFTP Connect blog at HFTP on social media: Facebook (@HFTPGlobal); LinkedIn; Twitter (@HFTP); Instagram (@HFTP_HITEC). Stay tuned to HFTP's industry-specific, informational news sites: HFTP News, HITEC Bytes, HFTP Club Bytes, HFTP Finance Bytes, HFTP GDPR Bytes and HFTP FB Bytes. HFTP event photos are available on Flickr, and HFTP event videos are available on YouTube.

InsureSign ranks as the No. 1 e-signature software for usability on G2Crowd

InsureSign ·10h
CHARLESTON, S.C. (July 11, 2018) -- G2Crowd, the world's leading business solutions review website, has today released its Summer 2018 Report on e-signature software - and InsureSign ranks No. 1 for its usability and customer support.InsureSign is currently the highest rated e-signature tool for overall satisfaction on G2Crowd, with 4.9 out of 5 possible stars (a 97 percent satisfaction score). InsureSign's efficient, time-saving features make it a perfect tool for event sales."We've always focused on providing our users in the hospitality industry with the easiest way to get their documents signed and the best hands-on, personalized service," says Joe Floyd, founder and CEO of InsureSign. "We're grateful that our users have been so happy with our software that they've decided to tell others. Our customers tell us that their sales teams are getting almost all contracts signed and returned the same day, which never happened before using InsureSign."InsureSign has tens of thousands of users across several industries. All InsureSign users enjoy getting their documents signed the easiest way possible, along with unlimited signatures, documents and templates each month, and the benefits of audit trails, auto reminders, auto archival, company branding and more.InsureSign also offers a premium plan that includes a unique suite of innovative features, including text-message signing, in-person signing, reusable forms, a tool for securing company reviews and more.InsureSignInsureSign is the simplest, fastest and most secure way to get documents signed electronically. Trusted by thousands of businesses of all sizes across North America, InsureSign lets your customers easily sign your documents from their laptops, tablets and mobile devices - and even via text message. Curious future customers can try InsureSign free for 14 days at

MGM Sues Las Vegas Mass Shooting Victims to Avoid Being Sued By Them - Hotels·17 July 2018
Last October's mass shooting in Las Vegas has had a negative impact on MGM Resorts' profits and will likely continue to do so for some time. But let's not forget that it also took the lives of 58 people and seriously injured hundreds more. This legal maneuvering by MGM is rightfully earning the company outrage in the public sphere.

Experts outline risks, benefits of building dual brands Featured Articles·17 July 2018
A panel on dual-branded hotels at the 2018 ALIS Summer Update in Atlanta spoke about all of the factors that go into developing dual-branded properties, focusing on what works and explaining the risks.

Hospitality Financial Leadership - Credits to Cost of Sales in Food & Beverage

The Hotel Financial Coach ·17 July 2018
The first question to answer is why we need to credit the F&B operation for its goods used in other parts of our business. Someone once asked me why we don't credit maintenance for their costs when used in other departments. Or better still, why don't we credit rooms when staff members stay over because of bad weather or business volumes? Why is F&B so special? I have heard this one a hundred times.The reason F&B is special is because it has cost of goods sold accounts. Cost of food and cost of beverage. The rooms department has no such cost of goods account because they are not producing anything they do like F&B. In F&B we buy products--food and beverage--and we manufacture goods and sell them for a higher price. In rooms we don't do anything like this (sorry, rooms folks). In the case of maintenance, that is a non-operating department (no revenues) so it gets no such credit. We do appreciate all their hard work, but we do not give them any credit on our books. Sorry.We want to give F&B credits for their goods used in other departments, so we can keep a close eye on the cost of goods sold percentage--food cost percentage and beverage cost percentage. Credits come in two forms: credits for goods at cost and credit for goods at retail. These transactions are handled separately but their values effect the same accounts on the statements.Let's do credits for goods at cost first. As a young lad one of my first jobs in hospitality was a food and beverage storeman. My job was to fill all the requisitions for the kitchens and the bars. Many carts full of food from the freezer, fridge and dry goods room every day were delivered to the kitchen. Boxes and boxes of wine, beer and spirits for the bars to pick-up. But then, every once in a while, I would get requisitions from other places: general manager's house, executive offices, staff cafeteria, and the chef also would order booze for the kitchen and the bars ordered food like limes, lemons and juices. I thought at the time this was interesting, but I had no idea that it all meant something. Every one of these "other orders" caught the attention of the cost controller each month as he requested I keep a separate and complete copy of each "other" requisition.Odd, I thought, as the main requisitions piled high in the corner of the office, never to see the light of day again. Each one of the other items was costed and recorded as a credit to either the food or the beverage cost depending on what family the products requested belonged to. The cost controller totaled these requisitions each month and sent the summary up to accounting.Food to the GM's house was a credit to food cost and a debit to GM's expense. Same for the booze and oddly enough it was a big number, then a credit to the beverage cost. Same with the cafeteria food as it became a debit to employee benefits.The booze to the kitchen, which I am pretty sure didn't all make it to the soup (Cheffie), was a credit to the beverage cost and a debit to the food cost. Lemons and limes to the bars were a reverse to the booze for the kitchen. Finally, I was able to see the work I was doing was not going unnoticed. These items were closely watched, and I even had a visit one day from the Director of Finance and some strange people from the corporate office. They were interested in looking at all the requisitions for the GM's house. I still wonder why. [?] Credits for goods produced were not handled by me in the store room. They were done by the number crunchers in the accounting office. When a hotel uses food or beverage to entertain or promote the hotel, the cost of sales is credited to the food and beverage departments' accounts and a corresponding debit is charged to the department that benefits from all this entertaining--usually the sales department. What happens each day in a hotel when there is an event which is a "hotel event" the banquet event order states which "house account" to charge the function to. That night the auditors reverse the revenues, credit food cost, credit beverage, reverse the sales tax (depends on your local rules) and debit the sales entertainment account at cost. The same thing happens when one of the managers uses a restaurant or bar for entertaining. Reverse the sales, taxes, covers, reduce the value of the sale to cost, credit F&B costs and debit the department that consumed it.At this first job I was often asked to consider giving credits for things other than the cost of sales. I would hear:Why we don't credit the labor the same way, especially for big events?Why don't I get a credit for all those 50 percent off accounts?Why don't I get a credit for all those package discounts?Why don't I get a credit for the "poor service" write-off account?I could fill this article with the requests I have heard, some of them seemingly legitimate and others not so much. All I can say to that one is "Read the book, The Uniformed System of Accounts for Hotels. It tells what to do and not do when it comes to all things financial.For consistency, your hotel must establish the rules for their credit to the cost of sales. Some things to consider:What percentage to use as a credit to the cost of sales? Last year's cost percentages, budgeted costs, year to date cost, last month's cost. All of these are good selections, just make sure once you choose your method, you stick with it (consistency principle).Do you take the credits each day with your income audit or do you do it monthly with the closing of the house accounts?Who can authorize the use of the promotion and entertainment accounts? I have seen some questionable events, outings and requisitions in my day. You want to make sure the proper approvals are in place for both types of credits.If you would like a copy of any of the following send me an email at david@hotelfinancialcoach.comIncentive Plan TemplateEFTE and Productivity ExerciseHotel Financial Policy Manual - Inventory of "Sections"Hotel Financial Coach "Services Sheet"A White Paper - Creating a Hotel Policy ManualF&B Productivity SpreadsheetRooms Productivity SpreadsheetFinancial Leadership Recipe F TAR WA White Paper - A Six Month Workshop and Coaching AssignmentHotel Financial Coach - "Speaking Sheet"Flow Thru Cheat Sheet - EnhancedVisit my website today for a copy of my FREE guidebookThe Seven Secrets to Create a Financially Engaged Leadership Team in Your Hotelwww.hotelfinancialcoach.comCall or write today and arrange for a complimentary discussion on how you can create more profits in your hotel.Do you need a dynamic speaker with a unique and creative financial message for your next hospitality event?Are you thinking about your management team and what to engage them with this year? Consider a full or half day hospitality financial leadership workshop.Give the coach a call and let's get going!Contact David at (415) 696-9593.Email: david@hotelfinancialcoach.comwww.hotelfinancialcoach.comFacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Cost Controls Perpetuate U.S. Hotel Profit Growth In 2017 | By Robert Mandelbaum

CBRE Hotels ·17 July 2018
U.S. hoteliers enjoyed an eighth consecutive year of increasing profits in 2017 despite another slowdown in the rate of revenue growth. According to the 2018 edition of Trends in the Hotel Industry, total operating revenue increased by 2.0 percent in 2017 for the average hotel in its survey sample. Fortunately, by limiting the growth in operating expenses to 1.9 percent, managers at the Trends properties realized a 2.2 percent increase in gross operating profits (GOP) for the year.Trends in the Hotel Industry is the CBRE Hotels' Americas Research's annual survey of operating statements from thousands of hotels across the nation. The 2017 operating data collected for the 2018 survey was compiled in accordance with the 11th edition of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry.It is becoming increasingly difficult for U.S. hotels to achieve both revenue and profit gains. Within the 2018 Trends sample, only 59.1 percent of the properties enjoyed an increase in total operating revenue in 2017, while just 52.3 percent attained growth in profits. These are the lowest levels observed since the depths of the recession in 2009. Increasing competition from new supply, muted growth in average daily rates (ADR), and upward pressure on labor costs make the current operating environment one of the most challenging since the Trends survey started tracking industry performance in the 1930s.Efficient and ProductiveOver the years, U.S. hoteliers have been able to effectively respond to difficult operating conditions. By matching the 2.0 percent gain in revenue with a stingy 1.9 percent rise in expenses, the GOP margin for the Trends sample increased to 38.3 percent in 2017. This is the highest profit margin recorded by CBRE since 1960 and an indication of superlative operating efficiencies and productivity.U.S. hoteliers continue to effectively manage labor costs, the largest expense for hotels. The labor market is very tight, especially in the leisure and hospitality industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the current level of open jobs in the sector equates to 5.3 percent of the total personnel currently employed. This is the highest level since 2000 and indicative of the difficulty hospitality managers are having finding qualified employees.The tight labor market has put upward pressure on industry wage rates. Per the BLS, the average hourly compensation rate for hospitality employees rose 3.8 percent in 2017. For the hotels in the Trends sample, total labor costs (salaries, wages, and benefits) increased by 1.8 percent. This implies a reduction in the number of hours worked. In addition to controlling the schedule, hotel managers gained greater productivity from their staff. With fewer hours, the employees at these same hotels serviced 0.4 percent more occupied rooms, as well as greater volumes of food and beverage revenue.Overhead ConcernsWhile labor costs continue to be controlled, an increase in non-labor related expenses was observed in 2017. During the year, labor costs increased by 1.8 percent, and all other costs rose by 2.0 percent. Some of the greatest increases were observed in the undistributed departments where in aggregate, expenses grew by 2.2 percent. Compared to the operated departments, undistributed costs are relatively fixed in nature and therefore less controllable by management.The most obvious cost increase among the undistributed departments during 2017 was utilities which grew by 1.4 percent. The 1.4 percent growth rate is not an alarming increase, but this is the first time since 2013 U.S. hoteliers have not benefited from a decline in utility costs.There were some non-labor related costs that rose more than revenue in 2017. These include technology related expenditures, franchise fees, credit card commissions, and the cost of complimentary food, beverage and services. Below GOP, management fees and property taxes also increased at a greater pace than the 2.0 percent growth in revenues.Property owners did find some solace in the 4.2 percent insurance costs decline in 2017. However, given the number of natural disasters that occurred during the year and the sluggish start to the stock market in 2018, we may see a boost in premiums this year. Moving PartsDuring 2017, operators of resort and convention hotels were the most efficient generating revenue flow-through to the bottom line. These two property types were the only ones to achieve GOP growth greater than revenue growth during the year. Resorts and convention hotels typically are large operations with extensive services, amenities, and labor requirements, therefore providing managers with more 'moving parts' to control.Conversely, limited-service hotels by design provide lesser amounts of amenities and services, and thus require fewer employees. Accordingly, managers at limited-service properties have fewer options for cost reductions, especially when operating at above long-run average occupancy levels. In 2017, limited-service hotels were the only property type to suffer a decline in GOP from 2016 levels.Can Profits Continue To Grow?According to the June 2018 edition of CBRE's Hotel Horizons forecast report, annual RevPAR gains for U.S. hotels are projected to range from 0.6 percent to 2.8 percent from 2018 through 2020. Given this rate of revenue expansion, can hotels continue to achieve profit growth? For hotels to achieve profit growth that keeps pace with inflation, expense growth must be limited to 2.9 percent or less over the next few years. Keeping in mind that the annual average expense growth rate since 1960 is 4.0 percent, this will be an enormous challenge.It is a very interesting period for hotel owners. On the one hand hotels are achieving record level profit margins, and therefore it can be assumed that owners and investor are currently receiving strong returns on their investments. On the other hand, while profit growth appears to be durable, owners like a "growth story". Slow growth in profits make the future story a little less exciting.Robert Mandelbaum is Director of Research Information Services for CBRE Hotels' Americas Research. To purchase a copy of the 2018 edition of Trends in the Hotel Industry report, please visit This article was published in the June 2018 edition of Lodging.

Voter-Approved Elimination of Tip Credit In Question by Proposed D.C. Council Legislation

Hospitality Labor and Employment Law Blog·17 July 2018
In our June 28, 2018 post on District of Columbia voters approving Initiative 77, which would incrementally increase the minimum cash wage for tipped workers to $15.00 per hour by July 1, 2025, and effectively eliminate the tip credit staring July 1, 2026, we noted the possibility of action by the D.C. Council to amend or overturn it.

PMZ Realty Capital closes $32M loan on three-hotel portfolio

Hotel Management·17 July 2018
PMZ Realty Capital, a national boutique real estate investment banking firm, closed a $32-million, fixed-rate loan to refinance a three-property portfolio in Georgia.

RLH Corporation sells Spokane Hotel RL for $35 million

Hotel Management·17 July 2018
RLH Corporation sold Washington's Hotel RL Spokane at the Park for $35 million. The hotel is the ninth of 11 hotels being marketed for sale previously disclosed in October 2017. RLH Corporation’s total gain on the sale is expected to be approximately $14.8 million. Together with the other eight previously announced sales, RLH Corporation’s gain on sales is approximately $42.2 million.

RLJ Lodging Trust Completes Sale of 205-Room Embassy Suites Napa Valley for $102 Million ($498K Per Key)

Hotel Online·16 July 2018
Lodging Trust (the 'Company') (NYSE: RLJ) today announced that the Company has closed on the sale of the 205-room Embassy Suites Napa Valley ('Embassy Suites Napa') for $102.0 million or approximately $498,000 per key.

RLJ Lodging Trust Names Sean M. Mahoney Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Hotel Online·16 July 2018
RLJ Lodging Trust (the 'Company') (NYSE: RLJ) today announced that Sean M. Mahoney will join the Company as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, effective August 1, 2018. Mr. Mahoney will report directly to Leslie D. Hale, the Company's incoming President and Chief Executive Officer.

Dual Performance Review: Reporting to Your Owners & Guests

Hotel Online·16 July 2018
Kokua Hospitality has extensive experience in hotel and resort management, purchasing, finance, and ever-evolving information technology. We spoke with Kokua Hospitality President Kirk Pederson about the constant balancing act of a management group and exceeding the expectations of both the owners and guests.

Hospitality Financial Leadership: Credits to Cost of Sales in Food & Beverage

Hotel Online·16 July 2018
Giving the proper credits to your food and beverage operation is an important task. You want to ensure it is done consistently and fairly. This article examines all the usual credits, different types, the proper way to take them and why we need to take them.

Politicians as event speakers: The art of saying naught Featured Articles·16 July 2018
It’s entertaining to listen to politicians who speak at hotel conferences and do a lot of talking but say a lot of nothing, except when their lack of clarity has real financial implications for businesses, including the hotel industry.

Tax Laws Bite California's Housing Market: Virginia Postrel

National Real Estate Investor (NREI)·16 July 2018
Prop 13 limited local property taxes to 1 percent of purchase price (or of the assessed value in 1975) and capped subsequent increases at 2 percent a year.

Boosting a Hotel's Direct Booking Conversion Rate Without Giving Away Rooms

Lodging Magazine·16 July 2018
One of the biggest and most widespread misconceptions in the hotel industry is that discounting is the best way to boost direct bookings. Even though this has been proven over and over again to be untrue, many hoteliers still insist that it’s the fastest way to profitability and that it helps a property lower the cost of acquisition and increase occupancy.

Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index drops 4% in June Featured Articles·16 July 2018
Through the first six months of 2018, the Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index is down 0.5%.

Lending smarter, more selective with new-build hotels Featured Articles·16 July 2018
A panel of hotel financing experts at the ALIS Summer Update in Atlanta share why lenders continue to be cautious about new hotel construction despite the industry performing well.

LaSalle takeover: The drama continues Featured Articles·16 July 2018
Unless LaSalle accepts Pebblebrook’s offer or Blackstone raises its offer, LaSalle faces an uncertain shareholder vote. How does the Pebblebrook-LaSalle takeover drama end? Most likely with one large public hotel REIT called Pebblebrook.

8 mistakes hotel sellers make Featured Articles·16 July 2018
Here are eight mistakes sellers make when selling an asset and how to avoid making them to achieve the best possible outcome.

RLH Corporation Closes Sale Of Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles For $19.6 Million

Hotel Interactive ·16 July 2018
RLH Corporation (NYSE:RLH) announced today the sale of Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles, for $19.5 million. The hotel is the eighth of 11 hotels being marketed for sale previously disclosed in October 2017. Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles, along with all other sold hotels, has signed a franchise license agreement to retain their Red Lion brand.

U.S. and China Are in Tourism Standoff as Trade War Heats Up - Destinations·15 July 2018
Its millions of international travelers aside, China's many investments in the U.S. travel industry have left it at an impasse in the trade war and, for now, with America having the upper hand.

IT Spending in the Lodging Industry Three-year Analysis: 2015–2017

13 July 2018
By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Arlene Ramirez, CHE, CHAE; and Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. PART II: An analysis of IT spending data in the lodging industry based on reporting in the new USALI Schedule 6 — Information and Telecommunications Systems. This report compares spending data over a three year period, 2015-2017.

Seeing Hotel Industry Threats as Opportunities Opens Up Revenue Strategy

Duetto Research Blog·13 July 2018
The hospitality universe is constantly shifting and, more importantly, growing. In his opening message at RSS 2018, Duetto CEO Patrick Bosworth encouraged the hoteliers, asset managers and technologists gathered there to see opportunities for better Revenue Strategy, where others might only see obstacles.

2018 Revenue Strategy Summit Offers a Day of Deep Dives Into Hospitality Finance

Lodging Magazine·13 July 2018
On July 10, approximately 300 revenue managers, owners, operators, and other hotel professionals met at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. for the sixth annual Revenue Strategy Summit. Co-hosted by Duetto, Kalibri Labs, and Silver Hospitality Group, the one-day conference offered attendees a deep dive into revenue management and strategies, pulling in experts from all areas of the industry to discuss everything from new technologies disrupting the hospitality revenue space to the overall financial health of the lodging industry.

American Hotel Register Company Becomes a Certified Women-Owned Business·Requires Registration ·13 July 2018
American Hotel Register Company is now a certified women-owned business. Technically, the majority of American Hotel has been women-owned for the last few years (54% of the company’s current ownership is female); however, the hospitality supplier felt the need to take the next step.


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