• The Art of Pitching: Is it Overrated - or Essential?

    Pitching… that thing we force notoriously introverted geeks to do for funding. The main idea is that an entrepreneur — unless his name is Elon Musk or Tony Stark — has limited resources and needs the financial support of pockets that are substantially deeper than his own.

  • What to Expect: New Changes Coming to Lease Accounting Standards

    The upcoming revision to lease accounting standards was one of the topics discussed by the HFTP Hotel Advisory Council in their February 2018 meeting. The surprising conclusion from the council: The hotel industry in general is not prepared for the changes, and there is no viable off-the-shelf software that any of the members were aware of that would assist with the accounting for the new standard.

  • HFTP GDPR Guidelines: Hospitality Organization Flow Charts

    This document is a set of flow charts illustrating data flow scenarios, involved parties providing hospitality services, steps of the guest journey and more. Four scenarios are presented: independent hotel, independent hotel with third party agreement, branded hotel and branded hotel with independent control.

  • Job Description Template: Club Accounting Positions

    The HFTP Americas Research Center has developed example job descriptions for club accounting positions. The process involved reviewing sample job descriptions, and compiling the information into standardized job descriptions.

Is the Lodging Industry Ready for a 12th Edition of USALI?

HFTP Connect·26 April 2018
The 11th edition of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI) went live on January 1, 2015. This edition presented multiple updates such as changes to the way customers were reported in food outlets, new rooms revenue and demand segmentation, gross versus net reporting, and the addition of a new schedule, Schedule 6 — Information and Telecommunications Systems. There were various other updates, but these were a few that garnered the greatest attention, as they required fundamental shifts in accounting procedures.

How to Turn Your 401(k) Into a Recruiting and Retention Machine

·26 April 2018
The U.S. economy is nearing full employment.As of March 2018, the U.S. unemployment rate is at 4.1%.1While this bodes well for the economy, not everyone is celebrating.Most companies - especially those in the hospitality industry - are struggling to attract and retain quality talent. A smaller pool of talent means hotels, restaurants, and related businesses have to raise wages to compete. In 2017, wages for leisure and hospitality workers increased by 3.8%.2But hospitality companies can't raise wages forever. Raising wages means raising prices, which could lead to a slowdown of bookings and sales. On top of that, higher wages don't necessarily incentivize long-term tenure.Luckily, there are more affordable ways to make your company more competitive at attracting and retaining talent. Offering higher quality, more affordable, and more comprehensive benefits has never been more important. And one of the most important and affordable benefits that you can improve is your company's 401(k).In a study by Willis Towers Watson, employees who rated their company's defined contribution plan (like a 401(k)) as being very important were 2.5x more likely to stay with their current employer than those who didn't.As for employee attraction, 18.2% of employees rated their employers defined contribution plan as being very important to their decision to work with their current employer versus a competitor.3More simply, the 401(k) has a major impact on attracting and retaining employees.The problem? Most hospitality firms aren't getting anywhere near the full recruiting and retention benefit from their 401(k). Many are plagued with issues such as low employee participation, ineffective plan design, and huge administrative burdens on their HR teams.So how does one turn their 401(k) into a recruiting and retention machine? Here are the 3 most effective strategies that we've seen move the needle for our clients.Maximize Employee ParticipationWhen it comes to 401(k) problems in the hospitality industry, low employee participation is the one we hear about the most.Low participation causes companies a whole host of problems, the most visible and frustrating of which is that highly compensated employees (HCEs) - oftentimes the company's top executives - can't max out their 401(k) contributions without making the company fail its non-discrimination testing. At the end of the year, plans that fail these tests have to cut checks called corrective distributions to HCEs, returning their excess deferrals. So rather than making tax-deferred contributions to their retirement plan, HCEs receive unexpected taxable income which may push them into a higher tax bracket. HCEs are never happy about this, which means that this issue could have a negative impact on retention among a very important group of your employees.And it's not just the participating HCEs that might be more apt to leave when your participation is low.The employees that aren't participating - whether HCEs or non-HCEs - are probably more likely to turn over as well. The 401(k) is supposed to act as a retention tool. You're paying a lot of money and dedicating a lot of resources towards providing this benefit. But if no one's actually using it, it isn't doing its job, and therefore you're not getting anywhere near your return on investment.So just how does one improve 401(k) participation? Well there's a lot of literature on this, but in our experience there are two powerful tactics that consistently move the needle:Radically Simplify OnboardingSimple, easily understood onboarding communications are crucial for driving employee participation.Employees need to be alerted when their eligibility is approaching. They also need to be informed of what they need to do to join the plan, and how the plan works once they've joined.Sounds easy enough, right?Not so fast.How this information is communicated before and during enrollment makes a huge difference in how successfully it boosts participation rates. Handing them a packet of financial jargon and requiring them to make elections isn't the way to go.Communications about the 401(k) need to be simple and easy to understand. That means communicating financial concepts using everyday language.It also means making communications accessible to employees. Many hospitality employees don't have access to a desktop device, so communications should be mobile friendly. That means sending SMS alerts in addition to emails.Companies should also consider communications for non-English speakers. Hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality companies often employ native Spanish speakers. For companies such as these, it's important to communicate important but difficult topics in the language that their employees are most comfortable using.Implement Automatic EnrollmentAutomatic enrollment is one of the most powerful tools for increasing 401(k) participation.According to Vanguard, plans that automatically enroll participants when they become eligible had participation rates of 93%. By comparison, plans that required employees to opt-in had participation rates of just 47%. Vanguard also found that automatic enrollment was especially helpful at enrolling young and low-income employees, which is a common pain point for many 401(k) plans in the hospitality industry.If you want more ideas around how to boost participation and engage employees, download our free Employee Engagement Handbook for a deep dive into how to provide a better 401(k) experience.Lower FeesNot every 401(k) is created equal.The truth is, there can be dramatic disparities between one company's 401(k) and another's - even within the same industry. And the biggest driver of these disparities is the fees paid by the employees.401(k) fees - often taken as a percentage of the plan's assets - can make a dramatic difference in how much an employee has in their account by the time they retire.Lowering the fees that your employees pay is as good as giving them free money. For a 35 year-old employee contributing $500 a month, a 1.00% reduction in fees adds over $41,000 to their account by the time they retire at 65. Add in a common employer match of 50 cents on the dollar, and that 1.00% reduction adds about $60,000 to their account.4While $60,000 over 30 years might not seem mind-blowing, that's an additional couple years of living expenses, which can make a huge difference for a retired employee - especially as life expectancy continues to get longer and longer.When your company's 401(k) has much lower fees than your competitors', communicating what that means can go a very long way towards attracting and retaining talent. For instance, if a job candidate knows that signing on with your company versus a direct competitor could result in an additional $60,000 in their retirement account in 30 years, they may be more likely to choose your company. Think of it like giving them a really large delayed signing bonus!After hiring and onboarding a new employee, further communications can be sent reminding them how much better off they are with your 401(k) rather than the average plan. This can go a long way towards warding off turnover.This begs the question: how exactly can hospitality firms lower their 401(k) fees?In our experience, optimizing the fund lineup is one of the best ways to lower fees.Over the years, many of the clients we've worked with had actively managed funds mixed heavily into their investment lineups. The problem with that? Actively managed funds are very expensive - especially when compared to passive index funds.As of June 24, 2015, the average dollar-weighted expense ratio of actively managed domestic small-cap funds was 1.24%, compared to just 0.22% for passive index funds.5 Looking at our previous example, switching from the active funds to passive funds alone can fully account for your employee's additional retirement savings of $60,000.6With such a high price tag on active funds, they'd better perform a lot better. In aggregate though, data shows this to be anything but the case. Standard & Poor found that 61% of all actively-managed domestic equity funds underperformed their benchmarks.7So effectively, actively-managed funds actually perform worse. Switching these out for lower cost alternatives could be the easiest way to lower your plan's fees.Optimizing your fund lineup is just one way to lower your fees. To figure out the best approach for your company, you'll need to perform an in-depth analysis of all the fees you're paying.Doing an analysis of your plan's fees is a lot of work. If you'd like us to do the legwork for you for no charge, find and upload your 408(b)(2) fee disclosure to receive a personalized fee analysis.Optimize Your Employer Match & Vesting ScheduleHaving an employer match is one of the most powerful 401(k) levers you can pull when it comes to increasing recruiting or retention. Offering an employer match is a very powerful recruiting tool, as employees essentially view it as free money.An employer match can also be a powerful retention tool. Adding a vesting schedule to an employer match is an excellent way to incentivize the employee to stay with the company longer.With a vesting schedule, the employee's ownership of the employer match increases at set intervals of time. There are a variety of vesting schedules that companies can implement. For instance, with cliff vesting, and employee owns 100% of the matched funds after a set period of time. So, with 3-year cliff vesting, after 3 years, the employee becomes 100% vested in all employer match funds from that point forward.By contrast, an employer can implement graded vesting. With graded vesting, the employee's ownership of the match increases slightly at regular intervals. For example, one vesting schedule might be to give employees an additional 20% ownership of match every year, so that by the end of year 5 of their employment, they own 100% of the employer match.Determining the best vesting schedule for your company depends on a lot of different variables. Talk to your advisor about the best way to vest your 401(k) plan's matching contributions so as to maximize the plan's recruiting and retention power.Outsource Plan AdministrationRunning a 401(k) takes a lot of work.In order to offer a 401(k), companies' HR teams have to track employee eligibility, reconcile the company's payroll with the recordkeeper, archive important plan documents, validate the employee data, and more. For hospitality companies, who have large high-turnover workforces spread across multiple locations, this can be a huge headache.We estimate that companies spend an average of 15 hours a month on plan administration. When the HR team's time is taken up by the 401(k), that's less time that they can spend on recruiting, improving the employee experience, or other initiatives that will attract and retain employees.The easiest solution to this problem? Outsource plan administration to a 3rd party.Some 401(k) advisors offer 3(16) fiduciary services, which means they become fully responsible for handling the administration of your 401(k). In the event of any mistake on their part which puts your plan out of compliance, they're the ones who foot the bill. A new generation of 401(k) advisors like ForUsAll automate a lot of this work, which means they can offer these services for little-to-no cost to your company.Ultimately, if you're able to free your HR team from countless hours of error-prone manual processes, doing so could have a significant impact on your business's ability to attract and retain talent.ConclusionThe economy is cyclical. Full employment won't last forever, but given the high cost of employee turnover, driving employee attraction and retention might be the single most important thing you do for your business.Improving your company 401(k) plan might be the most impactful and cost-effective way of improving your recruiting and retention benefits. When employees and candidates know they'll be well taken care of and more financially secure with your company, they'll be apt to stay longer and work harder.The best part? Turning your 401(k) into a recruiting and retention machine might be easier than you think. Talk to us today if you'd like to find out how.

It's Time for Congress to Protect Dreamers

Lodging Magazine·25 April 2018
The hotel industry is fundamentally an industry of people. As such, its diverse workforce—which includes workers from all around the world—is integrally important to its success. After all, a global customer needs a global workforce. The hotel industry employs both permanent residents of the United States and those here temporarily for employment, and it relies on a number of immigration and guest-worker programs to meet the demands of its workforce. In fact, half of housekeeping workers are foreign-born, as are 36 percent of baggage porters, bellhops, and other concierge service providers.

5 ways US tax reform can benefit hotel investors

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·25 April 2018
The U.S. has seen a pretty seismic shift in tax policy with the recent adoption of a major tax-reform bill. Much of the attention related to the bill has revolved around in a significant reduction in the corporate tax rate. But, according to some tax-law experts, real estate investors will realize some of the biggest benefits of the changes. During a recent webinar hosted by the brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap,* panelists outlined some of the major ways the changes will benefit commercial real estate investors, including those with hotels.

RateGain Announces "Lightning Refresh" feature on their Hospitality Rate Shopper Solution

RateGain ·25 April 2018
London, UK, 25 April, 2018: RateGain Technologies, a leader in hospitality and travel technology solutions, today announced the launch of a key feature, 'Lightning Refresh' to its premier rate shopper solution, Optima, that would allow hotels to refresh and receive the real-time competitor rates at the click of a button. The availability of the most updated rates, which would get reflected in the user's rate calendar in less than 30 seconds, would serve as a key input for hoteliers while developing an effective pricing strategy.With the growing competition and a hyper-dynamic market, hotels need to change their prices multiple times in a day to stay ahead of their competition. This necessitates the need for having a minute-by-minute market pulse and competitive intelligence. Using this advanced feature would not only help hotels adopt dynamic pricing but will also transform them from batch-based data processing to real-time data acquisition and actionable insights, resulting in a measurable impact on hotel's bottom line.According to Dr. Anand Medepalli, RateGain's Chief Product Officer, early feedback on this feature has been overwhelmingly positive and users feel on the top of their data needs. "We are very proud at the launch of the 'Lightning Refresh' functionality on our rate shopping tool, Optima, enabling our hotel partners to refresh rates from the OTAs in a matter of seconds. In this ever dynamic world, access to up to data could mean the difference between winning and losing," continued Dr. Medepalli.RateGain launched Optima in October 2016, as a solution to provide comprehensive rate-intelligence to hotels by tracking more than 500+ OTAs, meta-search sites, GDS, brand sites & mobile apps and more than 900,000+ rooms type data. In a very short time, Optima has established itself as a market leader, helping hotels across the globe leverage the power of price intelligence and maintain rate parity across all channels.For further details, please contact:RateGain:Enzo Aita, Global Head - Hospitality Marketing| enzo.aita@rategain.comAditi Bhandari, Senior Manager Marketing| aditi.bhandari@rategain.com------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Forward-Looking StatementsCertain statements in this release are forward-looking statements, which involve a number of risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements. All statements, other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements, including but not limited to the statements containing the words 'planned', 'expects', 'believes',' strategy', 'opportunity', 'anticipates', 'hopes' or other similar words. The risks and uncertainties relating to these statements include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties regarding impact of pending regulatory proceedings, fluctuations in earnings, our ability to manage growth, intense competition in IT services, data services and consulting services including those factors which may affect our cost advantage, wage increases in India, customer acceptances of our services, products and fee structures, our ability to attract and retain highly skilled professionals, our ability to integrate acquired assets in a cost-effective and timely manner, time and cost overruns on fixed-price, fixed-timeframe contracts, client concentration, restrictions on immigration, our ability to manage our international operations, reduced demand for technology in our key focus areas, disruptions in telecommunication networks, our ability to successfully complete and integrate potential acquisitions, the success of our brand development efforts, liability for damages on our service contracts, the success of the companies /entities in which we have made strategic investments.

Top tips to avoid fraud in the travel industry

Tnooz·25 April 2018
Fraud in the travel industry has always been a big concern. Travel and tourism account for a staggering 10.2% of global GDP and the specific nature of travel transactions make it a lucrative target – high value one-off payments, rapid consumption and a large number of suppliers across the globe. eNett’s new research, Fraud in Travel Payments, revealed that the three most common types of fraud in the travel industry are stolen payment details, cyber breaches of online booking platforms and stolen security credentials. These, and others, are costing travel intermediaries a whopping US$21 billion each year. And that figure is predicted to increase 20% by 2020, exceeding US$25 billion.

A Hotelier's guide to GDPR compliance

Hotelogix Blog·25 April 2018
The General Data Protection Regulations has caused quite a stir in the hospitality industry of late. With the deadline for implementation, 25th of May 2018, drawing closer, we thought it would be a good idea to run you through the specifics. Understanding why? Living in a data-driven age, where we have access to ample information on various subjects, from the closing stock price of a particular company to scores of the latest game and other tabloid gossip. However, all this information may include individuals names, addresses, bank details and passport information.

The Biggest Mistakes Hotel Managers Make

Minett Consulting ·25 April 2018
Take resource management, for example. The price of electricity is going up, and there is more pressure on hotels to lighten their ecological footprint. Experienced managers know there are countless ways to save resources - including voltage optimisation, water conservation measures, LED lighting, high-efficiency appliances, solar panels and so on. If none of these solutions are researched or exploited, the hotel's profit margin will be much narrower than it could otherwise be.Housekeeping is another oversight that costs dearly. Take a look at popular review platforms like TripAdvisor and Google. Notice how many negative reviews are centered on housekeeping issues. Even one guest who doesn't feel the room has been properly cleaned can put a large dent in a hotel's online reputation. We could use clearer statistics on the reasons for negative reviews, but lack of cleanliness is clearly among the most common. Avoiding this pitfall involves clear direction, careful oversight, regular inspections, and more effective training for staff.What about truth in advertising? This is another mistake that gets hotel managers in deep trouble. It sounds simple enough to be aware of your hotel's promotional photos, where they appear online, and whether they match your current fittings. But these things can get lost in a busy year at a busy hotel. OTA listings - whether due to confusing upload procedures or shortcuts taken by hotel managers - often feature inaccurate photography for different room types. Negative guest experiences are generated, and reputation is lost.Making your hotel a great place to work - this is another area where so many blunders are made. Personalities may clash; priorities may be forgotten. Managers may lose sight of the simple fact that when staff are happy and motivated, every aspect of the guest experience is elevated. The experience of being a manager is elevated too.But this is notoriously easier said than done. It takes skillful and empathetic leadership to build a rapport with employees; to reward them for great work and include them in critical problem solving. When done correctly, this gives the hotel a rock solid foundation. When good leadership is lacking, it's not just the team but also the guest who pays a price.We could go on and on about the various things hoteliers can get wrong - and there are many - but what is the biggest?In 2018, one of the biggest mistakes is not being aware of how many options travelers now have - if we are aware, then not acting on that is equally as bad. The hospitality landscape has grown more competitive and transparent. We can no longer say, "this is my product and you will like it". There are new properties popping up all over Australia and the world, from privately managed apartments to boutique hotels converted from warehouses. Technology continues to have a massive impact on hotel design. Management styles are becoming more inclusive. Service models are changing too, according to what managers and executives think people want. Travellers have choices and they are vocal in making them.Hotel managers shouldn't feel compelled to make drastic or hasty changes though just because one guest says something, but they should be aware of how things are changing. It's true that certain aspects of hotel management are fundamental. It will always be vital to be develop a strong team, keep standards high in the housekeeping department, get employees what they need, conserve resources, and practice truth in advertising. Making mistakes in these areas will always hurt performance.Beyond that, what matters most in our industry is understanding what guests value, taking action to acknowledge this, and then capture the most business over the long haul. These issues emphasise that professional hospitality, whilst based on a set of established values is just like everything else these days - a conversation. For a hotel manager to thrive professionally and avoid costly mistakes, they have to join that conversation with a vested interest in understanding what their guests want and creating great guest experiences. So, how do you converse?

The Outlook For U.S. Hotel Profits In 2018 | By Robert Mandelbaum and Bram Gallagher

CBRE Hotels ·24 April 2018
Since 2014, U.S. lodging industry owners and operators have seen a steady decline in the pace of revenue growth. In 2014, rooms revenue per available room (RevPAR) increased by a healthy 8.2 percent according to STR. Per the December 2017 edition of CBRE's Hotel Horizons, RevPAR is forecast to increase by just 2.5 percent in 2018. Facing lackluster revenue growth, hotelier's sights are now focused further on down the operating statement to determine what the impact of slow top-line gains will be on bottom-line profits.To provide U.S. hotel owners and operators with a sense of expected movements in hotel profits, CBRE Hotels' Americas Research has developed a method to translate the RevPAR forecasts generated by its Hotel Horizons econometric model into projected changes in total operating revenues, expenses, and profits. For this article, we analyzed the historical relationships between changes in revenue, expense, and profit data captured by property type during CBRE's annual Trends in the Hotel Industry survey, to historical movements in national occupancy, average daily rate (ADR), and RevPAR data provided by STR. The results were forecast changes in hotel revenues, expenses, and profits, by property type for 2018. Profits are defined as gross operating profits (GOP), or income before the deduction of management fees, and non-operating income and expenses.National chain-scale forecasts of RevPAR were relied upon to generate the GOP forecasts. The chain-scale composition of the properties that voluntarily submitted data for the Trends survey was used to weight the national RevPAR forecasts for each respective property type category. Accordingly, the historical series of data used to prepare the forecast does differ from the historical data presented in the Trends reports.ADR Overcomes ExpensesIn 2018, the diametric pair of large convention hotels, along with smaller limited-service hotels, are forecast to enjoy the greatest increases in GOP. Conversely, resort properties are projected to suffer a slight decline in profits during the year.For 2018, convention hotels are forecast to achieve a 3.5 percent increase in GOP, the greatest gain among the six property type categories. During the year, convention hotels are expected to also realize the highest property type occupancy level (73.5%). Given the extensive level of services and amenities offered at convention hotels, the relatively strong 3.2 percent forecast increase in operating expenses is of great concern. Fortunately, the high occupancy level should give convention hotel managers the leverage to raise their ADR 3.5 percent, and therefore achieve sufficient flow through to generate the 3.5 percent increase in GOP.By definition, limited-service hotels provide a limited extent of amenities to their guests. Therefore, any increase in occupancy will result in a rise in the variable costs associated with serving the additional guests. For limited-service hotels in 2018, CBRE is forecasting a 0.3 percent increase in occupancy, which should result in a 3.3 percent rise in operating expenses. This is the greatest forecast change in expenses among all property types. Fortunately, as is the case with convention hotels, a relatively strong ADR forecast of 3.1 percent should overcome the growth in expenses, and result in a 3.4 percent increase in GOP.Like convention hotels, resort properties offer their guests multiple services and amenities. Resorts rely on high guest counts to patronize their extensive array of food and beverage, retail, entertainment, and recreational outlets. With a projected 0.5 percent decline in occupancy (and therefore guest count), plus a forecast of no ADR growth, resort hotels are expected to suffer a 0.3 percent decline in total revenue for the year. Therefore, despite holding operating expenses to 2017 levels, resort hotels are forecast to experience a 0.8 percent decline in GOP during 2018.Expense Controls Help GOPFor extended-stay, full service, and all-suite hotels, the ability to hold expense growth to roughly the pace of inflation (1.9%) will enable these property types to achieve GOP gains in 2018.Among all six property types, occupancy levels are expected to increase the most at all-suite hotels during 2018. Despite the forecast 0.4 percent rise in occupancy, the growth in operating expenses is projected to be limited to 2.5 percent. Expense controls, plus a 2.5 percent increase in ADR, should allow for a relatively healthy 3.1 percent increase in GOP.Extended-stay hotels are forecast to benefit from a 0.3 percent boost to occupancy during 2018. With the limited amount of housekeeping and laundry services provided at extended-stay hotels, increases in occupancy do not impact the variable expenses as much as they do at other property types. Therefore, operating expenses are forecast to increase just 1.8 percent for the year, allowing for 2.2 percent growth in GOP.Total revenues at full-service hotels are expected to grow just 2.1 percent in 2018. The limited revenue growth is partly attributable to the 0.3 percent forecast decline in occupancy. The forecast decline in occupancy will allow management to limit expense growth to 2.2 percent, but with expenses growing at a greater pace than revenue, GOP is forecast to increase by just 1.9 percent during the year.The BasicsU.S. hotel operators have had a long history of adapting to periods of strong positive, and negative, changes to the economic and market environments in which they operate. Expenses are cut during recessions. Valuable new services and amenities are added to generate additional revenues during periods of prosperity.CBRE is projecting an operating environment for the foreseeable future that provides the opportunity for hotels to achieve modest gains in both revenues and profits. However, to achieve these gains, management must pay close attention to the basics of revenue management and cost controls. Slight adjustments to ADR, or expenses, can have a significant impact on changes at the bottom-line.Robert Mandelbaum is the Director of Research Information Services for CBRE Hotels' Americas Research. Bram Gallagher Ph.D. is an economist with the firm. To benchmark the revenues, expenses, and gross operating profits of your properties, please visit https://pip.cbrehotels.com/benchmarker, or call (855) 223-1200. This article was published in the March 2018 edition of Lodging.

ProfitSword Experiences Unprecedented Growth in First Quarter of 2018

ProfitSword ·24 April 2018
ProfitSword, a leading developer of business intelligence and data integration software for the hotel industry, announces the addition of 126 properties from six hotel management companies to its current roster of hospitality customers during the first quarter of 2018. These numbers represent a 74 percent increase in growth rate over the prior year's sales pace, positioning ProfitSword as a leading provider in hospitality data management, as it continues to experience strong company growth in the hotel sector."Data integration is continuously evolving and has become a top priority for efficient hotel management. Hoteliers continue to adopt new technology systems and solutions that require the use of effective data management and integration tools to get the most out of their data," says Colin Findley, VP of business development at ProfitSword. "We develop and deliver exceptional data management and finance management solutions to all of our clients, and strive to ensure that the most effective management tools are available to streamline their hotel operations."Providing the hospitality industry with a comprehensive suite of software applications dedicated to efficient and effective data management and integration, ProfitSword's platform consists of ProfitSage, ProfitWizard, ProfitPace and ProfitPlan. These cost-effective tools are specifically designed to help business professionals better manage their data for faster and more well-informed decision making, as well as detailed reporting.A solution developed to effectively manage sales data, ProfitPace allows businesses to efficiently monitor sales team efforts to ensure that the company is on track to achieve individual and company sales goals. It also allows for the comparison of sales pace to forecast, budget, prior years and same time last year trends. ProfitSage provides hoteliers with a user-friendly tool that integrates with standard business operation platforms for data collection and management. Using ProfitPlan, hoteliers can incorporate stylized report templates to produce several types of reports required to manage daily tasks and information. ProfitSword's data analysis tool, ProfitWizard, combines business intelligence, decision support, performance management and ad-hoc reporting for efficient analysis of data."We ended 2017 strong with revenue growth nearly 20 percent over 2016. However, with such a successful Q1 in 2018 and a pipeline that is expanding daily, we are excited to see where the rest of the year takes us," adds Findley. "We continue to grow our market share in the hospitality industry around the globe due to our innovative software systems aimed at making data, operational and financial management easier and more efficient for everyone involved."For more information on ProfitSword's portfolio of business intelligence optimization tools, please visit www.profitsword.com.

Groups360 Finds Hoteliers and Planners Are Both Exploring Technology Solutions

Groups360 ·24 April 2018
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Following the free trial period of its GroupSync application, Groups360 has uncovered industry-specific needs based on technology use, suggesting that the industry is looking for a better way to source and book meetings with more information up front."It's a time of change in the meetings industry. When we opened our doors for a sneak peek of our technology solution, we expected our users to skew toward meeting planners. Instead, we found hoteliers made nearly half of trial users," said Groups360 CEO Kemp Gallineau. "To us, this shows all parties in the industry are looking for technology solutions in this increasingly complex marketplace that can help drive efficiencies. With better information and more qualified leads, we may be able to cut costs across the board."Of those who accessed the software during the trial period, 100 percent of users went through the sourcing process, utilizing GroupSync smart search tool to find available properties, but only 20 percent went on to generating RFPs. With so many users spending their time on market screening, it became clear that sourcing remains a significant challenge in the current marketplace."Among meeting planners, the vast majority of their time and activity was centered on sourcing markets and venues, indicating to us that the choice of destination or particular brand location wasn't an automatic decision," said Gallineau. "While many planners currently choose the same property or brand for every meeting, this may be because the hotel brand only shows properties where they're looking to fill vacancies, or perhaps an intermediary has a relationship that adds bias and determines the properties they recommend, especially in light of commission changes. With an unbiased tool, our trial period users were able to see the reality of the pool of available properties that meet their event needs."During the free trial period, 50% of users spent most of their time reviewing market information--including anticipated future rates and average group occupancy--as well as 39% viewing hotel property detail and incentive pages, reinforcing the current lack of information for both meeting planners and hoteliers to make the best decision when it comes to sourcing and booking.To learn more about Groups360 or to take advantage of the GroupSync suite of tools, visit www.groups360.com.

Lower costs and higher margins drive extended stay

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·24 April 2018
Revenue from extended-stay hotels has more than quadrupled since 1998, according to Mark Skinner, partner with The Highland Group, who cited the number to introduce a panel at the Serviced Apartment Summit Americas titled “Why are extended-stay hotels doing so well and where do they go from here?” The success of the segment continued in 2017 with a 12.8% rate increase, the fastest since 2009, Skinner said. He also said the number of extended-stay rooms is growing four times as fast as regular hotel rooms in response to accelerating demand. He called that acceleration “contrary to what’s typical at this stage of the cycle.” Today, 8% of total U.S. hotel rooms are extended-stay, and they represent $12.4 billion in room revenue in 2017. On the question of comparative return on investment, Jon Benowitz, VP of capital strategy and investments at Chartwell Hospitality, said the extended-stay segment performs better than traditional hotels because it can take advantage of the “ups,” but also when the economy is down these properties can focus on long-term business.

How hoteliers can better control costs during projects

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·24 April 2018
There’s a great deal of planning that goes into a new-build hotel or renovation project, especially when it comes to managing the budgets. However, it doesn’t have to be as daunting a task if the proper steps are taken. Much of it comes down to the education process, experts said, as well as having open communication with all parties involved to pick the most cost-effective route. Education from the startBob Kraemer, principal and co-founder of Kraemer Design Group, said educating developers—whether they’re new or seasoned—is a standard part of the architecture and interior design firm’s process when working on a project.

Amex and Marriott's New Credit Card Programs Beginning in August

Business Travel News (BTN)·24 April 2018
American Express and Marriott revealed more details about the co-branded card agreement they signed in December. The new co-branded program, which includes a premium card and updated benefits for consumer and business cards, will become available in August. Marriott's unified loyalty programs also will launch in August, all part of the hotel company's path after acquiring Starwood in 2016.

The Role of the Asset Manager

HFTP ·24 April 2018
A report on the skills required of asset managers and the type of services that they offer to lodging establishments. By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA; Agnes L. DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE and Arlene Ramirez, MBA, CHAE, CHE, CHIA. Originally published in HFTP The Bottomline magazine, Volume 31, Issue 4; Winter 2017.

Massachusetts Employers' Ability to Inquire into Job Applicants' Criminal History Further Curbed

Hospitality Labor and Employment Law Blog·23 April 2018
Massachusetts employers should take note of a provision in the Massachusetts criminal justice reform law – signed into law last week – that amends the type and scope of questions an employer may ask an applicant about his or her criminal history following an “initial written employment application.”

Fiennes' scaling of huge heights inspire AHIC hoteliers

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·23 April 2018
The 2018 Arabian Hotel Investment Conference ended with the most memorable keynote speech I have ever heard. Get ready for some rousing adventures courtesy of the world’s greatest living explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, that will keep you out past dinnertime. Regular attendees at hotel investment conferences have become accustomed to several days of deals, meetings and panel discussions that wraps up with a keynote address delivered by a speaker from outside of the industry. Professional athletes and personalities connected with the politics of the day are often favorites to end the festivities, but at this year’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, delegates had a real treat when the guest speaker was Sir Ranulph Fiennes, often referred to as the “world’s greatest living explorer.”

5 benefits of modern accounting system for your hotel business

Hotelogix Blog·23 April 2018
Hotel accounting is one of the most important areas of a hotel’s management. Accounting in the hotel industry has moved on from the traditional methods of using spreadsheets to the modern hotel accounting software. As a hotelier, you need to adopt new technologies to effectively streamline this aspect of your business. Thus, to make the whole process error-free and to save time.

Flood Risk America Saves Costal Hotel From Storm Surge Flooding

·23 April 2018
Flood Risk America save large coastal hotel resort from storm surge flooding. FRA installed flood panels and flood bags on the ground floor. We provided a vulnerability assessment on the Hotel and demonstrated how the storm surges would affect the coastal hotel. Our Pre - Emergency Preparedness Planning is a full-service flood risk program launched by Flood Risk America (FRA). It offers flood prevention when the need for emergency preparedness is the most significant and immediate response is critical. This program ensures that our clients are prepared for an flood emergency BEFORE it happens, and that they recover fast from emergency situations with our innovative tools and approaches. This program includes our signature 24/7 Flood Watch Program, along with the wide range of flood prevention products that can be deployed within 12 hours to meet immediate flooding threats.FRA Coastal Dune Barrier is a cost benefit approach and effective way to re-direct wave energy and turbulence and provide protection to your Hotel from wave action. It provides an effective long-term solution to coastal erosion and will withstand the force of ongoing wave energy. It is not only cost effective, but it is environmentally friendly. The Costal Dune Barrier is adaptable to changing of wave height during extreme weather.Stephen GillFLOOD RISK AMERICAP 561.578.4220 C 561.644.3311 | Esgill@floodriskamerica.comwww.floodriskamerica.com | SM My LinkedIn | Company LinkedIn 720 Lucerne Avenue, Suite 567, Lake Worth, FL 33460

AmericInn leader shares bumps, big breaks for brand

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·20 April 2018
Going from a small, regional brand to a national player under Wyndham Hotel Group so far has been a boon for AmericInn, said SVP of Brand Operations Nasir Raja, who added he sees greater things to come. “No breakthrough happens without some bumps,” but the transition of the AmericInn brand to Wyndham Hotel Group has been relatively smooth, according to Nasir Raja, SVP of brand operations at AmericInn. Within a few weeks’ time, the brand “not only was plugged into a brand-new (central reservations system) and the very complicated distribution system … we also changed 200 (property-management systems),” he said. “We had a brand new website … we had to train people, to get them comfortable (with the new systems). … And we did it without any systematic disruption. Zero.”

6 Simple Hospitality Management Ideas

Carolin Petterson ·20 April 2018
In order to make the most out of a hotel, the management needs to take into consideration the resources it has at its disposal and create a team that's based on the needs of your guests and customers.Find the best peopleEvery company is only as good as its employees, but this is especially true for the hotel industry. Almost everything that's done in this line of work is oriented towards the guests and clients and, therefore, each employee is there to represent the company in the best possible light.This, in turn, means that an HR team behind a hotel needs to work on finding the best employees at all times. It's a mistake to wait for an opening before hiring. Lists of talented and potential employees are probably the most important asset a hotel can have and they should be updated regularly.Distribution channelsHospitality-related businesses can't work on their own because they offer too wide a service. They are dependent on numerous other companies and, therefore, on the channels between them. It's imperative to always have the supplies that you need and the access to the professionals that are needed to run the business smoothly and effortlessly.It should also be noted that every long-term relationship that a hotel forms also means that the business is dependent on another external company. This can be troubling because it's essentially giving a lot of control to another business.AccountingAccounting is probably one of the most important concerns for any company. It makes sure that a business is compliant with the laws and rules, but still helps it use most of its resources toward the goals of expansion and growth. The main issue a business manager needs to solve right away is whether to use a general purpose accounting company or one that's specialized in the hospitality industry.It's probably best to rely on hospitality accounting specifically because those professionals know the details of the industry and can provide a more comprehensive service, as well as a more lucrative one.Embrace the modern technologyAutomation, social networks, and mobile devices are the three most talked about topics in the hospitality industry. The changes in technology are disturbing the industry and acting as an equalizer between smaller hotels and bigger ones. A successful hospitality business should embrace these changes and use them as much as possible.The first area in which the modern technology will have the most impact is the customer service. That's one of the most important features of a hospitality business and it gets noticed the most, by the guests themselves. Using mobile apps and metadata info to make the stay more convenient to each guest can get you a long way.Focus on the feedbackCustomers are usually the best judges of how a business is doing. It's imperative to stay on top of the complaints and the feedback that come from the customers themselves. That way, a business shows that it cares about the customers and that it's willing to adapt to them.It isn't enough to rely on sites such as Yelp that are designed for this purpose. Every hotel should have their channels of feedback in order to get a more detailed response and be able to act on it.Expanding the servicesA hotel business needs to expand the services it offers on a regular basis in order to stay competitive and engaging for its guests. This can be a problem for smaller businesses that can't afford to add new features and, therefore, new employees to its offer, but such expansions should be a part of the plan from day one.A modern hospitality company should try to provide services suited to all kinds of tourists, from those that are looking forward to learning about the history and the culture of the place they are visiting to those looking for an adventure and an active holiday.Hospitality management is an interesting and expanding field. It's going to change and adapt in order to accommodate the changes in this market brought about by more competitors and more demanding guests.

SiteMinder's Global Hotel Business Index 2018: What are the key drivers on a hotelier's path to success?

SiteMinder Blog·20 April 2018
Welcome to this exclusive report – SiteMinder’s Global Hotel Business Index 2018 – an in-depth look at the key drivers of success for hoteliers across the world. SiteMinder surveyed global hoteliers to find out how they think about and approach their challenges and opportunities in 2018 and beyond.

UK hoteliers push for more fair property taxes

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·19 April 2018
The latest assessment of property taxes in the U.K. has sent alarm bells through some sections of the hotel industry, particularly independent hotels. Hoteliers are looking to offset increasing expenses with cost efficiencies elsewhere in their business, but they’re also working hard with lobbyists to push for fairness. It has been a full calendar year since the United Kingdom’s latest revaluation of commercial property taxes (or business rates as they are known here), and hoteliers are sounding a general alarm that the increases are adding additional burdens, particularly on independent hotels. As hoteliers implement cost efficiencies to offset tax raises, they’re also working to ensure that the next time rates are assessed—a process that begins in 2019—the government has a clearer understanding of cost pressures on the industry, sources said.

Factors Driving Hotel Wellness, Asset Management and Revenue

HVS ·19 April 2018
Built-In from the Ground UpHotel design aspects have lined up with wellness construction counterparts and evolved into a thriving wellness-driven real estate market. This marks a profound shift in the design and permutation of wellness and hospitality. Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate represents approximately $119B USD of the $3.7T USD global wellness economy and is projected to increase 6% annually in the next several years, growing to $180 billion by 2022. "Source: GWI Build Well to Live Well 2018 ReportManagement and LeadershipThe urge to activate new wellness overlays continues to gain momentum. Yet, operational development is often encumbered by lack of investment, time, or concentrated action. Generally, a Spa or Fitness Director would assume the responsibility of developing a property's wellness channels. Meanwhile, their primary focus would be dedicated to these respective areas, without typically being able to effectively cross into other departments i.e. food and beverage programs, in-room services or expanding into potential meeting and group opportunities. If the intention is to create substantial layers of well-being throughout the hotel or resort, it's wise to form a complete department assigned to appropriately develop and refine these features throughout the property. Companies who are seeking to advance their wellness programming and diversify their approach, should consider the benefits of enlisting a proficient Wellness Director or Well-Being Manager. This person would facilitate program excellence and drive successful department crossovers. Furthermore, having a dedicated manager to oversee program efficiency, would add focus to the wellness lineups. This individual would manage and track the percentage of growth to safeguard the ratio between program performance and return on investment. Having someone in this role to lean on would shape the property's unique attitude towards wellness and measure the impact and percentage of wellness-driven revenue on ADR and RevPAR performance. This person would also unite the wellness theme throughout the hotel, be responsible for quality auxiliary services and facilitate discoveries for internal and external marketability that is suitable for the property.Cross-Department RevenueIn the past, spa and fitness assets have mainly been viewed as amenities to augment guest comfort and convenience. While the booming years of luxury spa experiences thrived in the 1990's until 2008; the spa market has rebounded and surpassed the success of prior years with an upsurge of both new spa development, and wellness-driven market growth. Spa revenue in the U.S. has been experiencing steady growth since 2010 and now represents at $16.3 billion market.For many properties it has become essential to not only offer a well performing spa and fitness component but also include features that support healthier choices and nurture well-being. These assets impact the eminence of stay, healthy food, level of quality experiences and so on. For example, food and beverage outlets must increasingly cater to specialized lifestyles, food and diet restrictions, i.e. vegan, gluten-free, and so on. These distinct menu selections are common requests shared across the whole of the hotel, no longer considerations for singular outlets. With increasing department overlaps, the rise of business and solo travelers has amplified the demand for various, beneficial in-room and poolside amenities. These have taken the form of in-room fitness programs, private tele-guided yoga and meditation sessions, relaxing in-room tub soaks, and on-demand massage services. New products are showing up as in-room indulgences, in addition to snacks and drinks in the mini-bar. And spa and fitness features are actively mixing with other key areas throughout the hotel. These segments stimulate guest stay, add value and advance new opportunities to increase the capture of add-on revenue.Ways to Boost Add-on EngagementIntroduce add-on offers at check-in or through in-room marketingCreate add-ons that enhance existing treatments or servicesDesign new spa and dining combinations with motivating themes for couples, etc.Format memberships with an uncommon mix of add-on benefitsCreate employee recommendation structure with percentage incentivesStrategic OverlaysNothing beats a well performing business strategy when it comes to incorporating various enhancements and add-ons. However, it's vital to understand how manageable and appropriate the range of services are. Just because something might be trending in the marketplace, does not mean it will produce lucrative results, or have rewarding potential. Customizing the operational business structure with tactical planning is fundamentally important. It's as vital as setting up goals for successful integration and program development. The success of the Miraval Group represents one example of how a well-tooled strategy can significantly impact the RevPAR and the ADR of a business by incorporating an advanced perspective and mobilizing well-being at the core of the company mission. "As a global leader in wellness resorts and spas, we observed that Miraval understood that wellness is a mindset, not a commodity to be thrust upon consumers, which is a distinction that underscores our wellness strategy moving forward. Miraval is truly an integrative and authentic approach to wellness and wellbeing - an approach that we, over time, think will go over the broad mention of Hyatt in general." Said Marc Ellin, the global head of Miraval Group. Last year, Miraval Arizona's RevPAR grew 20.4 per cent, he said, while its ADR increased by 15 per cent and occupancy grew by another 6 per cent.Add-ons and EnhancementsOne of the most effective ways to instigate new service engagement is to create offers that add weight to existing, premium selling packages. Introducing services this way, reduces perceived customer risk and complements overall package value. Add-ons are a popular way to expand upon spa treatments, and fitness amenities. They are generally easy to sell and have unique benefits when paired with the right services. Enhancing a well performing offer can spark curiosity and help garner attention for less noticeable services. There are multiple ways to craft a solid selection of services. Committed retail partners can be valuable resources to provide support through special spa product allowances or backboard discounts. They are also good allies to develop and collaborate with to form a new layer of services. "Packages targeted at couples were mentioned by over nine in 10 resort/hotel spas (94%) compared to 71% of day spas. Wedding party packages were more frequently mentioned by resort/hotel spas (70%) than day spas (51%). "Final ThoughtsChoosing to embrace wellness with an all-inclusive methodology can transcend wellness themes to new heights. On behalf of new property development, it's prudent to review the capacity and influence new building and construction possibilities hold. The lines between health and hospitality will undoubtedly continue to crossover into the future. These intersections will intensify the need for diligence, program management and new outlooks on enhancement provisions. This will also reveal new value propositions and drive the creation of new revenue channels. Disjointed programming is a common challenge. The central keys to building successful wellness integrations rest in understanding how to incorporate add-ons that add meaning, capture with a widespread attitude, and spearhead meaningful momentum.HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Hyatt CEO talks about group commissions

hotelmarketing.com·19 April 2018
Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian said the hotel company is thinking holistically, and not just about immediate cost savings, in deciding whether to change its group commission structure. At the end of March, Marriott cut commissions paid on North America group bookings from 10% to 7% across its brands. Hilton will do the same on Oct. 1.

GDPR: a checklist for hotels

eHotelier.com·18 April 2018
Hospitality is full of acronyms. ADR, PMS, GOPPAR, MICE… the list seems endless. But at the moment, there are few more important than GDPR. With the compliance deadline from May 25, 2018, it’s now under 40 days until GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation, comes into force. And though it’s a European Union law, its likely that hotels around the world will be touched by it.


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