A Fresh Start for 2013: It’s resolution season

Create sunny skies for guests. North Central Group boosts operating efficiency, guest service scores for 26 properties.
“We reviewed property operations at all our hotels and found we had too many paper checklists for operations and equipment; we knew we could be more efficient.  Our goal was to use mobile technology to eliminate paperwork as much as possible and establish real-time company-wide communications for faster response to guest requests. We also saw great value in automating processes for equipment maintenance and safety checklists.”
 - David Coe, facilities and purchasing manager, The North Central Group

Most people make January resolutions for a bright, promising year. In the hotel business, we have to start fresh every single day to deliver on our promise—an exceptional guest experience. My New Year’s resolution is to bring you better ways to use hotel ServicePro hotel facility management software to run your properties smoothly and profitably. I have an idea about how to do this.

Starting next month, I’ll be on the road talking with you, our invaluable clients, to hear your stories.  How do you use hotel ServicePro to improve your operations? Each month I’ll feature your comments and one of our software’s nine components, starting with hotel Guest Requests and continuing with hotel Work Orders, Inspections, Hotel Facility Management, Preventive Maintenance, Property Improvement Plan, Asset Management, Capital Expenditure, and Technology. Do you have a favorite component?  Let me know.

My goal is to help you deliver on your daily focus of a superior guest stay. As one client put it, “We don’t have to spend time each morning making checklists and tracking To Do lists—hotel ServicePro does it for us. That gives us more time to spend training and talking to team members.”

“I’ve used several types of these programs over the years, but this one is a total package. We have been able to cut our response time for our guest needs in half, which is a very important part of keeping them happy and coming back. It is so easy to use, and the reports help us spot trends before they become big problems for our guests. It’s become a total communication tool for our staff, and we have been able to do away with the paper service call tickets all together.”
-Jeff French, Chief Engineer, Holiday Inn & Suites Des Moines Northwest

Meanwhile, it’s tax season and I’ve got a cost-saving tip.

January finds us really busy in the office and growing as we bring on new properties. We all experience the halo effect of our industry doing better.  January also means tax season is around the corner. Owners know that payroll is a property’s biggest expense. Did you know the housekeeping department is the biggest item on payroll? Sometimes we think of housekeepers as “behind the scenes,” but they’re one of your most valuable guest-facing assets. General Managers may not see guests all the time—housekeepers are the ones talking with them. One key to your profitability is to handle payroll efficiently.

hotel ServicePro helps maintain tradition by boosting guest satisfaction 5% in 3 months. “We set up a six-month evaluation at three properties to see how well hotel ServicePro’s web-based platform operates.  We chose one select service hotel, one boutique, and a branded conventional hotel.  Our guest satisfaction scores improved five percent in the first three months of the hotel ServicePro trial.  In fact, the system performed so well, we are rolling it out to our remaining 16 properties.”
Wayne West, Vice President of Hotel Performance, Lane Hospitality, a division of Lane Industries

Did you know that the government’s fiscal cliff agreement (the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012) has a silver lining for the hospitality industry? Congress extended the Work Opportunity Tax Credit through 2013 and retroactively covered 2012. This means that hoteliers who hire disadvantaged workers, youth, veterans, and other at-risk individuals can claim a tax credit equal to 40% of the first year of wages up to $6,000. I worked with a hotel that staffed its laundry room with challenged team members and they were awesome. They worked hard and did things absolutely perfectly. It was win-win for the team and the property.

The new law also renews bonus depreciation, which allows properties to immediately take deductions on capital equipment rather than depreciating it over time.

I am no accountant so if you have questions, contact your CPA!  However, if you have any questions about your favorite hotel ServicePro’s component or want to share an anecdote about how the software improves your operations, please contact me.

Happy number crunching,

Bill

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