Five Things You Can Do to Prepare for Budget Season
It’s business planning time again! Here are 5 things you can do now to get ready:
1. Review the current year
Reflect on the year so far and consider what is currently working and what is not. Gather as much insight as possible from hotel ownership, sales staff, other hotel associates and guests to help identify potential areas for improvement. Some of the best information may come from front line associates who interact with guests the most. They hear daily what guests are looking for or complaining about. Also, review particular trends, markets, promotions or tactics that drove the most bookings. In addition, it’s important to examine your source of business and what you depend on for your base versus your filler business, i.e. Corporate Groups vs. SMERF business, and weekdays versus weekends.
2. Keep a running list of ideas
How many times have you thought “I wish I had the budget for…” or mentioned to an associate “that’s a great idea, let’s remember to add that to the budget next year.” Probably many times! Start making a wish list of items to include in your business plan. Maybe you’ve been thinking about a better way to handle social media or handle online reviews. Maybe you simply need new supplies. Be sure to add them to your list. It’s handy to keep a note on your smartphone so that you can add items on the fly.
Now that you have a good list of ideas, dig deeper through research. Review what you know about your guests - it’s all about providing them with the best experience. Look through guest surveys, TripAdvisor or social media reviews to better understand what is impacting the guest experience in positive or negative ways. This knowledge will help you provide the back-up you may need to justify certain improvements or investments. Also, gather all the information you’ll need from vendors or services that you want to add in the new year so that you are prepared for meetings with hotel management and your team.
In addition to your research, you’ll need to start forecasting for 2019 – both your topline budget and bottom line results, by month. What are hotel industry predictions for 2019? What outside influences might affect your hotel? How are your staffing needs going to change? How will that affect other costs, like recruiting or training? There’s a lot to consider, so it’s best not to wait until the last minute – and don’t assume that next year will look the same as this year.
5. Share and Review
Once you’ve gathered your wish list and done initial research, it’s important to consider who else on your team might have items to add. It’s also good to get feedback regarding items on your list. Share your list with your team and plan time to discuss how to prioritize.
Give yourself some time and distance from your list, then go back and revisit each item. With some separation and additional thought, you may want to make some adjustments. Consider if you’ve missed anything and remove any unrealistic items. When you present your wish list, you want to be fully prepared with your research and you want each item to be taken seriously.
Do You Need a Strategic Partner?
At iResponze, we know that responding to guest feedback & reviews and managing social media requires consistent attention and a strategy for developing and maintaining your hotel’s personality. We have helped many clients meet the challenge, and we have learned a lot about how to be successful with your current and future guests. We would welcome the opportunity to show how we can meet the challenge for you and your staff, leaving you all with more time to interact with the guests in front of you. Contact us for a free consultation today.