One of the biggest mistakes a General Manager can make is assuming that variable expenses do not vary. It sounds like this is a no-brainer statement, but it happens all the time! Managers and management companies will set the budget at the same monthly amount for Staff Payroll, Guest Amenities, Linen, Cleaning Supplies, Welcome Gifts and Guest Room Supplies. But when a hotel is running 38%, this amount is very different than when it is running 98%. The amount spent in these lines is directly related to the occupancy of the hotel and should be set based on CPOR.
Always adjust your staff schedules based on occupancy. You need less people at the desk, less housekeepers to clean rooms, less valet/bellmen to run errands, so staff accordingly. And do not be afraid to have salaried employees filling in for hourly spots.
These are non-perishable items, in most cases, so when guests do not use them, your cost will decrease. Where the real damage comes in is with perishable items in the breakfast, restaurant or market. Pay attention to ordering and stocking of these supplies, as the money can easily end up in the trash can.
The time and supplies needed to clean the hotel and clean the guest rooms will severely decrease when a hotel is not fully occupied, but a neglected hotel can take a severe turn. Even empty rooms need to be refreshed, and if one guest uses a bathroom, rides the elevator or walks down a hall, it has to be cleaned.
The best way to save money on utilities is to keep the occupied rooms together. If your hotel is running low on occupancy, shut down the top floors or an entire wing and make sure all lights are off and the air is circulating, but neutral. Having the guests in one area will not only help with utilities, but will save on labor as well.
June McCreight began her career in the hospitality industry as a housekeeper in 1996. In the years since, she has risen through the ranks, learning maintenance, front office, sales and revenue management, property management and district management, bench management and opening team management. She has trained hundreds of hoteliers and won many awards for her management successes. In 2011, June wrote and published, The Strangers in My Beds, a fictional novel based strictly on the strange events of her career in hotels. In 2014, June partnered with her father, a very accomplished software architect, and opened the business, Coba Enterprise Management, LLC with a very unique and specialized CMMS (Computer Maintenance Management System) software for hotels.