The Job of a Hospitality Manager – Financial Management

When searching for hotel jobs near you, there is the possibility that you may stumble upon management positions in the hospitality industry. So what does a hotel manager do? What challenges do they face on a daily basis? What is the role of financial management? We will explore the various roles that make this one of the more rewarding jobs in the world.Budget Analysis/ExecutionFor the purposes of this article, let’s start with the budget process for the hotel manager and work our way from there. Every year, a budget will be prepared in meticulous fashion by highlighting every general ledger account, which includes revenue and expenses. Your revenues are from sales of any kind, while the expenses are anything that costs the business money to provide a quality service to the guests. A budget will project everything for the upcoming year, with each revenue and expense tracked through general ledger accounts. For a hospitality manager to be effective, well, they will prepare an accurate budget! How is this done? The use of historical figures is important and an easy start. However, a manager will understand how upcoming events will impact the operations. For example, if the hotel sits on an oceanfront, a manager will be aware of the increase in room revenue during the summer months when families are more likely to vacation and stay in a hotel.How does a hospitality manager know if they are executing their budget effectively? This is achieved through a process known as variance analysis. The idea is to have as little variance as possible, meaning that a strong budget is being followed very closely with little deviation. Obviously, this is not always possible as market trends can affect occupancy in many ways. However, the general rule of thumb is that when revenue increases, expenses will most likely increase. The inverse should also be true; when occupancy is lower than expected, expenses need to trend in the same direction. This leads us into our next section: revenue management.Revenue ManagementIn the hospitality industry, there are various revenue streams that generate an income for a property. This includes the sales from rooms, conference spaces, food and beverage, and much more. As a hotel manager, it is extremely important to understand the impact of each operation and the overall effect they have on the total revenue. Simply stated, without occupancy, there is no money flowing into the property. The manager has a job of being very involved in the sales process by generating and following up on leads with the Director of Sales, ensuring the Revenue Manager is setting the best rates for the property, championing the quality of the food and beverage department, and keeping the calendar full in the conference room.Managing the ExpensesSo what expenses will you typically see in a hotel operation? Here’s the short answer: a bunch! Generally, one of the biggest expenses in the hospitality industry is salaries and wages. This is the cost of all the jobs in the hotel. Every hour worked is an expense that is incurred. This is why it is common practice for managers to decrease hours of the staff during the slower periods – remember what we said previously: when revenue decreases, so should your expenses. If a hotel pays its employees vacation time or sick time, it is normally in the salaries and wages as well.Another significant expense in the hospitality industry is supplies. These are the amenities that fill the hotel. If you’ve stayed in a hotel room, you can see the many supplies at work – toilet paper, linen, bathroom amenities, light bulbs, coffee amenities, water, snacks, and much more. How about the supplies used by a housekeeper – the cart, cleaning chemicals, uniforms, cleaning tools, etc. Hotels usually have contractual services that provide added amenities for guests. These include high definition premium cable, Wi-Fi, gardening/groundskeeping, newspaper subscriptions, in-room phones, etc. Let’s keep moving… what about the other expenses? Marketing/advertising for the property or jobs, maintenance material (for fixtures, furniture, and equipment), depreciation on major purchases/renovations, credit card sales expense (yes, merchants get a nice percentage every time a Front Desk Associate swipes a credit card) and the greatest expense of them all – taxes! OK, so this is quite a list. The point is this – by generating revenue, these expenses are much easier to handle! Also, an effective hotelier will find every way possible to lower all of these expenses. This is most definitely one of the fun parts of the job.Accounting ProcessesDoes the job sound challenging yet? Well the accountability of these funds is equally important as generating income and managing expenses. If you don’t like accounting, that’s OK! I can promise that you will learn it as each day passes at your job. Financial management includes the proper accounting of all transactions in the hotel. Each hotel has an internal or external accountant who will ensure that these transactions are recorded into the proper general ledger accounts. Usually, the most common method is through accrual basis accounting, where transactions are recorded in the month they are executed (as opposed to cash basis, where they are recorded once expensed). This allows for better tracking of the overall budget. As a hospitality manager, your job is to review and ensure the proper accounting of all funds in and out of the hotel. Wasn’t that easy enough?Fiscal OversightAnother important process in regards to financial management is ensuring the proper oversight of all monies in the hotel. For example, each hotel has a cash drawer that Front Desk Associates will use for cash paying guests as well as reimbursements for any kind. If you were the manager, you will definitely want to ensure there is proper oversight of these drawers so they can be in-balance at the end of the day. The PMS (Property Management System) will record all cash transactions and can be accessed at anytime.It is not uncommon for hotel managers to take on the job of randomly conducting surprise cash counts for the purpose of “showing” the staff that you are doing your job with the fiscal oversight process (and of course, handling any issues if the cash count is out of balance). Typically, theft isn’t a big issue in the hospitality industry, but it is always susceptible.How about the oversight of your purchasing processes? Put yourself in a hotel manager’s shoes for a second. There is the job of an employee in your hotel that buys all of the supplies previously mentioned at your property. Here’s how the process works: supplies are purchased, products or services are received and inspected, payment is processed (sometimes this occurs first), and the transaction is posted onto the books. Would you be happy with just one person handling this entire process? Meaning, they will buy stuff, go downstairs to receive it from the shipping company, and authorize the payment? The short answer is no. At a smaller hotel, this may be the only feasible option, which isn’t necessarily the worst thing. However, it is always preferred to have a separation of duties in the purchasing process. The person purchasing typically is not the one you want receiving the items, which is because there is the possibility for theft and it would be very difficult to track this as a manager. Some hotels will appoint Front Desk Associates or other members of the team to do the receiving agents for items ordered for housekeeping. This is a good example of strong fiscal oversight.In summation, financial management is an important part of a hospitality manager’s job. The beautiful thing about this subject is that it encompasses every position and all parts of the hotel operation. By learning financial management, you are in essence learning about everything that goes on at the property. That is a beautiful thing!

How Beauty, Health, and Wellness Businesses Can Use History to Impress and Attract Customers

True story.Last February, I was having a “make-up lesson” at a wonderful cosmetics store in Salem, Massachusetts. The make-up artist (and store manager) naturally struck up a conversation by asking me what I did for a living.I explained that I worked with businesses in historical communities to incorporate history into their branding and marketing, and I also revealed that I was putting together a program for National Women’s History Month — which takes place every month in March. “I am a business owner and historian,” I continued.”That’s really interesting,” she said “but I don’t see how history could work here.”I immediately swung into action. “What do you know about the history of women’s cosmetics?” I asked her. After all, women have been using various potions and substances since ancient times – some of which we are rediscovering today, like mineral-based products.Make-up itself and standards of beauty have changed dramatically over the centuries as we see in portraits and, more recently, in photographs. Within the 20th century alone, think about make-up styles in the flapper era, in the silent and talk movies of the 1930s and 1940s, in the “domestic goddess” look of the 1950s, and the radical departures of the 1960s and 1970s. All of this history is fun to study, to question the meaning of, and to look at visually.As it turned out, my new friend the make-up artist had a personal passion about the history of women’s cosmetics. Perfect! I then made the following suggestions.• For the Women’s History Month program I was creating, I offered to let her give a talk on women’s cosmetics in eighteenth century America. Our theme was women retailers in eighteenth-century Salem, so her talk would fit right in. Her talk, business, and website would all be featured in marketing materials and social media communications.• On the day of her talk, which would take place at a popular Salem function hall, I suggested she could have a table with information, samples, members of her staff, etc. She also had 10% off postcards to give out to new customers.She was thrilled! These small actions would put her in front of new audiences AND give her the stature that comes from speaking knowledgeably about her industry’s history. She would also gain credibility as an active corporate citizen, which, in her case, as a new business in town, would do wonders.I suggested she could also write articles on the subject, publish a small book or Ebook, do a local cable show with a brief chat about make-up then and now and give live demonstrations, and the list goes on. Again, all of these actions would really set her apart from other make-up artists in a way that residents of a very historical region would notice.These ideas could also apply to skin care companies, hair salons, women’s clothing and accessory stores, jewelry boutiques – you name it!What about health and wellness businesses?Who else could benefit from this approach? Health clubs, spas, massage centers, and health care practices; chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical coaches, nutritionists, and other solo practitioners. Again, it’s a long list.Not only have standards of beauty changed over time, so have standards for women’s fitness, strength, and overall wellness. We have come a long way from the days of corsets, “women’s troubles” that were “evil” and never discussed, stress and anxiety that women were told existed only in our minds, and putting everyone else’s well being first to the detriment of our own.Today, we know so much more about nutrition, the benefits of exercise, non-Western remedies, the effects of stress, how connected our self-esteem is to our health and appearance, and that if we women take care of ourselves first we can more easily take care of others. Sometimes it’s helpful to look at how far we’ve come, and to celebrate where we are by renewing our commitment to beauty, health, and wellness – our own, and our customers’.More ideas to implementWomen’s History Month offers an annual opportunity to promote your beauty, health, or wellness business to women. Find out if your local historical society or museum is celebrating March. If they have no plans, offer to work with them to develop a program that’s a win for you and a win for them. You might consider collaborating with other woman-focused businesses in your community for a larger or multi-week event.Beyond March, think about ways in which you could insert your historical knowledge of your field into your historical society or museum’s lecture series or newsletter, publish your story in your local newspaper and on your website, create a fun “Did you know?” handout on your subject then and now. The possibilities are endless!This is an unusual marketing approach for beauty, health, and wellness businesses, but people who live in historical communities really are interested in history and they will appreciate your own interest.I truly believe that adopting some of these methods will position you and your business a cut above the rest!

The Beauty-Mind-Body Weight Loss Connection

Do you mentally beat yourself up when you go off your diet?Battering your self-esteem commonly leads to a further falling off the rails. Thinking: “I blew it, I’m disgusted by the rolls of fat, why don’t I just give up now,” can lead to a downward diet spiral as quickly as chocolate melts in your mouth.Negative thoughts have a way of snowballing, or should we say “butter-balling.”This type of resigned reaction could be a major factor to the obesity epidemic in America today.It might not even be at a conscious level.In fact, when you are feeling stuffed from a heavy first course, you might find yourself digging into dessert without even thinking about it. At a subconscious level, that fat feeling is driving you to keep up the figure sabotaging behavior.But what if you employed a little pre-emptive strategy of making yourself feel great before you eat. In fact, why not start at the beginning of your day?Instead of putting yourself together in the usual way, take a little extra effort to make sure you look and feel great as you leave the house.Some ‘Beauty-Mind-Body’ ideas to set your self-esteem meter up a notch to prepare for your day:• After your shower lovingly apply a favorite lotion to your skin.• Pat moisturizer on your face and blend in a delicate matter, the way beautiful models do in face cream commercials• Take time to fix your hair attractively• Apply a little eye makeup and blush to enhance your look• Notice any little wardrobe areas that need attention (lint, shoes that need polishing, stray threads, etc.)• Add a light fragrance that always boosts your mood• Pack some healthy snacksLook in the mirror and smile at the attractive front you are presenting to the world, and breathe in deeply as you recite some positive mantra to yourself.If you catch yourself frowning at any time during the day, replace it with a smile.What if the situation is frown-worthy? Tell yourself you have faith that you will handle it in the best possible manner. Be protective of your Beauty-Mind-Body state!By starting your day off on a positive note and maintaining it throughout your day, you will be sending powerful messages to your sub-conscious mind that you are a beautiful and worthy person.Some ideas to keep a positive spirit:• Listen to beautiful music or inspirational recordings during your commute and work breaks• Aim to have positive interactions with your associates• Rise above petty annoyances• See how many people you can make smile• Be kind and thoughtful, courteous and helpfulWhat other ways can you feed a Beauty-Mind-Body spirit?As you incorporate them more and more into your day, you will find that resisting unhealthy food choices becomes second nature.Before long, you will manifest the body you’ve dreamed of, and a more beautiful spirit to go with it!