Accounting for Service - How to Make Financial Roles Fantastic

By Roberta Nedry President and Founder, Hospitality Excellence, Inc. | April 10, 2011

Making service sense out of those that manage the dollars and cents of any hospitality business is a key but often overlooked part of any service culture. Hospitality leaders may go out of their way to pay the bills, secure revenue, finance investments and get reimbursements but they need to ensure that the accounting department reimburses service too.

Service training is critical and obvious for those on the frontline but how does service factor into the daily duties of those behind the scenes and in accounting roles? Managers and employees charged with the art of recording, classifying and summarizing expenses and income of any hospitality environment should also be charged with the art of service in any of those roles.

Ron Albeit, Vice President of Hospitality at Marco Beach Ocean Resort and Fiddler’s Creek Country Club on Florida’s West Coast teaches a Financial Accounting Course for the Hospitality Industry at a local university. He tells his students that the most important thing that accounting provides is SERVICE! He presents choices and asks students to prioritize inventory, cash, audits and service and is often surprised that service usually ranks at the bottom of the list.

Why is it that those entrusted to watch over revenue often neglecting the very principles that make revenue more solid? Repeat business, referral business, additional income and especially more than satisfied guests depend on comprehensively positive experiences. Guests form impressions and evaluate the quality and delivery of service based on their immediate needs as well as the cumulative experience of each interaction to meet those needs. This includes all the points of contact that involve any member of the accounting team.

“In fact accounting actually has an even more challenging responsibility in that they have to service two very important customers,” notes Mr. Albeit. “They must work externally with vendors, creditors, government, past hotel guests regarding accounts receivable or questions on the hotel billing etc… And, they must also work with internal customers; THE EMPLOYEES, especially regarding their payroll!”

Whether three seconds, three minutes or three hours, the comprehensive series of events which take place to fulfill any service request, including events/items handled by anyone in accounting, will be evaluated as one good or poor result. Guests will spend a premium price to receive better service and will base their lodging, leisure and business decisions on those that provide the best.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.