Why Hotels Should Consider Outsourcing

By Derek Olsen Senior Vice President, CHMWarnick | October 22, 2017

Co-authored by Sean Kreiman, Manager, CHMWarnick

As the industry sits at the top of the hotel cycle, one of increasing supply, rising labor costs, peak occupancy, marginal rate growth, and growing customer acquisition costs, hoteliers and asset managers need to evaluate all cost containment opportunities to improve profits and enhance asset values. As is evident when reviewing the large amount of expense attributable to the Contract Services lines in most hotel P&Ls, many hotels are already outsourcing various components of their operations, including public area cleaning, maintenance, pest control, and landscaping, to name a few. While these functions may be considered routine, there are more profitable (yet riskier) areas of the operation that can be outsourced, particularly those related to labor, which currently accounts for more than 50% of a hotelís total operating expenses.

Outsourcing by Department

Rooms

The most profitable department in most hotels (typically between 70-80% of Revenue), has additional opportunity to enhance margins through the outsourcing of key functions including housekeeping, laundry, and reservations. However, this department also comes with the most challenge given the high-levels of guest interaction. A lack of control in this area of the operation can most adversely impact the entire operation. It is important to consider a hotelís market and positioning when considering making changes to any of these Rooms Department functions.

Food and Beverage

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.