Using EFTE's - Equivalent Full Time Employees

By David Lund Hospitality & Leadership Expert, The Hotel Financial Coach | November 12, 2017

If You Can't Measure It, You Can't Improve It. Management thinker Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying that "you can't manage what you can't measure." Drucker means that you can't know whether or not you are successful unless success is defined and tracked.

In the hotel business payroll is the number one cost. STR recently reported that labor made up 50% of revenues for a sample of over 4,000 hotels of all types and sizes. This should not be even a little bit of a surprise to anyone. Many hotels are well north of the 50% mark. We have all become accustomed to serious REVPAR growth year over year which has taken the bight out of wage and expense increases. But what happens when the REVPAR bubble bursts. We all know it’s not a matter of “if” it bursts it’s when will it burst. When it does burst not only will REVPAR stop growing there is a 90% chance it’s going to go backwards. Like it always has in past cycles. When it happens, it will be devastating to many owners. Overnight your ability to drive revenues will not only stop growing, it will start to shrink. So, what can you do about this inevitability?

The most impactful move you can make in your hotel is to have both hands on the “payroll” steering wheel. I know by what I read that our industry is awestruck by the potential impact of revenue management. And, rightfully so, with the right strategy, people and technology the revman in a growing market can have a huge win. Like the man said, a full tide floats all boats. But what happens when the pressure in the pipe drops and demand evaporates. What cards do we play then?

Hopefully you don’t wait for the party to end before you plan and execute your strategy. Having an efficient and reliable way to measure payroll is critical in any business. In hotels, the impact of payroll is amplified considerably and the need to have something you can measure is the key. Without these payroll tools your lost. May I introduce the secret weapon and the star of the show? EFTE’s! defines the acronym EFTE as “Equivalent Full Time Employee”. I know from my experience that most hotels do not use EFTE’s on their daily reporting and the use of EFTE’s on their financial statements is not prevalent. The creation and use of this powerful statistic is not difficult. All the information you need, you already have, it’s all at your fingertips. You just need to organize it and let it tell you what’s going on inside your hotel. Measuring the dollars of payroll in your hotel is very important but understanding productivity is the most powerful tool you have. Getting to understand and measure productivity leads to the comparison of like data, this is where the EFTE is so powerful, it’s like a power tool! Many industries use this statistic, and therefore it’s not unique to the hotel world.

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Coming up in May 2018...

Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.