Small tweaks to your hotel business can mean big savings and new revenue streams, according to a panel of experts at the Annual Hotel Conference last week.
"It's about running your business cost effectively and responsibly," said Xenia zu Hohenlohe, partner at Considerate Hoteliers, during a session on asset management.
She suggested that managers should examine where they are losing revenue, adding: "Hotels are bleeding energy costs they don't even know about. When you start drilling down you see you're wasting thousands of pounds."
She said that small economical tweaks and behavioural changes across a hotel team could result in massive changes to revenue per available room (revpar) and total revenue per available room (trevpar).
Ben Godon, director of Vision Asset Management, said that trevpar was not something fully understood by brands, unlike revpar, and that not many brands know how to drive trevpar. He suggested hoteliers should look to grow trevpar through food and beverage (F&B) and events.
However, Peter Banks, managing director of the four-red-AA star, 88-bedroom Rudding Park in Harrogate, said that wages were the biggest cost within a hotel, with F&B being particularly demanding.
"F&B is hard graft because it's so labour-heavy," he said. "We are facing a double whammy with the National Minimum Wage and the Living Wage. Watch and forecast your wages, because they are the biggest thing to look out for."
The panel seemed to agree, however, that replacing front of house staff with technology, at least on a luxury level, was not the answer just yet.
"The human element is expected still at luxury level," said Godon. He mentioned that one five-star country house client had trialled a digital concierge. "Getting our guests to begin to use that was a real struggle. The guest is happy to book through his phone but when he gets there he wants someone to be there to check him in."
Banks said they had also trialled guests checking out via the in-room television, but nobody wanted to use it. "They wanted to come and stand there and finish the experience," he explained. Zu Hohenlohe said that luxury hoteliers needed to offer the human touch alongside technology. "One or the other is no longer the option," she added.