Hotels run 24 X 7 X 365. No breaks. No holidays. Customers check in and check out any time of the day. As a hotelier, it is your numero uno responsibility to meet and exceed their expectations. At the same time, to stay profitable, you need to optimize the operations and the occupancy rates.
And to achieve that, you need to accurately and religiously review your accounting records every day. And that’s where specialists in the form of night auditors come in. But even for these specialists, this accounting process becomes a nightmare owing to the thousands of data points that get generated every day. The entire process becomes repetitive and highly labor-intensive.
Most of the time, the hotel owners are often in the dark about their hospitality night audits. They do not know what’s happening in their hotel as most of the time, the audit reports are filled with human errors and the absence of many entries.
The only way to resolve these issues is to automate most of the night audit tasks. But before we deep dive into the solution part, let us first understand the different responsibilities of a night auditor.
Responsibilities Of Night Auditors
As you would have already guessed, night auditors are finance experts who have in-depth knowledge and understanding of the functioning of hospitality businesses. The following are the key responsibilities of the night auditor at the end of the day-
- Manage postings: Check that all the guest transactions are posted in the guest accounts.
- Occupancy status: Examine the guest occupancy and housekeeping reports to see if they match. They also need to check the ‘no shows’ against the actual room status to determine the occupancy rate.
- Room rates: Ensure that the quoted rates correspond to the guest registrations and that accurate room and tax charges are posted to the guest accounts.
- Balance all departments: Tally and close out all the revenue center departments.
- Process payments: Tally online and cash on hand payments.
- Generate Reports: Create daily reports such as accommodation reports, revenue reports, tax reports, cashier’s reports, counter reports, credit reports, etc., for the management during every accounting cycle.
As you can see, the responsibilities are quite daunting and need to be completed during the graveyard shift. So to streamline these night audits, it is recommended to automate accounts along with the following tasks –
Most of you might already know what Project Management Software (PMS) is. It is a tool that helps plan, organize, manage resource tools and resource estimates. When you integrate this tool with night auditing, your night auditor can automate the postings of various guest account charges such as laundry or room service and also the next day’s postings such as room rent. To the uninitiated, a posting is a process of transferring recorded business events from the general journal to the ledger.
How does automation help: It eliminates billing errors and data entry errors at the time of posting. The automation also frees the night auditor to focus on other mission-critical activities.
Automating the housekeeping system allows the night auditor to track the room status in real-time. This helps them understand if there are any ‘no shows’ or any room is lying vacant unnecessarily. If the rooms are empty, the auditor can fill the room with waiting guests, thus optimizing the occupancy at the hotel.
How does automation help: If the room status differs between the housekeeping system and PMS, a flag will be raised within the system, allowing the night auditor to optimize the occupancy status. It will reduce the herculean task of crossing-referring the room status manually.
Payment disputes can affect the guest’s experience negatively. It will not only lead to poor reviews but also affect the reputation of the hotel and, ultimately, the revenue. In the event of inconsistencies in the payment, the night auditor needs to focus all his attention on the issue and resolve it.
How does automation help: Using payment automation software, the night auditor can easily check and compare the payment system with their existing housekeeping system and PMS, spot any imbalances, and reconcile them as required.
A key task of a night auditor is to be familiar with the credit limits of guest and non-guest accounts. The credit limit is decided based on several factors, such as the floor limits of the credit card company, the limits of the hotel, the reputation of the guest, etc. Keeping tabs on all these isn’t possible for a night auditor and requires automating the front office system.
How does automation help: The automated front office system keeps tabs on everything and notifies the night auditor if any guest or non-guest accounts reach the credit limit. Once notified by the system, the auditor can take appropriate action.
Cancellations need to be handled with great care. If the front desk personnel does not properly record the cancellation, the client will be billed. If this happens frequently, it may lead to a re-evaluation of the credit card company’s legal agreement and relationship with the hotel.
Along with that, the canceled room is now lying vacant and is not getting paid for the day. The night auditor is unaware of it most of the time, leading to a loss of revenue.
How does automation help: Once the cancellation process is automated, it will automatically notify the night auditor, who will take care of the billing according to the hotel policies. The auditor can also fill the vacant room with guests on the waiting list.
The job of the night auditor comes with myriads of challenges, such as meeting guests’ last-minute requests, managing emergencies, handling payment issues, etc. All these make the lives of night auditors difficult. However, there’s absolutely no reason for a night auditor to live like this. Automating most of their tasks will help them focus on more creative and important tasks that can help the hotel grow leaps and bounds.
If you are interested to learn more about this disruptive technology, take a look at 6 Key AI Trends in Hospitality – Where the bots are winning . Alternatively, you could also explore Tackle the Post-Pandemic Business ‘New Normal’ with the Power of Intelligent Automation.
If you’re interested in exploring Intelligent Automation to enhance your customer services and customer experience, Rapid Acceleration Partners would be glad to help. Our next-gen, AI-powered content intelligence platform RAPFlow enables full lifecycle AI orchestration on a single platform. When used in tandem with our RPA tool RAPBot, it provides end-to-end workflow automation capabilities that can be deployed in just weeks. You can even build your own use case and the platform can easily integrate with your existing systems. Book a demo to get a more detailed understanding of how our products can transform your business.