Hotels run 24 X 7 X 365. No breaks. No holidays. Customers check in and check out any time of the day. A hotelier’s, 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. 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 and simplify the night audit reports. But before we deep dive into the solution part, let us first understand the different responsibilities of a hotel night auditor.
Responsibilities Of Night Auditors
Night auditors are the backbone of a hotel’s financial health. With responsibilities ranging from managing postings to generating comprehensive reports, their role is both pivotal and challenging. Here’s a snapshot:
Given the night shift’s time-sensitive nature,how can we make the night auditor’s responsibilities less daunting and more efficient? The solution is automation.
But doesn’t PMS automate the hospitality accounting process?
The manual accounting process is labor-intensive and prone to errors, which is why many hotels have transitioned to Property Management Systems (PMS) that streamline these tasks and reduce the chances of discrepancies.
However a PMS still requires a lot of manual effort for data entry and verification, which makes the efficiency of the entire process subject to the expertise of the multiple employees involved in the data collection and entry of guest details. Simply put, it means a lot of errors due to manual entry, delay in posting, erroneous calculations of bills etc.
By using an IPA(Intelligent Process Automation) solutions to boost the performance of a PMS hoteliers can reduce the manual intervention in accounting processes and perform them at higher efficiency too. Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) combines elements of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, offering a powerful solution to streamline and optimize business processes.
IPA solutions are easy to implement, low code options which can be seamlessly integrated with the PMS used by the hotel to mimic the human actions, at scale to remove the drudgery of repetitive manual tasks required to complete processes like account payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliation etc.
Let’s understand the multiple tasks involved in a typical night audit process:
|Automated (IPA) Approach
|Manually create a guest folio and record initial deposits.
|Automatically generate a digital folio. Instantly verify and authorize credit card details, recording the authorization as a credit.
|Daily Room Charges
|Manually post daily room rates to each guest’s folio.
|Automatically post the room rate to each active guest folio daily.
|Receive charge slips from departments and manually enter them into the guest’s folio.
|Departments input charges into a digital interface, and the system instantly posts this charge to the appropriate guest folio.
|Manually check correct errors or disputes.
|System flags discrepancies for review and can auto-correct common errors or suggest corrections.
|Manually record payments and transaction details.
|Automatically record payments as a credit on the folio. For credit card payments, auto-verify and process the transaction.
|Manually present the folio and mark it as settled after payment.
|Auto-generate a detailed digital folio for the guest. Once the final payment is processed, automatically mark the folio as settled.
|Manually review all transactions and reconcile them
|Auto-reconcile daily transactions, flagging any discrepancies for human review.
|File physical folios for record-keeping.
|Automatically archive all digital folios in cloud storage, making retrieval easy.
|Manually prepare multiple periodic reports.
|Auto-generate detailed reports based on real-time data, providing insights without manual intervention.
This table lists the tasks involved in the Posting process and the efficiencies gained by transitioning from a manual to an automated posting process for a night audit using IPA.
By integrating IPA into the posting process, hotels can significantly reduce manual tasks, minimize errors, and enhance efficiency of all accounting processes. This not only ensures a smoother guest experience but also allows hotel staff to focus on more value-added activities, such as guest interactions and service enhancements. In simple terms, IPA handles repetitive tasks with precision, allowing human staff to shine in areas where personal touch and judgment are essential.
Will implementing an IPA solution lead to any downtime?
For a hospitality leader, the thought of introducing a new technological solution might bring with it a cloud of apprehension. Questions arise: How will it integrate with the existing PMS? Will the transition disrupt regular operations? Is the learning curve steep for our staff?
1. Compatibility and Integration:
IPA solutions like RAPbot are platform agnostic and can be easily implemented on your existing platforms. They are built to seamlessly integrate with a wide range of Property Management Systems (PMS) currently in use across the hospitality industry. This means that rather than overhauling your existing systems, the IPA solution will work in tandem with them, enhancing their capabilities.
2. Smooth Transition
The implementation of an IPA solution is a phased process. It begins with a thorough assessment of your current operations, ensuring that the transition is tailored to your hotel’s unique needs. This step-by-step approach ensures minimal disruption, allowing your hotel to continue its operations unhindered.
3. User-Friendly Interface
One of the core principles behind IPA solutions is user-friendliness. The interfaces are intuitive, ensuring that your staff, whether tech-savvy or not, can quickly adapt. Moreover, comprehensive training sessions and round-the-clock support ensure that your team feels confident in using the new tools.
4. Continuous Support and Updates
Continuous support ensures that any teething issues are promptly addressed. Regular updates ensure that your IPA solution remains in tune with the latest industry trends and requirements.
5. Data Security and Compliance:
Data security is paramount. Rest assured, modern IPA solutions prioritize the protection of your guests’ data and ensure compliance with global data protection regulations.
The idea of integrating new technology might seem daunting, the actual process is designed to be as smooth and hassle-free as possible. The goal is simple: to empower your hotel to offer unparalleled service, streamline operations, and ultimately, boost profitability. Embracing IPA alongside your PMS is not just a step towards modernization; it’s a leap towards excellence.
Even though it’s hard, the night auditor’s job is essential to the success of a hotel. Automation not only makes it easier for night inspectors to do their jobs, but it also frees them up to work on tasks that can help the hotel reach new heights. As the hospitality industry continues to change, it’s time for hoteliers to embrace automation and set the stage for unmatched success.