Improving productivity through demand-based scheduling
Improving productivity through demand-based scheduling
19 MARCH 2020 7:18 AM

Hotel operators must show their creativity to improve productivity once all of the “silver bullets” have been used.

Whether it is continued deceleration or an upcoming recession, hotel operators are facing the challenge to maintain margins while rising wage rates, benefits and insurance costs are outpacing increases in revenues.

Over the last few years, hotel managers have silenced the cost creep by reducing or eliminating services like minibars and room service, implementing and increasing destination fees, and right-sizing management staffing, leaving operators few remaining “silver bullets” to control costs.

For this reason, asset managers and operational-efficiency specialists have become more valuable due to their ability to bring quantifiable data and apply it to best-in-class operating procedures. One common area that is overlooked is demand-based scheduling, as seldom do the individuals who are making the schedule truly review and understand historic and future demand patterns during the forecast and scheduling process. Proactive use of this data can unlock hidden inefficiencies and improve overall productivity.

Dynamic front-desk staffing
A traditional front-desk schedule is written based on the number of arrivals and departures each day rather than at what time of the day those arrivals and departures occur.

By mining the actual arrival and departure patterns captured by the PMS systems, more than 70% of the daily workload at the front desk is completed between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., leaving idle time or over-scheduled hours in the early and late hours of the day. Incorporating a midshift in this case allows for proper coverage when the demand is present and can eliminate or shorten hours in non-peak times.

Scheduling around Do Not Disturb
Understand the historic rate of Do Not Disturb percentage by day of week and season and forecast the same while scheduling. Proactively incorporating DNDs can lead to equally dispersed room boards and a more productive room attendant team.

Review and update labor standards
Labor management systems (LMS) have the tendency to become “garbage in, garbage out.” Hotel managers should often revisit standards, demand drivers and zero-based scheduling thresholds to ensure the data in the system is relevant to current and anticipated business volumes. Demand drivers such as arrivals, departures and covers can change per month/day/hour and often have seasonal influencers which are not often adjusted in the LMS.

Data should drive hours of operations and scheduling
F&B in hotels is nearly a 24/7 business, but the kitchen and venues do not need to be open that entire time. Managers should review their product mix by day part by day of week, as well as front- and back-of-house scheduling to determine optimal hours of operations and offerings by hour by day of week. Typical savings are found through bifurcating coffee and breakfast hours in the morning, shrinking offerings during slower periods during the day and closing kitchens during hours that bars remain open.

With over 10 years of hospitality advisory experience, David Israel, CHA, is a leader in hotelAVE’s New York practice and an active member of its Executive Committee. He currently oversees day‐to‐day operations and strategy to maximize the investment value of properties including independent, boutique and branded affiliations in the East Coast, Rocky Mountain, and Caribbean regions. He is also responsible for client relations, including identifying acquisition opportunities, asset management, and consulting assignments. Since joining the firm in 2009, he has played an integral role in expanding the firm’s owned asset portfolio; establishing hotelAVE’s New York presence; and creating financial investment models and benchmarking tools. David was instrumental in the formation of Post Script Hospitality and spearheaded its launch and partnership with hotelAVE, providing clients with unprecedented consulting and advisory support, including on‐the‐ground operational services.

David Butler has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry with a specific concentration in branded and independent hotels, and high-volume food and beverage operations. Mr. Butler and his team use their expertise to improve operational efficiencies by conducting area-specific analyses and observing employees conduct their daily activities to improve overall workflow and remove process constraints. David’s work results in uncovering opportunities focused around reduced overall operational costs, increased ancillary revenues, and improved service. In addition, he is responsible for client satisfaction, quality assurance and enhancing company process to improve project return to our clients. Before joining Post Script, David was the Vice President of Operations at StepStone Hospitality where he was responsible for the company’s full-service managed hotels that comprised 10-12 hotels of multiple brands, as well as lifestyle and independent hotels. He also assisted with company F&B projects and initiatives. At StepStone he used internal and external expense benchmarking data to regularly evaluate opportunities in each of his assets. David also held Area Director of Operations and VP of Operations positions at Lodgian and Prism Hotels & Resorts where he oversaw portfolios of 10-30 hotels.

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