By Jeffrey Parker – Hotel Operations Expert
For hotel managers, it’s always important to know what’s going on in your hotel on a micro and macro-level. A flash report can help you understand just that. Every hotel management team has one, and every general manager sees it in their inbox every morning, but how do you build the perfect flash report?
Every flash report should start with looking at the past, how much revenue the hotel took in last night and how many rooms were occupied. The best hotel reports will look at the month to the date and the year to the date. Post-pandemic, the value of looking back might be different, there might be more value in looking at the budget. However, every flash report should be personalized to your hotel to equip your team with the tools they need to serve your hotel guests.
Before the personalization, there are some figures that every flash report should reflect:
What numbers should be in a flash report?
- Room Revenue, Occupancy, RevPar and Budget for
- The previous night
- The month to the date
- Last year, month to date
- The year to the date
- Last year, year to date
- Complementary rooms occupied
- No show rooms
- Sleepers- rooms that did not get checked out on the right day. (This should always be zero!)
Next, the report should help you plan for today, and the rest of the week. It’s important to include rooms and revenue on the books, check-outs and ins due each day, plus a forecast for rooms and revenue. The Director of Sales might use a pacing report with booking window data to build the forecast.
With this information the leadership teams can make sure that the right team resources are in place. This is an opportunity to add team members or reschedule others.
Add or reschedule team members
When a Manager compares all this data to the Expected Overtime Report from the time and attendance system, they juggle the schedule to avoid overtime. As well as make sure that the GM is prepared for the need of overtime because of the team.
For example, if a hotel has 50 check-outs on a Wednesday, but only 20 check-ins, an Executive Housekeeper might cut some team members on Wednesday and clean fewer rooms to avoid overtime, knowing that they have a busy weekend ahead. However, if on next Monday there is a big group coming in, with nearly 200 check-ins, the Executive Housekeeper might bring in extra staff over a slow weekend to make sure that the rooms are ready, without triggering overtime on Monday to turn the rooms needed.
This is especially important in markets where overtime is calculated in the number of hours per week (anything over 40) and hours per day (anything over 12). I have worked with some flash reports that include labor and overtime information, but this is sensitive data and should be tightly controlled. A Flash Report should be shared with the entire team.
Use hotel operations tools to help
Leveraging tools like ALICE Housekeeping makes it possible to customize every day to the hotel’s occupancy and team needs by assigning just the rooms needed to be cleaned today, and when possible staggering resources in housekeeping, laundry and housemen to maximize efficiency.
Engineering also uses the flash data and ALICE to move preventive maintenance tasks. A full hotel might necessitate moving maintenance that would take a room out of service to another day, where a light occupancy day might allow for tasks like deep cleaning and paint refresh to move up on the docket.
Very Important Persons (VIP) should be listed on the flash report as well, those in-house as well as expected arrivals. Flagging these guests in ALICE allows for the team to have highetend visibility into requests through the Guest Messaging, Concierge and Service Delivery systems.
Allow your all-in-one platform to organize these tasks
It is customary for a couple of clean rooms to be held out of order for a few hours each day for the Sales team to give tours for prospective groups or negotiated business clients. Listing these on the report lets all the teams know where these rooms are.
In ALICE the rooms might have extra tasks set up (e.g. add fresh flowers to the bridal suite, or set up room TV to scroll engagement pictures and pictures of past weddings). When the room is ready to be released, hotels use ALICE to schedule the housekeeping team to tidy up and inspect these rooms before being returned to inventory for rental.
Include events, groups and corporate team arrivals
A flash report that details groups coming in, from weddings to corporate events, lets your team know what and who to expect. This is a great way to deliver excellent customer service. Listing the group coordinator or wedding planners information is always helpful too, just in case the team needs to reach out.
This is also a great way to enhance the guest experience. Make sure that amenities for delivery to the rooms are set up as tasks, everyone loves a local welcome basket for the out-of-town wedding guests, or a swag bag from the conference team.
This section of the report should have information on group size and any event times and locations, even if those events are not on premise. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been at the front desk and the Daily Flash Report saved the day when some wedding guest needed to know where to be, or some late arrival for a meeting just did not have time for the reader board to rotate to their meeting.
Personalize your report to your hotel!
A great flash report can be an essential tool for your team to keep everyone in the loop. The report does not have to be a boring set of numbers and letters, it should also be catered to general guest preferences. I have seen some with the weather forecast (great for Ski Towns, or Spring Training), High & Low Tide times (great for beach volleyball or romantic beach walks).
Some will even have an inspirational quote of the day, a fun random fact, a new hashtag to post on social media, a list of team birthdays this week, announcements on new team members to welcome, and many will have other goals around the mission and success of the hotel team.
If printed, a Flash Report should be NO MORE than one legal page long, if displayed digitally, make sure that the report is displayed in a format that is easy to read (keep those fonts a good size) and readily available to the teams.