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With huge turnover rates of customers, the hospitality industry, including hotels and restaurants, processes a lot of data. Software designed specifically for hotels and restaurants, in addition to standard accounting functions, will accept and process reservations and include other features to manage daily operations, such as labor scheduling, food cost control, and billing customers based on room charges and additional services.
We've written this guide to help guide hospitality professionals as they research accounting software solutions. We'll cover functionality specific to the hospitality industry, as well as best practices for evaluating these systems.
Hospitality and hotel accounting software will include the following industry-specific features:
|Reservations||Whether online, over the phone, or both, managing reservations is one of the foremost functions of software for the hospitality industry. Tying directly to your website, the accounting and reservations functions should be integrated so that deposits and payments can go directly into the system once the reservation has been made.|
|Customer Relationship Management||Particularly in the hospitality industry, it’s crucial to turn every lead into a sale. Hospitality software manages leads from initial contact to final reservation, and stores customer (or potential customer) data for future marketing campaigns. The more robust systems for hotels and resorts expand this into “tour management,” offering the user an online tour.|
|Daily Operations||Front desk, concierge, room charges, housekeeping, security, special events, facilities maintenance, and all the other aspects of managing the hotel should integrate seamlessly with the accounting functions. This enables costs and revenues to be tied directly to the relevant department.|
|Labor Scheduling||For most hospitality companies, labor is the number one expense. Scheduling software offers basic graphs, and advanced programs can even create those schedules for you based on sales trends, history, and employee availability. Helping managers streamline operations, this feature can also cut labor costs by scheduling employees based on fluctuations in activity, contain overtime costs, ensure the best employees are serving at peak times, and facilitate scheduling of routine tasks during lulls.|
|Food Cost Control||One of a restaurant’s largest controllable expenses is the cost of the food. Certain restaurant management programs help control food costs by identifying variances in actual versus ideal food usage, excessive waste, theft, margins, and other inefficiencies. They may also include budget & forecasting capabilities to support the decision-making for menu changes, specials, or promotions.|
The challenge in finding software today is to locate a program that offers a solution that deals specifically with your company’s needs. Resorts, hotels, and restaurants all have different challenges that need to be addressed. A fine dining establishment will have different needs than a fast food joint.
Specific questions to ask when evaluating hospitality industry accounting software are: