In the yesteryears, when I was a reservations assistant for a hotel, our chief accountant followed a different kind of schedule. Every day around midnight, he went to the front office and then to the restaurant and return with a pile of KOTs, bills and cash. He then sat for hours to match them, note the discrepancies, resolve them, record the transactions on excel and then close the day.
When I moved to a bigger hotel, a different guy only did the graveyard shift. He would come into the front office around midnight, scrutinising all the check-ins, no-shows, payment receipts, cash drawers and file some reports afterwards. In due course, I learned that the process is called hotel night audit and the person performing the task was the (k)night auditor.
But is that all a hotel night audit comprises? There is always more than what meets the eye.
Auditors are skilled in detailing and analysing raw data; then populating that into efficient and effective reports. Now, what if the auditor does not show up at work? In major cases, not everyone can afford to have a full-time auditor; what then?
Through this blog, I will provide you with detailed outlines on how to ace the hotel night audit process.
Table of contents
Why is hotel night audit important?
The importance of the night audit cannot be undermined. A night audit to a hotel is what sleep is to humans. Just like how we cannot function without sleep, a hotel cannot operate without performing a night audit daily. It helps in summarising the cash flow occurred at the hotel front desk in one business day.
Typically, a night auditor goes through the guest ledger, verifies check-ins and no-shows, updates pending check-ins, tallies payment received by cash and POS, settles unsettled folios, checks adjustments and taxes, flags monetary discrepancy if any, prepares relevant reports, closes cash drawers and updates housekeeping status for the next shift. In certain hotels, he or she is also responsible for post-mid-night check-ins.
Performing night audit in the hotel daily helps the hotelier in
The night audit helps with precise statistical data to generate reports like revenue, occupancy and guest spends. These reports assist management to further devise pricing, discounts, and revenue strategy.
The night audit, when correctly done; ensures operational effectiveness. As a hotelier, you can monitor your expenses, occupancy, booking vs no-show ratio, rooms under maintenance and room availability. Daily monitoring helps you eliminate redundant costs, thereby keeping financial health in check.
Ensuring a smooth rollover to the next business day
The night audit summarises all the financial and certain operational activities that have taken place at your hotel in one business day. When the day manager takes charge, the report helps him prepare for new check-ins, expected check-outs, collection of pending payments if any.
This saves time, keeps the team in sync and the property runs without glitches. It helps the accommodation provider streamline all the operational aspects of their property.
In a pre-technology era, it took numerous man-hours, calculations and recalculations, a scavenger hunt for missing KOTs and bills to be able to successfully complete the audit. For hotels which cannot afford to have a full-time night manager; PMS softwares are a blessing disguise, helping them streamline their process for effective operations.
In a nutshell, the night audit process is an important step in ensuring your hotel runs smoothly.
When to perform night audit?
A night audit is performed after the permissible check-in period is over in smaller hotels and just after midnight or before the next shift takes over in hotels that accept the guests 24X7. By late night or midnight, majority guests have already checked-in, the crowd moves away from the common areas, the housekeeping and other operational departments of the hotel are closed for the day; giving the auditor required time and peace to complete the process.
At several places, however; the managers prefer to perform the night audit early in the morning before the beginning of the shift. Having said that, performing a manual audit is not encouraged as it increases the chances of discrepancies.
How does hotel software simplify the night audit?
Night auditors are specialised in both front office and accounting operations and hence demand higher salaries. For smaller and mid-sized hotels, hiring a full-time auditor is not feasible. Besides, a manual night audit is a taxing task that involves a person putting in numerous man-hours going through every entry in the ledger, every room service bill, every check-in and no-show details; without guaranteeing error-free reports.
With technology reaching the hotels in the form of a property management system, this task now can be performed with utmost precision, a few clicks and in no time.
Automating the entire process
New age technology is helping minimise human errors and efforts on hotel operations so that the hoteliers can focus on guest satisfaction. Be it making reservations, room allotment, receiving payments, updating city ledger accounts or the room rates and occupancy; everything is performed by and is recorded by the hotel software.
Another indispensable functionality that an efficient PMS is laced with, is an automated night audit process based on the commands set by the hotelier.
Providing accurate data
Because of the automated process, the scope of error is too minute. This helps you get precise data sets you need to improve revenue for your property.
Regulate the night audit process
In a perfect world, your night auditor would show up every day at a precise time, perform the process without any error and leave the reports on your desk when you reach. But in reality, that does not happen. For any unavoidable circumstances, if he does not show up for a week, you would be sitting in a pool of papers and numerous excels trying to make sense of the data.
Technology comes to your rescue here by performing the night audit at the time you specified. This ensures all the folios are settled, no-shows marked, discrepancies flagged for action. You can even set a reminder for the night audit process.
Efficient PMS softwares like eZee FrontDesk and eZee Absolute freeze the operations for the day until the night audit is performed thereby ensuring no task of today is left for tomorrow.
What are the steps of the night audit process?
A night audit is a conglomerate of different micro-processes. All these processes are as per the industry standards and remain pretty much the same for all the types of accommodations. In this section, however, we shall focus on the mandatory and key processes of the night audit.
Step 1: Manage Reservations
The first step in the night audit process is to go through every booking voucher for check-in, check-out, no-show, maintenance block and on-hold reservations (On-hold reservations are the rooms for which the advance amount is received, but the guests haven’t shown up until the time of audit) for that business day.
It is mandatory to flag if and when you encounter any discrepancies in the number of room nights, nightly price, occupancy or room services folios before you move on to the next step.
Step 2: Posting Room Charges and Taxes
Next step is to check if the front office has left instructions with regards to guest overstay, payments receivables, discounts if any. Once you have all the details, proceed about posting room charges and taxes to respective folios.
Step 3: Balance Guest Charges and Payments
After the room charges are posted, proceed to post all the pending transactions which were recorded during the day. (i.e. parking fees, room service or mini-bar charges, laundry, telephone or internet charges, etc.). This process is called a trial balance.
Make sure to keep a tab on corporate accounts’ payments. (city ledger accounts). In case of discrepancies in the trial balance and actual, make a note of the difference and leave the note for the particular department. Ensure you close the cash drawer in the end.
Step 4: Reconcile Room Status
Once all the charges are posted, the next step is to reconcile all the bookings for the day. It allows you to update the exact room position for the next business day. After reconciliation, you must prepare a detailed report about room availability, maintenance block, guest arrival and departure. This helps the housekeeping staff to go about their operations for the day.
Step 5: Generate Reports
The final process for a successful night audit in a hotel is to populate data gathered into relevant report formats for inter and intradepartmental use. These reports will help you strengthen your strategies around hotel operations.
Amongst various types of night audit reports, we are listing the key reports that you must check after every audit.
Night audit reports you need to look into
- Night Audit report: One report which every hotel manager swears by, is the night audit report. It is a copious report that captures occupied rooms’ count, guest count, total sales, miscellaneous expenses and receivables.
This report helps with counts of expected arrivals and departures, day usage rooms, under maintenance rooms, cancellations and no-shows and complimentary rooms if any. Other details like the meal plan under which the guests have booked their rooms are also available so that the F&B department can make necessary arrangements.
- Manager report: As a general manager or the owner, this is the report you must look at. It contains room charges, payments received, account receivables, petty cash expenses from the front office, total revenue generated, city ledger’s reports such as – advanced deposit ledger, guest ledger and room summary. It will guide you to understand target v/s actual revenue.
- Rooms on Books Report: With this report, you can categorise your rooms under occupied rooms, booked but yet to arrive, available to sell, due check-out, under maintenance etc. This report is again shared with the housekeeping, front office and the reservations department for their actions.
- Detail Revenue Report: This report provides you with the exact breakdown of the revenue generated for every room. It covers details like guest name, room number/type, meal plan, room rate per night, taxes, business source and net earnings. You can determine ARR for that day on the basis of this report.
This is how one can perform a successful night audit in a hotel.
How can one perform the night audit process in eZee’s hotel software?
In 2020, you do not have to burden yourself with this cumbersome task manually. This whole process which can take hours of your valuable time is now achievable just in a few clicks.
Amongst a ton of other hotel management software, eZee Absolute is one of a very few software that provides a simple 6-step night audit process.
We at eZee have made the night audit in a hotel as good as a daydream versus the nightmare people think of it. You do not have to take my word for it. I have made a demo for you to understand it.
Step 1: Check Pending Reservation
The very first step is to check for any pending reservations.
A reservation goes into pending status when;
- The guest did not arrive and no show was not marked.
- The guest did check-in but the same was not updated in the system.
- Cancellation not updated in the system.
Once you have known the status of the guest, move your cursor to the downward arrow next to the deposit amount and choose the relevant option from the menu.
Then, click “Next”.
Step 2: Release Reservations
Once you settle pending reservations, the system redirects you to the next page where you take care of unconfirmed bookings. If the guest does not confirm their arrival within a given timeline, you can release the reservation to make the room available for other guests.
You can even change the release date upon guest request if feasible for you. Choose the desired option, then, click “Next”.
Step 3: Room Status
This step determines the status of the room guests as to if they will stayover, have arrived or will checkout. Once you verify their status, you can proceed to either amend the stay or process their check-out.
You will be able to check a guest out only after all the folios are settled and balance due is zero. This step prevents the guest from leaving the hotel without payment. If the balance payment is zero, you will be able to check the guest out just with a click.
Release the maintenance block if the room is ready for the guests.
Step 4: Unsettled folios
When guests order other services like spa, gym, restaurant and want them added to their room bill, the folios for the same appear here in case they are not settled immediately. Settle these folios as per their payments situation and then, click “Next”.
Step 5: Nightly charge
This step is what determines your Manager report. On this page, you will have the complete list of all the in-house guests alongside the prices they are paying per night. Now, this is the last step before the transactions get locked for that particular business day. It also records the additional charges (if any). After verifying, click on post all, then click “Next”.
Step 6: Create a new day
This step creates a brand new business day in the software. The system locks all the previous day transactions; which then cannot be modified.
Voila, the night audit is now complete in less than five minutes.
This was a comprehensive guide to ace the night audit process in a hotel. Using the right technology saves time, gives error-free operational and financial reports which boost the productivity of hotel staff.
The post The Only Night Audit Guide you Need for your Hotel appeared first on eZee Absolute.
Read MoreWhen I moved to a bigger hotel, a different guy only did the graveyard shift. He would come into the front office around midnight, scrutinising all the check-ins, no-shows, payment receipts, cash drawers and file some reports afterwards. In due course, I learned that the process is called hotel night audit and the person performing the task was the (k)night auditor.
The post The Only Night Audit Guide you Need for your Hotel appeared first on eZee Absolute.