Article | July 24, 2023
If a kid comes to me nowadays and tells me about his passion for working in the hotel industry, he goes back home with a dream to become a pilot. I am not saying that the hotel industry is the worst kind of industry currently existing in today’s environment, but I am also not denying that.
Now, no offence to the hoteliers. You guys rock! It is no joke to work on a New Year Eve and see other people celebrating it while you guys make it happen. You have my respect! But I am probably not that tough. It took me a whole trial and error approach to declare this industry a nightmare for me. But I have so many of my friends still working in hotels and loving every second of their life. (At least that’s what they tell me.)
So why were our experiences so different? Why do I know that so many people are not really made for this industry? And what does it take to be a hotelier? I will try to answer these questions through my experience and observations.
Why Hotel Management?
It is that one question that is the most common and important one. Before taking any big decision, one should be asking a similar question. But what was my why?
Allow me to rewind my journey. I was in my 12th with commerce stream, and I was going through that self-enquiry phase. What after this? There was no 13th, nor did I enjoy accountancy too much to do it until I die.
So I used to surf the internet and explore different career options almost every day. That was one of my significant hobbies during that time. I used to evaluate my choices, and very soon I understood that I had limited options in the commerce field. So it was arts then? But what was the median salary in that sector?
After a lot of research, I realised the median salary in the arts sector was ‘disappointing’.
But still, if not that, then what? What was I going to do with my life? It was then that I saw the picture of a cruise ship and remembered 'Titanic'. It was then that I imagined the luxury of a 5-star hotel. It was that moment where I was about to make one of the stupidest decisions of my life.
I had never stepped into a kitchen nor showed the slightest interest in making any dish. I never really fancied cleaning glasses, nor did I like managing people under me. I also didn’t know absolutely anything about what was this industry all about.
But I dared to share it with my sister, and she was like, wow! It sounds so different! I told this to my friends, and they were like, wow! We always knew you would be doing something different! I told this to my father, and he told me students have to clean toilets during the internship, and I shouted, ‘But that’s not a big deal! Anyone can do that!’ Dad said, ‘Do whatever you want to do then, my son.’
Well, so what did I want apart from freedom in my life at that point? Maybe maturity? Oh! Screw that!
So I gave the entrance exam and got a decent rank. I desired to stand in the lobby of a 5-star-hotel and meet salacious women. I was pretty sure that many women would choose that industry apart from me. That was enough motivation! So yes, my reasons to choose the hotel industry was very logical and thoughtful, suffice to say.
What Happens in a Hotel?
The hotel industry is one of the most glamorous industries out there. Everything is so clean, eloquent, expensive, and pretty. People come to a 5-star hotel, are warmly welcomed, served drinks; they are provided comfortable beds to sleep in, and they enjoy their stay and endless services. Then they simply check out.
My only mistake while considering this option was that I wouldn’t be treated like one of those ‘People’ there. In our very first lecture, the term ‘Guest’ was taught to us and how we are not them. We are the ones who would serve them. We would be the waiters, the cooks, the greeters, the bartenders, etc. We wouldn’t be drinking with them but watching them while they would be cavorting.
That was a shocker! So many things happen in a hotel, and hoteliers make those things happen. They do all the hard work. The Bakery Chef would spend hours decorating the cake, which the guests would smash on each other's faces. The housekeeper would clean the bathtub while the guest would take five more baths after that.
The front desk agent would be greeting the guest during check-in, and the guest would throw tantrums because of his arduous journey. Suddenly my bubble broke, and I realised what I really signed for. I signed for an everyday vacation in hell.
I think adulthood is about that realisation when you get to know that bread isn’t free. And what buys that bread isn’t that easy to get. And how much that thing matters to you is going to decide how happy you are going to be in your life.
If I was that guy who had grown up watching Masterchef and experimenting in the Kitchen all my life, then a Gordon Ramsey could have come out of me.
If I were a fastidious guy who wanted everything to be clean and perfect, then an entrepreneur or a manager could have come out of me who would have tried to do that during his job.
If I were a guy who loved making people smile, then interacting with guests while serving the food or taking their check-ins would have been the best things out there for me.
You get my point! There are so many things that could have made hotel management an ideal career choice for me. It really is a glamorous industry, and it can provide satisfaction as a career option to some people out there. But that wasn’t the case with me. Sadly that wasn’t the case with many of my batchmates and colleagues of mine as well.
After completing my three-year graduation, four-month industrial training, and one-year job as a Front Desk Agent, I quit. Nor could the managers inspire me, nor any other incentives that the industry had to offer. My future looked as grim as the life of an insect (No offence to you if you are an insect.)
So yes, be wise before choosing this industry because this industry demands a lot! It is one of the most selfless jobs out there, and you have to be prepared for the nasty feedbacks after all your hard work. So do some self-inspection (Unlike me) if you are stuck in this industry or are planning to do so.
And if you love where you are right now, then as I said, you have my respect.
Article | June 20, 2023
As every department is going through digital transformation in travel companies, finance processes are no exception. The advancements in technology are influencing how travel expense management is evolving. Technology is widely affecting how travel expenses are captured, submitted, audited, processed, and reimbursed. The automated travel expense management is helping most of the corporate travel companies with inclusion of the latest travel management and expense management tools.
In 2016, the share of corporate travel expense management was US$1.3 trillion; therefore, by 2023, it is predicted to hit US$1.6 trillion. Companies today are rethinking modern travel expense management policy and developing corporate travel expense management system including expense management best practices. They are actively using travel management and expense management tools to create a smoother workflow.
Looking at these developments in expense management policy, it’s important to understand what companies were facing before implementation of automated version of expense management system.
Main Hurdles While Managing Travel and Expense
Multiple layers of forms
Delayed submission of expense reports by employees
Increased processing cost
Lack of visibility into the process
Heaps of productive hours were wasted because of the manual processes involved in the expense management policy. Managing the excel reports and cross-verification for policy compliance resulted in increased costs. Delayed submission of expense reports caused late input tax credit claims, which affected businesses to generate revenue. Consequently, to minimize the hurdles of managing travel expenses, an automated travel expense management system, and some best practices for travel expense management were the need of the hour.
An Overview: Modern Travel Expense Management
Modern travel and expense management systems and its practices help employees manage the financial process in real and measurable ways. The system governs how the finance team spends company money on corporate travel and other related expenses. It includes an automated expense management process, which has drawn attention to seamless receipt generation, auditing, reimbursing, submission of finance reports, and cost savings.
To implement modern travel expense management, some best practices for travel expense management are suggested to help build a consistent workflow. Many corporate travel companies have included it to automate the expense management process but are little aware of practices that can enhance their workflow. In this scenario, it's important to know the importance of including the best practices for travel expense management.
Why Talk about Best Practices for Travel Expense Management?
In the finance department, various types of frauds such as multiple reimbursements, overstated expenses, fictitious expenses, and more always stay at the top of the mind for most CFO’s. A well-controlled travel expense management system helps prevent misuse of company assets and prohibits misconduct from dealing with such situations.
According to the Aberdeen group’s research, 43% of top travel companies and their CMOs consider T&E management a critical strategy for their company to handle travel expenses. In comparison, 48% of them say they “need to reduce expense processing costs,” which is why they implemented best practices for travel expense management.
Whether large or small, companies realize the potential benefits of a well-managed travel spend mechanism that had best practices for travel expense management to automate the expense management process. They invested heavily in expense management software, which helped them frame a consolidated expense management policy.
In the end, corporate travel policy best practices need to be tailored specifically to employees to create best-in-class expense management and improve performance. By following expense management best practices, you can also define and implement an accurate policy and ensure your employees implement potential tools to automate the expense management process. This will create an efficient finance process that will lead to a friction-free travel and expense management system. If you are updating your finance functions, this small expense management guide to the best practices for travel expense management will help you far to reach your goals.
Best Practices for Travel Expense Management
Create Ownership of the Policy
Before you start implementing T&E management as a critical strategy, defining ownership of the policy clearly is crucial. Ideally, your finance team needs to understand it thoroughly while using the best expense management software. Creating ownership of the policy will benefit as follows:
First: You will have clear ownership that will ensure that your finance team tracks the policy accurately and makes necessary changes to cater to corporate travelers and their requirements.
Second: Your employees will be able to address queries and concerns related to corporate travel a defined way. This way it will become easier for them to handle multiple queries at a time and cater to possible services.
Include Simple Policies
Your expense management policy should outline what it is accurately. It can only be practiced if you keep policies simple based on the company’s culture and its budget. Using the right travel management and expense management tools, your company’s travel expense management mechanism will be quick and easy for employees to work on expenses claimed by corporate travelers, submit, and audit them. Including simple policies will help employees track receipts through mobile applications and even upload them immediately. This entire process will help minimize errors and lessen receipt loss possibilities.
Accurate Expense Reporting
To include accurate expense management reporting is considered one of the most successful best practices for travel expense management. Around 30% of CFOs believe that to review expenses reporting for policy violation is the biggest pain point. As you automate the expense management process, the mechanism of expense reporting and expense claim management also gets smarter. There are multiple benefits to have a sound reporting system.
It gives budget creators a better understanding of how a specific travel expense budget is consumed.
Finance teams get a proper structure and create a defined spending pattern to identify transactions so that there are no fraud possibilities in the management system.
The reports under expense reporting become accountable because the total spends are available to senior management for a broad review.
Expense Payments Are Timely Processed
The right expense management software usage can help your employees process expense payments on time and faster to reduce errors. By implementing this expense management best practice, your employees can present expense reports timely to managers. An automated expense management system eliminates the tedious job of manually checking expense payment violations and encourages initiating flawless expense payment processing.
To keep accountability in expense management is vital for a finance manager. The automated travel and expense management system creates an opportunity to enable accountability option for your company’s expense plan so that managers are made aware of the transactions, submission of reports, expense claims, reimbursements, and more that are taking place. In order to gain high accountability in these areas, the new travel expense management process provides easy access to review and gives appropriate reports. You can easily implement this corporate travel policy best practice to your system and keep a check using expense management software that provides access via mobile applications. Practicing this will give your finance team more power and guide them to generate better revenue annually.
Conduct Regular Audits
By implementing this as best practices for your travel and expense management, you can efficiently conduct regular audits of the travel expense. Many CMOs have followed it and attained success while implementing it. Similarly, a regular audit also identifies areas of improvement and can point variances that could generate exemplary revenue. Practicing this in your finance process will also help uncover expense fraud. In this case, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) reveals, 20% of small businesses and 13% of larger firms reported fraudulent expense reimbursements in 2019. The activities that were highlighted as
Multiple reimbursements for the same expense
After putting your time and effort into recreating a new travel and expense management system and inculcating best practices for travel expense management in your company, it is crucial to choose the right ways to enforce it. Consistent use of best practices for travel expense management will let you save costs, and there will be no adverse impact on your company's budget. You can make effective decisions for your business as it eradicates your finance team's hurdles that were before.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a travel and expense policy?
A travel and expense policy is a set of rules that covers the process of reimbursement and claims for expenses that are incurred by employees on corporate travel plans. This policy outlines how a company’s employees should set procedures for corporate travel.
What is business travel management?
Business travel management includes policies that set a company’s function in a strategic way. It includes various types of contracts made with airlines, hotel chains, rental car companies, and other business travel related management services.
What is expense management?
Expense management works according to two key elements—how a business pays for employee-initiated expenses and how to track all employee-initiated spending. In this, management of costs is included mainly for corporate travel, accommodation, meals, flights, and car rentals.
What is expense management automation?
Expense management automation encourages services like collection, storage, submission, reporting to function automatically. It implies the use of analytical tools to help companies maintain accountability and compliance through accurate tracking and reporting process.
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Article | May 17, 2023
Over the past few days, I've looked at a few dozen travel industry predictor graphs, from a number of very credible sources. Below, I've compiled them all onto one graph to create the last predictor you need to understand for the next few weeks. I can say with almost certainty that one, or a combination of these is going to be quite accurate. What’s the point here? The point here is that there is no point. Nobody knows what will happen next week, never mind three years from now.
Article | June 19, 2023
Discover the future of travel at the Hospitality Management events. Upcoming hospitality conferences 2023 & 2024 will have experts share insights about the rapidly evolving hospitality industry.
Warehousing and distribution play crucial roles in the logistics industry. To enhance the expertise and gain a competitive edge, professionals must attend logistics conferences in 2023, including the Supply Chain Management and warehousing conferences and events. These gatherings offer a platform for industry leaders to exchange ideas, learn from experts, and explore the latest advancements.
The following warehousing conferences and events will provide tailored discussions on warehouse optimization, inventory management, and process improvement.
1. PRSA Travel and Tourism 2023 Section Conference
June 20-23, 2023 | Madison (Wisconsin)
The PRSA Travel and Tourism Conference, presented by the PRSA's Travel Media, the global media network, will be held in June this year at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, WI. This annual conference will bring together industry professionals to address evolving media and public relations changes. With notable speakers like Amy Alipio and Kelly Barbrey, attendees can gather timely strategies, resources, and diverse perspectives to excel in hospitality, tourism, and event management. Media and professional development experts, including esteemed speakers such as Amy Alipio, Kelly Barbrey, Casey Barks, Andrea Braustein, and Tykesha S. Burton, will impart their insights and expertise, providing attendees with timely strategies, resources, and diverse perspectives.
2. HITEC: The Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference
June 26-29, 2023 | Toronto (Canada)
HITEC is one of the leading hospitality conferences for tourism and hospitality industry leaders. HITEC showcases cutting-edge technology tools that support the breadth of hospitality operations. With an unparalleled education program curated by top industry experts, attendees gain invaluable insights about the latest travel technology and solutions. Notable speakers such as Shawn Kanungo, Amandeep Sarna, Bharat Patel, Frank Wolfe, and Michael Levie will share their expertise, enhancing attendees' knowledge in hospitality management and tourism hospitality. HITEC 2023 promises to be a transformative experience for professionals seeking to stay at the forefront of the hospitality industry.
3. The Hospitality Show
June 27-29, 2023 | Las Vegas (US)
The Hospitality Show is an exciting new addition to hospitality conferences that aims to bring together the entire tourism and hospitality industry with a shared goal of optimizing hotel operations for efficiency and profitability. With a focus on networking opportunities, industry leaders, senior executives, hotel brands, owners, operators, management companies, developers, investors, and technology partners will convene at this one-stop shop for collaboration. The show boasts an impressive lineup of speakers, including Kat Cole, Adm. William H. McRaven, Anthony Capuano, and Larry Cuculic, who will provide valuable insights and expertise about hospitality management.
4. Hospitality Upgrade’s CIO Summit
September 6-8 2023 | Austin (Texas)
A hospitality management events’, CIO Summit is designed for tourism and hospitality industry leaders. Over two days, this exclusive event will offer a unique blend of networking opportunities, insightful programs, and immersive social events. Participation is limited to top technology leaders from major hotels, casinos, cruise lines, management companies, and timeshare companies, ensuring a small peer networking experience. With its successful track record since its launch in 2002, the CIO Summit has become a prominent gathering for over 400 hospitality CIOs. Notable speakers such as Greg Duff, Vaughn Davis, Kelly McGuire and others will share their expertise, providing industry leaders with valuable insights and innovative strategies. For professionals in the hospitality industry, the CIO Summit in 2023 promises will be an invaluable platform for networking, knowledge exchange, and to stay ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving world of technology and tourism hospitality.
5. Gartner IT Symposium|Xpo
September 11-13, 2023 | Gold Coast (Australia)
The Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2023 conference addresses the needs of CIOs and IT executives in the tourism and hospitality industry. In a time of intense economic and social volatility, organizations in the industry must find innovative ways to drive efficiency, scale productivity, and pioneer new business models. By participating in this global gathering of experts and peers, attendees will gain valuable insights, expert guidance, and real-world examples to shape the future direction of technology in the hospitality industry. Key topics to be covered include business transformation, cybersecurity, AI, customer experience, data analytics, and executive leadership. With esteemed speakers like Holly Ransom and Mathew Luhn, this event will equip industry leaders with the knowledge and tools to navigate the ever-changing technology landscape and drive success in the hospitality industry.
6. Hotel & Hospitality Expo Saudi Arabia
September 10-12, 2023 | Saudi Arabia
The Hotel & Hospitality Expo Saudi Arabia is a highly influential hospitality management events and trade conference that serves as a gateway to explore the future of Saudi Arabia's hospitality industry. With a comprehensive market report, this event will delve into the key trends, industry dynamics, and the development of giga-projects, offering invaluable insights for industry leaders in the tourism and hospitality sector. By attending this expo, professionals can network with leading experts, conduct businesses, and stay updated on the latest industry developments. The event will feature conferences where hospitality leaders can share their expertise and host the prestigious Saudi Hospitality Awards. With participation from numerous local and international brands, the expo will be a valuable platform for professionals to source relevant products and services to enhance their operations in the hospitality industry.
7. Digital Travel Summit
September 12-13, 2023 | South Carolina (US)
The hotel conference and trade event, Hotel & Hospitality Expo Saudi Arabia, plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of the hospitality industry in Saudi Arabia. Industry leaders in the tourism and hospitality sector can expect valuable insights from the event's comprehensive market report, which will explore key trends, industry dynamics, and the development of giga-projects. Attending this expo will allow professionals to network with top experts, engage in business opportunities, and stay up-to-date with industry advancements. Additionally, the conference will feature renowned speakers such as Kate Powell, Priya Rajagopal, Steven Paganelli, Derek Schoen, and Andrea Cole, who will share their expertise and contribute to the knowledge exchange. By participating in this event, industry leaders can get access to source relevant products and services to elevate their operations within the hospitality industry.
8. Skift Global Forum
September 26-28, 2023 | New York City (New York)
Skift Global Forum 2023, the flagship global conference on the business of travel, is set to make its return to New York City. This tourism and hospitality conference will offer invaluable insights into the future of the tourism hospitality industry. With a focus on the theme 'Connection in the Age of AI,' the conference will delve into the evolving relationship between generative AI and the travel industry. Notable speakers such as Ariel Cohen, Glenn Fogel, Christopher Nassetta, Jason Calacanis, and Gary Morrison will provide unique perspectives and inspire industry leaders to navigate the dynamic landscape of the hospitality and tourism industry.
9. The Phocuswright Conference
November 13-16, 2024 | Florida (US)
One of the renowned hospitality conferences, Phocuswright Conference, has catalyzed innovation and business growth for over 25 years. It will offer industry leaders an unparalleled platform to immerse themselves in professional development, advocate for innovation, and cultivate talent. The event will further foster valuable connections with an influential and elite group, providing inspiration and insights to drive success in the dynamic landscape of the hospitality and tourism industry. Notably, the conference prioritizes sustainability by fully offsetting the carbon footprint of the entire event, including every attendee. With esteemed speakers such as Timothy Hughes, Tania Platt, Nadim El Manawy, and Mary Li, industry leaders will be able to gain valuable knowledge, expand their networks, and stay ahead of the rapidly evolving hospitality industry.
10. 4th International Conference on Tourism Management and Hospitality
March 01-03, 2024 | Vienna (Austria)
The Hospitality Conference 2024 is known as the International Hospitality and Tourism Management Conference (ICTMH). It is the fourth edition of the conference this year and promises that it will be a gathering of industry leaders, academics, and professionals. Attendees can expect to engage with world-renowned experts who will present their groundbreaking research on critical topics such as customer experience, medical tourism, economic sustainability, ICT and tourism, social media marketing, and tourism law. Notable keynote speakers, including Dr. Hsuan Hsuan Chang, Dr. Kelly La Venture, Prof. Dheeraj Sharma, and Prof. Koustab Ghosh, will provide valuable insights and expertise, ensuring that industry leaders will return the conference equipped with fresh perspectives and ideas to elevate their organizations and shape the future of the hospitality industry.
The hospitality management events and conferences mentioned in the article provide a promising outlook for the future of the tourism and hospitality industry. These gatherings serve as crucial platforms for networking, knowledge sharing, and collaboration within the industry. By attending hospitality conferences and hotel conferences, businesses can gain insights into tourism and hospitality management, explore new trends, and learn about innovative strategies for success. These events also focus on tourism and event management, providing valuable opportunities to stay updated on industry developments and form partnerships.