Article | May 5, 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 | July 24, 2023
Technology advancements have changed the way we travel. And some of the new developments promise an improved day-to-day operation and interactive experiences for the customers. With the help of technologies, thousands of companies have transformed their conventional accommodation and traveling experiences.
Travelers have gained free access to chart their journey, arrange required services, and enjoy hassle-free traveling. And the best part of this is, the ability to acquire all without leaving the comfort of home.
However, there has been a paradigm shift in the travel industry with the development of some emerging techs around the world. So let’s check out what these technologies are, how they are going to impact, and the way it is going to change the entire traveling experience.
Key Tech Trends In Traveling
1. AI Chatbots
Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence is the most sensible investment. It helps users to talk with chatbots through messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Slack. With the data stored in these chatbots, they recommend the best locations, tips, and price-alerts, thus, impact the decisions of the customers. During the trip, it would prompt the traveler about check-in updates and flight delays. Some of the booking sites that use chatbots include Skyscanner, Kayak, Booking.com, etc.
2. AR & VR
Thanks to the development of augmented reality and virtual reality, potential customers can now take a virtual tour of the resort or hotel from anywhere around the world. It assists not only the customer to choose the best option for them but also helps the hotels to promote their facilities. With AR and VR, the possibilities in the travel industry are infinite.
3. Recognition Technology
Due to the Covid-19 crisis, one of the biggest fears a customer faces is coming in contact with an infected person. But, the recognition technology assists in both check-in and check-out from the hotel with the help of retina scanning, facial recognition, and other biometric identifications.
4. Smart Rooms with IoT
A wide number of hotels have moved towards the Internet of Things for their rooms. It enhances the entire customer experience via customized and potential control to the rooms while detecting any problem that can be faced by them.
5. Contactless Payment
Last but not the least, contactless payment is another form of advancement in travel tech that allows companies to process payments quickly and saves time for the customers who don’t have cash or access to their debit or credit card.
For every company that is operating in the travel industry, it is important to keep up with the technological trends. Understanding and using the tech mentioned will help in providing a better experience for the customer and optimize business along with the overall performance of the business. If you want to know more about these technologies and their adoption then have an IT consultant from experienced experts and acquire the in-depth information.
Article | July 4, 2023
Embrace the power of technology and revolutionize your hospitality business! Discover the latest trends in hospitality management software for enhanced efficiency and unforgettable guest experiences.
Staying ahead of the competition requires embracing innovative technologies in the rapidly evolving hospitality industry. Hospitality management software is crucial in streamlining operations, enhancing guest experiences, and boosting efficiency. This article will explore seven trending hospitality management software solutions that are revolutionizing the industry. From property management systems to guest experience platforms, these cutting-edge tools offer a wide range of features and capabilities.
1. TravelNet Solutions
TravelNet Solutions offers exceptional hospitality property management software, Track, which is designed to streamline operations and elevate guest experiences. At the heart of Track is its flagship property management system (PMS), a robust solution that efficiently handles all the back-office requirements, including trust accounting, automation, and housekeeping. What sets Track apart is its best-in-class hospitality customer relationship management (CRM) module. Its integrated system enables guest-related activity to link seamlessly with their record, eliminating the need for module switching or legacy record-keeping methods. Everything is securely stored in the cloud which ensures smooth functionality and accessibility. Additionally, TravelNet Solutions provides Track Pulse Contact Center Software by further enhancing customer interactions.
AmTrav provides cutting-edge software for the hospitality industry by revolutionizing traditional business travel solutions. Unlike clunky and frustrating systems, AmTrav is a seamless software and service platform designed to cater to the needs of modern businesses. By focusing on solving current challenges such as meetings and group travel, it offers a comprehensive suite of features. Its connected platform ensures a unified experience through streamlining business travel management. Tailored specifically for hospitality management systems, it optimizes productivity and efficiency, making travel business a breeze. With its commitment to assisting business travelers, AmTrav goes beyond being a mere software SaaS platform.
3. Operto Guest Technologies
Operto'sadvanced travel and hospitality management software enables seamless oversight of operations by consolidating PMS, access, and guest experience solutions into a user-friendly platform. With its innovative technology, one can effortlessly automate housekeeping scheduling and task management operations. By implementing simple and complex scheduling rules, the platform eliminates guesswork and assigns tasks to appropriate personnel. Operto Connect is a comprehensive hospitality operating system that integrates property management tools into a unified platform. From importing and managing guest reservations to controlling intelligent locks, thermostats, and noise monitoring on a per-room basis, Operto streamlines operations. This hospitality management system combines IoT hardware solutions with intuitive software to enhance guest experiences and drive operational efficiencies for property owners and managers alike.
Spotnana, a hospitality software, revolutionizes travel management with its comprehensive features. The platform simplifies the complexities of travel management by highlighting global travel policies, traveler health and safety, and robust analytics. Powered by a modern infrastructure, it enables a new generation of travel experiences, providing travelers with a wide range of unbiased options through deep direct NDC integrations with major airlines worldwide. Spotnana's platform ensures unprecedented visibility and control on a global scale, empowering businesses to optimize their travel programs. With dynamic global policies and unrivaled search capabilities, Spotnana's hospitality management tools future-proof the travel program and streamline operations.
5. Deem, Inc.
Deem is a hospitality management system software that caters to the evolving needs of employees and companies alike. Designed to enhance productivity, problem-solving capabilities, and cost control, Deem provides travel managers with a customizable and user-friendly platform to service their travelers efficiently. With a mobile-first approach, its intuitive suite of travel booking and hospitality management tools, led by Etta, enables seamless hotel, air, and car accommodation bookings from any device. Etta's accessibility and user-friendly interface ensure effortless travel planning, updates, itinerary changes, and more, even while on the go. The hotel management software provider's corporate travel booking solution is adopted by global travel management companies and corporate customers due to its unrivaled searches, personalized support, and valuable program insights.
A fully integrated travel and expense management solution, ITILITE optimizes spending while ensuring the safety and satisfaction of employees. Founded by experienced corporate travelers who understood the challenges of balancing cost and employee experience, ITILITE identifies the inefficiencies and complexities surrounding business travel. Recognizing the disparity between personal and business travel processes, ITILITE aimed to bring technological advancements to the corporate travel landscape. With unified travel and expense features, the platform drives convenience, control, and savings, empowering organizations worldwide.
7. DIB Travel
DIB Travel simplifies booking and expense management with its travel management software. Say goodbye to endless searches and multiple open tabs. With DIB Travel, booking a hotel, flight, and additional transportation options is done in three minutes. Partnered with renowned platforms like Booking.com and Expedia, DIB Travel provides access to over 1.5 million hotels and a wide selection of flights from major and low-cost airlines. Enjoy the convenience of selecting the preferred options and securing any seat effortlessly. Streamline the payment process with DIB Travel's business travel management software, which consolidates all travel expenses into a single, concise invoice. Additionally, the software offers customizable policies, approval flows, and a personalized expense management service.
In a Nutshell
Integrating advanced hospitality management software holds immense potential to revolutionize the industry. Imagine a world where smart AI-powered systems seamlessly handle all aspects of property management, guest interactions, and operational processes. These futuristic software solutions utilize machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics to anticipate guest preferences, personalize experiences, and optimize resource allocation. Virtual and augmented reality technologies immerse guests in immersive environments, enhancing their stay and creating unforgettable memories.
Article | December 10, 2020
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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