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Hotel Effectiveness is the only company that provides complete, real-time labor monitoring, scheduling and time & attendance designed... read more

  • Based in
    Roswell (United States)
  • Founded in
  • 45 employees on Linkedin
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Here's how to boost NOI: A review of the Hotel Effectiveness Labor Management System

Hotel Tech Report

Labor Management Systems provide tools to reduce labor costs by more effectively allocating resources and scheduling shifts.  Labor is the largest expense on any hotel P&L (~44.2% of all costs) so managing how that labor is deployed is critical to operational efficiency.  Managers use the software to get a high level view into optimization of employee shifts, to minimize overtime risk and more. Workers use the software to request time off, schedule shifts and view their schedules in real time. Hotel Effectiveness offers a solution to rising labor costs in the hotel industry. The product is an intelligent, easy to use labor management system that has proven to reduce total labor costs by 5% or more. The system utilizes staffing rules developed for each hotel combined with key operating drivers to produce dynamic work schedules for each manager. Full visibility into forecasted staffing needs, active trends, and individual employee productivity and hours enable real-time decision making to achieve 100% perfect labor costs.  The firm touts major clients such as Heritage Hotels & Resorts, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Pacific Host Hotels, Chartwell Hospitality and Spire Hospitality   Decrease operating costs with Hotel Effectiveness Hotel Effectiveness claims to reduce total labor costs by 5% or more.  The primary way they deliver on this promise is by creating a set of rules for each hotel client and notifying managers when those rules are at risk of being breached.  For example, managers receive alerts when overtime risk is approached to avoid costly overtime and compliance violation penalties. Hotel Effectiveness conducted a case study with two select service hotels in the same suburban market.  In the test hotel, the team set different room cleaning metrics for MPR (minutes per cleaned room) for guests staying over and those checking out.  In the control hotel, they maintained a flat target. The test hotel achieved a 7.4% decrease in housekeeping costs based on Hotel Effectiveness’ recommendations with no change in brand quality scores. Hotel Effectiveness can decrease operating costs for clients by setting labor goals such as hours worked per employee and delivering real time insights to managers with recommendations of which staff to reduce hours with and which they should be ramping up to meet goals.  This avoids overtime and maintains compliance with local labor laws. Hotel Effectiveness also ran a case study for a portfolio of 20 small limited service hotels that implemented its labor management system.  In just 2-3 months after implementation of the software, the portfolio was able to eliminate 10,000 labor hours with cost savings in excess of $100,000.     In an increasingly squeezed labor market - clients seek optimization "We have been in the business for 25 years and know how to operate high performing hotels. Hotel Effectiveness has helped us to control our labor costs. They are hotel professionals who get the hotel business." ~Naren Shah COO, Imperial Investments Group, Inc. "Hotel Effectiveness has made a significant difference in our hotel’s ability to control labor, save money, and streamline work. We have never worked with a more accommodating and customer-oriented company. Our General Managers love the products and timely information." ~ Jim O’Brien Executive Vice President, Wilson Hotel Management, LLC   As with any product, there are weaknesses but Hotel Effectiveness is committed to improving them User interface for labor standards can use some modernization and updating for ease of use The learning curve requires training your entire team on the software which can make implementation challenging for disorganized properties or groups The data needs to be updated in real time with regard to labor rates We’d like to see an owner’s view The budgeter needs more data points to maximize benefits Benchmarking tool needs to be a bit more granular by enabling same brand comparisons The software needs budget comparisons in relation to the plan.  Integrating budget forecasts would be a huge upgrade to provide more context. We’ve heard some complaints around room cleaning data accuracy when not integrated (2-way) with property management systems   Key Features Labor standards: Cut your labor budget into precise and actionable labor standards that can be tracked against Dynamic scheduling: Develop a set of automated rules to adjust labor based on a combination forecasted occupancy and labor standards Automated labor monitoring: Get notifications for key risk areas such as employees ‘riding the clock’ and housekeeping productivity issues Corporate visibility: identify at risk or underperforming hotels in your portfolio by creating enforceable and trackable labor goals. Robust reporting: Real time insight into how your hotel is performing Benchmarking: compare your hotels against similar properties to see how you stack up and make necessary adjustments     Key Integrations Time & Attendance Systems: ADP, M3 RightTime, Attendance on Demand, Kronos, Netchex, Paycom, Swipeclock, Ultipro, Workday, WorkRecords Business Intelligence Software: ProfitSword, Broadvine, Aptech Property Management Systems: Oracle Micros, Hilton OnQ, Marriott Fosse Payroll Software: A1HR, Execupay, Paycom, ADP, Fortune Business Solutions, Paycor, APS Payroll, Heartland, Payentry, Asure Software, Insperity, Paylocity, Avintus, iSolved HCM (Infinisource), PayMaster, Certigy, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Payroll Rx, CYMA Payroll, MPAY, PrismHR, Engage PEO, Oasis, Progressive, Evolution Payroll Services, Oracle Peoplesoft, Sage 300, ExcelPay, Paycheck, Shaner Solutions, TriNet, Workday, Valiant   Hotel Effectiveness Pricing Pricing is based on number of employees and starts at $99/month for companies with fewer than 1-15 employees. Pricing is on a per month per employee basis 35+ employees: $4.90 100+ employees: $3.80 200+ employees: $2.70 301+ employees: $2.30 Additional cost associated with: Automated data integration Time & Attendance service Custom reporting & professional services   Conclusions Most hotels are coming off of pen and paper or excel when it comes to labor management protocol.  Hotel Effectiveness builds on Time & Attendance platforms such as Tsheets and ADP with tailored solutions to help hotels run their businesses more efficiently.  Our main complaint with Hotel Effectiveness is around its user interface that is a bit dated; however, they seem to be updating consistently making the software easier to use for clients.  When working with Hotel Effectiveness, realize that implementation does take work and focus - but once implemented the software will save more than the time you invested setting it up for your team. Hoteliers should strongly consider working with a specialized provider such as Hotel Effectiveness because combining PMS data with reporting solutions and time/attendance software allows hotels to unlock insights that can’t be acted upon in real time when any of those components are removed.  We are most encouraged about Hotel Effectiveness’ ability to help hoteliers create rigorous and trackable labor standards. While the software is valuable in itself, Hotel Effectiveness provides industry specific benchmarking solutions and contextual data that is critical for success in the hotel industry.  These insights can’t be gained through generalist providers or with Time & Attendance software alone. The platform is best suited for management companies looking to gain more visibility into their portfolio operations and is least likely to impact small hotels with minimal labor forces.

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This is the tech every hospitality HR manager needs for success

Hotel Tech Report

Relentless turnover challenges the sanity of even the most composed hotel manager. I would know: after owning two restaurants that employed 70 people at peak times, the constant battle against turnover triggers plenty of stressful memories. We tried offering health insurance and a living wage for BOH employees, but the economic realities of the low-margin restaurant business made this nearly impossible. Add in the appeal of jobs in less low wage industries, and hiring and retaining quality candidates with a passion for hospitality was always the top challenge. While hotels enjoy slightly better margins than standalone restaurants, the labor crunch extends equally. As hospitality businesses struggle to stay staffed up, a “mercenary frenzy” leads to lower-than-usual loyalty among workers who shop around for the best offer -- and jump ship at the slightest opportunity for a greater wage. Even with generous benefits, it can be incredibly difficult to retain staff. Rising rents and low wage growth, coupled with low unemployment in the U.S., have sharpened employee focus on gross wages above all else. To combat these employment trends, HR managers for hotels must rely on tools to increase their own productivity around sourcing new hires, as well as retaining dedicated team members with flexible scheduling and professional development opportunities. While there are certain features of the hospitality business that make hiring difficult, such as wage competitiveness, the right technology helps HR managers excel in an challenging labor environment.   The role of an HR manager When it comes to technology, It's important to match the functionality with the desired outcomes. Let's briefly review the roles and responsibilities of the hospitality HR manager: Sourcing. The HR manager sources potential candidates through online platforms, employee referrals, and personal networks. Interviewing and hiring. The HR manager screen candidates and oversees the process alongside hiring managers. Onboarding. Once hired, the new employee’s onboarding must be swift and thorough, balancing quality with speed. Retention. Existing employees are assets that must be treated as such. An HR managers helps retain staff, which is vital to the consistency of the guest experience and the profitability of the hotel. Each of these roles as a specific subset of technology that, when implemented correctly, makes the hospitality HR manager more productive and successful in the role.   Candidate sourcing Turnover for most hotels reaches far into the double digits. This figure is even larger for those hospitality brands that also hire for extensive food and beverage operations. The churn puts hospitality HR managers on constant offense when it comes to sourcing quality candidates. HR managers should use a three-part strategy, sourcing potential candidates through staffing and recruiting networks, employee referrals, and personal networks. A blended approach brings a greater mix of candidates, and contributes to a healthy talent pipeline. An emerging category of online platform especially compelling for today’s hospitality HR managers is on-demand staffing. With an on-demand workforce, HR manages can fill unexpected labor gaps, both short and long-term. While the hiring process may be less rigorous and more suited for filling roles with specific responsibilities, these platforms are a useful addition to any hospitality HR managers toolkit.   Speed to hire Staff departures are common -- but can still catch management off guard. The HR manager must be equipped to quickly hire candidates by moving them through the hiring funnel in the shortest amount of time. The “speed to hire” metric, which Hired defines as “the total time the candidate spends in the funnel,” is an immensely useful metric for hospitality hiring. “We define speed to hire as the total time the candidate spends in the hiring funnel from initial sourcing to offer acceptance.” -Hired.com By tracking how long it takes to hire, HR managers improve business outcomes by helping department heads replace outgoing stuff and fill new roles quickly. Another benefit: quality candidates have less time to be snagged by others. In the competition for talent, a mere hours can make a huge difference in closing a new hire.    The Applicant Tracking Software is the hospitality HR manager’s greatest ally. It encompasses all aspects of the hiring funnel, from sourcing candidates down to the eventual hire. Effective management of this process leads to greater hiring success. Once the candidate is in the funnel, avoid scheduling hassles and use on-demand video interviews which are more candidate friendly. Potential employees can submit these videos on their own time, which also frees up HR managers with far fewer initial candidate screens. When evaluating Applicant Tracking Software, look for these types of automations that boost productivity and enhance the hiring experience. The best candidates see disorganized hiring processes as warning signs.   Onboarding Once the candidate has accepted, now it's all about how quickly she can be trained. Just like with speed-to-hire, an efficient training process prepares the employee to be an individual contributor. The faster this happens, the lower the turnover costs associated with filling an open role. The trick is to balance speed with quality -- what’s the minimum amount of time that this person, at this experience level, needs to become an integrated team member? In collaboration with the hiring manager, the HR manager should shape the training process to be as mutually beneficial to both the organization and the candidate. Most candidates want to be trained, but many will be turned off by overtraining or a disorganized onboarding process. Applicant Tracking Systems with on-boarding functionality make it easy for HR managers to check-in with new employees periodically in the first few weeks on the job.   Retain and reward Regardless of the business, turnover costs money. With each lost employee, the business faces additional costs related to finding replacement workers, training them, and often paying overtime to workers covering the schedule gaps in the meantime. [Turnover] has high management costs associated with it as you’ll need more exempt managers to ensure training, quality and to pick up the pieces when the quality is just not there. -Restaurateur Azhar Hashem on Why SF Restaurants are Suffocating. Mitigating these costs must be top-of-mind for an HR professional. Since it's far more affordable (and beneficial to both the guest experience and staff satisfaction), focus on retention through a positive employee experience and strong professional development support. The current state of the employee experience can be captured with employee engagement software that gather real-time feedback so HR managers can take the pulse of the organization often. These platforms also improve on-property staff communications, reducing mistakes, increasing productivity, and generally making everyone’s day that much better. Workers and hospitality often prioritize flexibility when it comes to scheduling. For those workers, it's important to offer mobile-optimized scheduling tools that facilitate shift trading and communications among colleagues. Some employees won't have access to computers at home, so these mobile-optimized solutions encourage engagement without alienating a core subset of staff. Many of these tools also integrate labor management, which provides a better on-property life for staff with digital logbooks, as well as performance benchmarks to reward high-performing teams. Payroll solutions should also be reliable and accurate, as a consistently paid staff is the bedrock of any hotel. Hotels must also reward the most promising employees with additional responsibilities and perks wherever possible. Beyond the obvious, such as promoting from within and seeking growth opportunities for the most promising staff, HR managers can more productively support staff with professional development features embedded in staff engagement software. By codifying the professional development process, HR managers boost retention by lighting the path for ambitious staff.   All in all, be communicative, adaptable, and action-oriented. The best hospitality HR managers stretch across the entire organization, collaborating and hustling to keep staff quality and retention high. And never underestimate the power of a simple “thank you.”

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The 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech 2019

Hotel Tech Report

Creating a great work environment is the single biggest determinant of success for any business.  Companies that foster great work environments attract the best people and the best people build the best products. A 2017 study that analyzed 326,000 employee reviews at publicly traded companies found that firms with high employee satisfaction outperformed the overall stock market each year by 135bp (1.35%).  A similar study of 400,000 employee ratings found evidence of a statistical relationship between employee perception and a firm’s future earnings. Sophisticated enterprise software buyers know that when they partner with a technology company, they are buying into not just its products but its vision, mission and team.  These buyers perform due diligence to understand the viability of any business that they plan to partner with and a deep analysis of employee satisfaction and vendor culture is part of that process.  Hotel Tech Report hosts this award not just to help the community find great jobs, but also to help fast track diligence for hotel tech buyers who want to learn about the best vendors to work with. Understanding organizational culture is important for software buyers because companies that create great work environments retain employees longer, service customers better and innovate faster. Perks like ping pong tables,  office snacks and vacation days are nice,  but our 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech list is determined by the glue that holds companies together. Each year we ask thousands of employees at hotel tech companies how they feel about their employers and anonymize the results.  The 2019 scoring is based on 7 key data points: Work-life balance: Please rate how well your employer promotes work/life balance. Personal development: How much importance does your employer place on your own personal development? Gender equality: How would you rate the opportunities available to women in your firm? Employee confidence: How much confidence do you have in the future of your company? Values alignment: How well do your values align with the culture of your organization? Employee engagement: How passionate are employees about the company? Growth prospects: How many open roles are there for your employees to grow into?   Without further adieu we give you 2019's 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech:       10. Triptease Our research on Triptease validates that the Company truly lives and breathes the ethos of its name.  Employees consistently cited off-sites and team trips as the highlights of their year. According to LinkedIn data, Triptease has grown its employee count 72% in the last 2 years.  Sometimes when companies grow that quickly, it’s hard to maintain a great team culture. With the team spread all around the world, Triptease brings new employees for training and team building to the LondonHQ.  New employees rave about the experience for the learning and friendships that come from it. Other notable events include Triptease’s renowned Direct Booking Summits (America, Europe, Asia) and a company wide Christmas party in Madrid (let us know if you need HTR on the scene to cover next year’s party - this one sounded like a rager!).  Triptease employees are constantly blown away by how much management cares. One employee cited an unexpected bonus for a month of killer performance and another described to us how open management is to employee travel focused on career development. Ultimately, Triptease is one a big happy family and employees around the world are constantly connecting through a multitude team building activities and trips.  Employees love the fast paced nature of consistently launching new innovative products. Check out open positions at Triptease     9. GuestRevu GuestRevu had a year in which critical company milestones rallied the team together.  Not only did GuestRevu acquire a large regional competitor but the team also launched a major version update that required all hands on deck.  Despite all the craziness of rapid growth, a new version launch and a major acquisition - one employee raved to Hotel Tech Report about how supportive the entire team was during the loss of a loved one.  Another told us that she often needs to bring her 9-year old to work where he is always made to feel welcome and at home. The firm is so committed to its team that it sent out a company wide survey asking what employees wanted to learn and then purchased everyone access to Udemy classes to help them develop those new skills. The marketing team took classes on video editing and is already leveraging those skills to develop a series of video case studies for GuestRevu. Check out open positions at GuestRevu     8. Beekeeper For a company building software to help teammates communicate better - Beekeeper takes employee engagement and experience very seriously internally.  As one employee told us, “Beekeeper does an excellent job of capturing feedback and always checking in to understand where you want to go and providing actionable feedback and support to get you there.” The Company promotes a healthy lifestyle through lunchtime sports and CrossFit.  Taking it one step further, Beekeeper offers unlimited PTO and flexible work schedules to accommodate the expectations of the modern workforce. Beekeeper’s culture exudes transparency and humility. One employee told us that the team was initially put off by management’s decision to require employees to clean dishes at an off site before they realized that this was all part of the team building.  This employee told us that the people they ended up washing dishes with ended up being their closest new friends and that the experience gave them an opportunity to bond in a way that most rarely do in the modern workplace. Another employee told us about a rewarding experience they had volunteering together at a homeless shelter. The team’s humility shined through further when a new employee (2 weeks in) alerted management about tensions between two departments.  Much to their surprise both teams were thrilled to hear their new colleague’s insight and showed their appreciation. Management even went one step further offering this individual to run a huge cross-departmental retrospective 5 weeks into their job. It’s not often that companies are so open to self-reflection and change coming from a new junior hire and we really admire the culture that Beekeeper has nurtured. Check out open positions at Beekeeper       7. Hotel Effectiveness Hotel Effectiveness is an incredibly successful company that largely flies under the radar of hotel tech buzz.  The Company provides revolutionary labor management software that we’ve covered here.  If there’s one word that sums up the Hotel Effectiveness team culture - it’s ‘performance’.  Employees are unilaterally motivated by consistently hitting lofty sales goals time and again.  As a testament to this performance driven culture - one employee told us that one time their boss had to tell them to go home early and make some time for family when they were overworking themselves.  This performance culture isn’t mandated from the top and is completely grassroots in that it’s driven by internal employee motivation and ambition. While you can expect to work alongside incredibly driven and ambitious colleagues at Hotel Effectiveness - they definitely know how to have a good time host a hilarious annual white elephant Christmas party. Check out open positions at Hotel Effectiveness     6. Revinate Revinate’s culture is characterized by constant iteration and testing.  The Company is always trying new things and that affords a ton of learning opportunities to team members.  This year while the technical team executed a full shift from hosted data center to cloud based AWS infrastructure the sales and marketing teams were tasked to rapidly grow the install base of the Revinate Marketing product.  Both teams executed with near perfection and everyone celebrated with an impromptu party where key team members reflected on the incredible achievements of such a relatively short time period. Revinate embodies the startup spirit with enterprise scale.  Revinate CEO Marc Heyneker is deeply involved in the day to day operations of the business and employees across the organization rave about his ability to inspire and teach. One employee told us a story about a serious head injury that left this person working remotely for several months.  His team made sure to make him feel included as part of the office through the entire time away but that was only the beginning. The employee recalled being shocked that over a year after his injury Heyneker pulled him aside to check in on his health and to ask what he could do personally to help. Check out open positions at Revinate     5. Cloudbeds Cloudbeds management recently surprised its team with a beautiful new San Diego headquarters equipped with a 14 ft indoor willow tree, a massive outdoor workspace, game areas, stand up workstations and more.  The environment is fun, welcoming and echoes the company theme - all things travel. Cloudbeds has an extensive wellness program because management knows that healthy employees are productive ones. This productivity paid off in 2018 where Cloudbeds achieved #75 on Inc Magazine’s fastest growing companies list.  How are they growing so fast you ask? Well it’s probably because CEO Adam Harris told the team he’d dance to any song of their choosing. We will keep you posted once we get our hands on the video from Harris’ co-founder Richard Castle. The Company maintains several internal chat threads exclusively for team sharing of funny photos, videos and memes - so we expect the video to surface there as well.  All jokes aside, Cloudbeds takes both employee and team growth very seriously. Each employee has weekly 1-1 meetings to review competencies and revisit their path to promotion. The Company is growing rapidly and there are constant opportunities for employees who prove themselves. Cloudbeds is also a 100% flexible organization where remote employees and those stationed at the headquarters all enjoy the ability to work from anywhere anytime.  Cloudbeds has fostered a culture where its team members truly enjoy hanging outside of work and building friendships important for their personal and professional lives. Several Ukrainian teammates trained for a marathon together and one customer success rep has leveraged her friendship with the UX designers to pursue her passion for design. After taking several courses independently the UX team has given her several opportunities to practice her skills on live projects. Check out open positions at Cloudbeds       4. Clock Software Clock Software is another company on our list that is growing insanely fast but doesn’t take itself too seriously.  One Clock employee told us that on their birthday coworkers wrapped his entire workstation and even put a bow on it.  The only complaint we heard from Clock Software team members was that they are growing too fast and needed more staff to manage the growth.  This is the best kind of problem to have. Clock is the oldest company on our list and celebrated their 22nd anniversary this year - a testament to the longevity of the business.  Clock founder Krasimir Trapchev has focused on growing the client base without scaling the team too quickly. Trapchev is all about execution and he’s prioritized building a long term sustainable business over rapid scaling which is extremely unique in an environment where funding is so plentiful that CryptoKitties, a company that enables users to breed and trade digital cats can raise $15M.  Clock is now starting to scale the team so it can take on more enterprise clients and its employees are fired up.  If you want to learn how to build a real business without massive amounts of venture capital - check out open jobs at Clock because Trapchev is the Mr. Miyagi of entrepreneurship and you’d be wise to make yourself his Karate Kid. Check out open positions at Clock     3. Screen Pilot Screen Pilot takes team building very seriously with activities like bubble soccer, a British Bakeoff (it’s ok we Googled it, too), volunteering at an animal shelter, an escape room and even a city wide scavenger hunt around its hometown in Denver.  The scavenger hunt and Screen Pilot’s quarterly volunteer days are a testament to Screen Pilot’s commitment to the surrounding community. While Screen Pilot is a top rated digital marketing agency, it’s a technology innovator as much as a marketing service provider.  The Company has created what it calls SP Labs where employees brainstorm ways to better leverage technology to help its clients win more direct bookings. Think of SP Labs like an ongoing internal hackathon with dedicated teams set on solving acute problems for clients. It’s this kind of innovative mindset that lead Screen Pilot to a 2018 Adrian Award for social content creation. Check out open positions at Screenpilot     2. Mews Systems If you caught the Mews Systems booth at WTM you might think that it was a rocket science company with all the lab coats and futuristic decor that earned it the Best Stand Award.  While Mews isn’t quite a rocket science company it is taking off like a rocketship having doubled its client base in the second half of 2018 alone. To support that kind of insane customer growth Mews had to 4x its team size in the last year - the fastest growth of any company in our list.  So how can a company even hire that fast? Mews attracts 40% of new hires via referrals. If that doesn’t say something about the company culture we don’t know what does. With that kind of insane growth supported by an $8M Series A in June you’d think it’s all business but Mews employees say it’s very much a “work hard, play hard” culture.  One employee told us that one of his favorite things about working at Mews is “daily banter with the boizz” - this kind of hilariousness is exactly what’s helped the Company take the industry by storm. Hoteliers everywhere are sick of generic jargon and boring brand marketing from hotel tech firms and Mews is the antidote. Employees frequently cite founder Richard Valtr and CEO Matt Welle as saying “At Mews we are family and we will take care of any family member in need."  Mews also boasts an extremely inclusive culture illustrated by the firm’s attendance at the Prague Pride celebration wearing special edition Mews gear to the event. The Company also has a shared value culture at its core and participated in UK Byte Night last year.  Byte Night prevents youth homelessness by having corporate teams sleep in the streets to raise awareness and funds for the cause.  Richard and team participated which is really cool and a statement to the quality of people that you’ll work with when you join the Mews team. Check out open positions at Mews     1. ALICE ALICE employees widely agreed that quarterly town hall meetings are the foundation of ALICE’s connected team culture.  ALICE staff loves the opportunity to connect with colleagues from around the world, align around the company vision and get transparency into how the business is performing at a macro level. More than doubling its size in 2018, ALICE unsurprisingly had to upgrade its HQ office to add more space and acquire obligatory startup amenities like a cold brew keg, stand up desks and lockers.  ALICE goes so much deeper for its team and invests heavily in career development. Employees participate in a company wide book club, receive access to free Udemy courses and are nurtured along a very clear path to promotion.  ALICE employees talk about the clarity of path to promotion more than any other company’s employees on our list. Setting a clear path to promotion is important for making employees feel like they’re constantly progressing and puts them at ease knowing that there’s always room to grow internally.  Major consulting firms like BCG and McKinsey have perfected this art but rarely do we see startups who are able to provide such transparency to their staff - kudos ALICE management.One employee told us that she was promoted 4 times in the last 3 years - a testament to ALICE’s ability to reward top employees.  Even a remote worker was able to win ALICE’s Culture and Values Award twice in 6 months. This individual told us that they felt like they were on an island while working previous remote jobs - but felt very connected to the inclusive ALICE team. ALICE acquired GoConcierge this year and is making serious strides with major enterprise clients after its $30M Series B funding - a testament to the strong prospects for the firm and probably why employee confidence in the firm is best in class.  “When you receive a high five from the CEO, that says a lot about the culture of the company,” says one team member. High fives all around! Check out open positions at ALICE

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Del Ross built IHG into a billion dollar e-commerce business in 2 years, now he’s determined to solve hospitality’s labor problem

Hotel Tech Report

Marketing, distribution and guest experience are undoubtedly the most buzzy topics in the world of hospitality technology.  It’s easy to see why given the rapid rise of OTAs, the proliferation of mobile devices and recent innovations in data analysis techniques. Del Ross is no stranger to the tectonic shifts happening in hotel marketing and distribution technology having built IHG’s multi-billion dollar e-commerce business from the ground up. Perhaps that’s why we were initially surprised to see Del move into a senior role at labor management software company Hotel Effectiveness.  The Company uses labor standard-driven staffing models that are built on deep analysis of real data to build real-time schedules for every function and department at a hotel in just a few minutes. Take a look at any P&L - you’ll notice that 50% of that hotel’s operating expenses are attributed to labor cost.  If you’re based in unionized markets like San Francisco you’re probably spending most of your time focusing on these critical lines of your P&L.  You’re also probably worrying about rising labor costs and talent acquisition in a low unemployment world. Low unemployment helps hotels (and the broader economy) by driving more revenue into businesses but there is always a trade-off.  When unemployment is low - constrained supply causes labor costs to rise. When labor costs rise it becomes more expensive (and difficult) for hotels to attract talent.   Many hotels are leveraging the gig economy to tap on demand staffing networks that fill these gaps.  Others are focused on maximizing the existing talent that they already have. What do we mean when we say “hotels are maximizing their existing talent”? Hotels are investing in staff task management solutions to make a smaller team more efficient by tracking guests requests across shifts.  They are also investing in technologies like cloud based property management systems that leverage mobile check-in to offload repetitive responsibilities and enable their teams to focus on delivering truly differentiated experiences. Labor management software is better at solving workforce related challenges because it hits the problem head on. You’ll see faster and quicker improvements to your strained P&L from using tools like Hotel Effectiveness to make better staffing decisions.  Hotels are highly labor intensive businesses - there are tons of opportunities to increase efficiency and cut costs sitting right under your nose that technology can unlock. We sat down with Del Ross from Hotel Effectiveness to learn how his experience being a restaurant waiter while at Georgetown University eventually lead him down a path to becoming a senior leader at IHG, a McKinsey advisor and eventually to help hotels maximize labor efficiencies by leveraging the power of technology. Del Ross of Hotel Effectiveness Tell us about your career background in hotels My first hotel job was working in a Marriott restaurant at Georgetown University.  This is how I paid for college. During my time at the hotel, I frequently served as the room service attendant in addition to waiting a 100-seat restaurant (often by myself).  I returned to the industry in 2001 as a dot-com ecommerce veteran recruited to build the online business for IHG. I served as the global leader of IHG E-Commerce for several years before being promoted to lead Distribution Marketing (all channels) for the Americas region.  Later I was promoted again to lead all commercial activities including sales, marketing, advertising, revenue management and loyalty for over 3,600 hotels in the Americas region. In that role, I was responsible for delivering over $12 billion in topline revenues to my hotels each year.  I left IHG in 2012 and began a dual career as a hotel investor and a travel industry executive consultant, leading strategic and distribution projects for many global clients across the travel industry. For the past three years, I served as a Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, helping to build their large travel practice.  In October 2018, I re-entered the hotel industry by joining Hotel Effectiveness as Chief Revenue Officer. When did you first become interested in leveraging technology to become a better hotelier? In 2001, our industry was being slowly encroached by several online travel agencies who were taking advantage of the lack of e-commerce expertise among hotel companies.  I re-joined the industry for the specific purpose of restoring balance and building a powerful direct booking channel for hotels. We grew IHG's direct e-commerce channel to over $1 billion per year in less than 2 years and it now provides more than 25% of revenues to nearly 6,000 hotels worldwide. What was one technology that you couldn't live without in your former role as a hotelier? I probably was the most hands-on with my CRM solutions, but I also worked with our CRS platform, e-commerce and distribution platforms, digital marketing tools, and loyalty systems.  It's hard to think of how I could be successful without each of these systems (and more). As a hotelier what was your biggest frustration with technology vendors? Technology providers are usually too focused on their own features and product design than on the problems I was trying to solve.  We needed them to help us figure out how to use their product to address our needs and not focus on how we could increase how much we spent with them.  In addition, most technology companies have no appreciation for the scarcity of TIME at the hotel level. Our managers and staff are the hardest working people in the world, and the last thing they want to do is spend their days in front of computer screens looking at charts and graphs and buttons.  Tech companies need to design products to save money AND time. No matter how great the product is, if it takes a lot of time to use, hotel people will simply not buy it. What is the most widely held misconception that hoteliers have about technology? Most hoteliers are skeptical about technology - for good reason.  Tech companies have a long history of over promising and under-delivering.  As a result, new technologies are not often eagerly adopted by experienced hotel people.  They would rather "wait and see" before embracing yet another "shiny object" tech solution.  The last thing we need is another complicated software program that takes up all of our time and delivers little value.  Tech providers need to focus on the benefits of their solution and design products to require minimal effort for maximum value.  Don't assume that because hotels are multi-million dollar businesses that we like to sit around on our laptops all day - we have become successful by taking care of travelers - and each other - with the service and care that we'd provide to our own families.   Tell us about your journey from hotelier into technologist? I've always been comfortable with technology.  As a teenager, I wrote computer programs - mostly video games.  In college, I continued to program even while attending my studies and working almost full-time.  While later in my career I got away from writing code, my comfort with and appreciation for technology has stayed strong.  I love finding ways to leverage technology to make difficult problems easy to solve. Hotel Effectiveness is my dream job because (1) I get to work with hoteliers every day, (2) as a hotel investor I am deeply concerned about the threat to hotel profitability, (3) no other solution I have used can have as immediate and profound a positive impact to hotel GOP and NOI than our labor management solution.   What was the most challenging part of moving from hotels into technology? It is easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest new technology.  All technologists embrace innovation, but sometimes tech people can solve problems that don't really need solving!  As a hotel person at heart, I am always thinking of the customer first. If a technology solution does not in some way make it easier to provide the best possible service to a guest, we simply cannot afford to consider it. How does Hotel Effectiveness help hotels maximize labor efficiencies? Hotel Effectiveness gives hotels perfect control over their labor costs.  Using labor standard-driven staffing models that are built on deep analysis of real data, we can build real-time schedules for every function and department at a hotel in just a few minutes.  Using our solution, hotels can avoid wasteful scheduling and excessive overtime & contractor usage while ensuring that guests receive the best possible service and quality. Our 5-minute Daily Labor Check-in is the easiest and most impactful part of our customers' everyday routine.  Every department manager uses this tool to keep track of their team's actual hours compared with the plan and makes any adjustments to the schedule in order to meet operating needs and maintain efficiency. The hotel general manager and any regional leaders can then look at the overall performance of the hotel, quickly research any areas of concern to verify that the appropriate action is being taken, and rest easy knowing that each hotel is staffed appropriately according to the needs of the business. Imagine that you're going to open the hotel of your dreams tomorrow. What would it be and why? As an investor, I'd eagerly develop a well-located extended stay or select service hotel near a major market or demand driver.  As a hotel fanatic, I'd of course love to open an upscale boutique in a historic market with a small but 5-star restaurant and the most charming staff in the region.  We'd be known for creating memorable experiences that our guests treasure throughout their lives. Since my own name is already taken (Delano), I'd probably name this hotel after one of my kids - maybe the Amelia? What technology would you leverage at your hotel? A cloud-based PMS with an integrated channel manager, revenue management system and intelligent pricing tool are the foundation.  Add to this a solid sales and catering system and a simple but effective CRM and we'd keep the hotel full. The Business Intelligence overlay would keep my team on top of performance, and of course, we'd have 100% perfect labor costs and quality scores by using Hotel Effectiveness for labor management, time & attendance, and performance analysis. What is the most exciting technology you've seen in the hotel tech space that is not built by your own company? I'm a big fan of Revinate.  Not only are those guys building great technology services (CRM and reputation management), they are also some of the nicest people I have ever met.  If they were not in the tech business, every one of them would be perfect to work in a hotel. What's one piece of advice you have for hoteliers who have dreams of working in tech? Stay current.  Set aside time to learn about new technologies and even attend a conference or two to keep your knowledge up to date.  Experiment - you should try just about everything (most services can be tried for free or for very short periods of time).  Keep the stuff that performs and learn from the stuff that doesn't. Finally, spend time with young technologists and startups.  Incredible things are happening all around you, but the inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs rarely have enough context or experience to know how to make the most of their new innovation.  The combination of industry experience and technology expertise can result in some of the most impactful new solutions our industry has ever seen - just look at Airbnb for an example of this! What's one podcast, newsletter or book that you recommend hoteliers read if they're interested in tech? Read the quarterly earnings transcripts of Tripadvisor, Expedia and Booking.  Sounds boring but you will learn a lot about what matters to these hotel tech giants.  Google publishes some great articles on their "Think with Google" website. For fun, subscribe to the TechCrunch podcast and surprise your tech vendors with your knowledge of the latest gadgets and gizmos that are about to hit the market. What is your favorite hotel in the world and why? 25 years ago my wife and I spent our honeymoon at The Reefs in Bermuda.  It was amazing. We have not been back but talk about it all the time. I have been fortunate to see or stay in thousands of hotels in my career - the ones I love are always the ones where the staff is smiling, the rooms are quiet and clean, and everything makes me feel welcome.   What is one thing that most people don't know about you? I love hotels and technology, but my first love is my family.  We have four kids, three dogs, a turtle, a bunny, and about 50 large goldfish.  If you want to know what I am doing in my spare time, see the above list!

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Scheduling & Labor Management Category Overview

What is hotel labor management software?
Labor Management Systems (LMS) provide the necessary tools to reduce labor costs while enhancing a balance with guest service expectations. An effective Labor Management Systems does not “cut labor,” but instead serves as a guidepost for effective use of a properties’   associates. A robust LMS incorporates Labor Standards creation and management, integrated forecasting and actual business driver volume, and payroll and timekeeping system hour and wage integration. Combined, these components drive labor and service action plans, recommendations, and daily management practices. The result is eliminating wasteful over-scheduling, reducing overtime, optimizing the use of outsourced contractors, and spot-on service delivery.  Robust labor management practices, enabled by technology, save a typical hotel 3-5% of total labor costs annually including dramatically reducing overtime.

For info on hotel labor management trends, questions that you should ask vendors and more download the 2019 Hoteliers Guide to Labor Management Systems.

How can labor management software improve profitability and efficiency?
  • Improve Net Operating Income: Hotel savings average 3-5% of total labor costs through advanced LMS capabilities. These savings flow through directly to hotel profit, increasing operational cash flows. With proper LMS utilization, these results are easily achievable in this environment of rising wages and scarce talent. 
  • Stakeholders confidence in staff schedules being aligned with labor cost and service expectations: Traditionally, department managers have spent hours weekly managing their team schedules while being unsure of staffing expectations. With Labor Management Systems, management time spent scheduling is dramatically reduced. Scheduling to target hours calculations based on accurate business volume forecasts applied to labor standards, provide stakeholders at all levels the confidence schedules are aligned with financial goals. 
  • Proactive tools to identify and address possible staffing issues: Complete visibility of department, property, and portfolio labor cost increases accountability across the organization. Potential issues and risks can be identified in advance and avoided. Internal and external benchmarks can highlight potential operational efficiencies such as reduced Minutes Per Room (MPR) for housekeeping and improve both operational quality and costs.

What are the most important features of labor management software?
  • Easy to use UX: that are designed specifically for the hotel industry will enable complex actions to be completed with a few simple steps. Most users should require minimal training to realize maximum value. Daily labor management tasks should be managed in 5 minutes or less by most users. 
  • Labor Standards: Simple, wizard-like tools will make creation and management of sophisticated staffing rules very easy for all levels of management. Updating standards to reflect changing operational goals or market conditions should be effortless and reflected immediately in labor plans and schedules. 
  • Operational drivers integration: Direct connection of Business Intelligence, accounting, and revenue forecasting tools, while maintaining the ability to be overridden by authorized managers. This data is paired with labor standards to produce staffing models and scheduling target hours optimizing performance and eliminating inefficiencies, excessive overtime, and providing better control of contract labor use. 
  • Daily check-in: Every manager should be able to review, update, and modify his/her labor schedules and performance objectives on a daily basis in five minutes or less through thoughtfully designed, easily understood dashboards and guided action plan creation. Senior managers, GMs and above-property leadership monitor performance trends and action plans of every hotel. Department managers have the ability to address opportunities, mitigate risks, and seek guidance. 
  • Mobile-friendly employee tools: Line-level employees need a simple, reliable tool to identify preferred shifts, request time off, and see their daily and weekly schedules via mobile device or desktop browser. 
  • Time & Attendance/Payroll integration: Linking the time clock data to Labor Management Systems, with multiple daily real time updates, enables hotels to monitor overtime risk, unpaired punches, incorrect position coding, absences and tardiness. Corrective action can be taken prior to such things becoming an issue. 
  • Benchmarking: Internal tools to compare hotels across the portfolio including department and function-level benchmarks are critical to establishing and expanding operational standards and rules that can be an owner or management company’s key point of differentiation. Adding external benchmarks - data from comparable hotels within the local market or from other regions - enables senior leaders to identify improvement opportunities.

What makes great hotel labor management software?
Systems that were built specifically for hotels and hotel users are preferred over generic labor management systems or those built for other industries such as Retail or Healthcare.

Hotel owners need to see the labor performance data for their hotels down to the department level.  General Managers need to see which departments are on target, which are off-target, and know what actions need to be taken in real time to avoid cost spikes and other labor challenges.  Department managers need daily info on their team member performance including productivity and overtime risk.  With great Labor Management Systems, labor standards are combined with updated operational forecasts to produce dynamic schedules which are easily populated by department managers.  Hotel employees have complete visibility of their schedules through a dedicated portal in which they can also manage vacation requests, shift requests, and multiple roles within the property.
What are the most important integrations for a Hotel Labor Management System?
  • Payroll system: Job code, employee, and wage data feeds are transferred from existing hotel systems. A one-way interface with updated data multiple times daily empowers Labor Management Systems to deliver real-time insights and opportunities for cost and service optimization. 
  • Time & Attendance: Monitoring actual employee hours will enable comparison of scheduled and real time worked with departmental labor plans. Daily labor check-ins within the system enable managers to take action or make schedule changes before issues occur. 
  • Business Intelligence: Seamless connectivity with Profitsword, Opera, Broadvine, M3 Accounting and other hotel performance reporting systems enable labor management to be integrated into overall business plans and strategies for each hotel. These systems provide operational data that is applied to labor standards producing optimal staffing schedule targets and actual labor performance reporting.

What is the typical pricing for labor management software?
Installation can cost up to $20,000 with an additional $5,000 for on-trainings.  The monthly SaaS subscriptions can run anywhere between $100 - $2,000/month per hotel varying based on hotel size, requirements and more.  Get a custom price quote on Hotel Tech Report to see what it will cost your hotel.

For pricing considerations when selecting a hotel labor management system, vendor comparisons and more download the 2019 Hoteliers Guide to Labor Management Systems.

How long does it usually take for a hotel to implement new labor management software?
There are three main parts to implementation of a hotel Labor Management system:
  1. Data integration: Linking payroll and business intelligence systems to the Labor Management system to provide the data needed for the system to function. Depending upon the provider’s ability to integrate, this can take from a few days to several months. 
  2. Configuration:  Building property organizational structure and labor standards, along with mapping active position coding, appropriate to each hotel and setting. During this stage users are defined. Time for this can vary but it should not take more than a few days. 
  3. Training: Most training can be done online. Owners, general managers, financial management, and Account Administrator should expect to invest about 3 hours to learn a system . Department managers should be able to learn how to use the scheduler and management tools in less than an hour.

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