If your hotel’s fiscal period is the calendar year, then you’re probably in or are about to enter “budget season.” If, like me, it’s that time of year for you, here are some suggestions on completing the budget process in a smooth and stress-free manner:
1. Start early. It’s never too early to start forecasting what your operation will likely do next year. Buy some extra time by starting the budget process in the summer months or even earlier.
2. Involve everyone. Your team’s actions will make or break your future numbers, so have as many of them as possible participate in building the budget. You’ll create more “buy in,” too, with this approach.
3. Agree to a goal, and gain approval in stages. Strive to get an agreement on the broad targets you should achieve before detailing the line items that will get you there. Then, be diligent in adhering to timetables for completing portions of the budget, and gain interim approval of these sections as they are documented.
4. Be ready to revise everything. Even when you’ve done your research and believe yourself well prepared, be ready to start over for whatever reason — changes in management or market conditions, group cancellations, postponed renovations, etc.
5. Don’t take it personally. Regardless of your experience level, know that your thinking will be challenged. It’s a normal part of the process that will push you to do your best.
6. Remember, we’re all after the same thing. Everyone involved in putting together the budget is committed to maximizing results. True, we may have different ways of achieving our mission, but the mission is the same for all.
7. Be engaged by your promise. Once completed, the budget is, in fact, a promise to produce certain results over time. Use this “promise” to enliven your teams and fully engage them in the business of operating your hotel.
Good luck with this year’s budget season!