How to maximize revenues and accurately account for revenue spent in your outlets by guests on a package plan.
By: Tim Yellak
President, CSS Hotels Systems
Fully Automated Package Plan Accounting
The practice of selling package plans has been utilized in the hospitality industry to increase occupancy and revenue. Accounting for a package however, creates complicated accounting issues. This paper will not only look at some of the different functions of package plans, but also the accounting issues created to accurately track and provide the services included in a package. To begin a package plan can be defined as “an offer or agreement involving a number of related items or one making acceptance of one item dependent on the acceptance of another”. In the case of a hotel or resort, the items would include the charge for the room, and other items or amenities. The variety of the items offered, and the different methods of posting those items create the accounting issues. Despite the issues, if sold properly packages can increase revenue and control guest traffic through-out your profit centers. The solutions offered in the following paper, are techniques currently created and implemented as standard operating procedures of the SumIT Software Systems. Issues with the Rate
The first step to creating a package is defining a rate, a task that on the surface sounds simple enough, yet even that may be a bit more complicated than one would think. To begin, a package can be posted nightly or posted as on lump total for the entire stay. If you post a one-time charge, then the length of the package becomes of utmost importance. In both cases, do you want the tax to be posted inclusive of the package or as a separate line item? In order to create packages that have different unit types, you will have to be able to charge a different rate for each type. Different seasons require different rates or you could have weekend or week day rates. All of these options can create a posting problem, considering the rate you get is based on all of these facts, and the plan items added on top to establish your rate. To properly account for a plan the options that are provided with any system should be able to accommodate all of these scenarios. The design of the package plan processing becomes revolutionary, when it can address these options and handle yield management, increasing the package price based on the occupancy percentage of the unit type. Issues with Plan Items
The separating plan items from the rate is quite an easy task, however the different variety of techniques can create some interesting types of packages with a wide variances as to when the items need to be provided during the guest stay. In addition separating the item from the rate is providing a method to pay for the item or service, it does not account for the items or service being provided in the profit centers. In addition, the items have to be hidden from the guest since these items are covered by the package which creates problems posting the item to the guest account. Most point of sale systems handle settlements that are not guest charges, as internal items. This creates a distinct separation between the item being charged as part of the package and the item being provided in the point of sale. The accounting policies vary, and there are many manual and some automated ways of handling these items. To account accurately for these items, yet keep them isolated from the guest account is the goal. In addition you must offer flexibility in how you sell your packages and the frequencies of the items allowed in a package. Issues with Automation
Tracking and accounting for package plans should be a fully automated process. In too many cases tracking and accounting for packages are handled with some automation, but still mixed with manual polices or tickets to pay for the items being...