Tag Archives: growth

Good Citizenship

Young Life York Sponsorship Sign
At Springwood Hospitality we firmly believe that we are to make a difference in the communities we serve. That’s why we’ve teamed with Young Life York County as the Event Sponsor for their annual banquet this year.

Young Life is an international not-for-profit that reaches out to adolescents of all stripes to show them love and encouragement in 1 on 1 relationships, in “Club” meetings where they can be crazy and just be kids, and at summer camps, where most kids say they had “the best week of my life”.

All of this effort is geared to showing adolescents the love of Christ. Volunteers and staff do this to earn the right to be heard, to share the story and power of Jesus Christ. Regardless of response, kids are loved and supported by Young Life leaders and staff. Many of these special relationships last a lifetime.

Young Life is a special organization that is making a difference in the lives of thousands of teens. We are honored to play a part.

Dave Hogg

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Recovering Economy Lifts Business Travel

A July 15, 2013 article in The New York Times says that travelers in the United States will spend about $273.3 billion on the road in 2013.  That’s a 4.3 percent increase over last year, and a reflection of stronger growth in domestic travel as the national economy stabilizes.

Of the estimated $273.3 billion, about $117.1 billion will be spent on group travel — meetings and conventions, conferences, incentive trips and the like. And $33.1 billion will be spent in the United States on international travel.  The information comes from a report that trade group Global Business Travel Association has released preceding its annual convention, which will be held early August in San Diego.

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Maximizing House Profit using Flex/Flow Calculations Part 5: Final Considerations.

This is the last post in the series and I wanted to discuss some items that should be considered when reviewing flex/flow numbers.  Each period is unique and should be evaluated that way.  It is impossible to discuss all of the different issues that can skew flex/flow numbers from month to month, but I am going to discuss a couple situations below that will be helpful in analyzing flex/flow calculations. 

How did we get the extra revenues?

This is one of the most critical situations to consider when reviewing flex/flow numbers.  As discussed in part one, there are a lot of expenses that are budgeted and measured based on per occupied room (POR).  However, flex/flow measures the dollars from the revenue variance to the house profit variance.  So what would happen if the property exceeded revenues for the month but sold fewer rooms than budgeted?  Well if you consider that your POR costs should have been lower due to fewer rooms sold, the additional revenue had to come from either ADR or another revenue department, so your flow through percentage should actually be higher than your goal.  The opposite is also true if you exceeded revenues by selling more rooms than budgeted while the ADR was less.  The rooms sold will cause the POR costs to increase but the lack of ADR will hurt the flow through percentage because you got less revenue per room sold.  The same should be considered when you fall short of revenues as well.  There are numerous scenarios on this, but the point is that you should consider how you got the revenue variance to determine if the goal should have made and if the goal should have been higher.

Approach the small variances with caution.

This was purposely shown in example #2 for parts 3 and 4 of this series.  You will see that the smaller the revenue variances, the more likely you are to get an outrageous number in the flex/flow calculation.   If I told you that your property just flowed -500% for the month and nothing else; what would your reaction be?  I am guessing it wouldn’t be “great job and keep up the good work” but should it be?  What if upon further review of the statement you found that the revenues were over $200 and every other line item equaled budget, but you had a $1,000 extraordinary expense and that alone caused the house profit to be under $1,000 and the flow through to be -500%.  I think you would agree that this is not as bad as the initial -500% flow number would lead you to believe.  In my experience working with flex flow numbers, my general rule is the smaller the revenue variance the less effective the calculation.  Therefore it should not be taken literally without some further investigation.

In closing, I hope this series gave you another tool to manage your property.  As stated in part #1, the goal with flex/flow calculations is to measure the efficiency between additional revenues and bottom line profit.  Thanks for reading the series and stay tuned for posts in the future that will range widely on operational hotel topics.  If I can assist in any way, feel free to contact me directly at jshelton@springwood.net

Hospitably Yours,


Flex/Flow Calculations Poll #1

Flex/Flow Calculations Poll #2


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Help Springwood Hospitality “Stick it to Hunger” Today!

Springwood Hospitality gladly supports the local food bank and is conducting a food drive April 11th to April 28th.  Thank you for joining us in the fight against hunger!

Please click on the link to read all the details and where food donations are accepted.  Springwood Hospitality Food Drive Details


Filed under Dave Hogg, Justin Shelton

Maximizing House Profit using Flex/Flow Calculations Part 3: How to calculate Flow performance.

At this point, it is fair to say that you know the difference between Flex and Flow and you have an idea where your goal should be for each.  If not, please review Part 1 and 2 of this series.  With that knowledge and understanding under our belt we are ready to discuss the calculations.  First, I am going to give you the formulas and then I am going to play out 3 different flow scenarios with some brief explanations of each.

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite (or at least it should be)…Flow.

To calculate what your house profit target (HPT) should be based on your flow goal is really simple.  Multiply the revenue variance (RV) by the goal percentage (GOAL%) to get the house profit target (HPT).

RV  x  GOAL%  =  HPT

The next thing I recommend is determine if the property met the house profit target.  This gives you the first indication on whether you made the flow % or not.  This is calculated by subtracting the house profit target (HPT) from the house profit variance (HPV) to get the house profit goal variance (HPGV).  Positive numbers for the house profit goal variance are great and negative numbers are never good.

HPV  –  HPT  =  HPGV

To calculate your actual flow, just divide your house profit variance (HPV) by your revenue variance (RV) and that equals the flow percentage (FLOW%).  This gives you your actual flow through percentage.


Now let look at some examples of how this process works.  I am using a flow goal of 70% in the calculations below.

Example #1:  This is a basic flow calculation.

Actual Revenue Budgeted Revenue Revenue Variance
$300,000 $280,000 $20,000
Actual House Profit Budgeted House Profit House Profit Variance
$150,000 $140,000 $10,000

Step #1 is to determine the house profit target.  We should multiply the revenue variance by the flow goal.  In this example, that would be $20,000 x 70% which equals $14,000.  $14,000 is our house profit target.

Step #2 is to determine if the property met the house profit target.  We just subtract the house profit target from the actual house profit variance.  For this situation it would be $10,000 – $14,000 = ($4,000).  In essence we are $4,000 short of our target.

Step #3 is to determine our actual flow percentage.  We just divide the house profit variance by the revenue variance to get the number.  For this scenario it would be $10,000 ÷ $20,000 = 50% Flow.  The 50% flow is less than our goal, but we already had that indication from step #2.

Step #4 is always to analyze the financial statement to find efficiencies and inefficiencies.  In this case it would be to analyze your financial statement, paying particular attention to variable expenses to determine if the property could have saved the $4,000.  There could be a fixed cost overage or something unexpected that caused this as well, but the goal is to focus more on what can be controlled.

Example #2:  This is a flow calculation with a huge flow percentage.  The best of the best sometime question themselves when they get some of these numbers.  The question usually sounds something like this, “it that even possible?” and the short answer is yes.

Actual Revenue Budgeted Revenue Revenue Variance
$280,200 $280,000 $200
Actual House Profit Budgeted House Profit House Profit Variance
$150,000 $140,000 $10,000

Step #1 is $200 x 70% giving us a house profit target of $140.

Step #2 is $10,000 – $140 giving us a house profit goal variance of $9,860.  At this point you know the property far exceeded the flow percentage goal, but by how much?  Let’s see…

Step #3 is $10,000 ÷ $200 giving you a flow percentage of 5000%.  I know what you’re thinking, “Is that even possible?”  It is calculated just like example #1 using difference numbers and it is correct and therefore possible.

Step #4 would investigate the cause for the huge house profit goal variance with so little additional revenue.  This is obviously an extreme case, but you are probably looking for a large item that was budgeted but wasn’t used.  Maybe an electric bill or franchise bill was missed.  It is import to know why there is such a huge shortage because chances are pretty good that the expense has hit in a previous month or will be hitting at a later date which will give you a financial statement equally as bad.

Example #3:  This is a really bad financial statement showing a negative flow percentage.

Actual Revenue Budgeted Revenue Revenue Variance
$285,000 $280,000 $5,000
Actual House Profit Budgeted House Profit House Profit Variance
$136,000 $140,000 ($4,000)

Step #1 is $5,000 x 70% giving us a house profit target of $3,500.

Step #2 is the same as it has been in previous scenarios, house profit variance minus house profit target.  Some of my mathematically challenged colleagues look at the numbers and in their head come up with ($500) because the difference between $4,000 and $3,500 is $500 but that would not be correct.  Our equation is ($4,000) – $3,500. Not to get too far into math class, but because the $4,000 in this case is negative and you are subtracting a positive number you actually get ($7,500) as the house profit goal variance.  Example #2 was really good, now this one is really bad.

Step #3 is to find out your true flow percentage and given what we know from Step #2 it isn’t going to be pretty.  (4,000) ÷ 5000 gives us a flow of -80%.  That is negative 80% flow through because you spent $7,500 more than your goal.

Step #4 is always to find inefficiencies or efficiencies in the financial statement.  Although the property missed house profit by $4,000, the house profit goal variance was negative $7,500 and we should be looking for that amount of expense variances because of the additional revenues generated.  This is the opposite situation from Example #2 because you are looking for double posted bills and things of that nature.  Don’t forget to focus on the variable expenses even if you find a double posted bill or something of that nature.

As you can imagine there are literally trillions of flow situations that can happen, but the formulas are the same no matter the numbers.  I would encourage you to grab a financial statement or two or ten and run these formulas to see how you did.  Are there some inefficiencies that can be improved to meet the goal set in Part 2?

In Part 4 we are going to discuss the scenarios where you fell short of budgeted revenues.  The flex formula is a little different and gets more complicated, but like flow the formulas do not change only the numbers going into it.

Hospitably Yours,



Filed under Expense Control, Justin Shelton

Maximizing House Profit using Flex/Flow Calculations Part 1: What is Flex/Flow?

It is surprising how many hotel managers, operators, and owners do not have an understanding or an appreciation for flex/flow calculations.  The flex and flow percentages are a measure of efficiency when managing revenue shortages or overages through the financial statement to the house profit line.  While I certainly remember what it was like to just be happy to exceed bottom line; I have seen the light when it comes to maximizing it using these calculations as a guide.  If you were over $15,000 in revenues and only $1000 on the house profit line, would you be happy?  If so, you should keep reading this series and you’ll see why you shouldn’t be satisfied so easily.  Technically speaking these flex/flow numbers and goals will vary from hotel to hotel based on their variable costs.  In this series, I will give you an understanding of flex/flow, how to determine goals for each, and how to calculate it based on your goals.

What is the difference between Flex and Flow?

Determining if the property is in a flex or flow situation is very easy.  Just look at the revenue variance for the given period and use that as your point.  If the property is over budget they are in a flow situation and therefore you are looking for how much you flowed through to the bottom line.  If the property finished less than budgeted revenues, they are in a flex situation and as a result you are looking to see how well they flexed or controlled their variable expenses.  I realize that some companies look at both situations as flow.  Personally, I like to make the distinction between each situation.  You will see in part 2 the goals are most likely different for each situation and it makes it a little easier to grasp when they are each separated. 

Why is Flex/Flow important?

We have to face the reality that some expenses are fixed and some are variable.  The majority of the rooms’ department expenses should be based on Per Occupied Room (POR).  This means that if you rent more rooms than budgeted you will have more POR cost and conversely if you rent less rooms you should have less cost.  An easy illustration of how this works is bath soap, assuming the property has it in every room.  If the property doesn’t rent the room tonight, the soap will still be there tomorrow.  As a result we can conclude there is no cost for soap in that room for the day because you don’t have to replace it.  If you had sold that room, you would have to replace it and costs would be associated with that.  Another example is room attendant wages, continental breakfast, and the list goes on and on.  This is the theory behind POR costs.  The more rooms you sell the more of those expenses you are going to have.  We all instinctively know this, yet some fail to measure it.  The flex/flow calculations give you a way to measure that efficiency.   

In Part 2, I will give you some ideas on how to establish a flex/flow goal.

Hospitably Yours,



Filed under Expense Control, Justin Shelton

U. S. Business Travel to Grow 5% in 2011

According to a recent study conducted by the National Business Travel Association and reported by Bloomberg, business travel spending should grow 5% in 2011.  They credit both a growing economy and stronger corporate profits.

Business travel in 2010 grew 2.3% in 2010 according to NBTA estimates.  We saw this impact anecdotally in our hotels that cater to business travelers, who started showing up again in stronger numbers in 2010.  This factor helped fuel the nearly 16% revenue increase in 2010 at our Homewood Suites by Hilton (a great brand, by the way).

NTBA points out that international business travel rose a whopping 16.9% in 2010, fueled by export-driven commerce.  That’s a huge gain, and it is an actual benefit of the weaker dollar.  Let’s hope that the federal government someday sees the wisdom of promoting this valuable export as a way to grow the economy and ease our trade deficit.

I predict that NTBA is right about the coming 2011 increase in business travel.  As its spokesman said in the article, “Companies are once again recognizing the value of face-to-face meetings … to build relationships.”

At Springwood, we build our business on relationships, because we believe that relationships drive not just our business, but all business.  There is no better way to build them than face-to-face!

Dave Hogg

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