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US Hotel Values Graph 10-2013STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania — Hotel values are set to increase through at least 2014, led by particularly strong gains in the economy segment, according to the latest Penn State Index of U.S. Hotel Values.

Hotel values are projected to increase 8.8% during 2013, equating to a per-key value of $106,957. During 2014, values are projected to increase 6.9% to a per-key value of $114,334, according to the index.

“Hotels continue to be a preferred investment during uncertain economic times. U.S. gross-domestic-product growth is expected to continue, but not at inspiring levels. Long-term interest rates are anticipated to remain fairly low. Unemployment is expected to continue to hover in the 7% range, keeping consumer spending relatively strong,” said John O’Neill, director of Penn State University’s School of Hospitality Management and creator of the index.

“Occupancy levels will be at or near their historical peak. Average daily rates are expected to register moderate gains. Construction activity is expected to remain moderate, or at least well below historical averages. Commercial and leisure transient hotel room demand is expected to stay pretty strong, whereas group demand is a bit dicey.

US Hotel Values 10-2013“Average U.S. hotels are expected to remain profitable in the near term,” he said.

NOTE: This article is largely reprinted from a recent article by Patrick Maycock, Editor-in-Chief, HotelNewsNow.com. I thought my readers would learn from it.
Dave Hogg

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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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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,



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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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