Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hospitality Operations 02

1.      Explain the primary purpose of the control function and the process that can be applied for effective control.
In simple terms hotel control includes the preparation of tax returns, financial statements, forecasts, budgets, profit and loss statements and compliance reports for the business. The purpose of hotel control through an administrative process is to ensure that the investors of the company receive their fair returns.

A hotel controller could expect to perform tasks such as:
·         Assist the accounting department with financial information and forms for tax compliance needs
·         Review and approve annual budgets and projections
·         Closely scrutinize funds transfer and cash disbursement protocols within the organization
·         Set or revise organizational policy when necessary
·         Monitor performance of financial employees and recommend action to human resources department when necessary
·         Maintain external relationships with banking and insurance executives outside of the organization
·         Approve procurement

To ensure effective control the hotel sets standards that must be held. These standards vary depending on the size of the establishment and the quality of services (three star services are different from four star etc). Such standards could include: quantity of sales, cost of raw materials, schedule of tasks to be followed after certain activities and finally quality of services.

Hotel management performs regular controls at various points of business activity and then compares the actual results with the standards originally set. If the variation is too great corrective measures must be taken. If there are loses then the hotel changes sales strategy and operations. Sometimes the standards must be adjusted as well.

Example: Smith is a hotel controller for a unit of 750 rooms. Among his responsibilities is overseeing the quarter balance sheet. He also has to monitor and evaluate the performance of middle and higher management. In the course of a day he has to attend/preside over the daily meetings between the heads of departments to discuss the every day issues. Then perhaps he will need to schedule appointments with people who need his input on specific matters. For example the reservations manager might want to discuss the details of the latest contracts between the hotel and the agencies or the maintenance manager might want to go over the budget of the month. The way I see it a hotel controller has a lot to do with people and numbers.

Every hotel has standards of operation and methods of evaluating its performance (sets targets of occupancy or sales etc). The hotel controller’s job is to make sure that these standards are kept. By examining the hotel’s performance the managers can make adjustments when it comes to policy and procedures. For example hotel control shows that if check in is at 12:00 and check in is at 13:00 housekeeping cannot keep up and guests are unsatisfied. Hotel management realises that the problem is not due to staff slacking but because it is not physically possible to keep up so new times are set and now check out is 11:00 and check in is 14:00 and the problem is solved. Another important function of hotel control has to do with staff evaluation. Just because two people have the same title doesn’t mean that their contribution is equal. Wages must be personalised to represent the product of each person’s efforts and results.

2.      Explain what it means by the term ‘Common Law Duty’ and show how this applies to the hospitality industry.
In English law, an individual may owe a duty of care to another, to ensure that they do not suffer any unreasonable harm or loss. If such a duty is found to be breached, a legal liability is imposed upon the perpetrator to compensate the victim for any losses they incur. The idea of individuals owing strangers a duty of care – where beforehand such duties were only found from contractual arrangements – developed at common law, throughout the 20th century. A duty of care arises where one individual or group undertakes an activity which could reasonably harm another, either physically, mentally, or economically. This includes common activities such as driving (where physical injury may occur), as well as specialized activities such as offering food and beverage (where health issues may occur).

Lodging operators have a duty of care to their guests. This duty does not insure the guests’ safety, but does require the operator to “act prudently and use reasonable care.” This means, among other things, that an operator can be held liable if he or she is found negligent. An operator also must ensure that all of the guests’ personal information is retained and destroyed according to proper and recommended procedure.

An innkeeper’s duties at common law: (1) to deal safely with a guest’s property, (2) to provide refreshment, (3) to provide accommodation, (4) to take reasonable care of a guest’s safety, (5) to look after a guest’s transportation

The hotel as an employer have a legal duty of care to the employees. In essence this means that the company should take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing. This duty arises under health and safety and employment legislation, and also under the common law.

3.      Briefly describe the responsibilities of the owner/manager of a small Inn under the Occupiers Liability Acts. Illustrate your description with examples.
The owner’s main responsibility is a duty of care to people other than the inn’s guests. When there is a dangerous area on site, (ex a hole or slippery surfaces etc) the owner would take steps to protect his guests from the danger. Under the liability act he is expected to protect unknown trespassers as well. The rule applies to movable structures as well such as boats or airplanes.

If the hotel has a swimming pool that is closed down for repairs and is therefore half full he owner is expected to bar the entrance and place warning signs so that people don’t try to use it and hurt themselves. It is not enough to put up notices in places that only guests will see because if a trespasser injures himself while trying to use the facilities the owner will be liable.

The hotel has toilets in a public area (i.e. in reception close to the entrance) for the use of its patrons. However due to their location a lot of other people use it too. That is acceptable because the hotel doesn’t have the resources to police the entrance or move them to a different location. If they are closed for renovations and the site is dangerous (materials are lying around, electricity cables are nude etc) then it is the responsibility of the occupier to ensure that everyone, guests and trespassers, are aware of that by setting up appropriate signs to protect them from injury.

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