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Spreadsheets to Track Data - Do You Use Them?

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fsconsult

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I'm trying to build a consulting business here in Canada working with bed and breakfasts, small motels, and other smaller-scale properties. I thought I would work on developing some tools for owners/operators to use that would help them in their day-to-day operations so they wouldn't have to develop it themselves. A lot of people dislike doing the dirty work with spreadsheets, just like they dislike getting dirty with the web code, and I'd like to do it for them.
I developed one tool already, as an example of what I'm talking about. It's a spreadsheet to help keep track of room revenues, average rates, how many rooms you book within the month, etc. It will also help you quickly compare from week-to-week, month-to-month and eventually today compared to today of last year. You can find it on my blog by visiting this link: Revenue Management Essentials
So far, it's been downloaded close to a hundred times this month which tells me there is some demand for these tools. I'm looking for some feedback on other forms that may be useful for people to use that aren't available currently. Here are some suggestions that I have been thinking about:
  • Area/Market Information - quick comparison tool for your rates and features compared to competitors
  • Budget Tool - quickly estimate revenues for the following year by increasing your rates by a certain amount, or offering discounts
  • Reservation Forms (for people not using a computer system)
  • Housekeeping Forms - which rooms are leaving, which are arriving, which are staying, rooms that need repairs
I am sure the members of this site can come up with more useful ideas than these and I'm open to any suggestions. If you think I'm way off-track with this idea, please let me know, as well.
 

Joey Camb

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As regards housekeeping forms I do my own - ie the columns are room number, service or change/ how many people? out? and lastly arrivals. I keep the form in the kitchen so as people check out I tick the box for out or if they come down for breakfast if they are a service ie so the chamber maid knows she isn't waking anyone up or can zip in while they are down at breakfast. Ie we start breakfast at 7.30 and the chamber maid comes in at 9.30 so she can immediately see which rooms are out or up and which are the arrivals and therefore have priority.
 

Madeleine

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These are great ideas. My web reservation software does all of the guest-related info for me. I can compare year to year, by month, etc.
What we're looking for is software to figure budgets for meals. Problem is, in order for it to work, I have to enter all of the recipes, the amounts and how much the ingredients cost me.
 

Kay Nein

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I like the idea of meal budget worksheets. I don't mind entering all the recipes in if it will give me the helpful information I need to save money. I'd like to also be able to enter the latest grocery trip prices in and have it adjust COGS.
I developed a spreadsheet to track taxes collected. We have two different ones that we have to collect (liek most of you I assume), so it's easier with a spreadsheet. The owners have accountant's handling all the heavy lifting, but I track this on a daily basis to keep it straight. Many people have accounting or B&B software they use which has this feature, but we don't.
- Dena
 

Weaver

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I have been loading recipes into AccuChef. Easy quick download, simple to use yet pretty powerful. The first 60 uses are free, so you can take it for a test drive.
 

fsconsult

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Madeline and Dena, I've never thought about creating a budget form for food costs before. It was never my area to handle it (only front office and housekeeping), but it should be doable with a bit of work (who am I kidding, probably a lot of work).
If you like, get in touch with me via email and I could start drafting it together in my free time, send it back to you for testing and build upon it together so it's useful for everyone. Send me any thoughts you have on how it should be structured. Something like this is difficult to fully explain in words, so I may do a quick spreadsheet to show to you with how I think it would work, trying to keep it simple without me having to learn how to program.
jamesm@foursidesconsulting.com
Hope to hear from you both (or anyone else interested).
 
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