Skip to main content

Hotel budget: Steps in the budgeting process for hotels

  Posted in Resources  Last updated 11/06/2024

What is a hotel budget?

A hotel budget is a financial plan that outlines the projected income and expenditures for a specific period, usually one fiscal year. It serves as a financial blueprint, detailing various revenue streams such as room bookings, food and beverage sales, and ancillary services. The budget also accounts for all types of expenses, including operational costs, capital expenditures, and marketing budgets.

It’s a comprehensive document that aligns with the hotel’s strategic objectives, guiding managerial decisions and resource allocation.

Table of contents

When is the hotel budgeting season?

The hotel budgeting season usually kicks off in October and runs through December. This three-month window is a critical phase for hoteliers, as it sets the financial and operational blueprint for the entire upcoming year. Decisions made during this period have long-lasting implications, affecting everything from staffing levels to capital investments to where you can invest to increase hotel room sales.

Why is a hotel budget important?

A budget is far more than a ledger of income and expenses; it’s a strategic instrument that serves multiple functions. It enables you to establish revenue benchmarks, control operational expenditures, allocate resources judiciously, and prepare for contingencies such as economic downturns or unexpected maintenance issues. 

Without a well-thought-out budget, achieving long-term objectives becomes a challenge, and the risk of financial instability increases.

Steps in the hotel budgeting process

The budgeting process is a systematic approach that requires careful planning and execution. Here are the steps involved:

1. Collect data

Begin by collecting granular data from the previous years. This should include room occupancy rates, average daily rates (ADR), revenue per available room (RevPAR), and customer acquisition costs. Also, gather data on customer satisfaction scores, online reviews, and feedback to understand areas that may require investment.

2. Establish goals

Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for the upcoming year. These could range from increasing RevPAR by 10% to reducing energy consumption by 15%. Each goal should align with your hotel’s long-term strategy.

3. Revenue forecasting

Create a detailed revenue forecast that includes a month-by-month and quarter-by-quarter breakdown. This should be based on your historical data, market trends, and any planned marketing or sales initiatives. While it can be difficult to precisely predict revenue, effective revenue management is a key part of creating a hotel budget.

4. Allocate resources

Identify the key operational areas that require investment. Break down the allocation into sub-categories like marketing (SEO, PPC, Social Media), property improvements (renovations, new amenities), and technology upgrades (new PMS, CRM software).

5. Monitor and adjust

Budgets are not static documents; they require ongoing monitoring and adjustments. Conduct monthly or quarterly reviews to assess performance against the set goals. If certain strategies are not yielding the expected results, reallocate resources as needed.

6. Finalise and implement

Once you’ve made all necessary adjustments, finalise the budget and distribute it to department heads for implementation. Ensure that everyone understands their budgetary responsibilities and performance metrics.

How to prepare a hotel budget

To prepare a comprehensive hotel budget, you need to delve deep into both your revenue streams and expenditures to create a complete hotel budget format.

On the revenue side, categorise income into room bookings, food and beverage sales, spa services, conference facilities, and any other ancillary services. For each category, project the expected revenue based on past performance, market trends, and any upcoming marketing campaigns.

On the expenditure side, list all fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs include salaries, rent, utilities, and insurance, while variable costs encompass marketing expenses, seasonal staffing, maintenance, and cost of goods sold (COGS). Once you have a complete overview, allocate funds to different departments based on strategic priorities and expected ROI.

A note for seasonal hotels. What’s true about annual budgets for seasonal hotels may not be true for hotels that are active year-round. Ensure that you consider the unique opening environment of your hotel e.g. which quarter will require the majority of the budget expenditure.

Hotel budget sample checklist

For a structured budgeting approach, consider the following as a comprehensive checklist of budgeting tips:

  • Room revenue: Include detailed projections for occupancy rates, ADR, and RevPAR. Factor in any planned rate adjustments, special promotions, or loyalty programmes.
  • Food and beverage revenue: Calculate expected earnings based on average spend per guest, expected footfall, and any seasonal promotions or events.
  • Operational expenses: Break down operational costs into granular categories like utilities, maintenance, housekeeping, front desk operations, and security.
  • Capital expenditures: Allocate budget for major capital projects like property renovations, new furniture, or technology upgrades. Include timelines and expected ROI for each project.
  • Sales and marketing: Specify the budget allocation for each marketing channel, such as PPC advertising, social media campaigns, email marketing, and influencer partnerships. Don’t forget to include expenditure on building or updating the hotel website.
  • Guest services: Include costs for guest amenities like complimentary breakfast, in-room entertainment, loyalty programmes, and any planned upgrades or new services.
  • Loan payments: Account for monthly or quarterly loan repayments, including principal and interest, and any other financial obligations like leases or vendor contracts.
  • Technological investments: Allocate budget for essential technology like PMS, CRM, and revenue management systems to automate tasks and improve efficiency.
  • Staff training and development: Set aside funds for staff training programs that focus on customer service, technology adoption, and industry compliance.
  • Sustainability initiatives: Incorporate budget allocations for eco-friendly practices, such as energy-efficient appliances and waste management systems.
  • Contingency planning: Include a contingency fund to address unexpected situations like maintenance emergencies or economic downturns.

Where to effectively spend your hotel’s budget (according to hoteliers)

When SiteMinder surveyed hoteliers, many spoke about improving their digital marketing and online presence and the need to put money behind these efforts to make headway in financing their hotel.

The findings showed that boosting revenue by spending on strategy management came out on top with a ranking of 50% – closely followed by digital marketing activity.

Hoteliers said they would be allocating less budget to staff training and recruitment – ranked at 28% in comparison – indicating the need to spend more money on newer skills such as SEO.

Maximise your hotel revenue with SiteMinder

SiteMinder offers an integrated solution for hotel budget planning, covering all aspects from revenue management to distribution channels and guest engagement.

  • Budget-friendly revenue management: SiteMinder’s platform enables you to make dynamic pricing decisions that align with your budget goals. Real-time market data ensures you’re pricing rooms optimally to meet revenue targets without overshooting your budget.
  • Cost control through automation: Automated workflows for reservations, billing, and guest management eliminate manual errors and reduce administrative costs. This helps you stay within budget while improving operational efficiency.
  • Financial analytics for smarter budgeting: SiteMinder provides in-depth analytics that break down your revenue streams and expenditures. This data-driven approach aids in creating more accurate and effective budgets, allowing for better allocation of resources.

SiteMinder is the ultimate platform for unlocking your hotel’s full revenue potential, offering robust performance and an unparalleled user experience.

Get started with SiteMinder for free or watch a demo to learn more.

Banner offering a free demo of SiteMinder's platform

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of SiteMinder, the leading technology provider delivering hoteliers unbeatable revenue results. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at SiteMinder. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance and value for accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations achieve their goals.

Unlock the full revenue potential of your hotel

Watch demo

Thanks for sharing

Sign up to our blog and receive regular updates on the content you're into

Send this to a friend