Today in class we discussed financial statements in CHESS, called Rooms Contribution Statements (RCS) and profit & loss statements. We learned about many different variables that are involved in the management and operation of a hotel, including variable expenses: expenses that can increase or decreases with more occupancy or product, and fixed expenses: an expense that does not change, on the other hand. For example, in the managing of a hot dog stand, there are expenses on such things such as hot dogs, buns, condiments, and the actuall cart. As more people want to purchase hot dogs, while the vendor needs to pay for more food, he does not need to pay more for the cart. Therefore the food is a variable expense while the cart is a fixed expense.
The moment we’ve been waiting for: our first simulated hotel management experience – CHESS. Today we went to the Bin Lab to experiment with the simulation. It allows us to operate a hotel over an imaginary period of time. A simulated 10 days, which is the extent of our management, could last as few as 2 hours. We experimented today with it in preparation for our CHESS memo, which is due Friday, in which we will describe what could be improved to generate the most revenue, as the last owner did a lousy job in managing the hotel. I played around with rates, products, services, and the time speed. I found it very interesting, it was really like a game, and it was fun seeing how many rooms you sold and to which group, either business, leisure, or groups. I learned that most business groups stay on the weekdays while leisure groups prefer the weekends, which affects the amount of service you must put into certain days. There are basically 5 rates, ranging from A to E ($70 to $110) and you want to make sure more people book a room at rate E ($110). As soon as too many people booked room A, you could close that rate, so no one would buy at that low rate anymore. The “game” is essentially a page with a clock, and several open windows which represent the product planner or statistics.
Afterward, we headed to the Bin Lab to further discuss Microsoft Word and explore advanced templates, which were really interesting. Basically, we learned about how to set up that piece of paper that companies or industries send people in the mail that represents their product or service. Not only did we learn about the controls and functionality, about the importance of standardization, quality control, and efficiency, but our assignment was to design our own template for our own company. It sounded so fun, until he told us it was due at 9:00 PM today, right at the end of office hours. I was looking forward to work on it, but nervous to get it done on time, especially when class ended at 4:00 PM.
Then, I must say, came the most fun I’ve ever had in that class. Mark went over PowerPoint Presentations, because we have a group project on Monday. My group has to create a PowerPoint on BestWestern, for which we began researching, but not collaborating yet. We shall devote ourselves completely starting Friday at the latest, until after the CHESS memo is due. Mark started with a mock presentation, which was filled with hilarious slides and moments. He was teaching us how not to present our product. He gave us many, many tips on the presentation itself and on our behavior, such as remembering to smile, moving around the classroom, maintaining good stature, not to fidget with anything and have good transitions. It’s everything we’ve heard before in high school, except it was so well presented and funny. I paid attention to every single detail. I must say I am looking forward to rehearsing with my group as soon as we have time.
I did not have time for dinner today, as I was working on my memo, which did not go very well. I was becoming nervous, but when I arrived at the Bin Lab, I received assistance from the TA’s, who helped everyone set up their templates. Time seemed to be flying by. I asked for help from the TA’s, which is very important to do, for those who are taking this class next year, remember to ask for help! It may seem intimidating, but they are friendly and are all students in the Hotel industry. Also, make sure to talk to Mark and Reneta! Make sure they know who you are and ask them questions. Your points for participation in the class is the LAST thing you want to lose, when you can lose points if not all your group members show up on time to any meeting. Gladly, no one has done this, and we have all our points so far.
For now, I am planning on working on my CHESS memo and getting a good night’s sleep, for we have no official homework for tomorrow, though I need to re-read some of the material.