Most hotels run night audits, or balance checks of their guest ledgers. These checks are completed in order to ensure the accuracy of guest accounts, to verify the financial transactions of the day and to track occupancy percentages and room revenues as well as to figure out which guests will be checking out the next day. Night audits may be conducted manually or electronically, and there are many steps in the overall procedure.
Complete Outstanding Charge Postings
Night auditors are responsible for ensuring that all guest transactions from the day are correctly charged and posted to guest accounts. These charges must be posted to the accurate date, or confusion and discrepancies may arise when the guest is checking out. Some examples of charges of this type include room service fees, telephone or Internet service charges, dry-cleaning fees, mini-bar charges or valet parking costs.
Reconcile Room Status and Rates
After reviewing the day’s occupancy report and the housekeeping status reports, which are completed each morning, the night auditor must reconcile any discrepancies between the two reports to learn the actual hotel room occupancy status. He then compares the guest registration records with the room report to make sure that the charged, or quoted, rates match. For example, some guests may be quoted a corporate room discount upon check-in, but the reservation system has it listed as the standard rate.
When guests have reservations but never check-in, they are considered no-shows. The night auditor must check this information in the front office system to ensure that duplicate reservations are removed, no-show billings are charged and the rooms are marked available. He also must make a note in the system that the customer did not show up so there are no issues when the no-show is charged a fee.
Post Room Rates and Taxes
This night auditing process is usually much easier with an automated system. The night auditor simply posts, or creates a charge for, the actual room night rates and any applicable taxes to all the occupied rooms. After confirming the rates and taxes, the night auditor creates a room rate and tax report.
The night auditor creates several reports other than the room rate and tax report. These include the daily operations report, the separate department reports and the high balance report. The daily operations report consists of a summary of all the day’s business and includes details such as overall revenue, front office cash transactions, operating statistics and receivables. The separate department reports include all transactions from other hotel departments, such as an onsite restaurant or bar, room service and other hotel areas. The high balance report simply identifies guests who may be close to reaching their account credit limits.
The night auditor compares the cash payments and payouts, balances the registers and then creates a cash deposit voucher for the bank. She then backs up the hotel computer system to ensure all information is saved. The final procedure is distributing all the reports and information to the appropriate parties, such as the general manager, front desk manager and room service or restaurant manager.
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