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Ask Dr. Data



Blog and Advice Column for Springer-Miller HOST Users.

Owner and Member Statements

Hotels and resorts that have individual owners, need to send out monthly statements showing owners how they are doing. For some properties that use SMS this can be a chore. They need to print the statements, separate them and then mail them individually. This is especially burdensome since most hotels now pay their owners via direct deposit.

I have perfected a way to create customized statements that are more informative and more attractive than the SMS statements. Moreover, I have a way to convert the statements into *.pdf files that can be sent as an email attachment to each owner. The monthly time commitment is reduced to about a half hour.

Feature matrix and comparison:

 

SMS

Hammerman

Feature

Statement

Statement

Uses Period Dates

No

Yes

Uses Plain Paper

No

Yes

Logo in color

No

Yes

Any contact info

No

Yes

Monthly message

No

Yes

Reservation Details Section

No

Yes

Comparison to same month last year

No

Yes

Comparison to YTD last year

No

Yes

Remove arcane codes

No

Yes

Any Font

No

Yes

Handle direct deposit

No

Yes

Occupancy analysis with owner stays

No

Yes

Occupancy percent

No

Yes

ADR and REVPAR

No

Yes

Revenue Calendar

No

Yes

Convert each statement to PDF automatically

No

Yes

Send statements via email automatically

No

Yes

Customized accounting

No

Yes

Future Support

Maybe

Yes

There is a one-time, affordable charge. 

Click on the following URL to see an example statement that I created for the South Seas resort in Sanibel, FL.  http://files.hammerman.com/samples/southseas_stmt.pdf

Click on the following URL to see a statement that I created for another hotel.

http://files.hammerman.com/samples/owner_statement_4.pdf



Cancellation Rates are Climbing


Robert Mandelbaum, the Director of Research for CBRE Hotels, published an article in the May, 2016 edition of Lodging pointing out the increased rate of cancellation "given the proliferation of online booking programs." Some consumers, he notes, book multiple reservations and wait until the last moment before canceling thereby get the best rate. Standard on the book (OTB) reports provide operators with inflated occupancy rates.

I have created a custom report to deal with just this problem. I created a report showing cancelation rates by source of business. When we find that certain sources have higher than average cancellation rates, we can correct projected occupancy by a percentage. This allows the hotel to sell rooms that would otherwise go unused.


Dr. Data:

We have various ways of spelling Expedia and other OTAs when the data is entered into HOST. How can I select the reservation source when the spelling is weird?

-- Confused in Columbus

Dear Confused:

The dollar sign ($) is an operator in R&R Report Writer. It is similar to plus (+), minus (-), and multiply (*).  The dollar sign compares whatever is on its left to whatever is on its right and if the left-hand value is anywhere within the right-hand value, it returns TRUE, otherwise it returns false.  Some examples will help. 

 

Let’s say we want to find all reservations that were made from Expedia.com.  We find that reservationists and OTAs enter any of the following:  “Expedia.com”, “Exp”, “Exep”, Expd”

 

We can create a calculated field with the following expression:

            “Exp”$RSOURCE

 

In your query, use the field you just created and set it equal to true.

 

It will be true for all the examples above. By the way, these examples were taken from a real HOST hotel.

 

You can use the same technique to find state names or even various spellings of your guests’ names.



Dr. Data:

The only thing I need is a way to export data from HOST to an Excel-readable file. Do I have to edit my R&R document each time?
-- Hurried in Harrisburg

Dear Hurried:

The good new is that once you have setup your export template, you never need to use R&R again. The only bad news is that you must set up your template (a R&R report) one time.  Once you have created your report do the following:

  1. Navigate to the rrwriter folder and double-click on the icon associated with the Quick Runtime Shortcuts program.  This is an accessory program provided with R&R. 

  2. Once the dialog box comes up click on the Select Report button and navigate to the R&R report that you want to put on the desktop.  Make sure that the path shown in the Runtime Program Directory box is pointing to the rrwriter folder on the correct drive.  Many SMS properties use the letter H for the drive.  The shortcut maker creates a control file with an “RRS” extension.  This is just a standard text file.  Change the path to point to a shared folder.  For example:
    H:\hostplus\reports\user_rpt\myreport.rrs
    The file name must follow the old 8.3 rule and the file name cannot have spaces in it. 

  3. Click on Create Shortcut and a new shortcut may or may not appear in a new folder.  You may get an error message if it doesn’t work. If it does work the icon associated with the shortcut will be incorrect.  Don’t worry. The important part of this step is the creation of a text file with an RRS extension.

  4. Create a desktop icon with the following three elements:
    1. The path to the program rrwrun.exe.
    2. A space, forward slash and the letter T
    3. The path to the control file.

 

For example:

“H:\rrwriter\rrwrun.exe” /T”H:\hostplus\reports\myreport.rrs”

Or

“Y:\rrwriter\rrwrun.exe” /T”H:\shared files\rr report\scripts\my_first.rrs”

 

If there are spaces in the path you need to put the entire path and file name in quotes.  Otherwise you don’t need the quotes.

 

Make sure that that the “Start in” part of the shortcut points to the RRWRITER folder.  For example:  H:\rrwriter

 

In order to enable the “export to CSV” option use notepad to open the *.rrs file and place a question mark after RI_PRINTER=.  It should look like this:  RI_PRINTER=?

 

When you save the file make sure that you retain the RRS extension.

 

When you click on the shortcut you will be prompted for how you would like the results:  On the screen, on the printer to as an export.  If you pick “export” you will be prompted for the export format (pick CSV) and the actual file name.

 

There are a host of other options that one can use with the control file in order to customize the running of the reports.  Please see R&R’s on-line documentation for more information.



Dear Dr.Data:
In order to get accurate REVPAR statistics I need to determine the number of out of order room nights for a given period -- usually a month. How do I do that?
-- Confused in Columbus

Dear Confused:
This, indeed, is a difficult problem. The difficulty stems from the fact that there is no transaction file similar to IN_TRN for out of order nights. There are no transactions.  Luckily you can use the IN_UTYP2 table.
It is complex but once you learn how to use it the table has a wealth of information.
I have written a short paper describing the method and you can download it here.

Dear Dr. Data:
I need to create an export file with the names, addresses and email address of past guests. How do I do it?
-- Stupefied Sales Manager in St. Louis

Dear Stupefied,
Many HOST users have asked me to help them create a list of past guests with email lists that they can export to Excel and use to generate an e-mail marketing campaign. Here are the key steps:

  1. Create a new, blank R&R report using the IN_GUEST table as your master table.
  2. Select the guests that you want to market to using fields in the IN_GUEST table such as LSTSTAY, NITES, STAYS,LSTAMOUNT.
  3. Insert all the fields that you need from the IN_GUEST table onto the record band line.
  4. Create a new, calculated field called emailnk with the following expression: "G"+GUESTNUMNote: The letter G must be capitalized.
  5. Click on the Join Table icon and use the field you just created as the linking field.
  6. Find the IN_EMAIL table and pick it as the Related Table.
  7. Use the IN-EMAIL.IDX file as the index.
  8. Accept all the other defaults and save the join. Close the Join Table dialog box.
  9. Position you cursor wherever you want the email field to appear and insert the EMAIL field from the IN-EMAIL table.

Dear Dr. Data:
Is there an easy way to find past guests who do not have a future reservation?
--Puzzled in Pittsburgh

Dear Puzzled,
A rich source of future reservations is your database of past guests who have not made a future reservation.  This can be combined with TechTip #1 to create a special email offer to those guests that have come in the past but do not presently plan to come in the future.  Using the setup from TechTip #1 as a base, do the following:

1.    Link the IN_GUEST table to the IN_RES table using GUESTNUM as the linking field and IN-RNUM.IDX as the index. Make sure that you pick SCAN relation in the relation type dialog box (step 4) and that you pick partial and enter 6 in the character match tab. 
2.    Add the following to queries to your filter:
a.    LEVEL is in the list"CNF","NEW"
b.    AND LSTSTAY <= date_rr
c.    AND UNIT is not in the list "*CITY","*MEMB"
The LSTSTAY field is part of the IN_GUEST table and the query will only select those guests whose last stay was prior to the current date (or any date if you prefer).  The resulting result set may have more than one record per guest.
3.    Sort and Group on the GUESTNUM field. Create a group footer band line. Move all the fields to this band lime.
4.    Suppress printing of the record bank or suppress its appearance.