Understanding Your Clients in the Hospitality Sector

Providing deep insights for your clients, is essential to truly understand what’s happening and make the best decisions. In a previous blog we already discussed how you can measure data to advise on it and we also touched on some industry specific data to encapsulate and measure for your clients. We’re now taking an in-depth look into specific industries and we’ve started off by focusing on the hospitality industry. We will be covering other industries in the coming months.

Learning more about the data that is pertinent to your client’s business is a good starting point to see what is and isn’t being measured and what contributing factors affect the business goals. Additionally as an accountant or advisor, what subsequent advice could you provide that will drive better business outcomes?

In the UK, the hospitality sector contributes one in thirteen of total jobs (2.44 million jobs) and over 1.2 million jobs through multiplier effects. The 2.44 million direct jobs represents just below eight percent of total employment, making the hospitality economy the UK’s fifth biggest industry in employment terms. This puts it ahead of other broad sectors such as financial services, transport and communications and construction, and similar in scale to the education sector. By 2020, the number of people in direct hospitality employment is forecasted to rise to 2.9m.

As it is such a large industry, you’re bound to have some client’s operating in it. Below, we’ve taken a look at what specific factors you can talk to your clients about and start measuring.


  • What is your percentage between customers that are tourists versus those who are local? Is there something you can do to increase either. If there are any hotels close by, do you want to offer their patrons a discount for dining?
  • Depending on your size, visits by your top 20/50/100 or 200 customers - they provide a huge proportion of your sales. Track their frequency and spending - these people are gold!
  • New customers versus repeat customers, are people enjoying themselves to come back?
  • Who is the most profitable guest? In a hotel business, while an individual guest may book at a higher room rate, wouldn’t it be better to have a corporate traveller who may stay for less but is more likely to entertain clients in the hotel and possibly use other facilities there? Individuals who book for a shorter stay are often less likely to dine in the restaurant.
  • Short customer satisfaction surveys with the bill, would they recommend you to friends and family? A great way to measure their experience.
  • Regulars are also more likely to offer constructive feedback on the menu and customer service than one-time patrons. Listen and learn.


  • Hospitality always has a higher turnover of staff, but what is your staff turnover? Are you running exit interviews or surveys when someone does finish to ascertain why?
  • What’s the average length of employment of staff? Do you need to break that down by area of the business?
  • What are your employee hours? Do you need to break those down by area of the business as well?
  • What is the number of sales per employee? Who’s performing and who isn’t? What staff should you therefore have on your busiest shifts or for functions to maximise sales?
  • What’s your wage cost as a percentage of sales?

Stock Management

  • What is your daily/weekly/monthly wastage? Are there items you're stocking you can potentially drop?
  • What are your best and worst selling items? How often are you reviewing and culling when necessary so you’re not retaining unused stock?
  • Which menu items are most important in driving profitability? Can pricing be used more effectively in a specific market segment to improve profitability?


  • Do you have a website? What are your monthly unique visits and views?
  • Do you take bookings online? What is the percentage of the total bookings you take that are online?
  • Do you have any social media presence?
  • Which social media platform is right for your business?
  • Are you growing your social presence and gaining business through these platforms?
  • Do you partner with any other local businesses to offer them a discount to attract customers?
  • Do you have a marketing plan?


  • What’s your sales growth? Month by month, per quarter, annually?
  • What factors from above affect your sales and is their daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal trends?


  • What is the ideal time to open and close my business? Does opening earlier/closing later yield an increase in table turns and profitability? What are the conditions that determine when we should alter our operating hours?
  • For example, How does accessibility to your location, the foot or vehicle traffic past it, and the location of competitors affect the profitability of a location
  • Have you evaluated your system and processes lately? Is there a more cost effective way to run areas of the business?
  • What technology are you using to run the business?
  • What are you capacity or occupancy rates?

By breaking down contributing factors like the ones outlined above and what accumulatory data you need to represent those factors, you can clearly measure and provide advice on them and what impact they are having on the business as a whole. We want the right data that will yield insights, so as accountants and advisors you can provide those critical advisory services. Our Super VCFO partner, RightWay has customers in the hospitality sector. Darren Eagle Head of Sales and Marketing says “It's vital as an accountant or financial adviser to understand your client's business and their industry. Part of that is knowing what factors can affect the effective running and therefore profitability of the business”.

With Spotlight Reporting, you can encapsulate all of this data into a visually engaging report or dashboard like the one below. Being able to present a full report or dashboard encompassing all of the key performance elements of the business allows the accountant or financial advisor to focus on providing insight and support, making themselves essential to their clients or organisation. Darren says that being able to “utilise cloud technology to capture, analyse and report on a client's business is paramount to our client relationship. We utilise Spotlight as an integral part of that and it helps us to make the opaque clear and demonstrate all of the factors affecting their numbers”.

These reports or dashboards can even be templated so you can create them with whatever frequency you like with a few simple clicks of the mouse. Why not jump on a webinar and take a closer look at what we can do.

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