A night auditor – the common name for an employee who works the front desk overnight – plays a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation of a hotel. Today, with advances in technology and automation, the role of the night auditor has evolved a great deal. No longer are night auditors spending their entire shift reconciling payments, balancing the day’s financials, and scanning and sharing reports. Instead, technology has automated the majority of those tasks, freeing up the night auditor to perform more valuable functions.
Take, for one small example, the process of delivering folios. Until recently, the night auditor would be responsible for slipping the final bill under the door of each guest that was checking out the next day. Security compliance has rendered that function obsolete, and now folios should be emailed to guests.
What hasn’t changed is just how essential the night auditor is to a property’s success. Some of the many key duties of the hotel night auditor include:
- Checking guests in and out for travelers who arrive or depart during the overnight shift.
- Responding to guest inquiries and answering guest questions or concerns during the overnight shift to ensure that any issues are addressed promptly.
- Running nightly reports on room occupancy, revenue, and other key metrics to provide hotel management with an overview of the property’s financial performance.
- Balancing financial transactions, such as credit card transactions and cash (if applicable) from guests during the day, ensuring that all financial records are accurate.
Night auditor is not an easy job. Not only does this employee need to live and work on a completely different schedule than most people – in most cases clocking in at 11 p.m. and working through 7 a.m. – he or she must also have strong accounting and customer service skills to be successful. Depending on property type and location, the night auditor may be the only employee on property for several hours overnight. That means on top of all the night auditor’s responsibilities, this person also needs to be confident and feel secure enough to work solo.
For instance, let’s say the hotel is oversold. Not only does the night auditor need to grapple with the logistics of an overbooked property, but this person is also likely the one who has to deliver the bad news to the guest and consequently, walk the guest to another hotel. Thus, customer service skills are paramount.
For a 24-hour operation, the hotel industry couldn’t survive without the essential role of the night auditor. The night auditor truly sets up the hotel for success during the night and throughout the following day.
The New Night Auditor Role
Night auditors clearly have a ton of tasks on their plates. Running reports for the hotel is one of the most critical tasks the night auditor handles. It’s important to ensure the accuracy of the hotel’s financial records and to provide a snapshot of the property’s performance. However, new technologies are helping night auditors complete reports in record time, empowering them to focus on other tasks.
In the past, a night auditor would need to run dozens of different reports, mostly housed in Excel spreadsheets. Digital tools make it possible to handle reporting with one click, automatically balancing financials and storing the information in the cloud. These tools allow night auditors to quickly distribute information to other teams, such as accounting, front desk, general manager, etc.
It’s also easier now to archive reports for future reference. Digital tools allow night auditors to skip the step of stuffing manila envelopes and finding places to store printed reports and receipts. Now, if an audit happens, there’s no more rifling through the storage closet to find a specific receipt. It’s all in the cloud and any information needed for audits can be found within one click.
These tools aren’t taking away the need for the night auditor role. Rather, they are enhancing the role and making it so the night auditor can focus on other important responsibilities. Some tasks the new night auditor can do today include:
- Prep breakfast to ensure key items are ready for when the first shift arrives.
- Merge superfluous guest profiles within the various operating systems.
- Perform security checks of the hotel’s premises during the overnight shift to make sure all guests and employees are safe and secure.
- Filter through upcoming guests and begin preparations for arrivals.
Superheroes of Hotel Operations
The role of a hotel night auditor is tough and challenging, requiring specialized skills and the ability to multitask. Not only are night auditors tasked with staying up all night, checking the accuracy of several reports, and relaying information to the right parties, they also have to deal with guests at night. Oftentimes, these guests may have experienced travel delays, making them more irritable. So now the night auditor is tasked with ensuring accuracy on key data while constantly interrupted and distracted.
Night auditors play a vital role in ensuring a hotel’s success during the night and throughout the following day. As the daily audit process at hotels continue to evolve, these folks will have the opportunity to level up their responsibilities. To operate more efficiently, ensure your night auditors are armed with the right resources to accomplish their tasks in short order and a thorough understanding of what they can do to position the morning shift for success.
myDigitalOffice (MDO) is the world’s fastest-growing hotel data platform, providing nearly 10,000 hotel owners and operators across the globe with centralized, digital access to their most critical documents and cross-functional performance metrics. Through integrated data feeds, document workflow management, and award-winning custom dashboards, hoteliers are able to reach greater levels of profitability by operating more efficiently, improving budgeting and forecasting, and reducing their environmental impact. Learn more at www.mdo.io.
Hospitality Data Evangelist