The December Expense Conundrum—Use It or Lose It!

Many organizations’ expense budgets are based on a calendar year, making December the last opportunity to charge expenses, such as sales and marketing, that will hit the 2019 budget. Even with good financial planning while preparing the budget and wise spending throughout the year, unspent dollars are often remaining due to circumstances such as unexpectedly vacant positions or having abandoned a marketing campaign.

In addition to handling the challenges of gearing up for the holiday season, leaders often find themselves with a use-it-or-lose-it conundrum: spend the dollars allocated to the 2019 expense budget within the next few weeks or lose that money and do without the benefit of the revenue it can produce. Not spending all of the funds allocated to the year also means that, when it comes time to prepare the next expense budget, management might take the view that since there was excess built into the current budget, it can be cut for future years.

Thus the challenge of figuring out the best way to spend all that you have while being mindful of fiscal responsibility. It requires thinking out-of-the-box about activities that will benefit hotel revenue however, you might normally not have an opportunity to support.

How do you spend it with only a few weeks left in the year? A sales trip usually provides the biggest return on investment; however, setting up sales calls with just one week’s notice is often difficult. I’m a big advocate of training; whether it’s on customer service, culture clarity, honing sales skills or leadership development for rising starts, it will improve the customer and employee experience, which ultimately leads to increased revenue.

Sadly, these items are often seen as ‘nice to have’ and tend to be cut during the budget exercise. Use this year-end opportunity to support your employees with the learning and development they often ask for during the employee-satisfaction/engagement surveys but which rarely gets attention.


December is often the last month of many organizations’ expense budget. Are you going to use all of your available expense resources to develop future business, or are you going to lose them and never get them back?


"That which is used – develops. That which is not used wastes away."

Take the Next Step Now

Prepare for a possible economic downturn by hiring Jo-Anne. She will transform your organization by:

  • Turning All Your Employees into Drivers of Revenue
  • Providing Leadership Training
  • Optimizing Your Sales and Marketing
  • Conducting Leadership Executive Coaching
  • Creating a Healthy Organizational Culture
  • Improving Employee Engagement
  • Getting Behind Barriers That Impede Employee Productivity
  • Improving Customer Satisfaction

If you would like to hear more, simply reach out to Jo-Anne at
[email protected]

About Jo-Anne Hill

Jo-Anne is an industry expert who founded JH Hospitality Consulting to help hotels around the world dramatically improve revenue and profitability in creative ways. Her strategic thinking, skill, and practical approach to problem-solving come from hands-on experience at companies such as The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Mandarin-Oriental Hotel Group, Dorchester Collection, and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts.

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