Maestro PMS from NORTHWIND to Pump Guests,
Profits Into 26 Properties
May 1, 2002 - If you want to shop for tennis shoes and also take a submarine ride, where would you go? Probably to the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the world’s largest indoor shopping and entertainment destination. At least that is what Matthew Rowlette is hoping. Rowlette is general manager of The Sandman Hotel West Edmonton, which is within walking distance to Edmonton Mall and just south of what has become the second biggest developing oil project anywhere. He and his staff host 46,000 people a year in the 150 room property, and strive to uphold the mission of parent company Sandman Hotels, Inns and Suites: “Provide four-star service at a three-star price.”
“Since Edmonton is both the provincial capital and the blue-collar capital of Alberta, the diversified guests that come to our property put high demands on our management, staff, and systems,” says Rowlette, who often must quickly choose between booking a group of tourists visiting the Mall or a group of Shell oil field workers, whose contract is worth several hundred thousand dollars a month to the property. Technology tools that enable precise management and increased profitability are critical to the success of Rowlette’s split second decisions.
Van Jump, Director of MIS for the 27-property Vancouver, B.C. based Sandman Hotels, Inns and Suites, agrees. “Management all comes back to control. We use the NORTHWIND Maestro front office system because it is designed for a business model like ours with a corporate headquarters in the background needing to manage diverse hotels in the field, ” explains Jump. “Maestro gives us a centralized, global view of remote enterprise operations. Our goal is for guests to be able to check into a Sandman anywhere in Western Canada and find we always have their favorite preferences waiting when they arrive.” Jump also notes that other systems he looked at with similar functionality were not competitive price wise. Thirteen Sandman Hotels currently have Maestro installed, including the West Edmonton property, which relies heavily on the PMS’ yield management module.
“Since we run at an exceptionally high occupancy most of the time I am extremely vigilant of how we market the hotel, maintain our rooms, and structure our corporate agreements,” says Rowlette, who takes a snapshot of hotel occupancy first thing in the morning via Internet access from home and again around 6:00 p.m. at night. “Each morning I get the closing balance report and the management analysis report out of Maestro from home so I can get all the answers I need without bothering my staff. I would rather my staff be dealing with guests. If I find an out of order room, I have it fixed and put back in inventory right away. Maestro’s Calendar functionality also allows me to use one screen to check day-by-day occupancy and instantly compare with last year. This, plus the information we get from guest history, is invaluable.”
To realize his goal of 100 percent occupancy, Rowlette has negotiated agreements with local businesses as well as one big recurring corporate customer. An unexpected gusher came in for the Sandman West Edmonton late last year when Shell Canada began developing its mammoth Athabasca Oil Sands Project north of the city. The petroleum venture requires that hundreds of trained oil field technicians be housed in Edmonton as the project grows. “Last October we entered into an agreement with Shell Canada to support their operation. This is a several hundred thousand dollars per month contract and the Maestro system helps us manage it and control our inventory to protect Shell’s room block,” Rowlette explains. “If Maestro forecasts we will be oversold, I take action quickly to relocate other guests, as we were required to do recently. I had to weigh the profitability of my groups and decide which ones to keep in house. The Shell contract was the most valuable long-term to the hotel so I located rooms at nearby properties for a handful of other guests, and subsidized them slightly.”
Bob Gaglardi, Sandman’s founder, did not start out to build a hotel company, but when a gas station project hit a snag he put up a hotel instead. That first hotel made money for him, so he did it again – 25 more times. Now Sandman Hotels, Inns and Suites is one of Western Canada’s leading hospitality companies. “We operate a 24x7 reservation call center in Vancouver, BC that takes reservations for all our properties, “ resumes Van Jump, Sandman corporate’s MIS Director. “The team at NORTHWIND is developing a CRO system with real-time link to hotels inventory, rates and yield controls to allow bookings to go directly to the appropriate property with no clerk intervention . Going forward with a growth plan that includes two new hotels a year, we looked for and found an outstanding technology partner in NORTHWIND.”
About the West Edmonton Mall
|Also See||Gulf Coast Independent Hotels Gain Edge Over Franchise Competition With Web-Enabled Enterprise Software from Maestro at NORTHWIND / April 2002|
|Château Cartier Resort Boosts Annual ADR and Sales With Maestro PMS, Yield Management, Sales and Catering from NORTHWIND / March 2002|
|Maestro at Northwind Off to a Good Note in 2002 / Jan 2002|
|NORTHWIND Announces Two–Way GDS and Internet Travel Portal Integration through Newtrade Technologies Inc. / December 2001|
|Pacific International Hotels’ selects Maestro Property Management System / Nov 2001|