Boutique Market with Added Services,
Web-Based Centralized Accounting
September 30, 2002 - When hotel company owner
Richard Millard sees a door opening, he’s quick to step inside and – in
this case – into a world of warm, Italian décor where triangular
dishes with a bone-china feel are used in outlets featuring Mediterranean
food and beverage standards. The bar is set with unusually patterned
glassware, and managers put out orange flowers because “it’s that kind
of a day.” In other words, Millard and his 18 year-old management
firm, Tecton Hospitality, stepped into the creative, personal, and lucrative
boutique hotel market, and are already emerging as one of that segment’s
most successful players.
“Our core revenue is repeat business. We bring guests back by cultivating relationships and by taking care of them with style,” said Sassani, who spends seventy-five percent of his time walking around property wearing khaki’s and a polo shirt. He permanently removed his sports coat after a guest once said it ‘made him nervous.’ Citing examples from the night audit and maintenance departments, Sassani explained The Wave’s’ associates are able to manage themselves and spend more time with guests by accessing reports built with data from the back-office system.
“We use our reports every single day with purchase orders for maintenance. When our engineer has the monthly report in his hands and knows he has $100 to spend on light bulbs, it precludes him taking time to make an unreasonable request, and frees him to serve a guest. Or during the budgeting process, each month every manager gets a printed report of checkbook expenses per department. If their budget of $100 for purchases of china, glass, and silver is based on $1,000 in sales that month, and mid-month we see we will miss revenue by 10%, we have time to cut back on expenses. Our managers don’t have a thousand reports to read; at our weekly staff meetings they can see what they’re doing day by day.” Sassani said efficiency gains are translated into one-on-one guest impact, because that is the Tecton corporate culture.
“Our staff goes out of its way to take care of people,” Sassani observed. “One of our housekeepers was asked by a guest where he could go on property to buy a pack of cigarettes. When she explained that we did not sell cigarettes in the hotel, and the nearest store was two blocks away, she noticed the guest seemed disturbed. She knew what type of cigarettes he smoked because she cleaned his room that morning. So she took the initiative to leave the hotel and walk down to a deli where she bought his cigarettes, then delivered them to his door. When we received the guest’s letter of thanks, one of Tecton’s corporate officers came to the hotel personally to reward our housekeeper. That is the kind of service only a boutique can provide, and it makes a lasting impression.” Boutique hotels were invented in the early 1980s and have multiplied to become a major hospitality segment based on unique design and the ability to provide guests with personalized service.
On a personal note, Sassani also said that during his two decades in the hotel business, “No employer has been more supportive. I came to The Wave in November 2001, the day after Thanksgiving during the post-September 11 quiet period. Our first real heavy sell out was New Year’s Eve, and we were managing it day by day. On Sunday afternoon, December 30th, I got a call from my family in Pennsylvania that my father was seriously ill, and I should come home. Within an hour my supervisor, the president of Tecton, and the head of human resources all called to offer me rides to the airport. After my father passed away, I stayed home until the middle of January to help settle family matters, and during that time Tecton’s executives checked with me daily to see if I needed cash advances for the funeral and other details. I was not a 20 year general manager with them, but they treated me like I was part of their family.”
With that legacy of valuing relationships, and four successful boutique hotels in its portfolio of 14 limited- and full-service properties, Tecton is creating a new division to oversee its boutique properties. It operates both the boutiques and larger brand affiliated hotels with a high standard of owner satisfaction.
Lee Lyndes, Tecton’s vice president of finance, said, “We are the liaison between management at the properties and our owners, most of whom are looking for information that is accurate and timely. We also provide customized reporting.” Lyndes noted Tecton uses Aptech Computer Systems Inc.’s Profitvue® central back office financial system at corporate headquarters - where two people run all the financials. Eleven of Tecton’s properties use Aptech’s Web-based Webvue® application to key operating numbers into an Internet screen that instantly posts them to the Tecton Profitvue corporate system for evaluation and consolidation at a fraction of the cost. Lyndes listed the three-fold benefits of this arrangement:
Lyndes, who took a seven year break from the hospitality industry to head up a music production company, said the company is also evaluating a business intelligence tool named Execuvue® from Aptech. “This is a financial analysis application that can evaluate and graphically display the numbers from all our existing properties to spot trends and relationships. In meetings with potential investors and owners who ask how something like a property renovation will affect the bottom line, Execuvue will allow us to drill down through our model and show underlying data. It gives us the details to add teeth to our proposals.”
At the end of the day, Lyndes observed, it is attention to detail - whether through the right application of the best technology or through a commitment to each of Tecton’s 1,100 employees - that has given rise to what is internally called the ‘Tecton feel.’ “This business tugs at your heart strings,” said Lyndes. “I am at Tecton because I know Richard Millard’s commitment to the line employee, to the associate who cleans our guest rooms, to the associate who stands in front of the guest. It is that intangible quality that not only retains management and associates, but stimulates our repeat business, as well.” And that bodes well for the boutique division.
About Tecton Hospitality
Tecton Hospitality is a Miami-based hotel management firm that provides innovative management services and solutions to owners and operators of nationally recognized hotel franchises, independent properties, luxury and boutique properties, and restaurants in the United States and Caribbean. Tecton’s executives have more than 80 years of combined experience in hotel operations. The company’s hotel portfolio consists of established brand names, including Sheraton, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, Ramada, Crowne Plaza, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn, Days Inn and Howard Johnson, as well as several luxury and boutique properties.
Aptech Computer Systems, Inc., a leading provider of business intelligence and financial software and services, is known for valuing human relationships and evolving technology offerings as the market dictates, a commitment that has earned the company100% customer loyalty of its 700 users over the last three decades.
300 Biscayne Boulevard Way
Miami, Florida 33131
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