Hotel Online  .Special Report


Religious Housing, Theological Conference Centers
Occupancy Up 40%, Emerge as Growing Hospitality
Segment, Competition in Some Markets
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Properties use Integrated Maestro PMS, Sales and Catering Software; 
Hospitality Sales Skills, to Attract and Manage Large Groups

February 15, 2005 - Whether or not religious or theological housing competes directly with your hotel, this segment of the hospitality industry is quietly increasing in size and growing in importance to church-oriented traveling Americans. In some markets they operate outside the local hospitality industry’s interests, providing housing only to seminary students, visiting faculty and guests, and supplying on-site lodging to wedding parties affiliated with their Church. But in other regions, non-profit religious housing facilities operating as hotels offer rooms and meeting facilities to corporate business groups, and actively conduct sales campaigns to attract business from local companies. 
 

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky opened The Legacy Center retreat and conference facility on its campus in 2002. The Legacy Center was built by the Seminary to enhance the educational experience of students and provide continued education for churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. Since it opening, the facility, with 68 sleeping rooms and 6 meeting rooms, has been busy growing its seasonal conference activity. To support its growth, the property is fully automated with state of the art technology for running hotels that includes property management, reservations, and sales and catering systems. It guarantees 
The Legacy Center at Southern Seminary
2825 Lexington Road
Louisville, Kentucky
reservations with guest credit cards, creates banquet event orders (BEOs) and supports the operation of 18 function rooms spread out over the campus. The largest of the function rooms seats 1,500 attendees.

"Our facility operates like any other conference center. However, in order to support the mission of the seminary we focus our hospitality services toward the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and other Christian organizations. In addition, we can also meet the lodging needs of individual travelers, business and personal, who are a part of our constituency. We can accommodate a large number of conference attendees. We book group meetings and take room reservations for attendees, faculty, students and other guests who are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Our entire hotel and conference operation is computerized with the Maestro Front Office and integrated Sales and Catering Suite. The automation Maestro enables is a key tool in our growth. Maestro's group master functionality allows us to check-in large groups smoothly. At check-out the integrated Sales and Catering system automatically links itemized group meeting room billing with rooming lists for group bills and invoices." Bishop reported that the conference center uses Maestro arrival and departure reports to plan staffing and also break out its revenue sources by posting code just like any other hotel. "Being part of a world-class seminary draws groups to our facility. In order to keep their loyalty we seek to provide comfortable accommodations and exceptional service," said Bishop.

Princeton Seminary Occupancy up 40% in Five Years 

The prestigious Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey is home to more than 700 students from around the world who attend its esteemed graduate programs. The Seminary's Center of Continuing Education maintains its own guest lodging facilities that accommodate 74 guests in the seminary’s Erdman Hall and Adams House. The Center of Continuing Education is responsible for booking reservations, maintaining guest folios and observing accepted accounting procedures. "We have grown at a steady pace each year since Erdman Hall was renovated in 1998," said Sharon Huber, systems specialist at Princeton Seminary. "Many of our guests are here to participate in our continuing education programs, and they often bring family members. They expect an efficient hospitality experience and we do our best to provide it for them. Our facilities are integrated on one Maestro PMS that combines our guestroom inventory, reservations, and billing in one database for easy access.  We have used Maestro for the past six years. NORTHWIND’s support team understands Princeton Theological Seminary and does a great job of assisting our staff in the best way to use the applications, and maintaining our systems."

Filling Space with Outside Groups; Occupancy Up For Past Three Years

Asbury Theological Seminary is a non-denominational facility near Lexington, Kentucky that operates the Beeson Manor, its hotel, together with campus townhouses and residence halls for a combined 188 sleeping rooms. But unlike other theological institutions, Asbury also markets to non-Church businesses in the surrounding area. Sarah Baldwin, Asbury’s conference ministry director, explained. "We maintain a sophisticated conference center at Asbury with excellent A/V facilities and professionally designed function space. Our primary clients are the Seminary itself as well as other Christian organizations. When we have availability we also market to corporate clients outside the Seminary in the Lexington area, and our award-winning chef is very popular with business groups. We are definitely busier. The past three years Asbury has seen a consistent growth in revenue, and occupancy has increased each year. Our wedding business is also up 36 percent." 

Asbury operates as a full-service conference center hotel automated with the Maestro Property Management (PMS) and integrated Sales and Catering system. Sarah Baldwin said, "We are a true conference center hotel in all regards, but our revenue goes to Asbury Theological Seminary after the bills are paid. We use Maestro to manage our hotel and meeting facilities. All our conference space is booked through the Maestro Sales and Catering system; even our chapel is configured as a meeting room with its ferns, candles, and the communion table inventoried in Maestro and automatically listed on banquet event orders and billing statements for our wedding clients. We use managers’ reports to calculate revenue, and we evaluate each piece of potential business based on past performance like a normal hotel. We selected Maestro because it was the best system for managing group rooming lists and combining all the other aspects of a group’s billables automatically into a single invoice. Although our property’s business has grown we still stress the importance of hospitality as a way of life to employees. Asbury’s staff performs to a higher standard; service to guests is a service to God."

About NORTHWIND

(www.maestropms.com), known in the hospitality industry for its service and state-of-the-art technology, is widely respected for providing hotels, private organizations, and corporate management companies with flexible software solutions.

Based in Markham, Ontario, Canada, with a network of dealers and offices worldwide, NORTHWIND is a leading supplier of software for all types of hospitality operations including hotels, resorts, timeshares, condominiums, seminaries, state parks, and clubs. Maestro applications are engineered for operators who need to manage their enterprise in a real time environment for the utmost operational control and profitability. Designed to maximize the efficiency of any size single hotel or multi-property enterprise, NORTHWIND's Maestro solution offers the most productive working environment, which includes the following suite of products: PMS, Sales & Catering, Club/Spa Management, Corporate Reservations Office, Multi-Property Management, Condo/Owner Management, Yield Management, POS & Online Table Res, GDS Connectivity and ResEze Internet Reservations. This comprehensive multi-platform (Windows 9X/NT/2000/XP, Unix/Linux, Terminal Server & Web Enabled) suite is recognized as the solution of choice for progressive and demanding organizations. NORTHWIND is a total solution provider that offers leading-edge technologies, and unparalleled training and support. 

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Contact

Audrey MacRae – Director, Marketing Communications
NORTHWIND
60 Renfrew Drive, Suite #235
Markham, ON L3R 0E1
Phone: (905) 940-1923 ext - 246
1-888-NORTH88 (667-8488)
Fax: (905) 940-1925
Email: info@maestropms.com
http://www.maestropms.com

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