and Catering Solution for Mid-Scale Properties
|Portsmouth, NH – December 4, 2007 – An intimate boutique hotel used
to be an unlikely choice for a corporate retreat. Not any longer. Today,
these events are keeping business brisk at many small and mid-scale hotels.
This emerging market did not discover the mid-scale brands without a little
help from savvy sales managers like Beth Pruchnic, director of sales at
the Inn at Middletown in Middletown, Connecticut, managed by Interstate
Hotels. But as business increases for smaller operators, many are facing
the challenge of running a more efficient sales organization to manage
“Four years ago, our segment mix was mostly leisure guests,” Pruchnic recalls. “I invested a lot of time knocking on doors at local businesses to raise awareness of our capacity to host corporate group meetings and events.” Beth visited local companies and sold the benefits of holding their events at the Inn. She described its first-class amenities, the plush, mahogany-paneled conference rooms, outdoor swimming pool, and the sumptuous “Tavern at the Armory” restaurant. Her persistence paid off. Today, the Inn at Middletown generates 40% of its bookings through corporate retreats and business meetings. But success brought a new problem.
The problem: property team outgrows manual sales process
For a time, the property managed its increasing business with a familiar function room diary. But, as event bookings increased, so did the headaches associated with using a manual method of managing them. The ‘big book’ was in demand by six staff members – all with different handwriting styles that made it hard to track account details and function room reservations. Creating contracts, banquet event orders and checks and other forms was another manual process that consumed time that sales people could better spend on closing new business.
The sales team clearly needed a more efficient system. But the kind of sales and catering system typically used by the larger hotels was not practical due to price considerations and the fact that the property had no IT expert to deploy it, and no enterprise network to support it.
Solution: a Web-hosted sales and catering solution
The Inn at Middletown turned to a Web-base sales management tool based on Microsoft’named Delphi.net from Newmarket International (NI), based on Microsoft’s .NET architecture that promised big benefits for midscale operators. Delphi.net is an online version of Newmarket’s Delphi sales and catering system used primarily by larger properties.
The hotel’s online system is hosted by Newmarket, so the Inn at Middletown’s sales staff is able to access the system from their existing PCs and laptops via a Web browser. It is a simple matter to log onto the secure sales system for an instant view of prospects, bookings and their associated details. “And that’s it,” said Pruchnic. “There was no hardware to buy or software to install and maintain. There was no large upfront purchase investment; instead, the Inn at Middletown pays a low monthly subscription fee.”
The online system has completely transformed the Inn’s sales and catering booking and management process. The property uses the system for nearly every operation in the sales office, such as:
The property is also handling invoicing online for faster payments and improved cash flow, and the Inn uses the system to calculate banquet check extensions based with the appropriate associated prices, service charges and taxes for all menu items for each group.
The biggest benefit for the Inn at Middletown is a dramatic reduction in time spent on sales management administration duties. Beth said, “The system is always on your desk and we can even access function room availability and make bookings remotely just by going online.”
Beth credits Delphi.net with helping the Inn at Middletown retain their signature customer service while steadily increasing business each year. “It’s affordable, easy to use – and is pretty much an indispensable tool for a smaller property like ours,” she concludes.
About The Inn at Middletown
The Inn at Middletown
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