Hotel Online  Special Report

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Inn at Middletown Reaps Big Benefits from Online Sales
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 their growth.

“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:

  • Tracking sales leads
  • Printing BEOs and banquet checks
  • Creating contact reminders
  • Writing thank you letters and other correspondence
“Delphi.net’s data merge capabilities make it quick and easy to generate important sales documents, including contracts and cut-off letters. The sales information transfers straight into Microsoft Word for printing on the Inn’s letterhead for a very professional presentation,” Beth said. “We also track monthly bookings and revenue for each team member, which helps us keep on top of sales targets and develop forecasts.” 

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 Newmarket International
Newmarket International, Inc. (www.newmarketinc.com) is the leader in delivering sales, group catering and event software solutions to the global hospitality and entertainment industries.  Newmarket International’s suite of business solutions can be found in hotels, casinos, restaurants, visitor bureaus, stadiums, meeting arenas and convention centers throughout the world. Newmarket International has over 70,000 users worldwide, with over 8,500 installations in 92 countries. Newmarket International is headquartered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with international offices in Barcelona, London, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney.

About The Inn at Middletown
The Inn at Middletown is an elegant inn and conference hotel in Middletown, Connecticut. The town’s distinguished National Guard Armory, a historical landmark, has been transformed into a gracious New England hotel. The hotel is located steps away from Wesleyan University and many dinning and shopping options in downtown Middletown. When you stay at the hotel, Meriden is just 10 miles west and Cromwell a short 5 minutes drive away. 


 
 
Contact:

Elise Sherman
Marketing Programs Manager
Newmarket International, Inc.
esherman@newmarketinc.com
(603) 436-7500
Direct: (603) 427-5759 
www.newmarketinc.com

The Inn at Middletown
Beth Pruchnic
Director of Sales and Marketing
(800) 637-9851
http://www.innatmiddletown.com

Press Contact: 
Julie Keyser-Squires, APR
Softscribe Inc.
Julie@softscribeinc.com
(404) 256-5512
www.softscribeinc.com

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Also See: Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise Selects Newmarket International’s Delphi® Sales and Catering Solution for its Multi-Property Casinos / November 2007
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