Hotel Online  .Special Report

Barnsley Gardens Charms the World Using Integrated
Sales and Catering, PMS from Northwind
Strives to Shift Mix from 65% Corporate Management Groups to Ideal of 60% Small Group Incentive Travel; S&C Module Eliminates Clerical Position, Pays for Itself in Four Months

June 2002 - An hour north of Atlanta in a fertile valley that was once sacred Cherokee Indian land, Barnsley Gardens Resort rises on 1,300 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Named one of “America’s Three Favorite Country Inns” by Town & Country Magazine, the luxury resort is famed for its culture of genuine caring and real interest in people.  The property’s Fairy Godmother, a salaried position, has the job of making sure people’s wishes come true whether it is ghost hunting outings for children, star gazing trips for adults, picnics to secret romantic spots, or decorating the cottage of the president of a major fast food chain with kid’s meal toys.

Barnsley Gardens Resort reopened in 1999 after a thirteen-year renovation of its grounds that added 70 sumptuous English-style cottages, a golf course, spa, and three restaurants.  The resort will begin marketing into the European market at the end of 2002 with the objective of being one of the top resorts in the world while maintaining its position as a destination, and increasing stays above two nights.  Since its revenue is repeat 

Barnsley Gardens' unique
and cozy guest cottages
guest driven, one key to success is using technology that allows Barnsley staff to be aware of guests’ habits and preferences, and anticipate their needs.  The property relies on a seamless application suite that includes Internet booking tied to property management system (PMS) yield management, and integrates sales and catering using a shared database and a single client record.  
“There are very few independent high-end resorts left in the world and, as an independent, our needs are very different,” said Wendy Welch, Director of Finance and Administration for Barnsley Gardens Resort.  “We do everything ourselves – engineering, sales and marketing, operations – so my staffing can be significantly higher than other properties.”  Welch noted that among Barnsley’s staff of 230, “everyone across our property has access to the PMS system.  Normally, it’s very unusual for the outlet people in food and beverage, spa, and golf to be active users of the PMS system, but our staff can input pets’ names, guest history and guest notes.  Everyone focuses on anticipating the guest’s needs.”   

When Welch bought a new property management suite in fourth quarter 2001 the two biggest features she shopped for were an integrated sales and catering and PMS system, and a company that understood their business and was willing to customize software in a way that made sense for Barnsley’s processes.  She chose the Maestro system from NORTHWIND Canada Inc. “Before Maestro, we could not see in one place what a key corporate client did in their last meeting two weeks ago:  did they play golf, who were their VPs, how much did they spend on dinner?  We had to go to four or five places in the system.  Now we have instant access to all a client’s information.”   

Sales and Catering Roll Out

Five weeks after purchasing the suite, and with the PMS system installed and all the event data keyed in, Welch and her team rolled out Maestro’s Sales and Catering module that includes Barnsley’s customized banquet event orders, banquet invoices, and contracts.  

“When we get a call from a corporate contact, we need to know two things: are the guest rooms available and is the function space available?” Welch continued.  Prior to Maestro, availability for both rooms and function space had to be uploaded daily, the two systems had to be balanced every three or four weeks, and sales staff was required to go to two separate locations for data, all of which prevented a direct response to the client.  

“Now, if you have access to the Maestro PMS you have a way in to Sales and Catering by default. Sales can directly access guest room availability, and they can book the space they need,” said Welch.  She also noted that as a result of this increased efficiency, the property realized a 100% ROI on the Sales and Catering module after only four months when the new system made it possible for them to eliminate a clerical position. 

Welch commented that not only does system integration prevent the “dreaded overbooking scenario,” but since anyone on property can generate sales and catering documents in the format they need, “we find more and more of our staff  are printing and using event sheets, and keeping in closer touch with group guests.  If a group contact steps into Guest Services and says, ‘I need the BEO for my event this afternoon,’ we can print it right there.”  Using technology to partner with guests is empowering, and is an ideal shared by Barnsley’s front office vendor. 

To illustrate, Welch told an anecdote about NORTHWIND anticipating Barnsley’s needs during installation. “After overhearing our general manager, Euan McGlashan, say he loved graphs, the vendor’s team quickly created manager reports that are graphically based, and showed McGlashan how to use them.  We did not have to adjust our business to the way the PMS system works.  They adjusted to us.”

Barnsley Gardens Resort is using NORTHWIND’s real-time Web-based reservations module to book packages that are prominently advertised on their Web site, and travel agents can book directly through the system to get their own discounts.  The property also uses a global distribution system via their membership in Small Luxury Hotels  

Welch also uses the PMS’ yield management function for Barnsley’s “Hot rates, Cool dates” program that allows, for instance, breakfast and a cottage for $255 during select dates until November 18th.  “It seems to be working,” said Welch.  “Even as a small property the yield management system allows me to maintain control by letting employees sell rooms at a lower rate during off peak periods.”  

History of Barnsley Gardens Resort   

The land on which Barnsley Gardens sits was purchased in pre-Civil war times by affluent cotton broker Godfrey Barnsley.  There he built a mansion and a formal garden patterned after the designs of Andrew Jackson Downing, the architect who planned The Mall in Washington, D.C. and the original White House grounds.  During construction, however, when his wife, Julia, died of a lung ailment leaving a bereft husband and their six children, he stopped the project and concentrated on his business.  A year later, Julia’s spirit appeared to him in the fountain of the formal gardens urging him to finish their dream.  With her continued direction concerning the house, the estate and gardens were completed and christened “Woodlands.”  The estate fell into ruins after the Civil War and was auctioned by the family in 1942.

Owned and developed by Prince Hubertus Fugger-Babenhausen of Bavaria since 1988, the property was reopened two years ago after a major renovation and expansion. 


John Dowsett
60 Renfrew Drive, Suite #235 
Markham, Ontario 
L3R OE1 Canada 
Phone: (905)940-1923 x222
Wendy Welch
Barnsley Gardens Resort 
597 Barnsley Gardens Road
Adairsville, Georgia 30103 

Also See Northwind - Forsys Maestro-SilverWare Collaboration Provides Unique Hotel - F&B Outlet Operating Efficiencies, Optimizes Guest Services and Customer Loyalty / May 2001 
Canadian Hotel Owner-Operator Drills Down into Maestro PMS from NORTHWIND to Pump Guests, Profits Into 26 Properties / 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 

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