Reservations YTD, Speeds Ahead of Economy
December 4, 2002 - What is your evening routine when you are on the road? When traveling to a weeklong training session or for a stint in a branch office, do you like to barbeque by the pool to unwind after dark, or do you work with all the lights on until 2:00 a.m.? You labored a long time to make your home as comfortable as possible; why not stay in the same kind of relaxed atmosphere while you are traveling for business?
That’s what Michael Schiff, President of Intervest Companies, asked his team when they designed the first Bradford Homesuites five years ago. The team’s goal was to create a refined, home-like environment for extended stay business travelers in Texas and Colorado. With a growth rate averaging about 50% per year, the corporate-owned hotel chain quickly brought nine properties online, for roughly a $10 million investment per property, and plans to expand into locations that include “anywhere you can go on Southwest Airlines,” according to Todd Fitzerman, senior vice president of marketing with Addison, Texas - based Bradford Homesuites. Fitzerman firmly believes refined amenities, like laminates with a white-leather look instead of ivory, liberal amounts of lighting, full-sized kitchens, and artwork behind non-glare glass, create the home-like setting travelers value. He also believes in changing before the tide does.
“We are a very entrepreneurial company by nature,”
said Fitzerman. ”That means when there was a change in the operating environment,
such as the Internet precipitated, we made the same quick turn a speedboat
would make to take advantage of it.” Bradford Homesuites debuted
with a local Global Distribution System (GDS) provider that met their needs
when GDS bookings were from 10% to 12% of revenue. As technology
advanced and Internet booking channels proliferated, Bradford Homesuites’
team realized travel agents were having a difficult time finding their
properties on the GDSes, and that reservations through that channel were
After an extensive search, the company switched 18 months ago to Calgary, Canada-based VIP International Corporation, a channel marketing organization that drives revenue via a multi-channel reservation sales center, the adoption of leading-edge technology, and ongoing client education. According to Michelle Tokarczyk, director of revenue management with Bradford Homesuites, the company uses the GDS and voice center services of its vendor, as well as their consortia and Web site real-time reservation services. “We now pull 35% of our revenue from the GDS channel, up from 18% two years ago, and have increased room bookings by 104% over last year.”
“Before the switch, we did not have real-time reservations on the Internet,” continued Tokarczyk. “When a reservation came in to corporate, we forwarded it to the appropriate property telling the guest we would respond to them within 12 hours. Our previous reservation provider did not offer that capability.”
Critical benefits Tokarczyk looked for in a channel marketing supplier during their due diligence process include:
With the revenue results of that process now rolling in, Bradford Homesuites is primed for a predicted economic turn around. When that time comes, Todd Fitzerman says the Bradford Homesuites’ team will be scouting new opportunities along Southwest Airlines’ air route. Bradford Homesuites is the first venture into hotel management for parent organization, Intervest Companies, which has managed apartments for over 20 years.
VIP International Corporation
|Also See||Four Star Calgary Hotel Reports 42% Increase in Bookings During Initial Period With New Channel Marketing Provider / Nov 2002|