Big Box Hotels, Boutiques Share Design Styles; 
Standardize Data, Financials To Support
Long-Term Growth of Real Estate Parent
KOR Hotel Group Debuts Sheraton Gateway LAX, Classic Property Gains Boutique Flair with $14M Renovation; KOR Launches Enterprise-wide Rollout of ASP Back Office Accounting System, Cuts Implementation Cost 50% 

October 30, 2003 - KOR Hotel Group is well known as a premier West Coast boutique hotel operator, with its chic Viceroy hotel named by Conde’Nast Traveler “One of the Hippest New Hotels for 2003;” and the Estrella hotel in Palm Springs cited as “One of The Top Five Spas to Watch” by Travel and Leisure.  So when KOR acquired the 795-room Sheraton Gateway LAX in Los Angeles, it was a natural process for them to transform the big-box property into something very special.  The Sheraton’s makeover began with a $14 million renovation that will expand from the public spaces and guest rooms, down to the way the property does business in the back office.

The visible transformation at their new property reflects deeper changes at KOR that extend throughout their entire organization.  “Growth is key to our company,” said The KOR Group’s Afshin Kateb, CFO of the Los Angeles based real estate company that has close to $200 million in development of properties as diverse as multi-family apartment units, a boatyard with 148 slips in Marina del Rey, seven hotels in the four-year-old KOR Hotel Group, and condominiums, resorts, and spas on the horizon.  “Our acquisition of the Sheraton Gateway LAX this year, and 
Sheraton Gateway Hotel
Los Angeles Airport
6101 W. Century Blvd
Los Angeles, California
assumption of management of our 314-room Four Points Sheraton in Santa Monica, California, are moving the company into a larger market.  As KOR expands we want to remain true to our internal values, but also lay down operational platforms to support our growth.  It is important when a company starts increasing the number of its properties to still respond quickly to market forces and management controls.” 

Quick responses based on accurate data are at the root of Kateb’s focused approach to solving two key industry issues for KOR: standardization of applications, and connectivity of multiple operational applications.  To address these concerns, Kateb – who was already sold on the ASP model through a PMS system the firm uses to run apartment holdings - looked for a flexible, ASP-based back office system on which to standardize.  Ideally the system would be flexible as well as logical and easy to learn for creating reports; Kateb also looked for connectivity of point-of-sale, call accounting, and meeting management systems plus phone switches through an interface to the PMS system on which KOR Hotel Group had already standardized.  The CFO also wanted to reduce the month-end close cycle, and eventually consolidate operating statistics that could be mined for business intelligence.  Kateb found a solution last summer and began an enterprise-wide rollout of Profitvue® from Aptech Computer Systems, Inc. in July.

“We were forced to move from SAP to a midmarket solution, and we had a short window in which to train everyone, about two weeks per property,” said Kateb.  “Amazingly, we trained half our people of the 20 purchased seats in about two days per module.”  Kateb noted the real surprise was that normally implementation costs are two times the application cost. “In this case, implementation cost was nominal.”  He also said month-end close at the classic Sheraton Gateway LAX is already reduced 22% on its way to the final goal of 77% reduction.  “Our goal is to close in two or three days,” added Kateb.

Sheraton Gateway LAX Dominates the Strip

Gary Wolf, Director of Finance at the Sheraton Gateway LAX, is equally enthused about changes in the front of the house.  Renovations at the hotel,
inspired by KOR's successful boutique experience, include guest rooms
freshly decorated in hip, elegant colors and ebony tinted cabinetry, coffee
tables with red faux ostrich finishes, navy bedcovers with pin stripes, and
sepia prints of old Los Angeles -- all blended with a practiced hand to
create both beauty and comfort.

Wolf explained,  “We operate four beautiful boutique properties in Southern California, each with its own style of luxury.  Here on the strip at Los Angeles International Airport, the Sheraton Gateway is consistently ranked in the top three hotels although the market is very competitive.  When our renovation project is completed next year this will be the premier airport property.  We have a segment mix of about 50/50 business and leisure; and we are seeing a definite improvement in the transient market.”

Managers at the Sheraton Gateway LAX maintain a close watch on each of their departments, and the new centralized accounting system lets them base their expenditures on daily property performance.  “If department heads see property business levels are climbing or declining they can adjust their spending accordingly,” said Wolf.  “With the centralized back office system, every time they post an invoice they update the system and can see how their cost margins are related to the level of business.  This allows them to quickly change their purchase strategy based on an up or down tick in business.” 

CFO Afshin Kateb summarized,   “Standardizing financials on an enterprise solution is the way all organizations are moving because it allows better data analysis.  We wanted a centralized back office that would co-exist with our other systems and convert data into information to make us more competitive.  The system also has to grow with The KOR Group by allowing us to add different types of assets.  This was the final critical point.”

Aptech, with over 700 installations, recognizes that professionals in the hospitality industry each view accounting differently.  The company delivers customized, Web-enabled solutions that can fit any requirement, including distributed accounting, centralized accounting, regional accounting or any combination needed to meet a company’s unique operation. 

About KOR Hotel Group
KOR Realty Group is a privately held real estate investment, development and management firm with interests primarily in hotels and multi-family real estate. KOR currently owns seven hotels - five of which are managed by KOR - approximately 3,500 apartment units, an office building, and a marina. KOR also provides third-party management services to hotel owners. KOR’s success in identifying new opportunities, evaluating potential investments, and managing the existing KOR portfolio results from the experience and expertise of its personnel, coupled with an entrepreneurial approach to decision-making. Speed of execution, structuring flexibility, and willingness to acquire risk-associated properties all distinguish the KOR Group from its competition.

About Aptech
Aptech Computer Systems, Inc., a leading provider of financial and operational software and services, is known for evolving technology offerings as the market dictates, a commitment that has earned the company 100% customer loyalty of its more than 700 users.   For 30 years Aptech has led the hospitality market in leveraging change by valuing human relationships and applying technology to solve business problems for people.  All of its applications are supported seven days a week, 24 hours each day by experienced hotel industry professionals.  For more information about Aptech and its products, please call (800) 245-0720 or email [email protected].



The KOR Hotel Group
5750 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 500
Los Angeles, CA  90036
Phone: 323 930 3700
Email: [email protected]

Aptech Computer Systems
135 Delta Drive 
Pittsburgh, PA 15238 
Sales: (800) 245-0720 or (412) 963-7440
Email:  [email protected]

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