News for the Hospitality Executive
Lodgian Increases Deal Closing Effectiveness with
Multi-Property Sales System
Web-Based Sales & Catering Software Automates 39 Properties
April 2009 – Atlanta-based hotel group owner and operator Lodgian Inc. (LGN:AMEX) is leveraging innovation to optimize productivity, increase property efficiency and maximize sales in today's challenging economic environment.
With 39 properties in 23 states representing six premium brands, Lodgian is one of the largest independent owners and operators in the United States. The publicly-traded company carries the flags of Hilton, Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, Crowne Plaza, Radisson, Four Points by Sheraton, Wydham, Holiday Inn and others.
Lodgian's full-service hotels compete in midscale and upper scale market segments, each with a unique set of opportunities and challenges. Responding quickly to individual market fluctuations is hampered in similar companies by numerous levels of corporate decision-makers, but not at Lodgian. By consciously selecting experienced hotel professionals to manage its properties and giving them the most effective technology tools, Lodgian enables its hotels to respond proactively to changes in competitive and economic market conditions.
Daily performance tracking targets sales strategies
Lodgian’s corporate team consists of a multi-disciplinary group of company and brand specialists responsible for training and strategy, supported by a Web-based multi-property enterprise hotel sales system called hotelSalesPro. The sales system tracks all prospecting, booking and contract activity by property, region, flag and staff to validate and help refine strategies with accurate data that measure program effectiveness and the success of the property-level teams responsible for driving sales and executing tactics.
“We track all of our goals, activities and results in hotelSalesPro,” said Kimberly Furlong, Lodgian's vice president of sales and revenue management. “I monitor sales performance reports that show me which properties are performing to plan and deserve recognition and which can benefit from more coaching.”
Lodgian's corporate sales and catering software also generates reporting for the company's shareholders. “Because we are a public company we are required to provide more comprehensive reporting than other operators,” said Furlong. “We use our corporate hotelSalesPro system to generate pacing reports that compare year-over-year booking strength and budget vs. actual sales.”
Control of corporate accounts is essential
Furlong underlined the importance of Lodgian controlling its corporate accounts. “It is imperative that Lodgian Inc. retains ownership of its company sales account data. This information represents extremely valuable future business and it is a company asset. hotelSalesPro enables us to do this more effectively. We evaluated automated sales systems from larger companies, but hotelSalesPro secured our account data and had better multi-property capability,” said Furlong. Lodgian also uses the system as its standard property-level sales and catering system to book and control meeting rooms, function requirements, banquet event details, menu selection, BEOs and contract printing as well as sales call tracking and follow up activity.
“To maintain accurate availability that enables more effective selling, Lodgian’s Hilton properties utilize an interface between hotelSalesPro and Hilton's OnQ PMS system,” Furlong said. “The interface automatically updates room availability in the sales system so Lodgian salespeople can access accurate near real-time room availability.”
Furlong travels each week and airports and hotels frequently serve as her mobile office where she oversees Lodgian’s property sales activities. “I spend a great deal of time on my laptop monitoring our hotels’ performance,” said Furlong. “A primary reason we selected a Web-based multi-property sales system was because it enables me and all of our sales staff to access property sales performance data from any location that has an Internet connection. It is a great productivity tool.”
One of the hallmarks of Lodgian Inc. properties is their guest service and attention to detail. This ethic is found throughout the entire organization. The emphasis on customer service carries over into the vendors it partners with, and Furlong values the personalized attention she gets from hotelSystemsPro, developer of its hotelSalesPro system.
“The company’s training and support team has handled all of Lodgian’s requests quickly and professionally,” Furlong said. “Their team seamlessly imported data from our previous proprietary sales system and regularly customizes reports to meet our evolving needs. They also developed training programs tailored to our property teams that help them be productive more quickly.”
"My phone calls are always answered on the first ring by truly pleasant and helpful people," Furlong relates. "hotelSystemsPro is a tech provider that treats us the way we treat our guests – like we are the most important customer in the world."
|Also See:||hotelSystemsPro Implements Sales & Catering and Asset Management Systems at 122 Properties to Date in 2009 / March 2009|
|hotelSystemsPro Implements Sales & Catering and Asset Management Systems at 122 Properties To Date in 2009; Operators select hotelSystemsPro for revenue generating productivity tools / March 2009|
|Aimbridge Hospitality Focuses on Sales Performance Metrics for Success; 50-property hotel company uses 80/20 rule to target sales teams on top accounts / February 2009|
|hotelSystemsPro Expands into Larger Offices to Accommodate Continued Growth; Industry Leader Gains 250+ New Customers in Q4 ‘08, Doubles Office Space / January 2009|