YOUR HOTEL MATTERS
From The Editor:
Why is Revenue Management more important now than in boom time?
The recession has created many problems regarding hotel occupancy levels, therefore many properties are resorting to deep discounts. But this doesn’t solve the problem of creating incremental income. We believe Revenue Management is important in this difficult economy because it can be used to help secure incremental revenues at a time when occupancy is badly affected. A well thought through Revenue Management System will offer the balance needed between profitability and revenue. This issue hopes to highlight the benefits of an integrated RMS – as part of a hotel’s Property Management software – and features some insightful articles from global experts, as well as from NFS Consultants who manage this technology area for properties all over the UK.
Is all your hotel technology PCI PA-DSS compliant?
Many hotel operators are unaware of the legalities in place, the deadlines set, and the fines they may have to pay should their technology not be compliant with new industry standards. To help you meet these requirements, we’ve compiled an overview and a comprehensive checklist that aims to steer you in the right direction.
We hope the contents of this issue will go some way to assist with a few of the challenges hotel operators face today.
Because Your Hotel Matters.
Room Rates: Should You Go Higher or Lower?
Many hoteliers have had to resort to discounting due to the recession’s major impact on hotel occupancy. However this strategy does not necessarily resolve the revenue question and could lead to very unprofitable business.
How do you turn this situation around?
An industry blog declares that lowering room rates excessively is bad business practice in the long term, as rates will not recover as quickly as some hoteliers – who are lowering rates to alarming levels – like to think. Indeed, industry experts believe that it will be sometime in 2012 or 2013 before rates reach 2008 levels.
In Response to This Post, David Hayes, Ph.D., Comments That the Supposed Logic of Significant Price Reduction in a Downturn Is Based on Three Main Assumptions:
- Reducing price will increase buyer demand
- Prices can be easily returned to their higher levels when the economy improves
- The reduction of prices will help profits now and will cause no long-term damage to the profitability of the business
However, He Believes These Assumptions Are Rarely Met Because in Nearly Every Case:
- Reducing price will not typically increase hotel room demand in a down economy
- Widespread communication of reduced prices makes it difficult to restore buyers’ belief in the legitimacy of the hotel’s previous price structure
- Short-term price reductions cause significant long-term damage to the reputation and profitability of well managed businesses
“In fact,” says Hayes, “if you do the math, in most cases, a price increase during a recession makes more sense than a decrease.“
Key To Good Rates And Occupancy Is Market Segmentation
The Challenge: Avoiding discounting in a recession, when occupancies are low
The Solution: Through better market segmentation and the right revenue management approach, you can achieve both reasonable occupancy and good rates
Neil Salerno, Hospitality Consultant, Marketing Coach and Author, believes that although many hotels have progressed to Revenue Management, a vast amount cannot support a full-time trained revenue manager. However all hotels could benefit from the discipline, given the many forms and varying degrees available. “It all depends on the knowledge and skill levels of the people implementing the technology,” says Salerno, who thinks the unfortunate aspect of Revenue Management is that it does require some work and forethought to be effective.
When times get tough, he explains, many hoteliers tend to do take the easiest step – they lower their rates. This is often viewed as a logical remedy, when in fact it is not a remedy at all. Lower rates have never generated new demand, and in only rare instances have lower rates generated enough incremental revenue to offset the net result of lower rates.
Salerno argues that you can have both discounted rates and profitable rates. It all depends on whether they are managed properly. He feels the principal purpose of Revenue Management is to enhance the yield or profit results of room sales, not simply to increase room occupancy.
“The mission for hoteliers is simply to sell as many rooms as possible, and their goal is 100% occupancy. The mission for Revenue Management is to sell as many rooms as possible at the best rates possible; their goal is profit,” he explains. “Sacrificing average rate to sell a few more rooms is not good business sense.“
Salerno looks back at the Eighties, when American Airlines first created Revenue Management. Their mission was to create a program which would allow them to compete with People Express Airlines, a deep discount airline at the time, yet would also allow them to pay expenses and build profit. It soon became apparent that there was no centralised market for air travel; instead, there were many separate markets.
First, the airline realised that there was a market for discount travel, but that travellers seeking discounts with very basic service was just one part of the overall marketplace. They saw that there are various market segments with varying levels of rate tolerance, and that many travellers consider value and other factors more important than just the rate.
American Airlines’ solution was to create a series of ‘super-saver’ rates to participate in the discount market, but their ‘twist’ was to only sell a limited number of these seats. Once these were sold, rates would go up to the next level, and so on. This became the model for hotel Revenue Management today. Hotels need to understand the various segments in which they operate, and exactly what their customers are buying.
Salerno believes that due to the several levels of rate sensitivity in the marketplace, knowing when to close low rates is a vital part of Revenue Management. It seems that key to achieving good rates as well as reasonable occupancy is market segmentation. By understanding the market segments you are operating in, and creating a revenue management strategy for each, you can close out on low rates at the right time.
Top Tips For Today’s Revenue Manager
The increasingly diverse and responsible role of today’s revenue manager should incorporate Strategy, Pricing, Distribution and Customer Service strategies, according to Eye For Travel.
Simon Carkeek, Executive Director of EyeforTravel, believes this is an exciting as well as challenging time to be a revenue manager, and that the role is rapidly expanding and diversifying. “There’s no doubt that effective Revenue Management is now integral to future strategy” says Carkeek.
In order to have the greatest impact on their company’s long-term profits, revenue managers need to ensure that they are carrying out a number of key activities which will maximise their impact on growing market share, adding value and maintaining profitability.
Carkeek notes four essential activities that revenue managers need to be carrying out in view of current market conditions:
1. Become More Strategic
Today’s successful revenue managers are evolving into corporate leaders who chair rate-strategy committees, train product managers in pricing strategies, and guide sales and marketing teams in the most effective positioning for their selling strategies and campaigns. Steve Pinchuk, who recently took on the role of SVP Resort Profitability for Westgate Resorts, will not only oversee RM and Pricing, but also distribution, sales, marketing and reservations. “Because I am in charge of sales and marketing, this allows me to integrate these areas. Rather than being an outsider, coercing people to co-operate, I am able to institute strategies and enforce best practice across the whole organisation,” he explains. “In times of high demand, it’s easy for the revenue manager to simply focus on yield, but as demand erodes, revenue managers need to focus on distribution and pricing too.“
2. Maintain Price Integrity
History warns of the dangers of slashing prices to stimulate demand, as the decisions made today could affect profitability for years to come. Revenue managers have a key role to play in deciding when, how and where to discount, as well as looking for ways to add value without cutting prices; and this requires creativity and focus from revenue management, CRM and marketing teams as they work together to create packages and promotions for specific customer segments.
3. Become More Customer Centric
Retaining loyal customers is a number one priority for all travel companies. The successful ones not only understand their customers, but are also rolling out customer-centric pricing strategies that reflect this knowledge, and that put the right options in front of them at the right time. Good revenue managers need to understand the importance of segmentation, and how value driven customers are driving even greater convergence of RM, marketing and distribution.
4. Increase Influence on Distribution
It is now essential for revenue managers to understand their distribution and customer touch points. Today, distribution is an organisational challenge, where the role of revenue managers is becoming increasingly important. Applying RM strategies to ensure the right products appear in the right channels at the right price is more important than ever in today’s challenging economic climate.
Some of Europe’s leading Revenue Management professionals discussed these topics and more at the Revenue Management and Pricing in Travel Europe Conference, which took place in Amsterdam on 24-25 November.
To Truly Boost Revenue, A Fully Integrated RM System Is Needed
Preferred Hotel Group, a leading UK operator, makes the case for an integrated Revenue Management System.
John Enright, Executive Director – Revenue Account Management for the Preferred Hotel Group, says that small companies and independent hotel chains claim lack of resources and a limited budget to invest in high-end technology as major challenges associated with Revenue Management.
He notes how key executives in such organisations manage several roles simultaneously and oversee all revenue divisions, including sales, marketing, e-commerce, revenue and reservations. They need to ensure that these departments are communicating and working together so that revenue can be maximised across the company. Enright feels that although downsizing in the current economy brings about more responsibility for reduced management resources, it is essential to maintain a skilled revenue manager.
This is because Revenue Management involves more than technology; it is about communication, anaysis of the market and price positioning – which are more important during a downturn. “To truly boost revenue, a fully integrated Revenue Management System is needed,” says Enright, adding that increasingly independent hotels are installing fully integrated RMS because of broadening interfaces between PMS, RMS and CRS and lowered costs. In addition, the technology itself is improving, and is becoming more affordable.
The Many Components of Revenue Management Include Length of Stay (LOS), Demand and Competitive Pricing, Distribution Costs and Ancillary Spend. Enright Suggests That:
- Integration between RMS and PMS is very important for achieving successful Revenue Management
- RMS and PMS are typically not integrated
- RM isn’t just a question of managing rates – you also need to look at the number of variables (all part of the RM model)
“Revenue Management needs to focus on the profitability of each segment, and hotels need to consider that the displaced customer is the least profitable,” states Enright.
NFS Viewpoint: THE Benefits Of Integrated Revenue Management
In the UK, NFS Hospitality provides roomMaster, a PCI PA-DSS compliant software developed by InnQuest Software Corporation, which offers excellent PMS functionality and built-in Yield Management. Increasingly this integrated approach to YM is being used by many NFS clients to maximise revenue opportunities in a market with declining occupancy.
Viewpoint presents an NFS perspective on the practical ways in which integrated Yield Management is helping small groups and independent hotels achieve better management of revenues.
Q. What is NFS’ View on Revenue Management?
Revenue Management is part of a series of tools that operators need to adapt to achieve better occupancy, but also better revenues and profitability.
“Occupancy at deeply discounted rates makes no sense. There is a marginal cost per occupied room that needs to be covered, so having a rate/revenue strategy is important,” says Sanjay Saptarshi, Head of Hotel Operations at NFS.
“Revenue Management comes down to rate management. It’s a tool to manage rates so that the hotel can get optimal revenues.“
Q. What are the practical steps that NFS clients are taking to improve revenues?
There are two key aspects to achieving better rates in current market conditions:
1) Being able to automatically change rates based on occupancy levels
2) Being able to provide preferential rates to clients seeking longer Length of Stay (LoS), so that hotel occupancies can be positively impacted by attracting more than a single-night guest stay
NFS has over 500 roomMaster users in the UK. The PMS offers an integrated approach to Revenue Management with its built-in Yield Management module. Many NFS clients are now using this tool to help them with the challenge of managing rates when occupancies have been affected by the current downturn. Having an integrated YM module which automatically adjusts rates based on many criteria, particularly the two mentioned above, is proving to be invaluable to many clients at this time.
Q. What can hotel systems offer as a toolset to achieve better rates?
By having an integrated Yield Management and booking analysis tool, hoteliers are no longer reliant on the experience (or lack of experience) of Front of House or Reservations staff to make complex pricing decisions. Staff are automatically alerted to the right rate to quote, based on LoS, market segment, etc.
“Integrated yield can provide the intelligent support required to make the right rate decisions, which in the long term achieve much more profitable revenue streams” comments Sanjay.
Q. What are the advantages of an integrated Revenue Management System?
- Offers more meaningful forecasts and recommendations about when to raise or lower rates
Helps achieve budgets set for the hotel by the manager/proprietor
Offers more dynamic and proactive rate management
Although less complex than a best-of-breed RMS, is better suited to the small/mid-size hotel clients that NFS serves. Around 99% of smaller hotel businesses don’t have a dedicated revenue manager, and need a hotel system that is simple to use and that automatically provides the right rate recommendation based on criteria set by the management team
Where a third-party RMS is used and there is no two-way integration, rates need to be uploaded manually and hence rate changes can be much less dynamic
An integrated RMS makes the overall solution very effective, and most importantly cost-effective
Q. What are the key things NFS advise hotel operators to do in current market conditions in respect of rates?
DON’T focus purely on discounting
ANALYSE the local market and competitive price strategies
GAIN better understanding and segmentation of your customers to know what they are buying (by market segment)
PROVIDE staff with guidelines that link rates with occupancy
REVIEW rate structures regularly by comparing conversion of enquiries to room business, based on different rate policies. For instance, as you increase rates, does business fall or not?
EVALUATE if your Property Management software is capable of providing an integrated approach to Revenue Management and decide if maybe now is the time to look at solutions like roomMaster
Here are some practical examples of how integrated roomMaster Yield Management is working for NFS clients:
Custom House Hotel is a large, exhibition-driven property in the heart of London’s Docklands, located opposite the busy ExCel exhibition centre, and close to Canary Wharf and the City Airport. The 300-bedroom hotel fully benefits from the use of integrated RM.
“The integrated YM module provides valuable support to our Reservations and Front Desk staff, changing rates automatically to reflect levels of occupancy,” comments Amir Ijaz, General Manager of Custom House.
The 70-room Best Western Buckingham is a family-run hotel that offers conference and banqueting suites to accommodate up to 160 delegates. The property is very busy on weekdays so benefits more from roomMaster′s built-in Yield Management module on weekends, when it is used to boost occupancy by offering such things as promotional stays to holidaymakers. Best Western Buckingham uses the integrated tool within roomMaster to change their best available rates on the basis of occupancy levels. When these are high – say 80% – rates are moved up in the direction of the rack rate. By using the YM tool when it is necessary, higher rates are achieved across different customer and rate categories.
Manor of Groves Hotel, Golf & Country Club is only ten miles from Stansted Airport and welcomes corporate, special event and leisure guests to whom it offers health and fitness facilities, an 18-hole golf course, a spa, and Conference & Banqueting facilities for up to 500 delegates. Manor of Groves recently purchased Shendish Manor Hotel and Golf Course, also catering to wedding, conference, golf and leisure guests. The property has a range of meeting and private dining rooms throughout the hotel that can cater for events of up to 400 guests.
Manor of Groves has been using NFS’ yield management for some time and know that it works well, so on taking over Shendish Manor, roomMaster was installed there to replace MICROS-Fidelio Opera. The Group Reservations Manager responsible for both properties, Marcelina Sarzynska, runs a tiered system of pricing based on demand. She keeps track of bookings every few hours and manually sets appropriate rates; the system will automatically use these rates as soon as they are introduced. The reservations manager needs to get the best rate and also fill the hotel. If prices are too low, then revenue is not optimised. One keystroke within roomMaster can change rates from, say, Band A to Band F, and once done this will affect all bookings, whether done in person, on the phone or online.
PCI DSS Compliance – An Overview
Many operators may not realise that there are deadlines to be met regarding compliance with PCI DSS; some are unsure of what the process actually involves. We’ve attempted to offer a summary of the salient points regarding PCI compliance for hotels. It’s time to act, or risk facing heavy fines!
What Is PCI DSS?
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a global benchmark mandated by the main credit card issuers for the protection of cardholder identity and transaction information. The PCI DSS was introduced to give cardholders the assurance that their card details are safe and secure when their debit or credit card is offered at the point of sale, over the Internet, on the phone or via mail order, and to prevent credit card fraud.
• A business has to be PCI-compliant, not a software package or provider.
Every organisation that stores, transmits or processes card holder data must comply with the PCI DSS enforced by their acquiring bank. Compliance depends on how many credit card transactions a business handles, with merchants falling into four tiers.
• An organisation’s payment applications should follow the Payment Applications Data Security Standard (PCI PA-DSS), since that helps them achieve PCI compliance.
The PA-DSS is the PCI Council-managed program formerly run by Visa, which it called Payment Application Best Practices (PABP). The goal of the PA-DSS is to help software vendors and others develop secure payment applications that do not store prohibited data, such as full magnetic stripe, CVV2 or PIN data, and ensure their payment applications support compliance with the PCI DSS. Payment applications that are sold, distributed or licensed to third parties are subject to the PA-DSS requirements, whereas in-house payment applications developed by merchants or service providers that are not sold to a third party are not subject to the PA-DSS requirements, but must still be compliant with PCI DSS.
How Can A Hospitality Business Become PCI DSS Compliant?
The process by which a hospitality business must achieve PCI DSS compliance is complex and ongoing. However, it is also of great importance as credit card security continues to concern everyone. Those who avoid certification will likely face large fines and will also lose consumer confidence, particularly if a security breach occurs. All hotels should perform their due diligence and review PCI compliance guidelines in depth to ensure that they are fully compliant.
To be compliant with the PCI DSS:
– Tier 1 merchants must submit an Annual Report on Compliance by a Qualified Security Assessor
– Tier 2, 3 and 4 merchants must submit an Annual Self-Assessment Questionnaire
Why The Concern For Hotels?
PCI doesn’t just apply to the use of software, it also relates to the internal processes, security of the network of hotels/restaurants and any retail outlet that handles credit card data. The reason PCI affects hotels so much is because we are one of the only industries that keep a customer’s credit card information to guarantee bookings and charge for no shows. The importance of the regulation is simply to protect the customer’s credit card information – whilst also reducing fraud.
If there is a fraudulent transaction that can be traced back to a security breach at a hotel site, and their processes and software are compliant, the hotel wouldn’t be liable. If they are not compliant, the hotel would be liable for the cost of the fraudulent transaction.
What Are The Deadlines?
It is up to the merchant’s acquiring bank to impose their own deadlines for PCI DSS compliancy; the acquirer is also able to apply charges or fines as a result of non-compliance. Acquiring banks need to keep customers informed and be compliant themselves. The PCI Council have given banks deadlines to be compliant but these vary, so merchants are jumping from acquirer to acquirer to avoid compliancy. A solution in the short term perhaps, but eventually these businesses will have to become compliant.
What Do You Need To Do To Achive PCI Compliance?
It seems there is no quick fix; no easy way round. To make sure all their technology is PCI compliant, hotel managers and owners should:
– Follow the 12 steps in the critical checklist shown below
– Shop around for an acquirer with a workable compliancy deadline
– Get a third party involved, as the whole compliancy issue is such a minefield
What Is NFS Doing For Hotels To Help Them Become Compliant?
Offering software that has been developed to meet the PCI compliancy regulations means that our customers have a good starting point on the road to achieving compliance. Clearly, clients need to look at all aspects of processing card-based transactions, so we hope the critical checklist below will be helpful to NFS clients and other hoteliers seeking to become compliant in this area.
NFS serves hotels and the wider hospitality market. All our roomMaster editions have full PCI/PA-DSS compliance, as have our enterprise-level EPOS solutions. Our integrated credit card processing is achieved through the PCI-compliant Commidea. Key elements of their EFT solution are Ocius for PC software and Chip & Pin terminals. NFS provides an EFT service using a number of different devices. The Thyron payment device is one example of a hardware platform for PCI-compliant payment applications.
Your Critical Checklist
As a hotel business, here is a checklist of the key points you need to see in order to become PCI DSS compliant.
Some of these things you can do in house, others need to be done by a third-party or external partners
Hotels should delegate clear responsibility of each area to people within the business or outside, and should ensure that each gives their undertaking that the relevant components be compliant. With their full cooperation and a little organisation, your hotel will be PCI compliant.
The core of the PCI DSS is a group of principles and accompanying requirements, around which the specific elements of the DSS are organised:
Build and Maintain a Secure Network
Requirement 1: Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data
Requirement 2: Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters
Protect Cardholder Data
Requirement 3: Protect stored cardholder data
Requirement 4: Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks
Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program
Requirement 5: Use and regularly update anti-virus software
Requirement 6: Develop and maintain secure systems and applications
Implement Strong Access Control Measures
Requirement 7: Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know
Requirement 8: Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access
Requirement 9: Restrict physical access to cardholder data
Regularly Monitor and Test Networks
Requirement 10: Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
Requirement 11:Regularly test security systems and processes
Maintain an Information Security Policy
Requirement 12: Maintain a policy that addresses information security
The Ten Common Myths of PCI DSS
The PCI Council presents ten common myths about PCI DSS to help businesses understand protection of cardholder data and ensure compliance with the standard.
Myth 1 – One vendor and product will make us compliant
No single vendor or product fully addresses all 12 requirements of PCI DSS. Merchants and processors should avoid focusing on a single product or vendor, but instead should implement an holistic security strategy that focuses on the “big picture” related to the intent of PCI DSS requirements.
Myth 2 – Outsourcing card processing makes us compliant
Outsourcing simplifies payment card processing but does not provide automatic compliance. Policies and procedures for cardholder transactions and data processing must be addressed and a business must protect cardholder data when it is received, and process charge backs and refunds. Providers’ applications and card payment terminals must comply with respective PCI standards and must not store sensitive cardholder data.
Myth 3 – PCI compliance is an IT project
The IT staff implements technical and operational aspects of PCI-related systems, but compliance is an ongoing process of assessment, remediation and reporting. PCI compliance is a business issue that is best addressed by a multi-disciplinary team. The business should address policies and procedures as they apply to the entire card payment acceptance and processing workflow.
Myth 4 – PCI will make us secure
Successful completion of a system scan or assessment for PCI is but a snapshot in time. Security exploits are non-stop and get stronger every day, which is why PCI compliance efforts must be a continuous process of assessment and remediation to ensure safety of cardholder data.
Myth 5 – PCI is unreasonable; it requires too much
Most aspects of the PCI DSS are already a common best practice for security and the standard provides significant detail which benefits merchants and processors by not leaving them to wonder, “Where do I go from here?” This scope and flexibility leads some to view PCI DSS as an effective standard for securing all sensitive information.
Myth 6 – PCI requires us to hire a Qualified Security Assessor
Because most large merchants have complex IT environments, many hire a QSA for on-site security assessments required by PCI DSS. However, PCI DSS can be assessed internally if your acquirer and/or merchant bank agrees. Mid-sized and smaller merchants can use the Self-Assessment Questionnaire found on the PCI SSC website.
Myth 7 – We don’t take enough credit cards to be compliant
PCI compliance is required for any business that accepts payment cards – even if the quantity of transactions is just one.
Myth 8 – We completed a SAQ so we’re compliant
Technically, this is true for merchants who are not required to do on-site assessments for PCI DSS compliance. But a bad system change can make a business non-compliant in an instant. True security of cardholder data requires non-stop assessment and remediation to ensure that likelihood of a breach is kept as low as possible.
Myth 9 – PCI makes us store cardholder data
Both PCI DSS and the payment card brands strongly discourage storage of cardholder data by merchants and processors. There is no need, nor is it allowed, to store data from the magnetic stripe on the back of a payment card. If merchants or processors have a business reason to store front-card information, such as name and account number, PCI DSS requires this data to be encrypted or made otherwise unreadable.
Myth 10 – PCI is too hard
PCI DSS mostly calls for good, basic security. Even if there was no requirement for PCI compliance, the best practices for security contained in the standard are steps that every business would want to take anyway to protect sensitive data and continuity of operations. There are many products and services available to help achieve compliance, so when people say PCI is too hard, they perhaps mean that compliance is not cheap. The business risks and ultimate costs of non-compliance, however, can vastly exceed implementing PCI DSS.
NFS Helps Hotel Businesses By Offering Best of Breed Solutions
NFS Hospitality has been a leading provider of hotel solutions for many years, with over 500 hotel customers in the UK spanning the complete range of hotel functionality; bedrooms, F&B, conference & banqueting and leisure activities such as spa or golf. Our best-of-breed solution set is helping many UK properties run their wide-ranging businesses more efficiently.
West Lodge Park
Situated in Hadley Wood, Hertfordshire, West Lodge Park is part of Beales Hotel Group, and sits in 35 acres of greenbelt land that offers wonderful views, open space and an arboretum housing over 800 species of trees from around the world. Guests can enjoy peace and quiet in lovely surroundings at just a short distance from the M25 and central London.
West Lodge also offers fabulous Food & Beverage and Banqueting facilities and is a popular wedding venue. The property recently installed roomMaster, which includes a Point of Sale solution, in response to their requirement for an integrated Property Management solution able to deal with both hotel operations and their sophisticated F&B business.
David McIntyre, West Lodge’s Front of House Manager, and part of the team who selected roomMaster to replace the existing SoftBrands solution, says roomMaster was chosen primarily for its ease of use. “At a practical level it has the functionality required to run a resort property,” he said, “and after six months I find some of roomMaster’s features invaluable.“
McIntyre Has Already Seen Improvements from Using the New System, Such As:
– More in-depth reporting, especially for sales and forecasts
– Faster check-in/check-out
– Automatic booking confirmation, which sends guests confirmations much quicker than when this was a manual task
Recognising the strong Conference & Banqueting business of this property within the Beales Group, there are plans to install Rendezvous, NFS’ integrated Conference & Banqueting solution, in the near future. Rendezvous is already used by many resort properties with significant weddings business, such as Manor of Groves and St Giles Hotel.
Independent 5-Star Hotel
Cardington House, a 5* boutique hotel in St Aubin, Jersey, blends classic elegance, sleek contemporary lines, exquisite detail and feminine chic, making it the ultimate luxury retreat. The property offers sweeping views across Belcroute Bay, St. Aubin’s and beyond, and is the ideal venue for pleasure and business trips.
The property has a meeting room and communications facilities, providing a polished and relaxed venue for any business gathering.
Simon Dufty, Manager at the property, recently implemented roomMaster. One of the features he finds most useful is that the system gives the hotel excellent reports.
“We find that for a small hotel with a very transient workforce, having an easy to use system which is reliable and quick to operate makes it ideal to serve our demanding guests in an efficient manner,” he comments.
Hotel And Restaurant Group
The Mogford Group
The Mogford Group, created by Jeremy Mogford, well-known restaurateur and hospitality operator, have adopted NFS solutions for two of their independent properties in Oxford, the Old Bank and the Old Parsonage, each with a distinctive restaurant, and for their sister restaurant Gee’s, an award-winning brasserie in the centre of the town.
NFS was selected around six years ago to replace Micros Fidelio for both PMS and EPOS. Both hotel properties use roomMaster as well as roomMaster.net, also developed by InnQuest Software. This new online booking module enables guests to book online 24/7 – a big trend in the hotel market.
In order to provide outstanding customer service at their large dining operation, the Quod Brasserie and Bar, Mogford use NFS’ enterprise EPOS solution, Aloha, which provides functionality to match the high expectations of their guests. Aloha is fully integrated to roomMaster, so diners can post charges directly to their hotel bill.
According to Alasdair Burn, Restaurant Manager at the Old Parsonage, Aloha is much more user-friendly than the previous system. “We are saving a lot of time,” he says. “I can do my rotas, my costings and my wage forecasts very easily.” In addition the wireless handheld device, which is part of the Aloha solution, is ideal for serving on the terrace, as staff have more time to deal with customers. “It releases us to spend more time with customers. That’s what we all want to do,” adds Burn.
Custom House Hotel
The 300-bedroom Custom House Hotel is a business hotel associated with the ExCel Conference Centre in London’s Docklands, and also a popular choice for tourists from around the world.
The property implemented NFS’ property management software to replace Guestline around three years ago, and benefits from all roomMaster’s functionality, including Online Booking, integration with other systems and integrated Yield Management.
General Manager of Custom House Hotel, Amir Ijaz, says, “We are very happy with the product, as well as the 24/7 support, which is invaluable for a large hotel operation based around a busy exhibition centre.“
Luxury Hotel & Private Members Clubs
Phyllis Court Club
Phyllis Court Club is located on the River Thames and is home to the Henley Regatta. It is also a popular meetings and events venue, with substantial F&B, hotel and event facilities. In December 2008, Gary Panter, IT and Accounts Manager at the Club, decided to move to a best-of-breed, integrated Hotel, Club and Events Management solution from NFS Hospitality. “Our old system served us well for many years, but it was time to move to a modern technology platform,” he comments.
The products selected were NFS’ roomMaster PMS and their IBS Club Management Software. roomMaster provides an easy to use and fully functional hotel solution, including reservations, check in/out, housekeeping, billing and interfaces, enabling Phyllis Court to cater for both hotel guests and private members in the most efficient way.
The system’s integrated Membership and F&B Point-of-Sale modules enable members to use a single card for all aspects of their activity at the Club, from access to the purchase of food and drinks, and all charges can be routed to a single member account.
With the benefit of this integration, Phyllis Court also plans to introduce a member loyalty programme which will give the Club increased insight into member spending patterns, as well as an easy way to implement promotions and incentives to increase revenue in a cost-effective manner.
Panter comments: “The integration between Membership and F&B, as well as the new functionality like web-based access for our members, will be key to being able to improve member services and generate better quality revenue streams based on having the right information to make important decisions.“
Whether you run a simple five-bedroom property or a complex, sophisticated resort, NFS has the technology to assist you. We have clients who are successfully running multiple properties, high-end hotels, full-service hotels with sophisticated F&B needs, resorts offering the full range of banqueting & events, and leisure operations with private members. NFS also provide a comprehensive installation and training package including hardware, networking, user training and, most importantly, a manned 24/7 helpdesk, regarded as the best in the industry today.
The last 12 months have been challenging on many fronts for operators in the hotel business. Occupancy levels are lower, room rates have been affected, and there is a trend to greater online booking on the part of the guest.
We are fortunate that our roomMaster solution offers outstanding value, which has become very important in the current market conditions.
We have concentrated our efforts on helping our clients achieve better rate management through implementation of our Yield Management module, improved exposure of their hotel through GDS connectivity, the greater use of online bookings as well as with the implementation of our PCI-compliant solutions for card-related transactions.
I’m very confident that the mid sector of the hotel market will continue to grow positively, reflecting changes in customer buying patterns as well as the large number of choices that business and leisure hotel guests now have in today’s hotel market.
I hope the topics we have covered in this newsletter have been helpful and informative and we take this opportunity to thank our clients for their continued support. We welcome a dialogue with hotel operators seeking outstanding value in these difficult times.
Head of Hotel Operations
Tel: +44 (0)1992 514 555
NFS Hospitality Corporation
We hope you enjoyed this issue of Your Hotel Matters.
To help us improve our next edition, we’d like to know what you think.
- Have we missed something or someone important?
- Which topics are on your agenda for the next 12 months?
- Do you have any related news or insight to share with us?
- Would you like us to write a review on your NFS installation?
Would you like any more information on hotel topics, such as White Papers or Case Studies?
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