Creatively Uses Business Intelligence
to Direct 85% Growth
Lassos Huge Amounts of Data for Profitable Decisions
January 29, 2004 - Ask the founder of Innkeepers Hospitality, Jeff Fisher, and his team what they like about the hotel business and they will immediately say it is the surprise element that creates excitement during the business day. As the largest independent management company servicing the upscale extended-stay hotel segment in the United States, Innkeepers Hospitality grew at over 18 percent in the past two years using technology to transform the monthly roller coaster of financial reporting into stable performance management analysis that guides business decisions.
Since 1994 Innkeepers Hospitality has grown steadily to become the nation’s leading manager of upscale extended-stay hotel properties and now operates a 63-property portfolio managing flags that include Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, Quality Inn, and Marriott Residence Inn and Courtyard properties. According to Marc Dober, Senior Financial Analyst with Innkeepers Hospitality, juggling this many hotels and franchises means there are a lot of thrills. "In the hotel business there is always the ‘excitement of the day.’ At the hotel level you never know what the guest right in front of you is going to do. On the corporate management side we are pretty aggressive about our marketing and sales, which is also exciting; but in a big picture way." At the end of 2003 part of that big picture included over 900 daily emails Innkeepers Hospitality was receiving from its hotels that contained performance data; this was becoming too much excitement. Their 48 Marriott hotels alone each generated 18 emails a day with property operating data.
Innkeepers Hospitality’s (IH) team knew they needed to streamline accounting procedures and ownership reporting to continue growing their property base while carrying out management responsibilities. They began by selecting an enterprise accounting package that managed and consolidated all their property financials, but the staff was still manually entering huge amounts of information. "The package is a wonderful generic accounting application. We are in the midst of our rollout now, but someone still has to pull the numbers off all the emails and key them into the system," said Marc Dober. "Our property information comes largely from Marriott and Hilton corporate where they extract nightly data from their proprietary property management systems (PMS) and send it to us. We saw early on that an accounting application, regardless of its size, is not meant to be a decision-support reporting system."
Consequently, Innkeepers Hospitality installed the Execuvue® business
intelligence application from Aptech Computer Systems, Inc. The package
extracts specific data from packets emailed to Innkeepers by the Hilton
and Marriott PMS systems, and automatically creates a file which IH loads
into their enterprise accounting system. This one decision eliminated the
costly and error-prone process of daily data rekeying and also created
a new flow of property data for decision support and reporting.
When it is fully implemented, Innkeepers Hospitality will have a comprehensive business intelligence, management reporting, and central accounting system that is compatible with all their hotel systems. The new business intelligence system will automate the huge data collection process and consolidate daily operating information in what are called ‘data cubes’ that hold individual property numbers and other business statistics, like Smith Travel Research competitive sets, for analysis. Equally important, their business intelligence application will export only the specified appropriate data to the back office application. Marc Dober explained, "The business intelligence system stores and analyzes more than just financials; it tracks turn-down information, extended-stay tier stats, rooms sold and available, and spots trends in our business performance to achieve our goal of building more extended stay business. Most hotel companies use back office reports as a basis for management information; we turned this around by first pulling all our numbers into the business intelligence system, including Smith Travel STARS stats. Then we can pick the specific financial data we want to go into our accounting package so we can maintain a cleaner general ledger."
Innkeepers Hospitality decided on this radical approach after their business intelligence vendor gave them a system demonstration using IH’s own data. "They asked if they could use some of our operating information for their presentation," said Marc Dober. "We sent them a file of historic Residence Inn performance statistics and they build a data cube from it. What Aptech did with our information was impressive. When you see your own data in a new way you understand your business better. During the presentation we looked at Valentines Day year over year and immediately saw changes we could make to our packages in the future."
A primary objective for Innkeepers Hospitality across its 67 properties
is to convert its single-night stay guests to clients that stay for two
to five nights. To do this they study revenue trends and regional and segment
occupancy to develop effective sales strategies. One problem with the massive
amount of property data IH receives from its franchisors is that much of
it is not essential to their operating objectives, hence the laborious
manual data entry process. Marc Dober explained, "Because we are the management
firm for three public companies, accounting and reporting are critical
activities. Our new enterprise system will eliminate keystroke errors by
One use of their business intelligence system will be decision support for new property acquisitions. By running a prospective hotel’s performance numbers through the Execuvue application, Innkeepers Hospitality expects to be able to spot operational areas that they might be able to improve upon if they purchase the hotel. The new system will also give IH the ability to place operating information in their property managers’ hands quickly enough to make a substantial improvement in their management practices. "In the past the necessity for manual data entry made it nearly impossible to provide our properties with timely management information," said Dober. "Soon we will be able to push daily flash reports out to our field employees via the Internet to provide them with better information. It will create a new accountability at our properties." Innkeepers Hospitality intends to use their new applications to become a platform that can support the company’s accelerated growth and increase profitability for their owners by improving revenue and lowering expenses.
About Innkeepers Hospitality
Innkeepers Hospitality is one of the largest independent management company, primarily servicing the upscale extended stay and limited service hotel segments in highly diversified geographic markets. Founded by Jeffrey H. Fisher, the primary objective of the company is to produce outstanding results for its owners, guests, employees, and franchiser partners. This proven ability results from the company’s focused direct sales effort combined with a superior guest experience, highly advanced management practices, and centralized back-end support for all aspects of a hospitality operation.
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@example.com.
|Also See||#1 Owner Group Priority: Performance Management for Investors / The Melrose Hotel Company Studies New Process toHospitality That Includes Goal Setting, Goal Tracking, and Data Analysis / December 2003|
|Big Box Hotels, Boutiques Share Design Styles; Standardize Data, Financials To Support Long-Term Growth of Real Estate Parent / October 2003|
|Economy Brightens: H.I. Development Corp. Picks Enterprise-wide Business Intelligence, Back Office Technology to Drive Growth / September 2003|
|CHIP, Other Ownership Groups Eye New Scorecarding Tool To Communicate Common Vision of Enterprise Priorities, Control Costs, Raise Profit Margins in Tough Economy / June 2003|
|Dolce International Clicks Through Smith Travel Data To Chart Growth Plans, Increases Market Share 4 Percentage Points / June 2003|
|The Melrose Hotel Company Installs Business Intelligence Software to Stay Above RevPAR Curve / May 2003|
|Pineapple Management Benefits: Technology Vendor Invests in Back-Office System Advances for Operators; ‘New Economy’ Demands Greater Efficiency in Hospitality Operations / Mar 2003|
|Minnesota Hotel Operator Builds Success With Locations Near Chain Restaurants, Web-Based Centralized Accounting / Feb 2003|
|Business Intelligence Software Identifies, Controls Costs; Focuses on Improving Profitability for Hoteliers in 2003 and 2004 / Dec 2002|
|Mid-Sized Management Firm Bursts into Creative Boutique Market with Added Services, Web-Based Centralized Accounting / Sept 2002|
|Marriott, Hilton Management and Real Estate Firm Dominates New Construction Niche With Business Intelligence Software, Relationship Financing / Aug 2002|
|Starwood, Host Marriott Shine at New York Hospitality Investment Conference; Edge Ahead with Business Intelligence Tools, Rely on Aptech Applications / June 2002|
|Hotel Undergraduates Shift With the Industry Towards Business Intelligence / March 2002|
|Interstate Hotels Partners with Aptech to Install ASP Model; ASP Back Office Provides Value to Hotel Owners With Ability to Reduce Capital Outlay, Eliminate Maintenance Costs, Bring Faster Processing Speeds / June 2001|
|Jill Wilder Named Vice President and Officer of Aptech Computer Systems Inc. / May 2002|
|Survival Tactics; New Technology Directions Surface in Business Intelligence Survey / November 2001|
|Aptech Opens Business Intelligence Door for Small to Mid-sized Management Firms / October 2001|