Choice Hotels Europe is part of Choice Hotels International, one of the world’s leading hotel chains. Choice began doing business in the US back in the 1940s and has expanded internationally as a mainly franchised business for more than 60 years.
Today, there are more than 500 Choice Hotels in Europe and Scandinavia, consisting of four operating brands: Comfort, the premium economy brand; Quality, the mid-market brand; Clarion, the luxury lifestyle brand; and the newest brand: Sleep Inn, described as ‘premium budget’. The chain provides 24hr reservation service through a worldwide network of 22 reservation centres and has access to 35,000 travel agents through a GDS interface.
Seeking cost-effective and adaptable meeting room solution for multiple-location bookings
In summer 2006, Choice Hotels Ireland, which operates about 21 hotels in the Republic, began looking for a cost-effective meeting room solution for its Quality Hotels and Comfort Inn brands. The number of meeting rooms in these hotels, located in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and other cities, range from five to fifteen. A key factor in their search was that any new system would have to work well alongside the chain’s PMS system, SoftBrands.
After surveying the market, Choice Hotels Ireland opted for Rendezvous, the advanced browser-based conference, meeting room and catering solution from NFS Hospitality. Rendezvous met Choice’s need for a system that would be easy to deploy across all sites and that would adapt easily as the chain expands.
Rendezvous, which was designed for either single-property or multi-site use, was installed at the beginning of Q4 2006. As it is a browser-based solution, meeting room availability can be instantly known across all sites, so installation was simple: no need to worry about local IT issues or deployment.
“It’s great to have a common business process across our hotels,” says Anthony Murray, Group IT Manager for Quality Hotels and Comfort Inns in Ireland. “With a central server we know that all availability information is out there and that means we can really build our business.“
The implementation and training went very smoothly, Anthony adds. “NFS planned the installation well so that implementation time was kept to a minimum. Rendezvous is a pretty intuitive system so it was easy to train our people.”
Rendezvous provides many ways to improve business and service. For example, Anthony plans to use the marketing module in Rendezvous to make the most of captured guest data. With this module, any sort of promotion, such as seasonal packages, can be planned for either corporate or individual customers with minimum effort.
Anthony expects other benefits as well, in terms of saving staff time and using any saved time for better customer service. He also expects to enhance his customer relationships due to higher speed and accuracy of confirmations and billing with Rendezvous.
Most of all, the fact that all hotels can access the same information should streamline the entire operation. “We are very pleased with the browser aspect and we will be learning to take advantage of Rendezvous’ extensive functionality as we go forward,” notes Anthony.