With the HITEC exhibit hall opening today, here is a success story of how an attendees met and fell in love with an exhibitor at HITEC.
Once Upon a Time
On the eve of HITEC 2008, hotel franchisor Hospitality International was in the market for a new central reservations system (CRS) for its five brands, including Red Carpet Inn, Passport Inn, Scottish Inns, Master Hosts Inns and Downtowner Inns. Rapid shifts in hotel buying behavior and reservations technology functionality led the corporate team in Tucker, Ga. to shop for a more advanced reservations solution.
Using HITEC as a springboard, the company met with all of the attending CRS providers. Many seemed to provide the technological capabilities Hospitality International was looking for, but were too small to handle the company’s nearly 300 locations. Others were too large, threatening to make the company’s needs insignificant in negotiating future software or service offerings. One was juuust right.
A Love Story Begins
Pegasus Solutions had come to HITEC 2008 in Austin, Texas to launch RezView® NG, its next generation CRS. For Hospitality International, Pegasus and its CRS solution promised to handle the complex demands of the large group while still being capable of attentively responding to customer needs. The corporate team didn’t just want a solid CRS that allowed for timely updates and feature enhancements; they also wanted ease of use and exceptional service.
Following a meeting at HITEC, Pegasus supported Hospitality International through every aspect of the selection process, then implemented and trained Hospitality International on the platform.
For their part, Hospitality International dedicated teams to address areas like data population, training, call center agent preparations, web site modifications and telecommunications issues. Data import into the new platform was handled by a specially created staff, while training was conducted with key members of Hospitality International’s staff, who then made the rounds training each of the hotels. Pegasus also helped train individual properties on managing their own CRS data via extranet, providing online conference call training, in-person training seminars, one-on-one online sessions, and in some cases, on-property training.
Through the extraordinary efforts of both the Hospitality International and Pegasus teams, Hospitality International’s migration was completed in September 2009, a time remembered by most in the lodging industry for an entirely different reason.
And They Lived Happily Ever After
Despite the downturn felt around the world, Hospitality International held its own with the rest of the US lodging industry, appreciating the investment in technology before budget restraints may have hindered forward technological progress for its hotels. The company’s family-owned locations, which average 30 to 40 rooms, have since mastered the use of RezView NG while continuing to add new functionality introduced post-implementation to the enterprise platform.
Ultimately, the tale of Hospitality International and Pegasus Solutions is more than a CRS success story. It’s a testament to the power of aggressive, or rather, assertive shopping: the aggressive shopping by online bargain shoppers that drove Hospitality International to seek out a more capable CRS; and the assertive shopping by a savvy hotelier, combing the HITEC Buyer’s Guide for their CRS “happily ever after.”
Mike Kistner is president, chairman and CEO of Pegasus Solutions, where he has led the development and introduction of RezView® NG, the first next generation hotel reservations solution. He joined the company as senior vice president of operations and service delivery in 2005, after serving as chief information officer and senior vice president of distribution for Best Western International, Inc.