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2022 Budgeting and Forecasting on Target for The Hotel at Auburn University with Aptech

a bedroom with a large bed in a room

For Ithaka Hospitality Partners, operator of The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center, preparing the 2022 operating budget is a breeze thanks to Targetvue by Aptech. Built on the 11th Edition USALI Standard Chart of Accounts and Reports, this budgeting and forecasting software is enabling the Auburn, Ala.-based hotel management company to consolidate reports, identify trends, drive room revenue by predicting occupied rooms and average daily rate, share plans throughout the organization, and meet future growth goals utilizing a single, centrally maintained set of database models.

“Before Targetvue, our financial reporting was done in Excel,” said John Hopkins, Ithaka Hospitality Partners Managing Partner, Finance. “That was okay, but what we really needed was a more streamlined budgeting and forecasting process with driver-based models specific to hospitality that could help us map out the future more accurately. We wanted multiple people to be able to input financial data simultaneously so when the hotel’s owner requested specific information, we could deliver it without delay in a format accessible to everyone. Since we were successfully using Aptech’s PVNG enterprise accounting solution, it just made sense for us to add their budgeting and forecasting product. Targetvue offers everything we need and then some. It’s easy to learn. Easy to use. And, more importantly, it’s backed by Aptech’s exceptional customer service.”

For Ithaka Hospitality Partners — like most hotel management companies today — staffing is a challenge. When owners have questions, Hopkins said his team needs to provide answers. Targetvue enables them to implement flexible plans that can be monitored daily to meet performance goals. As the economy fluctuates and the hotel’s performance changes, IHP can generate reports on the fly that compare budgets to actuals or goals via Targetvue.

“Time is money,” Hopkins said. “We don’t have the luxury of sitting around and waiting for manual reports to be generated for the owners; and they don’t have time to be sitting around and waiting for those reports to be delivered. Aptech’s finance tools operate in the cloud, enabling us to work on reports whenever they are needed — whether I am at home, or the finance team is traveling to an event like HITEC. It’s this type of flexibility and accessibility that is making budgeting a breeze. Both solutions from Aptech paid for themselves in the first year due to time savings alone. With labor being tight, we can peel off hours from various employees’ time due to the efficiencies. As a management company, it’s reassuring to know that we are in line with 11th edition standards, meeting owners’ expectations, and reducing demands on our already over-burdened staff with Aptech.

“Aptech’s support is unlike any other — their customer care team feels like an extension of our operation,” he said. “They stand with us in the trenches daily, helping us to generate reports that we may not know how to produce. From onboarding to training and everything in between, Aptech support is a game changer. When I started the 2022 budget process, I scheduled additional training so that I could dive deeper into the report writing process and extract data that is relevant today vs. what was standard years ago. It’s changed the entire way we budget as an organization. Now we can drill down on minute details when needed and identify what is trending, such as the dramatic shift from group to transient business.”

While the industry continues to struggle, Hopkins said The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center is performing better than expected. He attributes the property’s success in part to Targetvue and the software’s ability to identify performance drivers, such as the HC Valentine Café and Coffee Shop located in the lobby. By adding breakfast on-the-run offerings, for example, the venue is driving food-and-beverage revenues and building loyalty.

“We are delighted that Ithaka Hospitality Partners is such a satisfied user of Aptech solutions and an advocate for our customer support,” said Jill Wilder, Aptech Vice President. “While the company had automated the hotel’s accounting processes with PVNG, it was trying unsuccessfully to manage goal setting, forecasting, and budgets with customized Excel spreadsheets that were poorly suited for accurate, efficient enterprise planning and performance management. Now with Targetvue, those inefficiencies are nonexistent. Today, everyone using Targetvue is working from a single information database to provide better workflow management, version control, and aggregation of data by pulling information from multiple sources into one single view of the truth.”

For 50 years, Aptech has been developing web-based, customizable, financial-management software that today’s hoteliers need to access, view, compare, and dynamically analyze the performance data of their single hotel or multi-property, multi-branded portfolios. Employing hotel industry standards and best in class technology at more than 4,000 hotels, Aptech’s solutions work independently or in sync to quickly respond to changes in revenue and expenses and identify trends that will better position the asset for growth and profitability.

“Budget deadlines are looming,” Hopkins said. “Those struggling with where to begin or how to compare actuals of past years with future projections will need help NOW. The best way to meet hospitality industry standards and access, view, compare, and dynamically analyze the performance data of hotels, and plan for the future is to partner with Aptech. It’s a solid investment.”

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