Established in 1996, Larkspur Hotels & Restaurants is based in Larkspur, California. LH&R developed and managed a portfolio of 28 hotels, branded and unbranded, and nine restaurants within three distinct hotel brands: Larkspur Landing, Larkspur Hotels, and The Larkspur Collection. Larkspur Landing provides extended-stay accommodations with a host of complimentary services designed with today’s business traveler in mind. Larkspur Hotels is a three-star brand that breaks the mold of large chain hotels by offering charm and personality, while delivering great value, comfort, and excellent service. The Larkspur Collection is a premium collection of hotels, each of which offers its own individual experience.
Checking-in on change
Larkspur Landing in Hillsboro, Oregon is a business traveler oriented all-suites property that is focused on guest satisfaction. After realizing that the previous .NET application was not going to be able to support the company with timely and necessary updates in the foreseeable future, the organization decided to take a leap of faith and start from scratch, building their new hospitality management solution from the ground up.
Frustrated with issues the .NET platform gave them when upgrading existing properties and new installs, the team was ready to sever the relationship, when Infor (which had just acquired SoftBrands), stepped in with the idea to try a new HMS. Skeptical at first because wiping the slate clean is a risky process, the team decided it was time to sink or swim.
Must-have capabilities: PMS, CRM & Data
LH&R was looking for a solution that would improve the overall property management function, give more insight into customer relationship management and customer data while improving the decision-making process. In addition, Larkspur wanted to integrate web services while retaining integrity in guest services and financial results.
The team also wanted a flexible application that would grow and change with the business and could be deployed quickly. The organization wanted to partner with a vendor that was willing and eager to support the team as they evolved with the application – taking suggestions to heart and seeing if ideas were feasible before quickly shooting them down.
After completing a sandbox demo, and seeing how the product looked and felt, the team was astounded by the potential of the software. The organization would no longer be locked into a set of standards, as Infor HMS allowed for easy integration with other services and functionality that were necessary for the property. Specifically, the team needed to have a business tool that was used for the accounting function and Infor was able to make it work and integrate it into the process.
Infor Hospitality includes all the capabilities necessary for Larkspur to manage the hospitality process, built-in, not bolted on. This multi-departmental software connects hospitality-specific strategy to the front- and back-office systems – whether it's financial asset management; central reservations, revenue management or corporate office; on-property operations; sales, marketing, and loyalty; maintenance group; or coordinators of labor and staffing schedules.
Front- to back-of-house benefits
The most notable benefit that Larkspur has experienced is the decrease in the number of training hours required. The hotel industry can have very high turnover rates, so constantly training new staff is a tedious and costly process. With this intuitive system, front-of-house and back-of-house staff is trained very quickly. In addition, the reporting capabilities continue to grow, resulting in better information for the sales department.
In terms of guest services, the property has been able to reduce the time it takes to check guests in and out, allowing employees to spend more time interacting with them. Infor’s mobile check-in app for the iPad has been a big hit with the customers.
"We have completed the training and implementation of the SoftBrands HMS application, and we are extremely pleased with the Infor SoftBrands team and the product's functionality. It is innovative, versatile and adaptable," Amy Healy, regional general manager, Larkspur Landing Hillsboro, says. "With any new product we expected some surprises, and the only surprises have been 'good' surprises. We were surprised at what the system is capable of and how it has effectively helped to streamline our business."
Completely revamping the system was a big risk, but the team was able to reap big rewards. “Now, I would absolutely recommend starting from scratch,” said Healy. “HMS gives you this beautiful, adaptable blank canvas. You can customize it for your specific needs, with a lot of collaboration. Instead of being confined to greenscreens, think about being more open to change and technology (like your guests!).”