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Hotel Exec Roundtable: What Keeps Them Up, What Reports are Important, Are They Going Mobile?

Hotel company executives from Concord Hospitality, Pinnacle Hotel Management and Highpointe Hotel Corporation recently took a break to talk about challenges and what is important. Aptech’s team spoke with managers from three operators who agree that taming data overload is at the top of their “challenges” list.
The executives included: Brian Cornell, CIO for Concord Hospitality; Felicia Matula, Director of Finance for Pinnacle Hotel Management; and Dave Spangrud, Regional VP Operations for Highpointe Hotel Corporation.
Hotel companies continuously apply new technology to their operation to increase profitability and efficiency. Most of these systems generate performance information as they optimize processes, so execs receive a growing amount of important data to internalize before making decisions. Refining this performance data into easily understood report formats is essential for many multi-property hotel operators.
Data overload is the biggest challenge
“My biggest challenge is filtering information from data overload so I can focus on actionable endeavors that impact our bottom line,” said Brian Cornell, Concord Hotels’ CIO. “One way we consolidate information for our properties is with the daily revenue report.  The report gives previous day-performance, and compares it with month-to-date and year-to-date. We recently added forecasted month end data.”  Cornell said Concord generates the report every business day and it is mobile friendly. Concord operates over 90 hotels throughout the United States and Canada.
Cornell is also getting easier online access to his data. “A new adaptation of the report is our hotel-specific revenue dashboard report that automatically updates on the hotel’s intranet page daily,” he said. “The most important software in my business is email. It disseminates our information quickly to large and specific audiences. It helps generate sales leads and we use it to distribute contracts and documents. We also distribute reports and a host of other information. Without email our ability to communicate would be dramatically handicapped.”
Industry standard P&Ls help streamline Pinnacle’s operation
Felicia Matula, Director of Finance for Pinnacle Hotel Management, also lists taming data as her top priority. “Streamlining all the systems and information I get is my biggest business challenge. One thing that keeps me up at night is that I have too many emails. Not just the number of emails, but the necessity for me to maintain multiple email accounts for business and personal correspondence.” Matula said Pinnacle’s most used report is her profit and loss statements. “We use industry standard P&Ls across our company to assess our operations.” Florida-based Pinnacle’s portfolio includes a total of 30 hotels with 4,000 rooms.
Job One: Remain competitive and maintain market share; go mobile in 2014
Highpointe Hotel Corporation focused on property performance in 2013. “Our biggest challenge today is to remain competitive in our individual markets and assure we maintain market share. At the same time, we work to assure that our customer services remain the focus of all our property management and staff members,” said Dave Spangrud, Regional VP of Operations at Gulf Breeze, Florida-based Highpointe.
What is the most used report at Highpointe? “Our daily flash report. It shows revenue for each hotel from the prior day, month-to-date (MTD), MTD vs. budget, and MTD vs. last year. We expect to go mobile with our reports in 1Q ’14,” Spangrud said. “Every company has the same type of report, but we customize it to reflect the data that is most useful to our senior management and ownership partners. We format the information so they can review it quickly for each property where they have an ownership interest.”
What is the most important, cannot-live-without piece of software in the business? “Microsoft Office gets the most use in our office and for my personal responsibilities,” Spangrud said.
“Management companies set new priorities as the industry continues its momentum. Reports are an essential lens they use to monitor their performance,” said Cam Troutman, Vice President of Aptech Computer Systems. “We work closely with clients such as Concord, Highpointe, and Pinnacle to create easy-to-use, one-button reports that simplify data access to make the information actionable. We make it easy for operators to access large amounts of information for more intelligent, profitable business decisions.”
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