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Le Meridien Hotel Brings AV Management In-House

By self-operating its audiovisual/event technology services via the AVaStar program, this Chicago hotel is seeing an almost 40% year-over-year improvement in profitability in less than six months.

AVaStar, a hospitality industry subscription support program for audiovisual/event technology services, is driving profitability for Le Meridien Chicago Oakbrook Center. The contemporary hotel, featuring approximately 4,000 square feet of event space, has taken control of its destiny and relationship with customers. A few months ago, management began looking for a solution that would increase revenues, drive profits and enhance the customer/meeting planner experience by having all services delivered by an internal team instead of using third-party providers. With AVaStar, Le Meridien Chicago Oakbrook Center is taking control of its AV operation, improving guest service and far exceeding year-over-year net profitability.

The AVaStar program is built upon a single, dedicated SaaS platform for conducting all AV Technology activities, including planning and providing audiovisual services, managing meeting needs, scheduling resources, getting guided technical assistance and tracking financial performance. It ensures that equipment and services are delivered and meeting customer expectations by prompting non-technical users with interactive, step-by-step sales, setup and troubleshooting procedures. By ensuring that equipment is where it needs to be, when it needs to be and in peak working condition and appearance, the customer experience is improved, revenues are tracked, and expenses are managed. Flawless execution minimizes credits and rebates to customers and a detailed tracking system ensures that same-day changes are captured and billed.

But the AVaStar program is more than just software. The subscription includes a layer of above-property support for AudioVisual that is typically not present in most hospitality organizations. This support provides on-going assistance to each subscriber property so that management can be confident that their team is supported and has a resource for advice, assistance and AV training on common equipment usage and techniques.

“We chose AVaStar to improve our bottom line significantly and at the same time provide a more attentive, personalized service to our guests, and we have not been disappointed,” says Martin Schooley, Vice President of Operations at Wischermann Partners Inc., manager of Le Meridien Chicago Oakbrook Center. “We’ve enjoyed an almost 40% year-over-year improvement in profitability in just the first five months. AVaStar has been creative and responsive, as we have tailored a program that meets the needs of our hotel and our guests. I can recommend AVaStar with great confidence and say they will be part of the conversation as we search for AudioVisual solutions in all of our hotels in the future.”

Part of the AVaStar service was to identify the equipment inventory that would be required to support the day-to-day needs of business meetings and social events and assist the property with AV procurement. Since the inventory covers the standard meeting and event needs, the hotel has only occasional need to rent specialty or supplemental items, like additional microphones. Using the purchase order system within AvaStar, these cross-rented items are tracked so that current needs are met, and invoiced properly, and future purchase assessments can be made to ensure a maximized return on investment.

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