Valley View Matches Real-Estate Ante with Custom PMS

Valley View Casino & Hotel in San Diego, owned by the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, has earned a reputation as one of Southern California's premier gaming destinations. The casino has 2,000 slot machines and 26 table games as well as a complete non-smoking gaming area off the main floor. The property also boasts seven restaurants and three bars and features nightly live entertainment.
When the decision was made to expand the property and build a new 108-room luxury hotel and event center, Valley View management immediately began searching for the right property management system. The requirements were three-fold: It needed to be flexible enough to grow with the property; it needed to be easy to learn, so that novice users could quickly feel comfortable with the technology; and it needed to be reliable for a busy 24/7 gaming operation.
Just the right fit
After looking at a number of property management systems, Valley View selected the Visual One suite by Agilysys. Designed with the needs of small to mid-sized properties in mind, the Visual One PMS has a modular structure that allows customers to tailor the solution and add features as needed.
The Visual One suite has modules for accounting, club management, comp accounting, condo accounting, golf management, guest marketing, sales & catering and spa management. The modules are tightly integrated with the property management system, utilizing the same database and providing real-time information exchanges. The system also includes integrated reporting and a built-in activities scheduler.
Valley View currently uses the comp accounting and sales & catering modules. The comp accounting module codes complimentary guest charges from the guest folio, including patron self-redemption and manager comps. Staff can code the complimentary services at the point of reservation, at check-out or at any time during the guest's stay and instantly validate the authorization for the comp. The sales & catering module manages banquet operations in the property's new event center.
Like any casino-hotel, Valley View uses software solutions from a number of vendors, so it is critical that the property management system vendor understand the importance of interfaces. Again, Agilysys came through with interfaces that enable the Visual One suite to link seamlessly with solutions from IGT, Infinium, Kaba and Smart Hospitality.
Employee 'buy-in' essential
The Visual One property management system runs on a Microsoft SQL Server database and uses Windows-based applications. For Valley View management, that was a big plus. Some of the hotel employees had never used a property management system, so they needed software that was quick and easy to learn. Windows-based applications tend to be more user-friendly than a lot of others on the market.
Implementation and training went smoothly. Employees had no trouble learning how to use the new system. The Visual One screens are laid out in a very logical and easy-to-use format, with quick-feature icons and drill-down capabilities. It makes the learning curve almost nonexistent.
Support from Agilysys was excellent, with several of the company's employees working around the clock during the 'go-live' period. Having the vendor on-site and engaged with staff made a big difference. When the hotel opened in November 2010, employees were confident and ready to serve guests.
The Visual One suite has all the features and functionality that Valley View needs to operate at peak performance. Best of all, employees like the system, which translates into improved guest service. If management can make the employee experience a good one, then the guest experience will reflect that. If, on the other hand, employees don't like (or don't understand) the software they are using, then they will complain about it to guests, and it will reflect poorly on the property. Hotel operators must do whatever is necessary to ensure that staff has a positive experience with technology.
Management tech tips
Before investing in new software solutions, keep the following tips in mind:
  • Look at several systems, and ask for recommendations from industry colleagues.
  • Make sure the vendor can provide interfaces to the property's existing systems for customer relationship management, finance, point-of-sale, security, etc.
  • Make sure the system is easy for employees to learn.
  • Select technology that can grow with the operation.
Todd Jackson is vice president of information technology at Valley View Casino & Hotel. He has worked in the gaming and hospitality industry for more than 10 years.
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