Aquilini Attains a Rapid Return on Its IDeaS Investment

The Aquilini Investment Group is a family-owned-and-operated enterprise with a diverse network of companies. Its holdings include 10 Canadian hotels under its hospitality umbrella. Two of those properties rebranded from Holiday Inn Express locations in 2015 and have operated as independents ever since. The 100-room Atrium Inn Vancouver and 160-room Hotel Faubourg Montreal each benefits from a healthy tourism industry with a thriving leisure segment and strategic central locations.

MANAGING REVENUE IN THE DARK

The decision to go independent at the Atrium and Faubourg left its revenue management team operating in an entirely manual environment. Despite recent revenue growth at both properties, Aquilini’s director of revenue optimization, Tammy White, recognized the growing need for an automated revenue management system (RMS) to amplify Aquilini’s revenue strategy and enhance its profitability and productivity.

“The greatest challenge we faced was time,” said White. “Rate-shopping, decision-making and then implementing rate changes, restrictions, and monitoring all had to be done by manual tracking.” A lack of historical insights and forward-looking, demand-based, data-driven intelligence had left White feeling especially in the dark when making critical decisions.

“It was obvious we needed to take it to the next level beyond manual processes to incorporate analytics and automation into our rate setting,” said White. “That’s why we began looking for an RMS.” White and her team commenced a rigorous evaluation of top-rated RMS solutions with a wish list of key criteria in mind:

  • A smooth integration with their existing property management system (both the Atrium and Faubourg use Oracle’s OPERA)
  • Ease of functionality and availability of system training and ongoing support
  • A system that complements and enhances their existing pricing strategy

IDEAS SHEDS SOME LIGHT

The search for the right RMS brought White and her team to IDeaS Revenue Solutions, ultimately determining IDeaS G3 RMS as the system to meet and exceed their needs. The implementation process ran smoothly, and IDeaS had the system fully configured in about two weeks at both properties.

“Overall I am assured IDeaS has the best possible solution for us,” said White. “IDeaS G3 RMS allows us to make decisions every day with a 365-view of the future versus only being able to look out 45 to 60 days—and it’s done automatically. I’m in the system at least three times every day. It’s good to know where I’m sitting versus budget, and if any issue arises, I can quickly dig in to find the best solution.”

Renowned as the most scientifically advanced, easy-to-use, cloud-based revenue solution, IDeaS G3 RMS utilizes best-in-class SAS® analytics. White particularly enjoys the wide array of robust decision-making and analysis tools featured in G3 RMS, allowing her to better optimize group bookings, room-type pricing, length-of-stay controls, and more.

“Group evaluation is a great tool. It removes a lot of the guesswork,” said White. “I sometimes override it and say I want to go higher, but I like to know my floor for where I’m going to make money. Or if I shouldn’t take the business at all, it lets me know when I’d be losing money.”

With a variety of room classes offered at each property, the analytical pricing by room-type within G3 RMS has also had a significant impact, giving White and team greater confidence, speed and accuracy in rate setting for a range of offerings. “The room-class functionality helps us see what’s in-demand and to know when and how much to overbook based on room types,” said White. “When demand is low for suites, for instance, it lets me know to overbook the studio class aggressively. Complimentary upgrades can then be pushed into the suites to create the 100 percent sell-out.”

A SOLUTION THAT PAYS FOR ITSELF

The Atrium and Faubourg had just experienced record-breaking numbers in the year prior to implementing IDeaS, but due to increasingly competitive markets in Vancouver and Montreal, White and her team were feeling cautiously optimistic about maintaining their positive performance.

“We implemented IDeaS, and the results improved even more,” said White. “The Atrium had a $10 ADR increase year-over-year, went up about 12 percent in occupancy, and delivered a $25 RevPAR increase. The performance improvement was phenomenal to see.” Hotel Faubourg Montreal also showed strong growth with an $11 RevPAR uplift, a $5 ADR increase, and a six percent lift in occupancy.

Working for a private, family-owned business, White knew the importance of being able to demonstrate a clear return on investment with IDeaS. “Within three months, at both properties, with the difference between the budget—which was aggressive knowing I was putting IDeaS in—and what we actualized, we had completely paid for the system already,” said White.

White involved the sales team, front-office managers, and general managers from both properties in an onsite, IDeaS-led training workshop held at the Faubourg before going live with the system. This was an important step to instill confidence in the system and greater buy-in across the organization. Beyond implementation, White has continued to maintain close contact with her IDeaS client relationship manager via regularly scheduled calls and ongoing support.

“It’s been phenomenal working with IDeaS since the get-go,” said White. “I’ve been so impressed with the level of service provided—I brag about it all the time. I’m looking forward to bringing more hotels on the system.”