Strand Development Company Grows to 56 Properties, Increases Profitability
Automated Property Data Collection, Analysis, Performance Reports, and Forecasting Raise Operating Standards, Support Steady Growth for Multiple Ownership Groups
effective and accurate financial reporting on a timely basis - there is no room for error, no room for tardiness," says John Johnson, Strand's CFO. "We know that our continued relationship is contingent on delivering solid bottom line results. This is our top priority." With 56 properties and multiple ownership entities, Strand relies on its corporate business intelligence system to automate the complex data gathering and analysis process that drives property performance reporting.
"We work for many ownership groups. Some are small private companies, others are publicly traded. Most have different reporting requirements, so we need to provide property data in different ways," Johnson said. "When we had fewer properties, the job of collecting daily hotel metrics and creating custom performance reports was time consuming, but possible. When we reached 20 properties, we realized we needed to automate the process."
"Execuvue allowed us to grow"
In 2004, Strand implemented the IBM Cognos-based Execuvue® business intelligence (BI) system from Aptech Computer Systems. "We turned to Aptech to help us collect, analyze, and report property performance to our ownership groups," Johnson said. "An important feature of Execuvue is its ability to tie to any database or data source. Gathering data with Execuvue is faster and much easier than our earlier processes. We combine that information with metrics from STR, accounting, and payroll systems for analysis and flexible daily reports. We tie our STR data to our financial data and Aptech is working with Marriott and other companies to bring in guest comment data. The Execuvue BI allowed us to grow. We employ less staff than we would have. We could not have grown without Aptech's support."
Strand's success and growth are based on delivering solid property results to its ownership groups. Accurate, comprehensive daily reporting is how Strand measures property performance. "The information we get from Execuvue is the lifeblood of our properties," Johnson said. Strand sends reports to its GMs that compare current RevPAR and other hotel performance metrics with the same period last year. "We also compile STAR reports rolled up by region to measure week to week performance. We recently upgraded to the latest Execuvue Cognos platform that enables us to automate specific report distribution to designated managers in any format they prefer, such as PDF or Excel. The reports are also mobile compatible. Our intranet portal can deliver them to tablets for added convenience."
Strand also provides automated forecast reporting. "We used to manually create forecasts for our properties; it was a huge task," Johnson said. "Now the GMs have an input sheet, which goes into our Execuvue BI seamlessly for 6-month pro forma. We also provide balanced scorecards that combine 9 metrics in one report. This works with financial and non-financial information. It helps us rank properties on many factors, such as STAR, cleanliness, and financial results. All our executives get these reports via email, some on tablet. Sometimes peer pressure instills a friendly competition between properties."
Accurate forecasting helps Strand properties create a better financial future. "We make decisions every day that impact the future of our operations," Johnson said. "Cash flow management is clearly aided by accurately forecasting what our staff needs will be. Execuvue delivers the data to help us make more accurate financial decisions. Our profitability is stronger because of it."
Originally Strand wanted to own the property data in its BI system. "As time passed we learned our initial feelings were not founded," Johnson said. "Today we use Aptech's ASP hosting services. Our data is on their servers so we do not have to maintain the hardware. This is more cost effective."
About Strand Development Company LLC
With headquarters shared between Charlotte and Myrtle Beach, NC, Strand also has operations in Atlanta. Founded more than 40 years ago, the company began as a developer/owner of full-service Holiday Inns, gradually moving into third-party management. Today, with more than 50 hotels in its management portfolio, the company is one of the few major operators that focuses entirely on third-party management. The company specializes in the two- to four-star hotel segments and is approved to operate properties under all the leading hotel brand families, including Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Wyndham, Choice, and InterContinental Hotel Group.
Aptech Computer Systems
Aptech Computer Systems, Inc., based in Pittsburgh, PA, leads the hospitality industry in leveraging change by valuing human relationships and applying technology to solve business problems for people. The company is renowned for introducing business intelligence into the hotel industry, and offers a solid resource of hospitality professionals. Aptech is an IBM Software Value Plus partner and Premier Solution Provider.
Incorporated in1970, Aptech is a hospitality financial and operations technology solutions and service company. Aptech's state-of-the-art back office, business intelligence, and enterprise planning products include Profitvue®, Execuvue®, Webvue®, and Targetvue. Clients comprise more than 3,000 properties, including large chains, multiple-property management companies, and single-site hotels. Aptech's solutions help customers understand their financial and operational data to lower expenses or increase profitability. Execuvue and Profitvue are registered to Aptech Computer Systems, Inc. All other trademarks are owned by their respective holders. For more information please visit www.aptech-inc.com.