Lancaster Lodge

Company: SoftBrands HospitalityCustomer: Lancaster LodgeSubmitted by: MCC InternationalDate: August 2002Robert White, owner of a luxury guesthouse set in idyllic surroundings in Cork wanted to ensure that rooms remained filled, customers remained happy and staff remained motivated. His current property management software solution was falling short of achieving all of this so he went in search of an alternative…Lancaster Lodge is a 39 Bedroom Luxury Guesthouse catering for both corporate and leisure clientele and boasts a prestigious four-star rating. Situated in the centre of the historic city of Cork, Ireland, it has a range of rooms available from standard, with fax and modem point, personal digital safe and satellite TV to luxury suites, with additional wide-screen TV and a Jacuzzi bath.

With limited marketing budget, the guesthouse has always relied on positive word-of-mouth from its up-market guests to maintain capacity occupancy. However, a worrying trend became apparent ­– the accounting side of its incumbent property management system was becoming increasingly unreliable.When Robert White decided it was time to update the reservation system, he turned to SoftBrands, Inc., global supplier of enterprise-wide applications software, for a solution. SoftBrands’ property management software, Medallion, is a Windows-based solution designed for small to medium sized hotels. It contains full functionality and unparalleled flexibility, to maximise operational effectiveness and bottom-line performance.

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Following an initial and highly successful demonstration of the solution in August 2001, White confirmed the order for Medallion within the week. SoftBrands then conducted a site visit in October to assist in the implementation of the system and to build it around input from the guesthouse’s staff.White takes up the story: “Once implemented, it only took two days of training on the system and we were up and running. As well as the administrative training, we discovered that making changes to the view of Medallion was also very easy, so we were able to tailor the look and feel of the software so the users had a system they were comfortable with from the outset.” In addition, Medallion has enabled staff to create more of a brand around the hotel, printing bills with the Lancaster Lodge logo on them and customising invoices and rate cards.With a scalable, three-tier software design based upon Microsoft Windows NT and SQL Server, Medallion seamlessly integrates with market-leading back-office applications. This ensures that the information contained in Medallion is easily accessible by all groups within the organisation and has a familiar look and feel. The system is designed to be user-friendly and is ideal for hotels that have a high staff turnover or casual staff during the busier periods.SoftBrands leverages its international talent pool of developers to create software products that streamline and enhance an organisation’s ability to manage and execute mission-critical functions such as accounting, purchasing, manufacturing, customer service and sales and marketing.”SoftBrands’ Medallion is an excellent, relatively inexpensive front desk system aimed at small to medium sized hotels and guesthouses such as ourselves,” enthused White. “It is very user friendly and is Windows-based.

This was a big factor when choosing the solution due to the high turnover of staff in the industry. Even for inexperienced computer users, the interface is intuitive and requires only minimal training before staff are comfortable using it.”As a market leader in hospitality management technology, SoftBrands’ hospitality product, Medallion, is specifically designed for the hotel and leisure industry offering performance under pressure; keeping guests satisfied, staff motivated and the bottom line healthy.Lancaster Lodge runs the Medallion system from its one PC on the front desk that is accessed by six users. From this point they can utilise the full functionality of Medallion and have access to the accounts office and sales ledger functions, as well as the all important room management system.”The guesthouse currently has seventeen employees, but, as with the hospitality industry in general, has a high turnover rate,” comments White.

“Medallion is extremely user friendly. This is particularly useful for our part-time staff, changing on a regular basis, as they need minimal training on it.”SoftBrands’ Medallion helps Lancaster Lodge to efficiently book the rooms and schedule its activities, intelligently analyse its customer habits for integrated marketing campaigns, quickly respond to customer requests and economically control stock inventory. White continues, “Medallion has quickly become a core component of how we run Lancaster Lodge. It is used in all aspects of the daily running of the business and helps to ensure that guests keep coming back, time after time.

“”The hospitality marketplace is getting more competitive all the time,” explains SoftBrands Project and Installations Manager (Ireland), Adrian Sellens. “With software modules for every aspect of the hospitality and leisure management business, we can help reduce the stress so that the hotel can concentrate on managing a full house.”White adds, “I am extremely happy with the purchase of Medallion. The installation, training and changeover were smooth and extremely painless; a lot easier than I thought they were going to be, based on past experiences. The whole process handled by the SoftBrands team exuded professionalism and trust throughout the various stages.

“”Put simply, the core of any good system is the quality of the back-up support, and I have nothing but confidence in both SoftBrands and our products to deliver this,” comments White.Despite the current difficulties being experienced in the tourism industry, Lancaster Lodge is enjoying extremely high levels of occupancy with advance bookings up on this time last year and the months of August and September expected to reach occupancy rates of 85 to 90 percent without room rates being compromised.With a stronger focus now being placed on the customer, having a fast and efficient reservation system is imperative. “As a niche business Lancaster Lodge is always looking for innovative products or services that will compliment and increase our customer base. This we have found in the Medallion system,” concluded White.