Accounting as a hotelier is a time and resource intensive process. Finding the right tool or platform to manage it all can make or break your business – and potentially lead to efficiencies and cost-saving that can vault you ahead of your competitors. While there are many tools available in the marketplace, today we’ll focus on M3.
Widely regarded as a top back-office hosted software solution provider for the hospitality industry, the M3 platform offers state-of-the-art, intuitive accounting, business intelligence, and payroll solutions across all brands and independent hotels in the U.S. and Canada. Built by hoteliers, exclusively for hoteliers, the platform allows franchisees access to their financial and operating information in real-time with user-friendly reports. Leveraging the various platform solutions, users are able to reduce overhead and labor to remain competitive in the industry.
But don’t take our word for it; let’s take a look at some real-world examples of the platform in action and highlight the efficiencies and added capabilities afforded to those that have adopted M3.
"What got us here won't get us there."
In 2002, HP Hotels was seeking to shift their focus. The hotel brand was spending time and resources building, updating, and maintaining an expensive computer infrastructure on which their accounting and business intelligence programs would run. Accounting and business intelligence were burdensome processes that were preventing the brand from reaching their growth goals. Rather than continuing to focus on the older, expensive computer infrastructure, the company was interested in taking a proactive approach to manage assets and generate returns for owners.
Enter M3. After listening to recommendations from industry peers, HP Hotels signed onto the M3 platform. The move has since paid dividends, with the brand growing from two hotels in 2002 to more than 35 properties in 2019. What specifically spurred the growth? The M3 Accounting Core and Operations Management software.
After adopting a streamlined staffing model, HP Hotels needed to manage the bulk of their accounting above property, which would eliminate the need for full-service accounting staff at the hotel level. The Accounting Core tool of the M3 platform provided the means for the efficiencies it didn’t think possible, saving both time and resources.
Additionally, by utilizing the Benchmarking tool in Operations Management when considering new properties, HP was able to view a quick snapshot of where the potential hotel compares with like brands in the system. This allowed for quick and easy evaluations to be made, leading to smarter, more educated investments. Additionally, Benchmarking has been incorporated into HP Hotels' budgeting cycle to provide leadership with the intelligence needed to analyze how they are measuring up to the competition, because, according to CDO Kerry Ranson, "What got us here won't get us there."
Functionality: Accounting to manage the bulk of their accounting above property. Benchmarking in Operations Management for more immediate and actionable Business Intelligence reports.
Business impact: Allowed for executing of the streamlined staffing model as well as quick evaluations of new properties, leading to the brand growing from two properties in 2002 to more than 35 in 2019.
“M3 has helped us turn our IT department from a cost center into a profit center”
Working to handle the needs of 24 properties, Coakley & Williams Hotel Management Company's two-person IT department found it was spending much of its time responding to simple requests for information. Many of information requests were routine in nature. C&W wanted to find a way to give the IT department the ability to spend its time in more productive ways, which would help C&W increase its own efficiencies.
After a series of conversations designed to help M3 understand all sides of the issue, M3 recommended its Accounting Core solution. The software’s setup keeps each individual property’s data confidential, unless a member of a particular property is accessing the system. It also creates aggregate data to help C&W compare each property’s income and expenses against other properties of a similar size and branding. The solution directly addressed C&W’s needs by allowing each of its managed hotels to access its financial information directly and providing the ability to look at the day-to-day performance of each hotel.
Prior to the adoption of the M3 platform, the IT department, was spending up to 50 to 60 percent of their time serving as backups for information requests. Now, C&W’s IT staff says it spends less than 5% of its time on hotel-related issues, allowing the department to offer its services to other clients as a way to generate revenue for the company. “In essence, M3 has helped us turn our IT department from a cost center into a profit center,” reports CIO Stephan Hahn.
Functionality: Allows each hotel to access its financial information directly and provides the ability to look at the day-to-day performance of each hotel.
Business impact: The access to real time and individual hotel-specific information led to a 55% reduction in resources spent by IT on property-specific requests. This allowed IT to offer additional services to clients and generate additional revenue for the company.
“My advice to hoteliers located in at-risk areas? Get on M3 tomorrow!”
On August 29, 2005, everything changed. Hurricane Katrina tore through the Mississippi Gulf Coast, destroying much of the Biloxi office of Encore Hospitality as well as flooding their IT room. Deploying their disaster-recovery plan, the team righted ship and ultimately moved to Dallas, TX, deciding on a location that was less at-risk for natural disaster. The disaster allowed Encore the opportunity to evaluate its current accounting process:, a bloated, outsourced model that had become very costly and required a large, non-scalable infrastructure of hardware, custom software, and 4-5 IT staff to maintain. Additionally, though they relocated their headquarters, the model provided them no assurance that the accounting functionality could be seamlessly maintained and remain operational in the event of another natural disaster or unforeseen incident. M3 was able to intervene and assist.
By implementing M3’s products and solutions, Encore was able to downsize its IT department to just two team members, and the offshore accounting team has been reduced to a few associates who input hotel accounting data remotely into Accounting Core. More importantly, the costly hardware infrastructure has been replaced by M3’s private, cloud-based solutions, which store data safely in redundant locations and provide a zero unscheduled downtime solution in the event of disaster or loss at any hotel location.
Functionality: Accounting Core reduces the need for superfluous headcount by making the account process more efficient. Additionally, the cloud-based platform ensures access in the event of a natural disaster.
Business impact: Encore was able to reduce its IT department to just two team members and gained confidence and comfort that they would be able to access their platform regardless of the circumstances.
It’s evident that M3’s platform allows for resource efficiency as well as real time business intelligence and analytics, and the outcomes above speak to that fact. Adopting the M3 platform allowed for each company to streamline their headcount and accounting process, compare properties in real time, and secure their data in the event of a natural disaster. In the ultra-competitive landscape of hotel management, M3 has provided a leg up to HP Hotels, Coakley & Williams, and Encore and helps to ensure each company will stay ahead of the pack for years to come.