Hospitality IT solutions specialists, Avenue9, is delighted to announce that it has been engaged by the UK’s leading independent hotel management company, Redefine|BDL Hotels, to provide IT solutions across the group’s 69 hotels to help sustain the business’s exceptional track record in developing and managing a diverse collection of branded and private label hotel properties throughout the UK.
“It is very exciting to be working with such a dynamic, fast expanding group such as Redefine|BDL Hotels, which works in partnership with such prestigious hotel brands as InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Hilton, Starwood Hotels & Resorts (now Marriott International), Accor Hotels and Wyndham,” said Avenue9 Managing Director Kevin Edwards. “Redefine|BDL Hotels – with a UK hotel portfolio ranging from the new 240-bedroom Courtyard by Marriott in Edinburgh, due to open in 2016; and the 136-bedroom Holiday Inn Express London at Southwark, to the 165-bedroom Ramada Encore – Belfast City Centre – had been employing an ageing accounting system, with an over-dependence on complex spreadsheets for budgeting and forecasting.
“Avenue9’s brief has been to address this problem, whilst reducing the paper-based reporting, by replacing the existing systems with cutting edge IT solutions that best suit Redefine|BDL Hotels and its aims and objectives. The new suite of applications needed to be deployed over the web, to ensure accessibility to each hotel within the group – regardless of whether the property is owned, managed or franchised.”
To achieve this, Avenue9 worked closely with Redefine|BDL Hotels’ management team to fully understand the company’s aims, objectives and expectations for IT within the overall business strategy, before drawing up with the company a detailed IT strategy document that identified the key functionality needs – namely: general ledger, budgeting and forecasting, and business intelligence.
“In a nutshell, our main objective for Redefine|BDL Hotels’ new managed service,” explained Kevin Edwards, “has been to enhance significantly the technological efficiency and the accuracy of data received by the ‘Owners Lounge’ at head office, where the data from each property is published. When it was set up two years earlier, its accounting system relied heavily on paper reporting; and it was our brief to reduce this, whilst at the same time enabling infinitely more accurate and wide-ranging data from each hotel to be instantly available for owner and management scrutiny, which in turn would help maximise profitability.”
As an independent organisation, not aligned to any particular product or vendor, Avenue9 has been in an ideal position to advise and assist Redefine|BDL Hotels in selecting a suite of IT hospitality systems that will work best together – to service the company, maximise its potential, and support its future plans for growth as efficiently and as effectively as possible. This was achieved through employing an unbiased blind scoring of potential software vendors, which resulted in the selection of two preferred vendors and software: Castle Computer Services which delivered SunSystems, a leading provider of financial and business software, using Sun version 6 for general ledger, which went live in December 2014; and Barrachd (an IBM Business Analytics partner) which delivered Cognos TM1 software for planning, budgeting, and forecasting, which went live in March 2015, and Cognos BI (Business Intelligence) which went live in August 2015.
Avenue9 has been responsible for the programme management, whilst Castle Computer Services, Barrachd and Redefine|BDL took charge of the implementation of the selected software. In July/August 2015, Redefine|BDL Hotels’s new Cognos Property Management System (PMS) feeds went live.
“We are delighted with the success to date of the project,” said Kevin Edwards. “It has enabled Redefine|BDL Hotels to gather accurate daily results and business intelligence for all its hotels, improving the consistency of information uploaded to their ‘Owners Lounge’ which, in turn, is boosting every aspect of the business – from significantly enhanced business forecasting ability and a much greater understanding of guest behaviour, to a tighter control on payroll and security, and maximising profitability within every department of each of the company’s hotels.”
Redefine|BDL Hotels joins the ever growing portfolio of Avenue9 clients – that currently includes major brands such as: The Gleneagles Hotel, The Hotel Collection, SACO (The Serviced Apartment Company), Generator Hostels, and Bourne Leisure and Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne based Avenue9 is a highly experienced IT solutions delivery company – specially designed to take the fear out of IT systems management in the hospitality and leisure industry through a clearly defined, seamless and independent bespoke approach to solving client IT challenges. In June 2014, following a soft launch, it was officially unveiled across the UK and overseas to all sizes of operation.
Based on their extensive industry experience and market knowledge, the new company’s Co-founder/ Managing Director Kevin Edwards and Co-founder/Sales and Marketing Director Philippa Witheat identified a key challenge common to many hospitality and leisure Finance and IT directors – namely, the need for a seamless and independent approach to managing a multitude of vendor relationships and disparate systems, often inappropriate to the nature of many hospitality and leisure operations.
Avenue9 have, and are currently involved in, the following types of projects:
On 24 November 2015, JLL acquired Avenue9 to add IT Consulting capability to its Hotels & Hospitality Group
JLL announced the acquisition of Avenue9. The move reflects growing interest from clients of JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group in specialist technology strategy advice and services. Avenue9 is currently focused primarily on the UK market. However, the combination of Avenue9’s ground-breaking service proposition, JLL’s global platform and growing client demand for hotel IT consulting services offers immediate synergies and considerable scope for international expansion. Mark Wynne Smith, Global CEO of the JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, said: “In all respects, IT is an increasingly vital aspect of hotel operations and a growing cost and management consideration for our clients. Avenue9 has developed innovative and highly effective technology solutions designed specifically for the hotels sector, an ideal complement to our existing asset management and advisory services, providing clients with an excellent outsourcing option.” Jonathan Hubbard, Head of Investor Services for JLL Hotels & Hospitality EMEA, said: “We have been impressed with the impact Avenue9 has been making on the UK sector since its launch in 2013. Their capabilities and approach dovetail perfectly with JLL’s ongoing core strategic focus on delivering sector-leading digital capabilities and ensuring our clients have access to the best technology advice and tools.” Kevin Edwards, Managing Director of Avenue9, said: “We are really excited to be joining with JLL Hotels & Hospitality. After a great couple of years which have proven our business model and attracted considerable client interest, our strategic growth plan required us to find a partner with a powerful international platform and reputation for excellence. JLL was always the partner we had in mind. We are delighted with this outcome and looking forward to taking this next big leap forward.” Philippa Witheat, co-founder and Sales & Marketing Director at Avenue9, added: “Joining with JLL creates a unique combination within the hotels and hospitality services sector. Nothing like this exists elsewhere. This gives us a huge platform on which to build our specialist IT consulting offer.” The Avenue9 team will continue to be based in Newcastle and will operate under the existing name for a transitional period before fully adopting the JLL brand. The acquisition takes immediate effect.
About Redefine|BDL Hotels
Redefine| BDL Hotels, the UK’s largest independent hotel management company, manages a diverse collection of 69 branded and private label hotel properties across the UK. Working in partnership with six of the most prestigious international hotel brands, including InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Hilton, Starwood (now Marriott International), Accor, Marriott and Wyndham, Redefine|BDL Hotels is a driving force in the hospitality industry in the UK. The company offers a wealth of hotel management expertise and currently has an annual turnover under management in excess of £400m. Redefine|BDL Hotels’ expert team of more than 140 hotel specialists operate from offices in London and Glasgow. The portfolio unites more than 11,700 rooms and 4,500 staff across the UK.
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