MARKHAM, ONTARIO—“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” These words, spoken by American industrialist and business magnate Henry Ford, are the ideal representation of the two-decade relationship between Benchmark®, a global hospitality company, and Maestro, the preferred browser based cloud and on-premises property-management system for independent hotels, luxury resorts, conference centers, vacation rentals, and multi-property groups.
“Benchmark has been operating with Maestro PMS for many years,” said Anthony Gaeta, Benchmark SVP of Technology. “They were a good fit for our diverse multi-property portfolio back in 2000 when our partnership began, and they are an even better fit for our expanded global enterprise today. Not only does Maestro keep up with our technology demands from a security perspective, but they continually evolve as our requirements change.
“Operating in our own managed private cloud makes it extremely easy for us to onboard properties as we add new hotels and resorts to the system,” he said. “The Benchmark corporate team knows the full functionality of the Maestro PMS quite well. Add to that the efficiency and responsiveness of Maestro’s on-boarding teams, and we can get a property transitioned in short order. This, together with the built-in learning materials and live chat help, has made it extremely easy for us to assist new front desk employees with training and orientation.”
Mid pandemic, Benchmark converted all properties from Windows to the Maestro Web Browser Version to have a consistent look and feel across all properties. This is a big advantage because it is enabling the independent operator to transition people from property to property quickly as human resource demands change.
“Having this level of consistency at all hotels running on Maestro helps us create greater efficiencies, and it also aids with taskforce management,” Gaeta said. “The Maestro Web Version also improves the delivery of the solution via a secure web browser connection over the Internet to our properties, keeping the system performance optimal and reliance on our IT teams lighter.”
It was during COVID that Maestro really shined, Gaeta said. The company’s mobile housekeeping app, for example, proved to be a game changer for many properties. Running on any mobile device including iPhone, Android, Windows Handhelds, and tablets, and integrated into Maestro Front Office, the mobile housekeeping app is being used by Benchmark resorts and hotels to remotely update room status (attendant in room, vacant/occupied, clean/dirty, etc.). Maestro’s soft-check-in feature works well with the housekeeping app, allowing guests whose rooms are not ready to use on property amenities and charge these to their stay while their room is being prepared. When a room is ready to be occupied, the system automatically triggers a text message to the registered guest stating: “Your room is now available. Please come by the front desk to pick up your keys.”
The app also protects staff by controlling the availability of rooms and setting a configurable 48-hour time buffer between the time a guest departs and the next guest arrives. During the height of the pandemic, this was especially important, as housekeepers did not have to enter a previously occupied room until it sat vacant for 48 hours ensuring that contaminants are contained and have had time to dissipate before disinfecting and sterilizing surfaces.
Gaeta said Maestro’s contactless tools, such as online registration and pre-check in, digital registration card, pre-payment portal, mobile express check out, spa activities intake form, and text messaging for guests are also proving to be invaluable to staff who prefer to put some distance between themselves and guests for personal safety. Adopting the latest mobile check-in tools is next on Benchmark’s list of considerations as the company evaluates guest experience demands at its properties.
Strong Support, Solid Integrations
“Maestro’s support during COVID did not waiver,” Gaeta said. “For hotels that remained opened, Maestro was there, always ready to assist. It was reassuring to everyone, especially those working from home. When recently bringing on more Benchmark managed properties, such as Spruce Point Inn and the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center, the ability for us to be self-managed in our private cloud and access Maestro securely via web browser was enormous.
“Another critical component of working with Maestro is the solution’s ability to interface to other third-party vendors, such as Agilysis Infogenesis POS, ALICE, Amadeus/Delphi Sales & Catering, ASSA ABLOY/VingCard, Cendyn/Revintel, Micros, OneStream™, Sabre/Synxis, SALTO Keylock Systems, Shift4, TravelClick, Zingle and others,” he said. “There was never a point during COVID that we had to worry about our PMS or its ability to connect with other peripheral property systems. As a global hospitality company, we are committed to implementing technologies that will protect our staff and keep our guests safe from the moment they book to the time they leave our hotels. Maestro is key to helping us honor that commitment.”
The following Benchmark properties representing 2,224 rooms, are relying on Maestro Front Office for Dynamic Yield Management, Advanced Group Management, GDS/OTA Integration, Central Reservations, eCRM, Guest Profiling, Concierge, Housekeeping, A/R, Analytics, and more: Chaminade Executive Conference Center, Costa D’Este, Edith Macy Conference Center, Heldrich Plaza, Hotel Contessa, Hotel Cardozo, Snow King Resort, Spruce Point Inn, Stonewall Resort, Texas A&M University, University of Chicago Rubenstein Forum and Quadrangle Club, and Verizon Basking Ridge.
“When a global hotel company of Benchmark’s caliber remains a satisfied customer for more than 20 years, it speaks volumes about our technology and support,” said Warren Dehan, Maestro President. “This hotel company is dedicated to creating unique experiences for discerning travelers. Even though no two properties are alike, it is important that Maestro PMS delivers consistency on the back end to ensure a frictionless guest experience from booking to express check out and everything in between. We are honored to call Benchmark a 20-year customer and we can’t wait to see how our relationship evolves and technology demands change as travel resumes and the industry stabilizes in the weeks and months ahead.”