MARKHAM, ONTARIO—As hotels reopen with limited staff, many are seeking alternative ways to streamline operations and save costs. Migrating to a new financial management solution is proving to be a great place to start. Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler, British Columbia, is seeing significant efficiencies with its Hotel-In-A-Box financial management solution developed by former hotelier Steve Bowers and Intuitive Hospitality. Using advanced Microsoft technology, the resort destination’s chief financial officer and accounting staff can access the system from anywhere since all information is stored in the cloud and automatically backed up to ensure 100% redundancy. And, because Hotel-In-A-Box is integrated to the hotel’s Maestro property-management system, hotel staff working on premises or remotely can easily move information with only a few clicks of the mouse.
“Hotel-In-A-Box was founded in 2010 after I spent 20 years working with corporate hotel companies such as Marriott International, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Westmont Hospitality Group, and others in Director of Finance, Controller, and Manager of Operations Accounting roles,” Bowers said. “What I found was that there was a significant gap in the independent hotel market for a financial management solution that could move data automatically from manual Excel spreadsheets to the cloud. So, I left the hotel operations side of the business to develop a technology solution that is easy to afford, super easy to use, and extremely customizable to meet the diverse needs of each property in this market segment.
“One of the first things I developed as part of Hotel-In-A-Box was an integration to Maestro PMS, as it is the No. 1 cloud hosted and on-premises PMS solution for independent hotels,” Bowers said. “Most times independents have five or more disparate hotel systems with no way of talking to each other. Maestro, with its close to 700 integrations to peripheral technologies, makes it easy for Hotel-In-A-Box users to pull end-of-day financial reports from within the PMS and its connected systems, such as the Silverware POS, Spa Booker software, and others. Then, Hotel-In-A-Box analyzes the data and checks it against 100 control points to produce accurate financial reports which are then emailed to whomever needs them.”
Bowers said Hotel-In-A-Box automatically checks to make sure the Market Segment Report in Maestro agrees with total room revenues for the day. It also checks to make sure that sales taxes are reconciled properly, checks cashier deposits and payouts, and checks that all room charges between the POS / front desk / spa systems and others are captured and properly posted. Without deep integration to Maestro, most of this type of reporting and bank reconciliation was being done manually, and it was fraught with errors. Even more importantly, all data can be accessed remotely as needed. Today, Hotel-In-A-Box has created a seamless automated experience for hotels that eliminates all manual work and moves a hotel’s financial processes to the cloud where a paperless office can truly exist.
Award Winning Customer Speaks Out
Nita Lake Lodge is one of the first resorts to benefit from the Hotel-In-A-Box / Maestro integration. The AAA four-diamond property, which also earned the 2021 Conde Nast Johansens Luxury Hotel, Spas and Venues Award for Excellence and the 2021 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Award, is leveraging the following Maestro modules: Analytics, Front Office, Yield Management, Gift Card, Retail POS, Sales & Catering, Activities Management and a collection of mobile and contactless tools.
“Hotel accounting can be an extremely tedious job,” said Morgan Pickering, Nita Lake Lodge CFO. “Without an automated solution like Hotel-In-A-Box, we were doing a lot of manual data entry. Now, our entire accounting process is streamlined since it automatically pulls financial data from Maestro, Silverware, Spa Booker and other systems. What used to take two hours can now be done in five to 10 minutes. Today we don’t have to pay someone to create spreadsheets and comb through night audit paperwork; that’s a huge benefit in this economy where human resources are limited. With Hotel-In-A-Box integrated to Maestro, I know that the software from each provider is always up to date. If we need customization, both companies are willing to develop it for us quickly. More importantly, both stand head and shoulders above their competition, as each evolves to fit our specific needs and application.
“The biggest benefit for us is that all financial data is in one place and can be accessed and shared immediately with all who need it,” he said. “We just love the time savings and the system accuracy. Like many hotels, we had to scale back due to COVID-19, but even with a minimal staff, I can still access everything I need to know about our daily performance, whether I’m on or off site. And, if Maestro issues a system update, Steve is already aware of it and evolving Hotel-In-A-Box to work seamlessly with Maestro. It is truly an enviable vendor relationship.”
Warren Dehan, Maestro president, said he is thrilled that Pickering and Nita Lake Lodge are so pleased with the integrated solution.
“It’s been enjoyable working with Steve and the Intuitive Hospitality team over the years,” Dehan said. “Back when this relationship was first established, we had no idea just how relevant and useful this integration partnership would be to independent hotel operators. But as Morgan can attest, the more tech vendors work together to develop solutions that streamline operations, cut costs, and allow hoteliers to do more with less, the better off we — as an industry — we’ll all be. I’d like to thank Steve for developing this superior technology and for continuing to work with Maestro on providing unparalleled support, and we are proud to call Nita Lake Lodge a thriving customer for many years.”