June marks the beginning of the Atlantic coast hurricane season, which goes through the end of November. As coastally based hotel ownership and management groups prepare disaster plans, they are encouraged to consider the safety and security of their accounting data, if a storm should strike their area, like the situation that M3 customer Encore Hospitality, a division of Encore Enterprises, Inc. faced nine years ago.
The date was August 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and tore through the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Many lives were lost, and others were forever changed on that date.
For Encore Hospitality, the wrath that the powerful storm brought through their corporate offices was devastating. Although Encore’s corporate offices were located on the second floor of an office building in Biloxi, Mississippi, the thirty-foot storm surge that Katrina sent landward brought saltwater into their IT room and reduced much of the building to rubble. At the time, Encore was handling their own hotel accounting process through a combination of on-site IT and offshore accounting staff. Fortunately, backup tapes were stored safely and only a few days of data were lost. Through this tragedy Encore’s leadership began to consider the reality of running a business from a location susceptible to hurricane activity.
At the request of its board of directors, Encore moved its corporate headquarters to Dallas, Texas in 2006 for a fresh start. At that time, Glenn Pedersen, Encore’s President of Hospitality, began to search for alternate hotel accounting solutions that would be more cost effective and could provide data security in the event of natural disaster or other unforeseen incidents that might affect the business. Pedersen found that security in M3 Accounting + Analytics and, in 2010, Encore Hospitality became a member of the M3 family, offering them a robust hotel accounting software at a price more affordable than their previous business model.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, M3’s products are a 10,” Pedersen announced. “The integration into the brand’s PMS systems, along with Smith Travel and guest tracking data are vital, plus the roll-up that ties it all together into a report that is easy to read is great. Add to that the fact that the costs are fixed and never go up, and we are very pleased with the system and the security and peace of mind that it brings.”
And it is peace of mind that M3 offers to all customers who utilize the company’s secure cloud-based solutions, which are deployed within multiple redundant QTS Tier 3 hosting facilities in numerous geographic locations, where access is closely monitored. This ensures that data is protected, regardless of any storm activity that may be occurring in different locations during hurricane season.
While M3 has chosen world-class hosting centers to ensure the availability and security of their online solutions, they have placed equal emphasis on the security of the software solutions accessed via the cloud. “We utilize a multi-layered security approach and then take it several levels higher,” explained Wes Dean, Executive Vice President of M3’s Information Technology. “Client data is stored in individual databases, which can only be accessed by successfully navigating multiple security gateways via valid credentials, with security permissions both at the network and database level.”
“My advice to hoteliers located in at-risk areas? Get on M3 tomorrow!” exclaimed Pedersen. “It makes all the sense in the world, from a financial perspective to a reporting perspective to a document retrieval perspective; it’s just a great piece of software.”
For more information on M3 Accounting + Analytics products and services, contact Scott Watson, Vice President of Sales, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770.297.1925, Ext. 571, or visit the M3 team at the upcoming HITEC Conference in Los Angeles, California, June 23-26, Booth #1622 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
About Encore Hospitality, LLC
Encore Hospitality, LLC is a subsidiary of Encore Enterprises, Inc., and was founded in 1999 as a fully integrated, hospitality acquisition, development and asset management company focusing on the upper mid-priced, nationally branded select-service and full-service hotel sector. For more information about Encore Hospitality, LLC, visit www.encore.bz, or call (214) 259-7000.