Enterprising Hospitality

Case Study

Turning to the Cloud When Disaster Strikes

The Challenge

In early 2005, Encore Hospitality was flying high. With the acquisition of two hotel management companies, Encore’s portfolio peaked at forty-one hotels across 13 states. But on August 29, 2005, everything changed, when Hurricane Katrina tore through the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Although Encore’s Biloxi corporate offices occupied a second floor office space, a thirty-foot storm surge brought saltwater into their IT room and reduced much of their offices to rubble. Adding to an already tragic situation, a new office building they were moving to was also severely damaged.

Fortunately, the Encore team had the forethought to develop a disaster plan. Within 3-5 days after the storm had calmed, they had set-up temporary offices in a nearby hotel meeting room, and began working in shifts to begin recovery. At that time, Encore was operating with all of its hotel accounting outsourced to a team offshore; however, they were still required to have an IT infrastructure on-site. Once backup tapes stateside had been restored, the offshore accounting staff was able to resume the accounting process for all of Encore’s hotels, although a few days of data were lost during the recovery and restoration process.

The Solution

Through that lengthy recovery process, the Encore team came together and made it through the Katrina ordeal stronger than ever. As a precautionary step, the company’s board of directors asked Encore to reconsider the location of its corporate offices from Biloxi to a location that was less at-risk for natural disaster; so in 2006, Encore moved its headquarters to Dallas, Texas.

Another consideration to be addressed was the offshore outsourcing model that Encore utilized for its accounting process. This process had become very costly and required a large, non-scalable infrastructure of hardware, custom software, and 4-5 IT staff to maintain. Additionally, the existing 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 that might affect Encore’s corporate office or a hotel property location. Glenn Pedersen, President of Encore Hospitality, became familiar with M3 Accounting + Analytics, as he searched for alternate hotel accounting solutions. In 2010, Encore Hospitality joined the M3 family.

The Result

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.

Glenn Pedersen couldn’t be happier with the results. M3’s solutions not only offer a dynamic, robust hotel accounting software, but at a price that is more affordable than Encore’s previous business model.

“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.”

50%

Reduction in Required IT Team Members

0

Scheduled Downtime

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