Park Plaza Hotels Europe B.V.
A Threeway Challenge
Park Plaza stores information needed for management reporting in different systems. Room reservations, food & beverage revenues and staff planning are stored in Opera, and consolidated financial data is held in SAP BPC. Abraham Thomas, Vice President Finance & Control Park Plaza: SAP is fine for financial reporting, but it lacks the ease-of-use needed for management reporting. Being listed on the stock exchange, Park Plaza is required to provide financial reports to shareholders and investors. Setting the right authorizations on this sensitive information to create management reports proved to be a challenge. The last challenge revolved around two large Park Plaza hotels in London that are financed in a special way: investors have purchased rooms at the new Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel and the Park Plaza County Hall hotel. Thomas: "We are required to inform room owners monthly about the profit and loss of their individual rooms. Their return on investment is based on the profitability of their rooms."
From Application to Technology
By the end of 2009 Park Plaza discussed these challenges with one of BOARD International's partner, that had previously implemented their SAP BPC system. "The first step was to get a good understanding of Park Plazas needs and requirements" - explained the partner. "The key question was about the information needs of managers at different levels. This was about information on regions, hotels, occupancy and revenue in different market segments. Furthermore, there was a clear need for benchmarking between hotels and regions. And last but not least, the London hotels needed a profit and loss account at room level. From a technology point of view we proposed to use Boards CPM software solution. The Board toolkit enables rapid development of management reports, and provides a seamless integration with SAP BPC and other information sources, like text files and Excel spreadsheets."
Fast Implementation, Training-On-The-Job
Only a few weeks after the first meeting, the partnner presented a proof-of-concept of the proposed solution. That resulted in the engagement that the parnter executed in less than three months. "The short time for development can be explained by the fact that the Board toolkit doesn't require any programming," comments the partner. "The tool requires no scripting, and ensures a structured approach to development. During the project we trained a key user and introduced the solution to regional and hotel managers."
Fullscale Solution, Graphics, Ease-Of-Use
Managers can view every aspect of their business through the use of dashboards. They can analyze operational and personnel costs, cumulative or periodic revenues per market segment, and the actual or average room occupancy. By using colours in dashboards and charts, the score on key performance indicators is clear at a glance. This graphical presentation is based on the powerful Windows .netframework (Windows Presentation Foundation). Managers can benchmark their performance against the performance of other hotels and regions. Also, they can perform trend analyses. At the group level, their solution provides all the information that is needed to manage the performance of the group as a whole. And the London hotels can send out profit & loss accounts to their investors very easily, and even import the numbers into the bookkeeping system for further handling and payment.
End Results and Future Plans
The solution is being used above average, compared to similar solutions of other vendors. During the monthly management reviews we now have the undisputed numbers available, comments Derek Bock, controller at Park Plaza. Also, Park Plaza management can create their own reports without much effort. In the future we intend to use Board for planning, budgeting and forecasting. One of the possible applications is to analyze what-if scenarios for room occupancy in relation to weather conditions, or whether or not to organize certain events for groups of guests. And at the group level we have all the figures available to support decisions about the purchase of new hotels. Thomas summarizes: "The partner delivered a solution that exceeds our expectations with regard to ease-of-use and flexibility."