Built in 1910 and fully renovated in 2010 by the award-winning Lawrence Group, Hotel Ignacio offers 49 distinctive rooms and two unique suites, all with a decidedly guest-centric focus. As a reflection of its St. Louis Missouri Arts District home, the boutique hotel pays tribute to multiple art forms throughout its interior. In addition to the visual feast, guests can enjoy delicate nigiri at The Baiku Sushi Lounge, or a more casual dining experience at the motorcycle-themed Triumph Grill.
"With our previous providers, it was only about systems. With SHR we have all three pieces of the puzzle—technology, price, and outstanding support."
—Stacy Howlett, General Manager, Hotel Ignacio
Already dealing with a dated hotel website and a disappointing CRS, Hotel Ignacio GM, Stacey Howlett was informed that their PMS was about to become obsolete as well. Instead of panicking, she sensed that this was the perfect chance for a fresh start across the board. “We were paying a non-negotiable 12% more each year for the exact same CRS while we watched our ADR flat-line and our support dwindle,” she said. “It’s just not good business to keep increasing rates year after year without adding value. We were seen as a small fish in a very big pond. We knew we deserved more.”
Fast-forward to a new hotel website plus a new PMS, and getting their distribution strategy back online was next. For Reservations Manager Ashley Chepely, that meant a CRS that was flexible, easy to use, and responsive. “I used to spend many a day off entering OTA reservations by hand, which not only took forever, but caused us to miss reservations,” she said. “With Windsurfer’s two-way interface, it’s all automatic now. I’ve got my days off back, and we don’t miss anything.”
For Ashley, ease of use became obvious during the demo. “Our PMS sent us three trial CRS log-ins,” she explained. “I jumped onto Windsurfer, looked around, and figured things out right away on my own.” She’s been enjoying some other upgrades as well. “With our old system, I’d have to go into at least four different screens to make changes, then wait 24 to 48 hours for those changes to take effect—it was unreal,” she said. “With Windsurfer, it’s one screen and done, and changes are immediate.”
Since refreshing all their systems and implementing Windsurfer, the hotel has hit an all-time high in occupancy—an impressive 70%. Stacey and Ashley credit having a real partner in their CRS provider as key. “Saying you have 24/7 service is great, but not if that means getting a different person every time, re-explaining your life story, then being put on hold for over a quarter of an hour just to be told to watch a 20-minute video,” said Stacey.
What should service look like? Ashley defines it this way. “It means having a dedicated person to rely on who will pick up the phone and work with you until a problem is solved,” she said. “With SHR, we have a partner who knows us and is ready to meet us not just half way, but all the way.”