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Guest and Amenity Communications Through On-Site Interactivity

At Smugglers’ Notch Ski Resort in Vermont’s Green Mountains, a seamless, resort-wide database is enhancing the bottom-line for families…fun. Already voted by SKI Magazine as the #1 overall resort in the Eastern U.S. for three years in a row; #1 for family programs in North America for the past nine years; #1 for service in the Eastern U.S. for the past three years; and #1 for lodging in the Eastern U.S. for three consecutive years, what’s left to improve?

“Fun,” says Lisa Howe, senior business advisor for Smugglers’ Notch Ski Resort. “Family is the foundation of the resort; always has been, always will be. Allowing familial foundations to grow here at Smugglers’ Notch meant bringing all the opportunities for involvement here at the resort together in one easy package for the guest.”

Lisa should know. Her father, who bought the property in the early 1990’s after working and visiting there for decades, made her an offer she couldn’t refuse to become part of management. Her love of the area made the decision easy, but competing with the larger resorts nearby meant Smugglers’ Notch needed to be more than a resort in an area with a colorful history of rum running during Prohibition. Lisa and her team decided a critical modernization of the property involved implementing a single customer database integrating the 629 residences, 3 mountains for skiing and snowboarding, eight restaurants and delis, eight water parks and pools, golf and tennis facilities, spa, shopping, clubhouse, 34 km of cross-country and snowshoe terrain, outdoor recreation activities and children’s programs.

“Smugglers’ Notch is a great example of how modular technology design can impact a resort.”
— Frank Pitsikalis

President and CEO, ResortSuite

Technology Solution

“Our new technology not only benefits the guest because it makes the property’s amenities easier to enjoy, but it also makes those amenities more available,” stated Howe. “When I say available, I mean the guests know more about the features of the amenities we offer, because we can communicate with them through strategic marketing messages before they arrive and after they leave. We didn’t have that opportunity in the past.”

ResortSuite by Enablez Inc., gave Smugglers’ Notch that opportunity. The modular ResortSuite solution brought a guest-centric approach to improving guest communication and on-property interactivity. Because the modular design results is an integrated solution, a single guest profile is available containing all the pertinent data concerning a guest, his or her experiences and interactions with the property, beginning with the reservation process. Also, the integrated system allows the reservations agent to quickly determine whether or not they are speaking to a repeat customer, view their history and understand any reservation preferences from previous visits, and enter any additional personal information or alerts for other staff to be aware of. This centralized data also helps in building segmented and personalized marketing campaigns based upon listed preferences.

“Smugglers’ Notch is a great example of how modular technology design can impact a resort,” stated Frank Pitsikalis, president and CEO of ResortSuite. “By reducing the number of property vendors to one, Smugglers’ Notch now has the most important tool in maintaining and growing their business…complete, accurate and apportional data.”

But what happens when a resort wants to invest in a modular system, yet doesn’t want it to effect the data-collection of legacy guest service programs such as POS, PBX, EMS, lock and safe, HSIA or mini bar systems that may cause interface problems? Where do companies turn to alleviate those concerns by property owners?

They turn to Comtrol Corporation and its Lodging Link solution.

“The ability for our turn-key system to immediately integrate with hundreds of guest service programs adds real value to property management systems,” stated Brad Beale, President of Comtrol. “Smugglers’ Notch is realizing increased profit margins due in due part to the implementation of ResortSuite, and I’m glad Lodging Link is an integral piece of that relationship.”

Enablez and Comtrol, makers of ResortSuite and Lodging Link respectively, began their relationship over five years ago. In 2003, ResortSuite was looking to expand upon their 30 to 40 interfaces to meet the growing demands of property owners and Comtrol was able to increase ResortSuite’s interfaces ten-fold.

“Lodging Link allows our ResortSuite technology to continue to function as the most efficient and effective resort modular system available,” stated Pitsikalis. “Lodging Link has allowed us to focus on perfecting our core technology and providing instant functionality to property owners. There is no one else I would trust.”

Lodging Link is able to continue gathering data because it empowers ResortSuite to interface with almost 500 hotel device systems and use that information to strengthen communication messages to prospective and repeat guests through customer relationship management (CRM) campaigns.

“Our Snowshoe Dinner Hike is very popular,” stated Howe. “And because our restaurant point-of-sale system interfaces with ResortSuite through Comtrol, I can leverage guest eating behaviors to focus the menu, send out an email campaign, and then gauge whether we were successful in treating the guest to what they wanted. It’s the science behind the art that is Smugglers’ Notch hospitality.”Technology is quickly becoming the scientific backbone for hospitality professionals to perfect their guest experience and, as the accolades grow for resorts such as Smugglers’ Notch, the opportunities that lie within that data are becoming more important. If your not investing in leveraging data for guest satisfaction, then you may have the same amount of luck capturing guests as the authorities had capturing the rum runners who gave Smugglers’ Notch its name.