Le Meridien Hotel Boosting its Bottom Line and Personalizing Service with AVaStar

By self-operating its audiovisual/event technology services via the AVaStar program, this Chicago hotel is seeing an almost 40% year-over-year improvement in profitability in less than six months

12 November 2019

Gaithersburg, Md. - AVaStar, the hospitality industry's first subscription support program for audiovisual/event technology services, is driving profitability for Le Meridien Chicago Oakbrook Center. The contemporary hotel, featuring approximately 4,000 square feet of event space, has taken control of its destiny and relationship with customers. A few months ago, management began looking for a solution that would increase revenues, drive profits and enhance the customer/meeting planner experience by having all services delivered by an internal team instead of using third-party providers. With AVaStar, Le Meridien Chicago Oakbrook Center is taking control of its AV operation, improving guest service and far exceeding year-over-year net profitability.

"It's a pretty typical scenario: Le Meridien Chicago Oakbrook Center was not large enough for a third-party AV provider to dedicate full-time staff to the property, so a technician would come to the hotel on days where there were AV needs for the meetings," said Eric Bracht, AVaStar Managing Director. "The technician would set the AV equipment, then wait around all day until the meetings ended to put it away. Most of the equipment needed was standard presentation gear, like a computer display, some microphones, and flipcharts. Hotel management believed they could provide these services on their own but lacked the focused internal resources. The AVaStar solution resolves this issue for them by providing the missing layer of support."

Le Meridien Hotel Boosting its Bottom Line and Personalizing Service with AVaStar

"We met with hotel management to discuss their goals and equipment inventory requirements," Bracht said. "With the exception of a house sound system in the ballroom and a wall-mounted display in the boardroom, we determined that all AV could be supported using portable equipment. To help ensure success while self-managing the AV services process, we introduced them to AVaStar."

A 'SaaSy' Way to Self-Manage AV

The AVaStar program is built upon a single, dedicated SaaS platform for conducting all AV Technology activities, including planning and providing audiovisual services, managing meeting needs, scheduling resources, getting guided technical assistance and tracking financial performance. It ensures that equipment and services are delivered and meeting customer expectations by prompting non-technical users with interactive, step-by-step sales, setup and troubleshooting procedures. By ensuring that equipment is where it needs to be, when it needs to be and in peak working condition and appearance, the customer experience is improved, revenues are tracked, and expenses are managed. Flawless execution minimizes credits and rebates to customers and a detailed tracking system ensures that same-day changes are captured and billed.

But the AVaStar program is far more than just software. The subscription includes a layer of above-property support for AudioVisual that is typically not present in most hospitality organizations. This support provides on-going assistance to each subscriber property so that management can be confident that their team is supported and has a resource for advice, assistance and AV training on common equipment usage and techniques.

"We chose AVaStar to improve our bottom line significantly and at the same time provide a more attentive, personalized service to our guests, and we have not been disappointed," said Martin Schooley, Vice President of Operations at Wischermann Partners Inc., manager of Le Meridien Chicago Oakbrook Center. "We've enjoyed an almost 40 percent year-over-year improvement in profitability in just the first five months. AVaStar has been creative and responsive, as we have tailored a program that meets the needs of our hotel and our guests. I can recommend AVaStar with great confidence and say they will be part of the conversation as we search for AudioVisual solutions in all of our hotels in the future."

Part of the AVaStar service was to identify the equipment inventory that would be required to support the day-to-day needs of business meetings and social events and assist the property with AV procurement. Since the inventory covers the standard meeting and event needs, the hotel has only occasional need to rent specialty or supplemental items, like additional microphones. Using the purchase order system within AvaStar, these cross-rented items are tracked so that current needs are met, and invoiced properly, and future purchase assessments can be made to ensure a maximized return on investment.

"In addition to implementing the AVaStar platform, Le Meridien Chicago Oakbrook Center took the extra step of adding a full-time AV Supervisor position to better support planners and event attendees," Bracht said. "We are pleased to report that the event planning experience has improved significantly, now that the same person is supporting customers 'on the floor' from beginning to end. Even with the added manpower, Martin says profitability still grew by almost 40 percent."

"It's important to note that AVaStar is far more than just technology," he added. "The software is only the delivery mechanism; it's our team's 60+ years of experience with AV systems, equipment, procedures and operational best practices that is making this offering such a success. With AVaStar, hotels like Le Meridien Chicago Oakbrook Center or any venue that hosts business meetings and events, can automatically perform tasks necessary to ensure an efficient and profitable AV service."

To learn more about AVaStar and a great new flexible financing option for any additional AV hardware needs, email info@avastar.io. For details on how the AVaStar program can improve your bottom line, visit www.avastar.io.

About AVaStar

AVaStar is an event-technology platform designed to provide a comprehensive suite of services. It's an interconnective software which provides systems and templates that cover the entire spectrum of activities associated with operating and managing technology systems and services. AVaStar extends support for professional consulting and design services through its working relationship with Electro-Media Design, the foremost consultancy in meeting, entertainment, and event technologies and acoustics. Electro-Media Design, Ltd. is an independent technology design and management consulting practice. For more information on AVaStar, visit www.avastar.io or call (442) AVASTAR.

About Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts

Le Méridien, the Paris-born hotel brand currently represented by nearly 100 properties in more than 40 countries, was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) in November 2005. With more than 80 of its properties located in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific, Le Méridien provided a strong international complement to Starwood's then primarily North American holdings at the time of purchase. Since then, Le Méridien has gone through a brand re-launch, which included a large-scale hotels product consolidation and redefined brand strategy. Through creation of the LM100 artist community, Le Méridien has transformed numerous guest touch points, thus bringing unique, interactive and curated experiences to its guests. Plans call for dynamic expansion of Le Méridien Hotels and Resorts within the next five years, concentrating on markets in Asia-Pacific and the Americas. Le Méridien recently opened new hotels in Chicago, Tampa (Florida, USA), Cairo, Bali, Atlanta, Dallas, Istanbul, Oran (Algeria), Zhengzhou (China), Arlington (Virginia, USA) and Santa Monica, (California, USA), and will open in the next 12 months in Bangkok, New Orleans, Mahabaleshwar (India), Gandhinagar (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Charlotte (North Carolina, USA) and Indianapolis (Indiana, USA). For more information, please visit www.leMéridien.com or www.facebook.com/leMéridien. Follow @LeMéridien Hotels on Instagram and Twitter.

About Wischermann Partners, Inc.

Wischermann Partners, Inc. is a national hospitality firm, focused on the operations of upper upscale and luxury hotels. Recognized by clients, peers and industry experts, Wischermann Partners brings a unique mix of knowledge, experience and insight to hospitality management, development and acquisitions. Currently, Wischermann Partners operates a hotel portfolio of more than 3,400 rooms. For more information about Wischermann Partners, please visit www.wischermannpartners.com.
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Electro-Media Design, Ltd.

973-C Russell Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD 20879
United States
Phone: 301-355-5050

Barb Worcester

Phone: (440) 930-5770