When the AAA four diamond Amway Grand Plaza Hotel decided to upgrade their point of sale system, they tapped Toronto based hospitality software company Volanté Systems to do the job.
The result was an extensive point of sale installation throughout the hotel and adjoining convention center, one that is fully customizable to the Amway Grand's current and future needs.
The installation also adds a new market segment to Volanté's growing roster of hospitality POS clients.
Located in downtown Grand Rapids Michigan, The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel is a AAA Four Diamond luxury hotel and host to conventions, meetings, special events and weddings; and is also home to eleven food and beverage outlets. To say that The Amway Grand Plaza is much more than a hotel is an understatement - it's a true destination in West Michigan. When the time had come to expand their current offerings and source out a new hotel point of sale system that could accommodate their needs, they didn't have far to look.
The Amway Grand Plaza was keen to find a stand-alone hotel POS system that was easily customizable to their diverse needs. A local POS representative who was intrigued with Volanté Systems brought the system to their attention. This representative thought that Volanté was the perfect solution to the Amway Grand Plaza's many requirements. After taking a closer look, The Amway Grand Plaza decided that Volanté Systems was indeed the POS system that was up to the task.
"Volanté brought a lot to the table as far as what it was offering." Says Todd Krapp, Computer Systems Coordinator for the Amway Grand Plaza. "Volanté has a lot of integrated features, whereas other hotel POS systems are kind of a la carte, you have to shop around to find another vendor to do something else for you.
We were especially intrigued by the integrated gift card/rewards system that Volanté offers. To find a point of sale company that does gift cards is very difficult. We do a lot of gift card business, and to have someone do it out of house, the per-transaction expense becomes quite significant.
With Volanté, we can manage everything in-house, control it and maintain it. We're very excited about what Volanté can do for us as far as customer loyalty programs are concerned, and in creating a customer loyalty database."
"I am confident that the gift card module will dramatically increase sales for the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel." says Annette Ennamorato, Vice President of Operations for Volanté POS Systems. "These cards are so convenient for guest payment and they are great gifts too."
The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel POS installation entails some 54 point of sale terminals throughout the property. In addition to providing restaurant POS terminals to all the food and beverage outlets within the hotel, the installation also includes 12 terminals in the adjoining convention center, The Devos Place.
Future plans include the use of Volanté's wireless POS capabilities within the convention center and the hotel's banquet operations, in addition to expansion into the hotel's retail operations.
Volanté is unique from other hotel POS systems in the marketplace today in that when your business evolves, Volanté will grow with you. Volanté is specifically designed to evolve along with technological advancement. Embedded in the architecture is a small footprint upgrade system. As your business expands and technology advances, this feature allows your system to stay current and take advantage of the latest technology. This ensures your system will not be obsolete and will continue to grow along with the expansion of your business. Krapp explains how this feature has benefited the Amway Grand Plaza.
"With Volanté, there was a great deal of custom development. Of all the hotel POS systems I've worked with, I doubt that I've ever worked with developers so closely to get a more tailored system.
It was interesting to work with a POS vendor and actually get development done. Even now, when I call, I'm working closely with developers.
Would I experience that same experience with other hotel POS companies? I doubt it."
The Amway Grand Plaza installation marks the first hotel & convention center installation for Volanté. Previous clients have included casinos, stadiums, fine dining and casual/quick serve restaurants, pizza chains, universities and theme parks.
The entire system at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel runs on a Linux platform. Volanté has purposely been built around open standards to keep both costs down and integration seamless. Linux POS solutions are very attractive these days, due to the ease of use and cost advantages that Linux offers.
One feature the Amway Grand Plaza was keen to implement was improved team sharing capabilities. Team sharing is a feature whereby you can add multiple restaurant Servers to one bill and split the sales and gratuities evenly. Volanté provided the hotel with a new and improved version of this feature, which is currently being used in the Amway Grand's AAA five diamond restaurant, The 1913 Room, and also in the hotel's four diamond restaurant, Cygnus 27.
In addition to gift card/loyalty programs, customer relationship management and improved team sharing capabilities, Volanté offers their clients integrated debit and credit capabilities, on-demand, real time access to data, and system reliability through a network of peer-to-peer terminals. Peer-to-peer POS is a feature that is unique in the hotel point of sale industry. The technology means that each terminal runs independently from the main server, and in the case of a system crash, each terminal will continue to operate without any loss of data. In regards to Volante's peer-to-peer component, Krapp comments,
"It certainly gives me peace of mind. I don't know if the Outlet Managers fully comprehend that yet, but as far as the network going down, they're not going to pad and paper in case of a system crash. That's not a problem anymore."
Ease of menu management was another feature that Volanté brought to the table.
"Menu management is part of my job here." Says Krapp. "We have nine different restaurants at the Amway Grand Plaza. It gets kind of confusing if you let everyone do their own thing, so this task is consolidated under one person. Compared to our previous restaurant POS system, it was very easy to get into the Volanté way of thinking. It's very organized, quick and efficient - and very easy to use."
Volanté also offers a full data reporting suite to aid management in decision-making. The suite is designed to provide a clear insight into all aspects of operations, with data reported by meaningful graphs, all accessed quickly and easily. Tailored summary reports provides users the ability to view only the information they want to see. This means managers spend less time trying to find information and more time managing their business.
"With our former hotel POS system, I was limited as to what I could store and for how long, unless I archived it." Says Krapp. "Whereas with Volanté, that isn't an issue.
I can go back to the beginning when Volanté first appeared, and order a check, and have it appear. It's amazing to be able to do that. With Volanté, we've quite literally moved into the 21st century."
The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel has lots of praise for Volanté's support system as well.
"With Volanté, the support side was very good." Krapp adds. "Even though Volanté is in Toronto, and we're in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the online support that was provided by Volanté was excellent.
Help was never more than a phone call away, and you could always ask a question. I never felt really alone in the project. There was always a lot of help and support. Working with the Volanté team has been a very positive experience."
By partnering with Volanté, The Amway Grand Plaza has found a hotel POS system that not only fulfilled their point of sale software requirements, but one that has exceeded their expectations while anticipating their needs at the same time. Much like the commitment The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel makes to its guests every day.
Located in downtown Grand Rapids Michigan, The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel is a AAA Four Diamond luxury hotel and host to conventions, meetings, special events and weddings; and home to eleven restaurants and lounges in West Michigan. The Amway Grand Plaza is much more than a hotel. It's a true destination.
Since 1993, Volanté has been providing open standards, point of sale software solutions to the hospitality industry. Volanté is the perfect POS software choice for venues requiring a flexible yet comprehensive enterprise wide hotel POS solution.