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 IACC Press Release  Press 

Canadian Military Learns from Hospitality Industry:



Troops Heading Overseas Move Faster as Maestro System from NORTHWIND Streamlines Air Base Lodging Check-in From 1 Hour to 2 Minutes.

Base Property Taps Open System, Operates as 1,000-room Conference Center.

Markham, ON – March 30, 2004 -- Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton located on Lake Ontario is one of Canada's largest air bases and home to ‘8 Wing' with its fleets of C-130 Hercules and A310 troop transport aircraft that support domestic and overseas military operations. CFB Trenton also operates as an air-training base and search-and-rescue center serving Canada's eastern seaboard. Nearly all of Canada's armed forces traveling to international destinations, including the Middle East and Persian Gulf, pass through the busy Trenton facility. At the center of the base's fast-paced environment is the 189-room Yukon Lodge that serves as home away from home to 40,000 service men and women and their dependents who utilize its facilities each year. But before you think of Yukon Lodge as ‘base housing,' read further.

Yukon Lodge, with its indoor swimming pool, conference facilities, large restaurant, and recreational offerings, is the first Canadian Forces Base responsible for supporting its operation from its own revenue, like any civilian hotel. This revolutionary approach to military lodging is currently being studied as a model for all Canadian bases. To support their new operating concept, the management team at CFB Trenton's Yukon Lodge researched successful hospitality businesses and saw that the most efficient relied on technology to streamline reservations, guest handling, and record keeping. Major Terry Sokolowski, the officer responsible for Yukon Lodge operations, explained, “The old Yukon Lodge with its 22 barrack and recreation buildings has been in operation on CFB Trenton for 20 years. In 2000 we received funding to add two new buildings and transition into a true hospitality operation. We needed to automate many parts of our operation, including front desk, accounting, and guest charging, to boost efficiency and handle our new role. We decided on an ‘open-system' architecture for the project because of all the applications involved, and we also decided to move towards a totally cashless facility.”

Planeloads Of Guests At The Lobby Door
With other bases following CFB Trenton's Yukon Lodge business practices closely, the property installed the Maestro Front Office Suite with Sales and Catering from NORTHWIND as its open-system technology backbone to increase efficiency by automating guest operations and its conference facilities. “We run our property more like a large conference center than a military facility,” Major Sokolowski said, “Instead of busses rolling up to check-in group members, we have A310 transport aircraft landing to deplane hundreds of personnel. Before we had Maestro it took us many hours to check in a group; we have cut that to one or two minutes per person now.” CFB Trenton also worked with another vendor to develop its “Trentcard” concept, an all-in-one magnetic card with a guest ID that interfaces to the property management system. It may be used as a door key, charge card, and for access to recreational facilities that include the base golf club. Property outlets swipe the Trentcard for purchases and meals, which are posted to the guest's folio, and the electronic door locking system encodes the card for use as a guest's room key. The property also installed a robust telephone switch that interfaces to the new front office system allowing housekeepers to change room status from ‘dirty,' to ‘clean' from the guestroom handset so rooms are available for incoming personnel more efficiently.

Internet Reservations and Marketing Drive Revenue
The Yukon Lodge also extended its emphasis on efficiency to the way it takes reservations. “We were tasked with operating the facility as a user-pay property without any financial support from our Headquarters. It was hard work and ‘learn-as-you-go,'” said Major Sokolowski. “During the first few months of independent operation it did not look like we could make our property pay for itself. But after we began marketing on the Internet, through brochures, and word of mouth to other bases and services, things improved. ” CFB Trenton is using NORTHWIND's ResEze Web booking engine on its Yukon Lodge website to allow military and government personnel to make reservations over the Internet. “One of the reasons we selected NORTHWIND as our system vendor was that we expected to add more systems like Trentcard to our operation; NORTHWIND offered an open-system platform and is committed to growing with us.”

Pushing The Envelope to Integrate All Canadian Bases
As a ‘model base' for other Canadian Forces facilities, reliability and security are important to CFB Trenton's hospitality operation. So is a fully integrated system approach. Major Terry Sokolowski continues, “We have approximately 25,000 rooms across Canada. Our goal is to have a completely integrated national operation, as though our bases were chain properties and Headquarters was the corporate office. Then base managers will be able to share information and all reporting will go back to central Command on a standardized property management system without what we call ‘hand-rolics,' meaning manual re-keying of data. All the bases are run independently now, that is why we need to have CFB Trenton operating perfectly.”

For the past three years CFB Trenton and its Yukon Lodge hospitality team have been learning from the hotel industry how to boost efficiency. Major Sokolowski concluded, “We are continuing to improve our facilities through the use of high-tech tools for property operations, POS, and cashless management, and integrating them through our Maestro system to simplify operations and expand service. Besides being open for all military personnel and their dependents, we also serve other government departments, and average 70 to 80 percent occupancy year around. In addition to the Yukon Lodge, we also control about 1,000 other barrack style rooms for long-term housing. Our vision is to continue along this path to improve our facility through a process of researching and staying on top of the latest trends in the industry. There are three other Canadian Forces bases now using Maestro. In time we hope to take this lodging model to other bases and integrate them through a common front office system.”

NORTHWIND attended the Independent Association of Conferences & Conventions (IACC) Annual Conference, March 27-31 at Hilton DFW Lakes. If you missed us at the conference, please call us today for your live demo at (888) 667-8488.

About CFB Trenton
Canadian Forces Base Trenton, located on the beautiful Bay of Quinte, offers single and double occupancy rooms as well as luxury suites to military personnel, their dependents and members of other government departments. Its newest rooms are tastefully decorated and are equipped with in-suite bathrooms, sixty-channel cable TV, high-speed Internet, refrigerators, microwave oven, iron and ironing board. The Yukon Lodge offers a hassle-free approach to planning a visit or conference with its experienced coordinating staff that assists meeting planners with every need. Meeting coordinators help with guests, attendees, and meeting room arrangements that include audio-visual requirements, recreational activities, health breaks, accommodation requirements and meal planning.

© 2004 IACC North America
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