Built by hoteliers for hoteliers, the IQware Global PMS handles it all – from simple to complex, from standard to custom – delivering unmatched efficiencies and bottom-line results
From the onset four years ago, then-upstart Waterstone Resorts & Vacation Homes knew it needed a single-source technology partner that not only could meet its initial specific needs but also could ramp up functionality and flexibility as needed. Waterstone got all that and more by partnering with IQware.
‘With IQware, we were able to set up our business the way we wanted to, and it’s worked great for us,’ says Ben Edwards, President of Waterstone Resorts & Vacation Homes. ‘We literally started out with a blank sheet of paper and were able to tailor our PMS to do what we wanted it to do. IQware is far from your run-of-the-mill software package. IQware offers a lot of key and unique capabilities and rare, rich flexibility, which lets us do what we want with it.’
Waterstone operates about 800 vacation homes and resort condos spread fairly evenly between Panama City Beach and Naples, Fla. Although the two lodging markets are vastly different, IQware’s modular design and open architecture helps Waterstone be all things to all customers.
‘Our IQware Global PMS is uniquely functional and infinitely customizable – literally,’ adds David Perkins, President of Deerfield Beach-based IQware.
‘In Southeast Florida, we have a mix of vacation homes and condos dispersed over a wide geographical area, covering at least a 20-mile radius. Whereas in Northeast Florida, we manage mostly high-rise condominiums,’ Edwards notes. ‘IQware daily shows its strength and flexibility because it can handle everything from, say a six-bed, six-bath estate home, all the way down to a 350-square-foot efficiency home. We use a great range of IQware’s features.’
How you use IQware and its multitude of available modules depends on your business model, Perkins notes: ‘We’re able to accommodate everything from the most straightforward to the most complex because IQware truly is designed and delivered by hoteliers for hoteliers.’
Listening & Following Through
‘When we set up Waterstone, we had in mind some unique ways of doing business,’ Edwards says. ‘And when we sat down with IQware, their talented team listened and understood what we had in mind, and helped us get it done.’
Perkins notes that one of his top priorities is to ensure each IQware team member listens closely to every need of each customer and follows through on it.
‘At IQware, our customers truly are a critical part of our R&D and custom development teams,’ Perkins adds. ‘Even though many of us at IQware have lived and breathed this business for decades, we know what’s most important is the special way each of our customers approaches their business. Especially in hospitality, it’s that special touch that is the secret to success, and we keep adding the customer insights we gain to make IQware better and better.’
Edwards says the proof is in the pudding.
‘It’s been four years and sometimes I’m still surprised at how easily IQware can be set up when the right people are available to assist – and with IQware they are always available. Our IQware support team is the entire company and they are very responsive, knowledgeable professionals,’ says Edwards. ‘With some other technology vendors, I’ve received a lot of ‘I don’t know’ answers, and that’s as far as it went. With IQware, we don’t have a problem. We have solutions custom built to our exact needs. It’s so refreshing.’
Smooth Technology Sailing
This May, Waterstone is starting another IQware implementation – this time in Southwest Florida. Edwards envisions a three-week timeframe to implement the technology upgrade from start to finish.
‘We know we’ll have to learn a few things as we go along, and that there might be an unavoidable hiccup or curveball, but that IQware will help us hit the ground running,’ Edwards says.
IQware’s track record is something Waterstone banks on. Waterstone and its team members and customers sleep easy knowing their technology ace knows the business really well and can help them move from rudimentary to full implementation quickly.
‘It’s a total commitment on their part and ours,’ Edwards smiles. ‘In going through an implementation, we will have one of their people spend three to four weeks on-and-off with us, and then stay for post-implementation training as well as answer any lingering questions.’
‘When you go with us, you go with someone who knows your business really well and stands by your side,’ points out IQware’s Perkins. ‘We partner with our customers and get things set up quickly, and then we really dig down into the software’s functionality and flexibility to ensure that each user is getting the most bang for the company’s buck.’
Waterstone is like many other IQware users in that its properties use a mixture of standard and customized modules. The company has custom interfaces to some of the other software systems it uses, such as Great Plains Accounting, and is putting in an Expedia interface.
‘What’s nice about IQware is that it has everything in the world in it, but it can get very specific to our needs as well,’ Edwards notes. ‘We still have a couple of other third-party technology vendors and have no problems working with IQware to overlay the information that is required.’
But what really matters to property owners is what Waterstone’s Edwards is most focused on. He says Waterstone has invested considerable effort to make reports to property owners ‘just right’ – not too complicated and not too simple – which, he says, is surprisingly difficult to do with many other systems.
‘Property owners get an owner statement at the end of the month, and we continue to do work with IQware to streamline these statements because we are aiming to find the best possible set of information to supply to each of our property owners,’ Edwards notes. ‘Don’t get me wrong – the reports in IQware are great. The challenge we’ve given ourselves is to make some of them uniquely special to give us a real competitive edge in the marketplace.’
‘Getting just the right report for our owners is like cooking,’ he adds. ‘We want to find the perfect ingredients. IQware has been great in helping us achieve this.’
In North Florida, most of Waterstone’s property owners are from the U.S. But in South Florida, Waterstone has owners from Switzerland, Germany, and British U.K. Fortunately, the company’s international issues are minimal. It can stick with English as the language and report in dollars. But for those global companies that can’t, IQware’s Global PMS – installed in about two dozen countries – can track and report in almost any major foreign language and currency.
At IQware, It’s Business & It’s Personal
‘We have a unique relationship with IQware. I know the owner well. I can call him up and talk with him,’ emphasizes Edwards. ‘We have a personal relationship with IQware that goes beyond just one or two individuals. What I mean is it’s not just a business relationship – it goes far beyond that. It is truly a personal relationship between our people who understand our business and their people who understand the business we’re in.’
‘It’s absolutely crucial on both sides to have the ability and commitment to really get into good, two-way discussions.’ Perkins thoughtfully explains. ‘We see as one of the key challenges understanding each customer’s unique business model and needs. We spend a lot of time up front talking with them so we can hand tailor our technology just for them.’
Perkins says the challenge is always to make the connection of understanding and ‘getting our arms around the uniqueness of the business model.’ It takes a lot of extra effort to do it this way, but at the end of the day it’s good business on both sides.
‘It’s great that I can call whomever I need whenever I need them,’ Edwards adds. ‘If I can’t get through to one person, I can call the next one. I can call at any time.’
‘We have a lot of people at IQware we can access who are knowledgeable and responsive,’ he adds. ‘We have a high level of direct access to their key people, and this is invaluable. With other software companies, I’ve had the bad experience of having to deal with poorly equipped support people who are limited in their ability to find solutions. This is a non-issue with IQware.’
‘We’re using IQware to get more efficient and grow faster,’ concludes Edwards. ‘IQware’s ability to manage yield in real time enables us to raise rates to the point where they’re optimized in tandem with our occupancy rates. We’re getting our money’s worth with IQware in yield management alone – and that’s just the tip of this iceberg of opportunity.’
About Waterstone Resorts & Vacation Homes
Waterstone Resorts & Vacation Homes, with corporate offices located in Panama City Beach, Fla., operates condominium resorts and uniquely upscale resort homes on the northwest and southwest coast of Florida. Management has a proven track record in all aspects of the hospitality business including development & operations, internet distribution & eMarketing, sales & marketing, rooms, food & beverage operations, finance accounting & renovation. Our entire team is dedicated to providing the finest vacation accommodations in the best resort locations with an unmatched level of service. For more information, visit www.waterstoneresorts.com or call (850) 636-5000.
Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based IQware has been ‘Helping Hospitality Partner With IntelligenceSM’ for 25 years. Today, more than 5,000 end users utilize IQware software to help best market and manage more than 100,000 rooms generating more than $3 billion in gross room revenue. IQware brings with it more than 300 years of combined experience managing hospitality properties and developing and supporting related software. ‘Built By Hoteliers For Hoteliers,’ IQware’s Global Property Management System and more than two dozen add-on modules optimize operations at properties of all types – limited- and full-service hotels, resorts, condo-hotels and timeshares – and all sizes – from regional hotel chains to multi-property management companies to small independents IQware is Your Single-Source Technology Partner through ongoing customized training, user-driven technology development, 24×7 support and lifetime software upgrades. Looking for a competitive edge? Look no further. IQware ‘Helps Hospitality Better Find, Book, Host, Know & Retain Clients.’ IQware solutions offer numerous ROI-generating tools including e-marketing, four-tier yield management, Web-Rez, packages, loyalty points, IQDestinations and IQLink – which pushes your existing PMS inventory directly to the most effective and profitable Intranet, GDS and Extranet channels, saving you $10 or more (5%) per online transaction. And because IQware’s Global Property Management System has served as the heart of so many hotel operations for a quarter century, today IQware also can provide the lifeblood for Condo Management, Point Of Sale, Sales & Catering, Online Reservations, Spa Management, Marina Management, Central Reservations System and e-CRM electronic (Customer Relationship Management). IQware takes technology partnering to a new level – just ask our ever-expanding family of clients conducting business in two dozen countries. For more information, visit www.iqwareinc.com or call (877) 698-5151.