Choice Hotels Selects Microsoft to Help Franchise Customers Feel at Home

  • Microsoft
  • 10.30.08
Microsoft Corp. announced that Choice Hotels International Inc., one of the world’s largest hotel franchisors and the company behind such trusted names in lodging as Comfort Inn and Econo Lodge, has selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to automate and integrate its core franchise management operation.

Silver Spring, Md.-based Choice Hotels has more than 5,700 franchised hotels, counting more than 460,000 guest rooms across the United States and 40 countries and territories. The company has a further 1,096 hotels with more than 89,000 rooms under development.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 is a flexible customer relationship management solution available in on-premise or remotely hosted deployment options that delivers a comprehensive set of marketing, sales and service capabilities.

Choice Hotels selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 in preference to extending its existing Sage SalesLogix system from Sage Software because of the adaptable platform it gave the company to address its franchise management needs. Also important for Choice Hotels was Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0’s integration with the Microsoft productivity software already in use across the company. This will enable the company to rapidly ramp up end-user adoption and maximize utilization across its ranks, which is pivotal to the effective deployment of CRM capabilities.

Choice Hotels is deploying Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Sonoma Partners LLC’s Franchise Management solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to track the full lifespan of its relationship with franchisees — its customers — from initial lead generation through the striking of the deal and the breaking of ground on a new hotel to subsequent real estate development and hotel operation, allowing it to monitor such all-important business variables as brand stewardship, guest services and quality assurance.

Sonoma Partners was chosen for its extensive expertise as a dedicated Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation specialist and acute understanding of the distinctive CRM needs of franchise businesses. Customer relationship management of franchise customers has a low volume in terms of absolute numbers of customers, but a high investment value with many relationships enduring for decades.

“Implementing a franchise management system that provides a 360-degree view of our franchisees will help enable streamlined processes, ultimately allowing us to service our franchisees better through coordinated services,” said Carol Galonis, vice president of corporate information systems at Choice Hotels. “The extensibility of Microsoft Dynamics CRM makes it the ideal platform for this system.”

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 solution will initially be integrated with Choice Hotels’ existing SalesLogix system plus two proprietary applications until these can be phased out as deployment proceeds.

Choice Hotels expects Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to generate multiple business benefits aligned with its core strategic priorities, including the following:

  • Company growth and decision support. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 will furnish Choice Hotels with an end-to-end view of its relationship with its franchisees, spanning all previous interactions, current status and prospective future opportunities. This historical data will enable the company to generate better-qualified sales leads, pursue other business opportunities with greater precision, and put decision-making companywide on a more rigorous, data-driven footing.
  • Time savings and efficiencies. The consolidation of customer data in a central system will ease information retrieval and spare employees from having to pull data together manually from multiple, disparate sources. Because Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 gives Choice Hotels a single foundational system for franchisee customer data, the company will also be able to streamline the business processes around its sales automation, contract administration and services portfolio functions. 
  • Accuracy of data. Elimination of manual processes will reduce exposure to human error from manual data entry, while the institution of customer data governance protocols through the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 solution will further ensure data integrity. 
  • Integration. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 will complement Choice Hotels’ burgeoning installed base of Microsoft solutions, which was recently expanded to include Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and Microsoft Office Communications Server, in addition to Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Office Communicator and other productivity applications. The existing in-house knowledge base around use of these applications — the interface of which Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 replicates — will expedite user adoption and time to benefits. The company also hopes to drive synergies between applications to foster enhanced coordination and collaboration across different functional areas of its business.
  • Improved reporting. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 will enable Choice Hotels to drill down into franchisee data to perform analysis and identify trends and business opportunities that will drive sales and marketing efforts and overall corporate strategy.
  • Customer service. A Microsoft Dynamics 4.0 single integrated system for franchisee management will allow services to franchisees to be coordinated — a benefit that Choice Hotels expects will promote increased franchisee satisfaction.

“Choice Hotels’ decision highlights the versatility of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 and its ability to address the needs of firms serving all types of customers,” said Michael Park, corporate vice president for the U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners Group at Microsoft. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 gives businesses the technology foundation they need to manage their customer relationships for the long haul.”

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