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Horizon Hospitality’s Success Formula: Strong Markets, Strong Managers, Strong Tools with Aptech

  • Aptech Computer Systems, Inc.
  • 01.26.12

Horizon Hospitality Management, Inc., a national hotel manager and owner, has a simple formula for consistently making money for investors:

  • Develop successful brands in markets that outperform the industry,
  • Hire teams that know their markets inside and out
  • Leverage Horizon’s corporate executive experience and centralized hospitality software systems to free up property managers to focus on revenue.

Develop successful brands in outperforming markets

“We concentrate on projects in Western Pennsylvania because we know the area and it has shown to react to the economy better than much of the country.  It also recovers faster,” says John Hannan, COO for Horizon Hospitality LLC. 

Horizon also picks brands that perform and develops them in solid markets.  “Hilton’s brands, reputation, and Rewards program are very good for us,” according to Hannan.  Horizon has also had success with Choice’s Cambria Suites flags.  “Cambria is a new brand for Choice.  It’s all suites and upscale, and we like the aggressive nature of Choice’s efforts.  There are only 19 Cambrias now and they are gaining market share.”

Hire property teams that know their markets and brands

The second part of Horizon’s formula is its people.  “We hire our GMs, AGMs and directors of sales based on their experience and knowledge with their specific brands and markets,” Hannan said.  “For example, our Cambria GMs are unique.  They know their brand’s appeal and how to sell it, and they know their specific Washington County, and Pittsburg markets.”       

Leverage corporate experience and tools to support property profitability

Horizon’s core executives also play an important role in performance management and property profitability.  “We have a tight corporate team with many years of experience,” Hannan said.  “Our job is to support the property managers so they can focus on guest experience and making money for investors.  One way we do that is with centralized accounting, management support, and reporting.  We use an enterprise back office system called Profitvue® from Aptech Computer Systems for all our properties.  We wanted to have a centralized platform strategy for our multiple flags because this gives us better control for resource planning.  Our hotels use Profitvue to oversee their income audit, general ledger entries, and other accounting processes.”

Profitvue pulls each day’s performance data from Horizon’s property management systems, regardless of the flag.  The system runs the numbers for each hotel and generates financial reports. “Each morning we send current financials to our properties to help them operate their hotels profitably,” said Hannan.  “This saves our property teams from having to do the accounting busy work so they can spend more time selling.  Part of Horizon’s responsibility is to provide its people with good tools so they can do the best job possible.”  Profitvue also generates global roll-up reports for Horizon as a whole so its executive team can compare performance and identify best practices. 

Grow with your groups

Most of Horizon’s properties are in suburban locations that host a mix of corporate business travelers, weddings, college events, and sports groups.  “Our strategy is to establish long-lasting relationships with solid groups and grow with them,” Hannan explained.  “We market centrally one-on-one to our corporate business accounts and develop personal relationships.  Our segments rotate by season and day of the week, and we work our hotels and group business together and balance our properties to fulfill the needs of our accounts.” 

Hannan relies on Horizon Hospitality’s centralized financial system to keep his team aware of each hotel’s needs and performance so the entire portfolio benefits.  “Profitvue gets our numbers quickly and it’s accurate so we can base business decisions on that intelligence, enabling us to increase revenue and manage costs with confidence.” 

What does the future hold for Horizon? Hannan said, “We are always looking for new deals and just opened a new Cambria Suites in December.  For us, success is about developing good brands and running them with good people – then managing by the numbers.”


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