IN BETA: Hospitality Is Just a Click Away
To drive down procurement costs, Choice Hotels built ChoiceBuys.com, an electronic marketplace for its hotels and supply vendors.
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Choice Hotels International sells more than $1.5 billion in hotel goods and services yearly to its eight hotel franchises, including Comfort Inn, Quality, and Econo Lodge--in total, more than 5,000 hotels in 43 countries. To drive down procurement costs, Choice Hotels built ChoiceBuys.com, an electronic marketplace for its hotels and supply vendors. To help power ChoiceBuys.com, Choice Hotels for roughly one year had been using various products from Comergent's C3 product line for pricing, managing orders, quotes, and catalog information. More than 3,200 hotels regularly use the site, which presented another issue for the marketing services firm: how to support them. Choice Hotels turned to Comergent again for more help. Luckily, Comergent had just introduced its C3 Customer Service solution. Now Choice Hotels has an 800 number so franchisees can call customer service reps and order products or track orders; reps use new Comergent C3 features to do so. "Suppliers hadn't responded to franchisees in a timely manner, so franchisees would ask us to check on their order. We can find that order for that user right away. It's a value-added service for the franchisees," says Brad Douglas, vice president of emerging business at Choice Hotels. While the Choice Hotels' customer service initiative is only starting out with three agents, this small service center can cross-sell and upsell products like a large call center. "The cross-sell feature is easy to use. If a franchisee doesn't want a particular product, the customer service representative can ask why, and capture that information," Douglas says. "It's a major shift for us to take orders on behalf of franchisees, and it is a strategic initiative." --David Myron www.comergent.com
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