Hospitality industry executive shares insights on how tapping into a wealth of value from procurement tech can give hoteliers a competitive advantage
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and sharing ideas with some of the brightest minds in hospitality. Many of these tenured professionals have found themselves at the precipice of change, able to envision a future driven by innovation and digital connectivity at a time when much of the industry remained stuck in the past. Without these forward-thinking minds, many of hospitality’s core processes and offerings would be confined to legacy systems and unable to meet the modern guest’s ever-evolving, and ever-heightened expectations.
The team behind BirchStreet Systems is no stranger to technological innovation, as their powerful eProcurement solutions have worked to provide genuinely superior end-to-end procurement capabilities – an often-overlooked industry segment – to hotels around the globe. Recently, I had a chance to sit down with Paul Rantilla, the Chief Commercial Officer at BirchStreet Systems and an experienced executive with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. From market penetration to hospitality management, sales strategies, and marketing leadership, Rantilla is a wealth of industry knowledge and tangible insights that can benefit hotels of any size or scale.
When asked what brought him to BirchStreet, Rantilla, who had 25 years of hospitality experience before joining the company in 2018, explains that he was initially enticed by the opportunity to learn something completely new. “I was so impressed with the brilliant team at BirchStreet and the incredible product they had introduced to the hospitality vertical,” shares Rantilla. “However, I was quick to notice that the company – despite all its promise and innovation – had underinvested in sales and marketing. Their customer base was largely a product of word-of-mouth recommendation and the integrity of Sushil Garg and the talented team he had built. With one of the most unique and defendable value propositions I encountered within our industry, I was eager to apply what I had learned to help the company accelerate its already awesome growth trajectory.”
Since joining the BirchStreet team, the company has delivered a number of exciting innovations. Accubar beverage inventory is integrated with BirchStreet’s legacy inventory and is now available to new and existing clients as built-in integration with BirchStreet Inventory 2.0. “We have received great feedback on our new user interface (UI 3), which is now pervasive across all BirchStreet modules,” says Rantilla. “Our new capital project module, Cap Projects 2.0, is completely revamped with an influx of new and exciting capabilities. Looking to deliver the final P in P2P, we launched a completely new product with BirchStreet Pay, which has been very well received in the wake of hospitality’s labor crisis, as it moves hotels towards digital forms of payment.”
Rantilla also notes that hospitality finance leaders are currently desperate for efficiency and accuracy. “From electronic connections to suppliers, to a new supplier portal where POs can be flipped, these timely innovations are an integral part of the BirchStreet P2P platform.” Hotels, restaurants, venues, casinos, and more can leverage BirchStreet’s platform to take care of purchasing and compliance, accelerated invoice processing, automated and compliant processes, inventory management, recipe management, digital payments, capital expenditure product tracking, reporting and analytics, and more.
One such BirchStreet client is the five star, luxury Peninsula Hotels group, with 10 locations and growing. Matt O’Maley, The Peninsula Chicago’s Director of Purchasing has been thrilled with the system while working on a $36 million guestroom renovation using BirchStreet’s Capital Budget Management module. “It’s so easy to just look at the Project screen. I don’t have to keep multiple budgets in multiple spreadsheets anymore. The entire project is automated and in one central place,” explained O’Maley. “The amount of time saved is mind boggling.” O’Maley explained that their old process used to be a three person job, and now it’s down to one person.
Today, BirchStreet finds itself in high growth mode, with no shortage of opportunities to get its message out. With the hospitality industry more open to digital transformation than ever, I was curious to hear Rantilla’s perspective on BirchStreet’s revitalization strategy as they aim to amplify their brand’s industry presence. “We have built many new great products and have successfully ventured into the managed food service (MFS) segment, as well as gaming,” Rantilla explains. “We are adding people in every area of the business, both onshore and offshore.”
Regarding their marketing strategy, Rantilla notes that now is the time for them to leverage consistent ABM, customer conferences, trade shows, webinars, an updated website, press releases, white papers, and blogs. Not only that, but BirchStreet is eager to partner with some of the other great companies and industry leaders currently serving hospitality, MFS, and gaming.
As for the future, Rantilla says there’s never been a more exciting time at BirchStreet. “We’ve recently added several new key executives to help position the company for its next growth phase,” he shares. “We will continue to improve our existing modules and drive more value for our customers, especially around business intelligence and reporting. We are also looking into logical extensions of our platform, whether that means to build or buy.”
Driving bottom-line value for our clients worldwide in Hospitality, Casino and Gaming, Resorts, and Country Club industries, BirchStreet Systems is a powerful, cloud-based eProcurement technology leader doing groundbreaking and innovative work. The end-to-end solution enables all stakeholders at all levels of the organization to be empowered to collaborate and make better, more accurate, and confident buying and operating decisions, decisions that generate immediate measurable savings and stronger business results.