Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

Client Information

Set snuggly against the shores of the Gulf of Mexico on Sanibel Island, FL, the Sundial Beach Resort & Spa is a 407-room luxury level condo resort featuring a steakhouse and sushi bar, as well as two casual cafes and a poolside bar.

Situation Analysis

Faced with an outmoded booking experience, plus a difficulty in rate yielding its 19 different room types, the executives at Sundial resort were looking to revamp and reinvent how they connected with customers on the internet.

Additionally, the resort was seeing a major sea change in the types of guests it was attracting. Though customers had been families and Baby Boomers, more recently the business mix started shifting to younger Millennials and Generation X. Also, the resort’s executives were interested in attracting more international visitors, who currently make up about 21% of Sundial’s customers, but frequently spend more money and time at the resort than their domestic counterparts.

“Millennials and Gen X people are tech savvy. We needed a product that met those needs yet was easy and intuitive for hotel personnel to use,” says Brett Lindsay, Director of Sales & Marketing with Sundial.

Action

The resort migrated to SHR’s Windsurfer® CRS platform along with its TopSail ™ booking engine, which gave customers an enhanced booking experience and access to a more knowledgeable call center. Sundial executives also wanted the booking experience to be simpler, yet provide more detailed information specifically because of the wide range of available room types. They wanted to be sure to never confuse the guest or complicate the booking process. In all, the goal for the year was focusing on raising occupancy with the expectation those people would then spend more money in the resort’s restaurants and bars.

Outcome

“TopSail is modern, easy to use, and more attractive to the consumer. More so than a lot of the booking engines today,” says Lindsay. “We now have additional areas in which we can list room descriptions and there are a lot more photographs too than ever before. People want to see what they are buying. We love the product’s polished contemporary look and it’s very simplistic for the buyer to navigate.”

And the results have transformed the property’s bottom line.

“Growth is spectacular for Sundial this year as we have exceeded budgeted forecasts by 22% in occupancy, 9% in REVPAR and up 13% in Average Daily Rate since the implementation of Windsurfer. It doesn’t surprise me that SHR is growing as well. They provide a top tier distribution platform backed by unparalleled service, something their competitors struggle with.”

Occupancy for the property is now just under 80%, a 13 percent advantage compared to hotels in their comp set. Additionally, web bookings are up 16%, specifically due to TopSail, Lindsay says, and revenue for occupied rooms is up 26%.

For 2017, Lindsay says the resort will be focused on raising rates because the property’s staff can now “maximize opportunities we may not have had otherwise without the Windsurfer product. The product is so easy for us to use at the property level it gives us more time to concentrate on the overall guest experience.”

“SHR made us feel in control when we were feeling out of control,” says Lindsay. “But it’s not just the product, it’s the people that stand behind the product too.”

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