Alderbrook Resort and Spa Instantly Feels the Benefits of Hosting its PMS with Springer-Miller Systems

“I would 100% recommend switching to hosting to other properties considering it,” states Kyle Sharlow, the Information Systems Director at Alderbrook

About Alderbrook Resort & Spa

Alderbrook Resort & Spa has been a destination for gatherings since 1913, offering a luxury spa resort nestled on Washington state’s Hood Canal. The resort comprises 77 guest rooms, 16 cottages, an 8-room spa one restaurant, a cafe, and an offsite outdoor dining experience. Alderbrook offers many activities, including a pool, nature trails, culinary experiences, and waterfront activities. In addition, Alderbrook has many event spaces for corporate meetings, groups, and weddings.

Given its proximity to Seattle and scenic location, Alderbrook attracts all types of guests, from families on vacation to corporate events to adventurers wandering in.

A Focus on Personal Service

“The biggest thing we’re known for is how we interact with our guests,” says Kyle Sharlow, the Information Systems Director at Alderbrook. The property utilizes its SMS|Host systems as a central tool for its staff so they can focus on providing personalized service. Alderbrook has found that guests prefer interacting with property staff to ask questions, be taken care of, or receive recommendations.

“We refer to our PMS as the brains of the operation in general, whether that be storing guest information, guest history, metrics, and reporting.” Explains Kyle, “There’s a ton of data in there, and having that reference piece helps us be prepared to serve our guests by looking at guest profiles and notes prior to their arrival.”

20 Years of SMS|Host 

Alderbrook installed SMS|Host in 2004 and has used the system for almost 20 years. Kyle states that the first thing that comes to mind when considering SMS|Host is how robust the system is.

“What I love about Host is that there’s always a way to do something.” Recalls Kyle, “The SMS team rarely says no. There’s always some kind of option, whether it’s direct, requires some configuration, or something that SMS takes on as an enhancement.”

“We barely scratched the surface of all the modules and functionality these days, and we really work on streamlining our processes.” Says Kyle, “Even when talking with other host properties or conversing with our Account Manager to see how others use their system and what modules they deploy, we learn new ways of doing things or capabilities of the system.”

A Switch to Hosting

In November 2023, Alderbrook switched from deploying its SMS|Host system on-premise to hosting through Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Springer-Miller Systems offers hotels a choice of deploying the SMS|Host application either on-premise or hosted in the cloud. Either option provides your hotel with the full guest-centric functionality of SMS|Host that powers luxury properties around the globe.

“Switching was seamless,” says Kyle. “Almost no impact to our users other than some training out the gate. It has corrected so many of our struggles, including the speed of our system.”

 Alderbrook had encountered difficulties with its overnight process and some file issues. Despite deep dives into their infrastructure with the SMS support team to ensure everything was working as it should, the process was still a struggle. “All of that just vanished as soon as we went hosted,” says Kyle. “And those are huge overheads where I no longer need to deep dive with the support team. I don’t need to investigate our tech stack and ensure everything works.”

“I would 100% recommend switching to hosting to other properties considering it,” states Kyle.

Additional Benefits of Hosting

“One of the big things is the support for SMS has always been great” says Kyle. “No company supports us better than Springer-Miller Systems does.”

The IT department at Alderbrook is on the smaller side, comprised of just two dedicated staff members, including Kyle. Kyle’s role as Information Systems Director is to analyze how property staff interact with their tech stack. He looks at what skill levels his team is at, what processes are in place, and how effectively the team is using the tools they have. Kyle then works with vendor partners, like SMS, to see if they can improve their system or if there are actions they can take to better their experience.

“For a property our size, it’s very nice that SMS has access to everything. Whenever we call SMS about a struggle or to make sure everything is working how it should, they can see everything and just say, ‘yeah, got it done, it’s fixed,'” says Kyle. “It’s not a whole process and my team. Can easily call SMS for support.”

Takeaways from the Switch

“My biggest thing is the team SMS has always been rock solid. That’s what keeps us happy because they’re so willing to work with us, you know, we’re an independent property, not a giant chain, but it doesn’t feel like there’s any difference in priorities.” Says Kyle, “I’ve gotten so close with the support team; a lot of them know me, my name, and I know them because we’ve worked so closely together, and the teams are just open to solving problems.”

“I would always recommend people make the switch if they’re in the market for a PMS system like SMS|Host,” states Kyle.