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Thistle Hotels

Thistle Hotels, one of London’s biggest hotel operators and the UK’s third largest hotel group, has saved in excess of £150,000 per year by rolling out iTradeNetwork’s Multiple Operator Portal across its hotel group. The online purchasing solution is being used for all food, beverage and housekeeping orders across the estate.

“...for food and beverages we have switched over to the iTradeNetwork system. Our suppliers find it easier to use, we have more control and it is fifty times better in terms of reporting than anything we have had before.” Quentin Neville, Purchasing Director, Thistle Hotels

The Challenge

Previously, Thistle Hotels used an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to manage the purchasing needs of its 33 UK hotels. Thistle found that the system worked well with non-food items such as stationery, but was unable to cope with the complexity of food and beverage ordering, resulting in an inefficient and expensive system. Thistle Hotels therefore sought an alternative solution that offered better functionality and cost-efficiencies.

The Solution

iTradeNetwork worked with Thistle to develop an online purchasing solution that was tailored to the hotel group’s particular requirements and could be integrated with the existing financial management system.

From the beginning, system users were fully engaged with the new, improved method of ordering goods. The solution was initially trialed at three Thistle hotels in Heathrow, Luton and Marble Arch over a six-month period. iTradeNetwork hosted seminars for finance controllers, general managers, chefs, bar managers and housekeepers across the hotel group before the system went live. In addition, sessions for suppliers were also held.

Thistle is delighted with its company-branded Multiple Operator Portal as it enables staff across the Thistle Hotels Group to access the company’s preferred suppliers’ catalogues online. They can also place orders for food, beverages and related non-food items such as light equipment, utensils and disposables. Live orders are available immediately to view online and each day the system automatically sends copies of orders to the Group’s finance department to ensure compliance and to obtain purchasing authorisation. Invoices are also automatically sent to head office, which speeds up supplier payments.

Alex Walters, Sales Director, iTradeNetwork says:

“There are at least five users at every hotel, including the chef, bar manager, housekeeper, leisure manager and general manager. Each individual orders from several different suppliers, making the ordering process very complex.

Our online system is fully automated and ordering can be done at any time of the day, takes less time and is much less frustrating.’

The Outcome

The Multiple Operator Portal, specifically designed for Thistle, is now handling between 350 and 400 orders a day.

Quentin Neville, Purchasing Director for Thistle Hotels says:

“… for food and beverages we have switched over to the iTradeNetwork system. Our suppliers find it easier to use, we have more control and it is fifty times better in terms of reporting than anything we have had before. I would have no reservations about recommending this system to other hospitality businesses.”

“The improvement in efficiency plus the reduced cost of running the system means savings of more than £150,000 a year for the Thistle group.”