Hospitality meets technology for longtime Sioux Falls hotel operator

Oct. 24, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by Click Rain.

You may not know it, but Sioux Falls is home to one of the nation’s leading hotel management companies. Ranked as a top 50 hotel management company in 2018 by ​Hotel Business​, Regency Hotel Management has been creating a welcoming experience for properties and their guests since 1965. If the Regency brand doesn’t ring a bell, you may be more familiar with some of the properties in their ​portfolio​.

They include national brands, independent properties, conference centers and resorts.

A lot has changed in Regency’s more than 50 years. What started as one lender needing assistance with a few properties has since become the complete turnaround of close to 200 properties in 38 states. ​Regency’s portfolio has also grown to include 60 managed properties across the Midwest.

Tom Biegler is the CEO and president of Regency. He’s been with the hotel management company since 1977. Like many on Regency’s corporate team, Biegler worked his way through the ranks, starting as a bellman in Aberdeen.

“There’s no one on our team that hasn’t had at least 10 years of industry experience. In our industry, which is a really transient industry, that says something,” Biegler said.

Regency’s culture is something Biegler is most proud of, and he said it’s a huge part of attracting and retaining good employees. Regency employs about 6,000 people in 21 states. The company recently implemented an employee assistance program called Regency Cares, a nonprofit organization. If they so choose, employees can set up a tax-free automatic withdrawal from their paycheck that will help other Regency employees in need.

“We’ve handed out $18,000 so far this year, and I suspect that will only go up from there,” Biegler said.

Coupled with dedicated and experienced employees, staying up-to-date with digital technology has largely contributed to Regency’s success, Biegler said. With ​48 percent of smartphone users​ being comfortable researching, booking and planning their entire trip all from their mobile device, this has become increasingly important.

“Guests expect everything at their fingertips to work seamlessly. They want a website that’s interactive, and they want to make sure that everything they do is experiential, as opposed to just staying in a hotel room,” Biegler said.

As technology began to evolve, Biegler and his team found an expert partner in ​Click Rain​, a marketing technology agency, to help with his growing company’s digital marketing needs. Biegler’s goal — drive more direct bookings on Regency property websites.

So what does marketing technology look like within the realm of a hotel management company? It begins with a vibrant, interactive website that seamlessly interacts with all marketing efforts. When guests book a hotel room online, the booking engine works smoothly. It’s sending targeted email campaigns to guests who’ve stayed at your property, building on what they personally enjoy. It’s tracking all digital marketing efforts, to see ROI in real time, allowing for modifications as needed. And it’s choosing the right marketing technology platforms to run it all.

“We needed someone that understood our business almost as well as we understood our business but could communicate that as a website,” Biegler said.

Biegler said partnering with a marketing technology company allows him and his team to focus on what they’re experts at — hospitality.

“The hospitality angle without the technology is only marginally successful. The technology without the hospitality can be successful for a time, but again, you have a finite lifespan with both of those mind-sets independent of one another.”

Through Regency’s ongoing partnership with Click Rain, direct bookings continue to increase. By focusing on user experience on property websites, improving local search listings and personalizing email marketing efforts, the results have been tremendous.

Only eight months after launching a new website for ​The Lodge at Deadwood,​ a property managed by Regency, ​direct bookings increased by 11 percent year-over-year. This jump equates to a 41 percent boost in revenue.

“Our partnership with Click Rain has really kept us on the forefront of changes in the industry, and in the world — things that aren’t necessarily pertinent to my industry but have a backside connection,” Biegler said. “Without companies like Click Rain, we would fail to exist.”

Regency’s portfolio continues to grow — they manage hotels, resorts, state park lodges, golf courses and much more. While the company expands, their values remain the same. At the heart of this Sioux Falls-based company are its employees and the guests they serve.

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Hospitality meets technology for longtime Sioux Falls hotel operator

“Without companies like Click Rain, we would fail to exist.” Wonder why this hotel executive believes that? Nearly half of smartphone owners are comfortable researching, booking and planning their entire trip from their mobile device. Here’s how his company responded.

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