"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on certain sectors of the economy, with one of the worst affected being tourism and the accommodation business. The end of the lockdown gave the hotel industry a breath of fresh air, but it immediately faced another challenge - the war in Ukraine. However, experts expect it to have a short-term effect and for the industry to continue its recovery at a steady pace. The fact that the sector is on the upswing is evidenced by a recent study by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, which states that the industry grew by 18% in 2022 compared to the year before the pandemic, 2019. To help it recover faster, several hotels implemented projects to take the experience of their guests to a new level. One such success story is the hotel chain "Festa Hotels", which unites all its operations in one solution for overall management. This solution was developed by Navtech Group, based on LS Retail's LS Central for hotels software and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central."


The comprehensive management system for hotels and hotel chains implemented in Festa Hotels includes ERP and PMS (property management system), as well as reservation management modules, loyalty programs, financial module and inventory management module . It is compatible with international accounting standards. "We developed the solution together with Microsoft and LS Central, and all the functionalities specific to the tourist charter business were developed by Navtech Group," says Dimitar Iliev, manager of Navtech Group. The solution is unique in its kind, because it covers the entire process - from the reservation, through the consolidated financial indicators, to the release of the hotel room in real time. It is integrated with the most popular booking platforms such as Synxis and SiteMinder. The loyalty program allows the hotel staff to provide their regular customers with an unforgettable experience, starting with their recognition at the reception desk and adequate offers according to their status. An additional integration was carried out with:

- SALTO, a leading supplier of electronic access control systems to provide an increased level of security for guests and staff. The integration allows room access to be tracked in real time, which guarantees hotels the highest level of security at all times;
- A telephone exchange whose charges go directly to the guest's account;
- Additional integration with pay TV service module, checking guest's current account from in-room TV, enhancing their overall experience.
Another important feature of the solution is the express check-in module, which allows guests to check in quickly and easily without having to wait in line. This greatly improves their experience.

A pricing module has been developed especially for the hotel business, allowing to cover all possible conditions under contracts with tour operators and charter companies. In this way, managers see information about all sources of income, as well as all expenses, gathered in one place. Part of the all-in-one solution is the included POS system, which summarizes the receipts from the shops, restaurants and other facilities that the hotel has. A significant advantage of the fully integrated solution is the timely provision of reports, which is extremely important for hotel chains and holding structures.

"The solution itself offers built-in Business Intelligence, based on Power BI, which enables managers to quickly make decisions on business-critical points. The entire software is based on Microsoft technologies, and the interface is intuitive, saving a lot of time in training new users," Dimitar Iliev commented. "The advantage in this type of business is that the management team can get quick insights from different hotel departments. This saves a lot of time, and we know that for making important decisions, it is crucial to have instant access to information. Our solution offers this even in real time," he adds.


Navtech Group's solution was implemented for the first time in Europe at the Festa Winter Palace hotel in Borovets, and then at the "Festa Sofia" hotel. This is also its second realization in the world. It is about to be implemented in the company's VIA Pontica, FESTA Panorama, Pomorie Resort sea hotels, and before the summer period it will also be implemented in Dunav Plaza Ruse.

Festa Hotels aims to automate the entire control process of all hotels in the group and have real-time control of all data from one source. The hotel chain chooses a solution that allows to facilitate the processes of registration, service and check-out, to reduce the stress of the staff from introducing a new unfamiliar system by choosing a Microsoft-based solution with an intuitive and flexible interface. "In terms of implementation phases, the implementation was carried out in 5 phases: 'Preparation and Planning'; 'Analysis and Design'; 'Configuration and Internal Testing'; 'Go-live and Employee Training' - says Dimitar Iliev. Thanks to the platform being extremely easy to use, the training took a very short time." He adds that immediately prior to the launch itself, the company's teams worked extensively to set up all the computers and terminals, resulting in the 360-degree experience of Festa Hotels. Several challenges arose during the implementation process. "A challenge was the outdated accounting system that was in use prior to the implementation of the new solution. It was missing important modules such as stock management. Along with this, the new system connected the ERP, PMS and warehouse program, which increased transparency and reduced human errors," added Dimitar Iliev. 


After the project was completed, all processes in the hotel were fully automated and the management of the Festa Hotels chain was given 360-degree visibility. As a result, the chain's customers can enjoy a new level of satisfaction. 

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