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La Quinta Inns & Suites

WebDAM Enables Brand Consistency Across La Quinta's 800+ Locations

“We would have never been able to get where we are today and do as many things without WebDAM.”

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Background

La Quinta Inns & Suites is a private chain of hotels, operating more than 800 properties and franchises across North America. Based in Irving, Texas, the La Quinta brand was established in 1968, and today serves a large and ever-growing audience – whether the customer is a business traveler or a family planning a vacation, La Quinta has a range of accommodations that fit nearly every need.

Because La Quinta owns and operates many different properties in hundreds of markets in the United States, Canada and Mexico, the company has to manage a huge amount of assets – namely photos – that show different hotel locations, rooms, property features and other images in a consistent and efficient way.

These assets are extremely important to growing La Quinta’s brand in the highly competitive hotel space, and also have a direct impact on the company’s revenue, as potential guests are much more likely to book a room if the website has a collection of detailed photographs of the hotel property, individual rooms and other amenities.

The Problem

Because La Quinta’s hotels are essentially split into two categories – owned properties and franchised locations, the company had a huge challenge when it came to using consistent, attractive images to identify different properties. With more than 800 properties, over 400 of which were independently run as franchises, online images of different hotels varied widely in terms of quality, size, shape and other ways that misrepresented the company’s overall brand and image. Additionally, as La Quinta continued to add and update properties, there was no consistent way to keep only the most relevant, up to date photos for the growing list of hotels.

Originally, La Quinta’s many service directors – those individuals in charge of corporate and franchised properties – took photos of different hotels with digital cameras and mailed the memory cards back to corporate headquarters in Texas. The La Quinta team then mailed these memory cards, which had anywhere between 10 and 100 photos on them with no way to easily view the images, to a third party service to retouch the photos. That company would return the cards to La Quinta, and the images were finally uploaded to the corporate website.

Needless to say, this was an extremely slow, cumbersome and unreliable approach to digital asset management. Not only was the whole process of mailing memory cards back and forth very time consuming, it created multiple, unnecessary copies of images at various locations. La Quinta was using about 10 times the amount of storage that it likely needed, said Steve Stern, the company’s brand manager.

Stern and his team tried shifting the process over to an FTP system, which delivered only slightly better results. There were still many problems uploading images, and the user interface, which lacked the ability to comment on photos, was archaic and not intuitive to use.

Stern finally stumbled across WebDAM as he conducted a Google search for a new solution to La Quinta’s digital asset management challenges. He had weighed options from other providers, including cloud solutions from Adobe and Kodak, and determined that these products didn’t fulfill La Quinta’s requirements. Ultimately, Stern found that WebDAM’s platform was the most advanced in terms of functionality and flexibility for La Quinta’s needs.

“I had hit a wall looking for different options,” Stern said. “We either had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop our own digital asset management site or pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a new system. I didn’t have the manpower or bandwidth for that. For what we wanted, you guys fulfilled nearly all our requirements with your out-of-the-box system – we didn’t have to compromise anything. For what we gained in terms of ease of use, it’s a no-brainer.”

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The Solution

First, WebDAM allowed La Quinta to solve its long-term problem of image contributors. Most companies only have a few individuals who have access its collection of assets, but La Quinta, with its 50+ contributors, needed to expand that to every property’s service director.

“WebDAM really worked with us to create these permissions,” said Brand Manager Stern. “WebDAM streamlined it so these service directors could do stuff in the field that the corporate office didn’t have to worry about. It allowed all these contributors to have a central place to make comments and approve photos.”

Stern explained that by working with WebDAM, La Quinta was able to build a completely customized workflow from scratch that now fully meets the company’s digital asset management needs. The four-stage process involves uploading images directly to WebDAM, having them re-touched, approved by corporate and then distributed to corporate and third-party sites like Expedia.com and Hotels.com.

WebDAM’s customizable permissions have also enabled La Quinta to create subfolders for different departments across the organization, eliminating the need to search through thousands of property photos to find a specific image. As a result, La Quinta has been able to completely align its branding across its hundreds of properties, reducing confusion and encouraging collaboration within the whole organization.

Analysis & Results

After Stern and his team at La Quinta switched over to WebDAM, the company has seen a huge bump in efficiency and time saved with the new streamlined workflow.

“With WebDAM, we save about 2,000 hours annually with the entire field staff, which is about 50 people,” Stern said. “All in all, WebDAM saves us an exponential amount of time. It took the process from 10 steps down to four, and one person can now do things that it previously took several people to do.”

Stern also said that WebDAM’s solution has cut the time it takes to get approved photos onto the corporate site in half, from roughly 24 days to an average of 11 days.

This has had a direct impact on La Quinta’s revenue, since the quicker photos are uploaded, the quicker they reach customers and drive new bookings.

Conclusion

WebDAM has helped La Quinta completely overhaul the way its brand and related images have been deployed on the web, resulting in consistent messaging across its growing list of properties, more internal collaboration and a jump in sales.

“It’s allowed us so much more functionality that just wasn’t feasible before and we didn’t have time to build it ourselves,” Stern said. “We would have never been able to get where we are today and do as many things without WebDAM.”

Highlights

  • Streamlines workflows for 50+ contributors
  • Centralizes communication
  • Controls access for brand images

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