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ResourcesCustomer Stories

Red Lion Hotels benefit from learning and performance management on one flexible platform with Totara Learn

Red Lion Hotels is an American hospitality corporation engaging in the franchising, management and ownership of upscale, midscale and economy hotels. It is currently the sixth-largest hotel chain in the world.

The Challenge

Red Lion Hotels previously used a large commercial system for the delivery of its learning and performance management requirements.

They found this system to be rigid and complex to use and therefore misaligned to their business-specific requirements.

They needed an enterprise solution capable of delivering learning and performance management in a single platform with the flexibility to more accurately represent their organisational structure as a franchise hotel-based company.



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The Totara Solution

Red Lion Hotels chose to work with Totara Platinum Partner Synegen because they wanted the help of a partner with strong customisation skills and experience.

They wanted Synegen to help them develop a brand new LMS, which would replace both of their old systems with a single platform for learning and performance management.

This needed to support both part-time, hourly employees and full-time, salaried employees, and would eventually lead to on-the-job learning.

Phase 1 of Synegen’s project focused on the implementation and configuration of Totara Learn.

They ensured that the structure and hierarchies were in place in the LMS to mirror Red Lion Hotels’ franchise setup. This was essential, given the complex structure of the organisation, and ensured that learning could be managed effectively and targeted at the right groups of learners.

This also required the migration of a lot of data from the previous two systems to the new Totara Learn platform.

The other key part of this phase was setting up the performance management functionality.

Features such as appraisals and learning goals were essential for Red Lion Hotels to carry out their performance management properly. This involved some configuration of the existing Totara Learn functionality to adapt it to the customer’s specific needs, enabling learners to set their own goals with approval from managers rather than a top-down approach to goal setting.


Goal page for a team member

Synegen made extensive use of customisation and plugins to fully tailor the LMS to meet Red Lion Hotel’s complex performance management requirements. For this reason, Red Lion Hotels very much appreciated the open source nature of Totara Learn, as it allowed Synegen to customise the functionality and look and feel to deliver the exact platform they needed.

As well as this, the use of plugins makes this a very future-proof platform which will upgrade smoothly in the future.

The Results

Previously, Red Lion Hotels worked around its learning technology. With Totara Learn, the learning technology works around them.

The LMS is currently being piloted with Red Lion Hotels’ internal employees, and they are looking to launch the platform to their entire audience of internal employees and franchisees in early 2017.

The current users are able to update their goals themselves, with the final step being to upload the HR data into the system before its full launch.


Manager’s goal page

Red Lion Hotels are very happy with Synegen’s Totara Learn solution, and the high touch experience that Synegen offered to quickly understand and implement their business requirements within Totara Learn.

The flexibility of the open source platform in the hands of Synegen provided the unique experience of a cloud-hosted platform, which could be aligned to their organization structure and business-specific needs and it is expected to provide an enriched user experience while saving them a great deal of time and money.

Totara Learn has also helped Red Lion Hotels prepare for their long-term aspirations for the company.

In the future, they intend to use the platform to link performance with salary.

Performance goals will be tied to bonus structures, and this metric will be calculated automatically within Totara Learn to remove some of the administrative work involved. This will help create a culture of engagement around the learning to improve performance in the long run.

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