The aim of Customer Intelligence is to offer perfect stays based on very precise information, in an attempt to stand out from other chains in a competitive sector like the hotel industry.
But how can it be achieved?
These days it would seem that client power has grown exponentially due to the transparency of products and prices thanks to meta search engines (Kayak, Trivago, etc.) and the influence of review sites such as Tripadvisor.
On the other hand, the influence of providers and distributors has also increased. Booking.com is still growing and new distribution heavyweights have already landed (Tripadvisor, Amazon, etc.) with more possibly on the horizon (Google).
On top of this, these providers are already using loyalty schemes to create a complete product for hotel brands (just think of Priceline’s recent purchase of Buuteeq and Hotel Ninjas, or of Hotelbeds’ purchase of Roiback). And if this weren’t enough, the rivalry between hotels has increased and the threat of alternative products (apartment rentals, couch surfing, etc.) is higher than ever.
However, it is still possible to stand out from the crowd and reclaim some of the power that has now fallen on the intermediaries. The key is to develop a strategy around the client’s experience, making the most of the technological development of data processing and analyzing tools. To implement a Customer Intelligence strategy based on Business intelligence technological solutions, Big Data and CRM, means creating a competitive advantage that is mainly sustainable for three reasons:
1-It improves the client’s experience. Knowing the client means being able to offer a personalized service, as well as improve the return on campaigns.
2-Increasing margins. Knowing the Customer Lifetime Value, the propensity to buy as well as their needs, offers valuable information to optimize Revenue Management and distribution techniques.
3-A Customer Intelligence project is hard to imitate. The complexity of implementation, the importance of other resources that back the strategy (resources that can’t be replicated) and the added value created for guests by being the first to act.
Defining the strategy
Even though the strategy will be different for each case, there are some common principles that will always apply.
In first place, the main objective of a Customer Intelligence strategy is to increase the Customer Lifetime Value, improving the value perceived by the client. To achieve this we must attempt to discover as precisely as possible the life cycle of each client (acquisition, retention, growth and desertion) and personalize the communication and service at each point of contact with the client, before, during and after their stay.
A good practice is to capture the project in a Strategic map, which highlights the objectives, indicators and actions of the four perspectives: financial, clients, internal and learning and growth. One way to identify these objectives is organizing them in a series of strategic transversal lines, for example:
– Efficiency: decrease in costs of acquisition and management optimization thanks to a unique view of the client and process automation.
– Differentiation: personalization of the actions and services to exceed clients expectations.
– Effectiveness: improves the conversion and return of the commercial actions.
360º vision of the client
The first step when implementing a Customer Intelligence system is to achieve a unique vision of the client. To do so, it is necessary to integrate different sources of information (PMS, CRS, RMS, etc.) in a data model, where it is easy to identify each client and access the needed information. In this phase it is also important to perform a clean up task, eliminating duplications and errors.
It is also important to implement a multichannel communication solution; we must be able to store the whole communication history from a specific client, no matter what means of communication was used (email, telephone, social networks, chat, sms, etc.). In this way not only will we be able to offer a more personalized service but we will also be able to offer the client the option to contact us through the channel they prefer.
Here at Innwise, as CRM experts, we have the best team and technology to efficiently develop your hotel’s Customer Intelligence.