Piers Hughes, Cendyn’s Chief Information Officer shares his insights with us on how integrations with CRM and third party technology vendors lay the foundations to data insight for hoteliers and how they, in turn, can use CRM to evolve alongside the changing landscape of the hospitality industry. Data acquisitionThe way we use data has changed. As a CRM platform and data warehouse, we used to just focus efforts on getting enough information to send communications out to guests or even just to get enough details to fill out a guests’ profile. We now need to focus our efforts on looking beyond that profile to see what the guest wants and needs are and use it to predict their behavior throughout the guest travel journey. Using data in this way has revolutionized how hoteliers can look to target their most valuable guests, look at how they can reduce costs, drive more direct bookings, maintain brand presence and stay competitive. How do they do all of this? Well, we’ve seen that the best way to achieve this is to pull data, from as many sources as you possibly can, configure it into a consistent format and relay that information and data into one single platform or dashboard to get a complete picture for the hotelier. From there, hoteliers are able to action that data in the ways that work for their guests. The evolution of technology in the hospitality industryBack in the day, everything in hotels used to be manual. From entering in a new booking, logging housekeeping activity to tracking room keys. It was a high cost, labor-intensive industry with no means to understand the difference between loyal guests and their preferences and those who visit once, never to return again. What we’ve seen in the industry however, is revolutionary. Technology advancements and changes in consumer travel behavior, whether it be for business or leisure, has shaped how hoteliers engage, manage bookings (direct or via other channels), measure and drive revenue and work together within the hotel. There are hotels leading the way in how they use technology and those at the other end of the spectrum, but what we do see day-in-day-out is in those hotels that have done so, have an improved ability to; send the right message to the right guest, through the right channels; gain a clear understanding about the history and preferences of each guest in real time regardless of how they booked; empower their guests to receive information and communicate in the ways that work for them; and deliver the best kind of service, whether it be human interaction or through the use of technology. I see the future of this industry evolving further on this basis with more open integrations between technology platforms and a higher flow of data between platforms. From this we’ll see an increase in learned automation and intelligence that can deliver more of the right messages, at the right time through the right channel. Whatever those channels may be. Where does what you do fit into all of this?As the most connected customer relationship management (CRM) solution in the hospitality industry, Cendyn works hard to continue to innovate, evolve and partner with other leaders in the industry. We provide the solution to, what can feel like, a data avalanche by providing integrations to over 170 technology partners. These integrations all pull into our solution to provide a cohesive, clear way to view and take action on all that data. We like to think of our CRM as the glue that binds PMS data and third-party vendors together to push out consistent information for hotel brands to help retain and nurture guests. Each entity, or integration is unique, so every interface at the integration level is tailored specifically for that hotel, hotel group or brand. In order to be this specific, we have to continuously evolve to be in tune with emerging and fast-growing markets around the world. Data privacy laws vary in every region too, so we ensure we’re aligned with every region and their laws to maintain the most secure data for every hotelier and their guests. It’s a huge bonus for hoteliers as they have the freedom to pick and choose the vendors they want to work with but have the knowledge that their CRM will always be able to bring that information together into a single point of truth for every guest. It’s now on the hotelier to demand the need for a CRM that will provide good quality, secure data that puts their guests first.