The need for hospitality technology firms to help their hotel clients deliver personalized experiences to guests is becoming ever more business-critical for both parties. Guests want to be treated as individuals, hotels want to be able to deliver that, tech partners have to bridge the gap.
tnooz sat down over Skype with Charles Deyo, founder and CEO of Cendyn, to listen to his take on personalization and the specific demands of personalization at scale.
“Personalization at scale is difficult. I think hotels have had trouble because you need to aggregate base personas that relate to specific elements about personalization that are the same among a group of people.”
He talked often about the “customization of personas”. Once the persona is defined, the next step is to make sure that any requirements of the individuals within that group – the customization piece – are available operationally.
“[The industry] talks about CRM and marketing automation, but there’s also an element of CRM where it needs to be operationalized.”
Hotel staff are often left out of the conversations around hotel tech, but Cendyn sees their role as pivotal to the delivery of the personalized experience to guests. He shared an example which illustrated how hotels are also now seeing staff and solutions as integrated not interchangeable.
“We’re implementing a big client in Australia and they had their head of HR at the kick-off meeting, who said the right thing – that this is all going to be about change management, changing the service delivery model, how we deal with our guests, and change needs to be top-down driven and we need HR support to get it done.”
The interview took place in the run-up to HITEC, where Cendyn will be showcasing the latest version of its eNgage product. The release talked to the talk around “empowering your front-line staff to make every guest feel like a VIP” but Deyo presented a compelling vignette on how this is achieved:
“So we have a widget that the front desk can use. Its goes out, reads the PMS and pulls back all the unique elements of the customer who is checking in. It then uses a business rules engine to identify what are the three most important things to engage the customer on.”
The automated distillation of all the data into a list of three, Deyo said, ticks the guests made to feel welcome box and also means that the check-in process remains quick and efficient because the conversation does not meander into areas of little interest to the guest.
Deyo, who launched Cendyn neary 20 years ago, said it will “continue to figure out new and unique ways to operationalize the CRM.”
And in terms of personalization, particular the personalization at scale segment, “customization of personas” seems to be the way to square the circle between what the guests want and what the hotel can deliver.
Here’s the video interview in full.