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6 Ways a Customer Data Platform Improves Hospitality Service and Marketing

Customer data management is hardly a new concept to marketers and the IT folks that support them. What is new however, is the emergence of technology that unifies a company’s customer data from marketing, sales and service channels to enable customer modeling and drive customer experience.
Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) create a comprehensive view of each customer by capturing data from multiple systems, linking information related to the same customer, and storing the information to track behavior over time.  The CDP contains personal identifiers used to target marketing messages and track individual-level marketing results. Data stored in the CDP can be used by other systems for analysis and to manage customer interactions. A basic CDP assembles customer profiles, making them available in a passive fashion. One of the other central values of CDPs is that they are made to be run by marketing departments to either eliminate the need of IT groups to fulfill marketing needs or make supporting marketing much more cost efficient and time effective for IT.
CDPs & the Hospitality Industry
Customer data platforms offer value to any business or industry in which there is a need for more unified, actionable data in real time--and the hospitality industry is a prime candidate as most guests stay on properties an average of 48 hours, yet data becomes available after 72 hours -- long after a guest has departed.
This article from SessionM discuss several challenges that companies in the hospitality industry face that can be solved by employing a customer data platform:
  • The ability to tie together user actions across all touchpoints (online, booking, on-site in multiple spots, and follow up post-visit)
  • Address unique lifecycle: decision, pre-visit, visit and post-visit, and that each of those phases needs different things in terms of customer lifecycle
  • Tie together a single view of the customer across multiple properties but maintain a single view
  • The lack of any real-time functionality, leading to missed crucial moments while a guest is on property

CDP Use Cases for the Hospitality Industry
Decision Use Case:

When a customer is looking up availability or price in any of the brand’s digital properties or partners, a marketer wants to display information, content, or offers that would appeal to a specific customer based on any available information possessed on that customer.
Leveraging a CDP, the marketer could set up rules to highlight certain amenities of the properties in the area based on the profile of the customer. And by utilizing past purchase preferences, the status of the user, as well as room inventory, a CDP can provide appropriate offers. Alternatively, a CDP could enable offers for non-room related services, such as restaurant or casino credits.
Another way that CDPs enable hotels to influence the decision stage is by presenting the customer with the estimated points or status change she stands to earn based on the booking being evaluated.
Post Booking Use Case:

Between the time of booking completion and start of stay, a marketer can choose to provide offers for additional property or location related services based on the customer’s propensity to use such services.
After a guest makes a reservation, it’s all about getting the person excited for his impending stay and priming him for an amazing experience. Similar to the decision stage, you may highlight the amenities of the selection the guest made, or take the opportunity to send the customer a push notification or an email indicating special spa events or a discount with a partner car rental company for the duration of his stay.
During Check-in Use Case:

The check-in experience can be greatly enhanced by providing all available information about a customer, along with current campaigns etc. to front desk agents, concierge services and customer service personnel who can provide a far more personalized experience and possibly additional ad-hoc offers to the customer.
The check-in stage is your brand’s first physical encounter with the customer, and it’s  crucial to make a good impression. With a CDP, agents with authorization can provide discounts or additional points for use with a certain restaurant or service if they notice that the customer has used the service in the past.
Agents can also tailor messages or an interaction based on declared or observed behaviors by the customer with the brand. For example: the customer gave negative feedback in a survey about a sister location; mentioned his upcoming stay on Twitter; had hit the swimming pool every day during previous stays or is a high roller on the casino floor.
During Stay/On Property Use Case:

All property, partner and digital touchpoints can be provided with a single view of real-time customer information at the right time. Loyalty programs can also be leveraged for both earn and redemption across all touchpoints during the stay. The consumers of this information could be concierge services, customer service, casino floor agents, restaurant and bar POS systems, partner locations, customers etc.
Handheld devices, clienteling screens, CSR screens or kiosks can be provided with up to date information about the customer so agents on the ground can provide the best possible support. Purchases and other customer activity in any property or partner location can be appended to the profile and configured to earn or redeem points.
On Checkout Use Case:

The customer can get a quick snapshot of her loyalty program-related earnings and be prompted with a survey as they leave the property.
A great customer experience can make it hard to say goodbye and seal the deal for your brand as the first choice for future travel. Send them off on a high note by providing an in-app message about partner transportation services on the day of checkout. Shortly after checkout, present a survey that is tailored to the customer based on their operational profile (first stay, long stay, social media user, used the spa, etc.).
Dormant/Between Stays Use Case:

Based on past customer activities, specific customer segments can be chosen for drip campaigns for other locations, and the app can provide both generic travel and destination information based on expressed interest, and targeted campaigns based on criteria such as approaching tier status thresholds or events.
CDPs provide brands the opportunity to stay top of mind among customers between stays. For example, customers that are close to reaching a higher tier threshold, or a point expiration event can be targeted with offers that encourage them to book a stay in the near future. Customers that are known to travel to a destination at a regular cadence, but have not done so for an extended period can be targeted for destination-specific offers.
CDPs for Deeper Loyalty (and Revenues)
Loyalty has been a constant area of focus for the hospitality industry. In the past, the paradigm was about collecting nights based on stays and tiers, but now it’s about a more hybrid personalized and engaged model.
The future is now about: How do we create customer experiences around loyalty retention and engagement, not only for those who intend to sign up but others who are customers with a specific amount of frequency? How do we apply loyalty to 100% of the customer base who are the frequent buyers and the infrequent buyers?
Executing that hybrid, personalized and engaged model depends on actionable data. The right CDP enables brands to expand from typical loyalty program structures to behavior driven and experiential rewards. With data streaming in from various in-house and 3rd party systems, brands can set up loyalty campaigns with diverse outcomes, such as points, notifications, tagging and more, to respond to customer behaviors that are not just transaction or stay related.

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