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Data and the Hospitality Industry: Innovating CX for the New Normal

Here are three steps CTOs can take to improve customer experience through ETL or ELT.
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Data is a company’s biggest ticket to improving customer service. Now that vaccines have been widely rolled out across the country, the transition back to a sense of normalcy has opened the door for hospitality and tourism companies to re-engage with the public and surprise and delight their returning customers. The best way to do that in the hotel industry, is to use technology to engage with customers throughout their entire journey — starting before they even walk into the building to the moment they check out — especially since 65% of consumers would become long-term customers and return to a property consistently that provides a positive experience. 

Generally, when a hotel knows more about its customers, it’s able to better tailor their experiences — and the key to successful personalization is data. There’s a massive amount of data to be collected, digested, and analyzed, which has previously been untapped by the hospitality industry. Data is foundational to business operation and ultimately business success. It plays a role in everything from revenue management to targeted marketing efforts, and the overall customer experience, shining a light into what additional services guests want, while providing a clearer picture of competitor offerings. 

To manage the sheer volume of data — and fully take advantage of its value  — companies should look to invest in a cloud solution. The hotel industry is one of the last to migrate to the cloud, and in today’s ecosystem, companies that haven’t made the transition to the cloud are already behind. 

When it comes to managing data, cloud technology offers businesses greater agility, flexibility and storage capacity, plus provides new opportunities to innovate customer service through automation possibilities. By using cloud technology, hotels can enhance their customer experience, improve retention rates and increase visitation frequency. 

According to a recent study, 54% of hotels planned to increase their technology budgets after knowing that 85% of guests will choose a property based on their technology offerings. But just getting your data into the cloud isn’t enough to ensure you’re making the most of it. Using an Extract Transform Load (ETL) tool can assist the hospitality industry in managing scattered data among different systems and gain insight into operations and more efficiently leverage that data for meaningful reporting. Now more than ever, the hospitality industry must unlock the value in their data to gain a competitive advantage. 

ETL, or cloud-native data integration that includes push-down ELT, enables companies to  consolidate all of their data into a single location — and a centralized, shared data source can drive better business decisions and quality customer experiences through crystal-clear insights. 

When looking to make the move to the cloud, here are three steps CTOs can take to improve customer experience through ETL or ELT.

1. Avoid duplicates in order to streamline data

Duplicates are bound to exist, especially with a distributed IT infrastructure, and hotels are cross funneling inputs from multiple properties around the country. To get a better handle on your data model and use the insights more efficiently, tackling this challenge of customer deduplication is critical. The tourism group TUI is one example of a company that has developed a tailored analyst solution to do just that called THE DUDE (TUI Hotels Engine for DUplicate DEtection). For years, they've successfully found ways to represent real-world customers with a variety of booking channels. 

In order to take full advantage of data, businesses need to identify duplicates and match and merge customer records. A data professional and a modern ETL/ELT platform can ensure the following is completed:

  • The data is cleaned, stripped of special characters, established a common format and ensured data types are synchronized.
  • Establish the scope of your data deduplication efforts to better move through the process and streamline. Also, map out a set grade or rank to which two duplicates may overlap. 
  • Have a standard rule for evaluating if a match candidate is classified as a match or not.
  • Create a system for merging all matches together to better fill in missing values.

2. Use cloud native ELT to transform data

Using the power of a cloud data platform, CTOs can extract and process their raw data, load, and transform it, all to create actionable insights through cloud-native pushdown ELT products. This allows business to scale and enables hoteliers to have more positive interactions with guests. 

Since the data duplication process and algorithms are complex, ELT platforms can offer a simplified way to manage the process accurately and holistically, instead of incorporating a lot of business and domain logic. ELT platforms clean and use intuitive UI systems that can break down a large problem into smaller tasks that fit into the bigger picture and visually arrange results to make them comprehensible and let CTOs gain insight into the data easier.

3. Utilize accurate insights to populate marketing, sales, and support platforms

As companies are transitioning to the cloud, the data used to book travel, hotels, and attractions often become siloed and aren’t used to their full potential. When this data is employed correctly, guests can experience the efficiency of the cloud even before their stay begins with enhanced services such as virtual check-ins and booking reservations and online add-on options.

Cloud computing adheres to guests' increasing need for total access and connectivity wherever they are. By leveraging an ETL/ELT platform, hoteliers and CTOs are able to match and merge customer duplicate data, allowing them to see a complete picture of every customer for the first time. This increases the data’s value and allows businesses in the hospitality industry to pull out insights (e.g., what time of the year someone likes to travel, or what type of vacation experience they prefer) to better serve their customer and company needs. 

The power of data analytics is evolving rapidly in every industry. As hospitality executives and companies realize the full potential of their data and move to the cloud, we'll continue to see a boom in the market for cloud data analytics platforms. Better data records mean better customer experiences, and ETL or ELT tools born in the cloud and built for modern cloud data platforms can equip hoteliers with the keys to run successful businesses and move toward the future of the modern-day traveler.

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