Integrating Systems: How Guest Profiles Will Unlock Revenue and Build Customer Loyalty (Part 2)
Note: This is part 2 of our blog on how integrated systems can improve hospitality through more efficient analysis of guest data. Click here to read part 1.
Suppose I handed you a plain paper box that was simply marked PUZZLE.
"This will be fun!" I might say. "It's a picture-puzzle of people having fun at the beach. Let's put it together."
Sure, we probably know what we'd expect to see in a picture of the seashore – sand castles, kids swimming, surfers and fishermen. But just knowing what might be there isn't enough when it's time to try and sort out all those pieces and fit them into place. Plus, we have no idea what the finished picture will actually look like.
And that's the problem many hoteliers face today, not just in gathering customer data, but in analyzing it to create profiles that offer a total view of travel customers – then, effectively leveraging that knowledge to build loyalty and customer revenue.
New technology promises to help, giving hoteliers ways to gauge customer value through streamlined guest profile management that's scalable and consistent throughout the brand. The more complete knowledge of a guest that's available, the more personalized and compelling the customer's direct-channel shopping and booking experience will be.
Not only does having this complete picture of a guest help ensure satisfaction and maximize revenue, but knowing how to apply data-driven knowledge will allow the industry to put other insights to work. For example, recent research from Phocuswright tells us that 48 percent of frequent business travelers use their smartphones to book.  Without complete information on a guest, how can hoteliers tell which business travelers might be more receptive to offers delivered to their smartphones? Or, how can hoteliers tell which smartphone bookers are business travelers and engage them more effectively?
The answer lies in profile management. But many hotels, chains and brands lack a single system capable of providing a 360-degree view of a guest. And it gets more complicated when you consider all the many sources of data – OTA profiles, on-property and call center activity, social media posts and loyalty programs – all of which are valuable, but each of which requires substantial resources to match and merge. The fact that many hoteliers are relying on multiple data systems and legacy technology only makes the situation more complex. 
Technology and a cohesive profile management strategy offer numerous benefits and options for hoteliers. Profile management allows for more robust integration of information from various sources, giving hoteliers more insights into guests' potential value. From a marketing standpoint, better knowledge of guests means better messaging and targeting, leading to higher ROI. From a guest service standpoint, more knowledge of a guest means a better customer experience across multiple channels, as well as on-property. New technology offers solutions to streamline profile management and better integrate data across different platforms and channels, allowing hoteliers to optimize loyalty management and provide better marketing support.
As you consider your hotel's profile management and data integration workflow, here are some important questions to consider:
- Are guests' attributes available at all points of sale and contact, even across multiple systems?
- Does your hotel or chain have the ability to look up and edit profile information from a "gold copy" so that it's immediately available at the next touch point?
- How easily can you customize your information systems to match, merge and remove duplicate profiles?
Guest data from multiple channels and platforms fits together to provide us a better view of who our customers are, how and where they travel and the ways we can best engage them. Data-driven systems offer many new and better ways not just of segmenting customers, but adapting to their preferences and giving them an experience that's personalized and authentic – which, in turn, will increase their direct-channel engagement and drive both loyalty and revenue growth.
Sabre has systems and solutions to help you achieve these goals, keeping hotel brands and chains competitive and helping them not only meet, but exceed their customers' expectations. Contact an account manager today and learn how we can give you a data-driven competitive edge.