Is this business priority just ‘pie in the sky’?


I saw a fascinating discussion forum at the Independent Hotel Show at Olympia last week.

It was called ‘Smart Distribution in the Data Revolution’. It was very capably chaired by Carl Weldon of HOSPA; he challenged the panel on how to optimise revenue and build loyalty from the overwhelming tsunamis of data created by the wibbly-wobbly-web, technology and marketing.

Each member of the panel actively deprioritised the fear and pain of drowning in data with poignant lifesaving tips and guidance exemplified below.

Firstly however let me share with you my frustration and the reason for this post. I didn’t get chance to share what I believe is a really important question that evolved right at the end of the session from the discussion and brilliant points they all made, some key ones being:

  • Bringing together disparate data silos – Ally Dombey
  • Knowing who the customer is – Ally Dombey
  • OTAs to the rescue! – offloading spare occupancy – Ally Dombey
  • Never mind the big data, it’s the small data that is crucial – Luis del Olmo
  • The essence of business is the customer – Luis del Olmo
  • Don’t focus on the data, focus on the outcomes – Tim Unwin
  • Crucial is clarity of knowing where you want the business to go – data is the servant – Michael Heyward
  • Revenue Management has to dovetail with Sales, Marketing, Ops, Front desk, Banqueting etc etc – Michael Heyward.

The question that therefore evolved which I didn’t have chance to share with the audience because Carl had to close the session promptly is this… if you really want to put the customer, guest or consumer at the heart of the business, if you really want to treat people/customers how they want to be treated (not how you think they want to be treated, whether Revenue, Sales, Marketing, Ops management) HOW DO YOU GET THE KNOWLEDGE ON THESE PEOPLE?

… amplifying further, what is the tiny data that matters, how do you find out the emotional triggers that enable you to impress, influence and motivate customers better than the competition. And be able to keep doing it.

Obviously there are some crucial strategies and techniques that do this, cerebral and technological, whatever the size of the business.

As a taster, the advice the panellists all shared suggests a process and attitude which I’ve started to describe in the signature visual.

I’d be interested in people’s thoughts, nuggets and contributions in the interests of sharing best practice, as it might be obvious to data and crm specialists but not to other business folk.

So any company that doesn’t vigorously pursue this vision can only ever pay lip service to ‘customercentricity’ (hate that word) nirvana and never really treat their customers how they want to be treated.