Customer Relations Management (CRM) has been current in the sphere of hospitality for nearly 20 years. What are the latest trends? Donald Gasper surveys some recent developments.

“Hotels and resorts have come to realise how important it is to centralise guest and marketing data into one customer data platform to personalise communication, drive revenue and build guest loyalty,” says Chris Crowl, director of sales and marketing with Sands Resorts of Myrtle Beach in Southern Carolina, who spoke recently with Hospitality Technology magazine.

Myrtle Beach is a vacation resort on the Atlantic coast of the southern United States and one of the major centres of tourism in Southern Carolina.

“I’m thrilled about leveraging our guests’ purchase history into my segmentation strategy and creating truly personalised and relevant messaging,” says Crowl.

“Make sure you select a digital marketing platform that has the ability to monitor the behaviour of your potential guests and predict behaviour and then use AI to boost relevancy of messages and drive booking conversion,” he advises.

Sands Resorts uses a digital marketing platform developed by Listrak, which it integrates with the Maestro property management system.

Listrak is a digital marketing automation platform that empowers hospitality marketers to generate revenue and build brand loyalty through personalised customer experience solutions.

The customer-data platform is built for marketers to nurture the customer experience across all digital channels. It features best-in-class CRM such as advanced audiences, predictive dynamic content, abandonment programs, social media integration and sophisticated pre-and post-stay communication – each to drive incremental revenue.

Crowl says that social media integration is the key. He advises marketers to leverage digital marketing platforms to orchestrate cross-channel campaigns to increase conversions: “Consider connecting your email and guest database directly to ad platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter. This ensures all audiences are in sync and accessible for marketing. Ad dollars are more efficiently spent by targeting relevant audiences in their preferred channels.”

Proving popular

Cendyn, a cloud-based software and services provider that develops integrated technology platforms for driving sales and marketing performance in the travel and hospitality industry, has been proving popular with many hotels recently. It is described by Nasdaq-listed Sabre Corporation, with whom it this March entered into an enhanced technology agreement, as the best-in-class CRM solutions provider.

The Cendyn Hospitality Cloud claims to offer the most complete set of innovative software and ser-vices in the industry, covering hotel marketing, guest engagement, group sales, and event manage-ment. With offices in Boca Raton, Atlanta, Boston, San Diego, Toronto, Whistler, London, Munich and Singapore, Cendyn serves more than 30,000 clients in 143 countries, with enterprise spend lev-els in excess of US$1 billion.

Last year Hong Kong’s Hotel ICON chose Cendyn to be its CRM provider, thus becoming the latest property in Hong Kong select it.

“Hotel ICON is a hotel that pushes the boundaries of innovation,” says Richard Hatter, General Manager of the hotel. “To provide the ultimate experience for every guest, we have been looking for a highly-advanced CRM which can help us integrate our customer retention and revenue management strategy. We are so glad that Cendyn could provide us with a solution to do just that.”

Cendyn’s CRM provides a guest intelligence solution that utilises data collected from multiple sources to provide a true, single profile of each guest. Using that data, Hotel ICON is able to communicate with each guest through the channels that work for them, and learn more about each guest throughout their travel journey. It will drive guest retention over time and create more loyal, brand advocates from their customer base.

Partnering with Cendyn, Hotel ICON will be launching an instant reward guest loyalty programme this month. It will be a first of its kind in offering personalised pricing for travellers ‘booking direct’ with the hotel. “Our loyalty programme will become a central part of our comprehensive customer relationship strategy as it is designed with more targeted rewards and has the ability to communicate the rewards differently with different groups of members based on their value,” Hatter says.

“As the ICON team leverages on Cendyn’s CRM, we are able to research on guest’s preferences and prepare a host of personalised in-room treats.”

For example, the hotel’s team researched one special guest’s preferences and prepared a host of personalised in-room treats.

After a long journey, she arrived to find a chilled bucket of her favourite beer, a teddy bear stuffed animal adorned with a mask of the iconic Hootsuite owl, a photo of the entire Hotel ICON concierge team wearing Hootsuite owl masks, and a platter of chocolates and strawberries with a personalised welcome note bearing the Hootsuite and Hotel ICON logos.

“This programme helps us promote our hotel direct booking option,” says Hatter. “At the moment we are at 28 per cent on direct booking and project to reach 30-32 per cent by end of the year as we continue to leverage on Cendyn CRM as part of our overall CRM strategy.”