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In Focus Commercial Credit

the employee feels in handling matters, the more professional the total experience of the stay will be for the customer, and they will remember that. This will result in an increased chance of retention. Upon arrival, the guest has already made

their reservation. Checking the information at the front desk is where the problems begin. An issue arises of not being able to check

if the company actually has an agreement with us, such as a fixed room rate (which is the normal agreement), or having the stay being paid for by invoice. Most customers believe that this second agreement is in place, when the agreement may only be reduced pricing. Even if the front desk is not 100% certain

about the facts, being in the service industry they have to live and breathe the rule that ‘the customer is always right’, resulting in sending more invoices and increasing your total credit.

Changing the tools We have customers from all over the world. We connected our systems into a worldwide

February 2016

database that was able to provide us with a DUNS number. Now, the hotels are able to look up customers and then choose the correct company, address, and credit rating. Then we connected the external information with our own information, such as outstanding amounts, and our historical payment experience with that particular customer. We also merged duplicates, closed wrong

accounts, and established a system for monitoring. This work took a lot of time and effort.

Training So were there occasions when the hotel was not able to find a particular company? Yes, indeed! Firstly, we found that the customers

themselves did not always have the correct information about their own company. Then we understood another reason for

all the wrong data: the front-desk people, with their hospitality mindset, did not want to discuss this, and trusted the customer. However, now we had to teach them that,

if the company was not on the system, it was important to find out why. Every company in the world is on that

database so, if they simply accepted the wrong data which the customer had provided, the result would be manual work to retrieve their money, and yet another wrong record on our system.

Results Today we are making our own tools to make better decisions. We are working on combining our data and the external data. After all, we know our customers best, and we want them to feel that we know them. In our opinion, this will give us the

opportunity to provide the best service – and this will have a knock-on positive effect when it comes to claiming payment. We all know that our data quality is

important. Still we believe that we are not alone in having challenges similar to these. The cleaning of data is time consuming, but valuable. Clean and monitored data will give a competitive advantage in the long run. CCR


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