Company insight

Finding the person in the data

Hotels have a wealth of data at their fingertips but often have difficulty turning it into meaningful insight. As Shayne Paddock, vice-president of GMS product development and innovation at Amadeus, explains, data is the key to personalisation – which is now the strongest weapon in the battle for revenue.

he hospitality industry has been battered by a perfect storm caused by lockdowns and travel restrictions. Revenues have plummeted and even the most optimistic forecasts suggest a long, slow road to recovery. Yet, among the clouds, there is a silver lining. The pandemic has made competition for bookings more intense than ever, but it has also given hotels a chance to reflect on what matters most to guests. One thing is clear – price wars are not the answer. “People don’t write positive reviews about price, but about good experience, being treated well, being recognised and remembered” says Shayne Paddock, vice- president of GMS product development and innovation at Amadeus. “It’s about creating a genuine relationship. Personalised pricing can be important, but so can personalised service.” Cutting rates doesn’t do anyone any good, but providing a better guest experience – one that is tailored to the needs of the individual traveller – is a powerful strategy.


“Hotels need to stand out now,” says Paddock. “Demand is down, so they must work hard to get that one booking that the guest does make. Getting hospitality right means creating the right package from a guest’s past behaviour and tailoring their experience. People might pay more for better personalisation.”

Breaking down walls

Amadeus develops open, cloud-based technology solutions for global hospitality organisations, helping them to improve efficiency and deliver exceptional guest experiences. Paddock is responsible for guest management solutions, and his job is to help hoteliers use data in ways that

Hotel Management International /

make their lives easier and create a better guest experience.

“Hoteliers often miss opportunities for personalisation,” he remarks. “Some think they lack the data to do it, but this is not true. Others think it will be too hard. It is our job to make it easy. Personalisation means everything from seamless check-in to knowing whether a guest wants a human touchpoint.”

their audience with offers, reminders of their previous stays and anything else that engages them.

Everything that generates a response feeds data analysis tools – whether they are using AI or machine learning engines or simpler systems. This builds a profile not only of each individual guest, but also their lookalikes – guests who might behave in a similar way.

“Hotels need to stand out now... Demand is down, so they must work hard to get that one booking that the guest does make. Getting hospitality right means creating the right package from a guest’s past behaviour and tailoring their experience. People might pay more for better personalisation.”

Data runs through hotels like a central nervous system. The property management system provides invaluable insight into when guests are likely to visit, for how long and for what purpose – and that is just the start of the data chain. Hotels can use website data to see the pages a guest is browsing. If it is the spa page, then it is simple to target that guest with a special offer. After-stay surveys serve as a feedback engine to highlight both problems and success stories, helping hotels to fix what is wrong and replicate what is right. “A simple data element can be used intelligently to create special offers targeted to specific guests,” Paddock explains. “If a guest has visited a particular restaurant in the past, it is possible to offer them the chance to book it in advance. Everything is added to the guest profile.” Though Covid is keeping many people at home, hoteliers can still reach out to

While the industry’s engine idles, ready to roar into action in the post-pandemic world, hotels have a chance to gather and collate the data that fuels their customer relationship management (CRM) systems. “A big challenge is that data is often siloed in different systems,” notes Paddock. “At Amadeus, we are building a platform to overcome that and bring together different sources of data. That said, we can do a lot even with a little bit of data. The real key is to evangelise about collecting data and to make sure that the CRM is open to anyone who can add meaningful information.” Younger generations now anticipate personalisation and expect service providers to use the data they generate. A hotel’s database is more important than ever, and it is never too late to start using it. ● 51

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