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Dear hoteliers,

Today, we are going to talk about the Unified Data Repository, also called UDR or Data Management Platform by our Anglo-Saxon friends. If you don’t know what this is all about, don’t panic! The subject is really in its infancy in the hotel world. 

However, I firmly believe that the UdR will become a major, if not indispensable, tool in the years to come. Able to offer a 360° view of your customers and their consumption habits, the unique customer repository helps you avoid serious mistakes, significantly improve your customer experience, and multiply your ROI. 

Enchanting prospects that have the merit of arousing interest, don’t they? That’s why I wanted to tell you a little bit more.

Happy reading!

Let’s start by defining the UDR

In a previous article, I told you about artificial intelligence and its impact on the hotel world. And one of the things I said was that artificial intelligence could not work without data. If I had to put it another way, I’d say that if the AI is a car, the data is its fuel. And for a vehicle to function properly, it needs good quality fuel. 

The problem is that getting readable data is almost impossible in the hotel world. The multiplicity of data software (PMS, Channel Manager, POS, RMS, etc.) integrated in hotels creates duplicate information between them, or even duplicate information within one piece of software (e.g., multiple profiles for the same customer in your PMS). And this problem only becomes more pronounced when managing a group of hotels. As a result, it has become impossible to use this data to improve the customer experience or increase sales. Before even mentioning AI, the hotel staff is already experiencing difficulty in managing their hotel’s data.

This “small” problem is becoming one of the major issues of tomorrow. You can’t ignore it anymore. It is in this context that the Unified Data Repository is an ideal solution. A solution of this type makes it possible to centralize all the data in a single point, deduplicate it for clarity, and consolidate it by deleting those that become obsolete. This gives you a clear view of your customers and lets you get to know them over the long term. By centralizing their contact information and gaining a better understanding of their shopping habits, behaviors, and reasons for coming, you can adapt and improve your hotel’s customer experience. 

3 reasons to implement a UDR in your hotel

Implementing such technology will bring you many benefits. But to get to the heart of the matter, here are the three main benefits that await you:

Avoiding absolute fault

In the hotel business, one of the absolute faults is undoubtedly not to recognize a guest who has already stayed in your establishment. It immediately breaks the loyalty that was perhaps being built up. And unfortunately, this error is still far too common, as tools are rarely suitable for handling this. 

By giving you clear information about the client as well as about the room he or she has rented, UDRs unlike most PMSes, help you avoid this problem. Let’s say that John comes to your hotel this month for business, and that he books with his company card, his personal number, and his business email address. Let’s now suggest that two years later, this time for touristic reasons, he stays in another hotel of the same brand, which he books with his personal card, his private number, and his personal e-mail. 

Thanks to the UDR, which centralizes the data, the receptionist will be able to see that the two Johns are the same person via the number, and will be able to tell him, “I see that you’re already familiar with our hotels. We’re delighted to see you again, John.”

Obtaining practical, readable information to improve the customer experience

The unified data repository does not only offer the ability to remember a visitor. It is also a great tool for anyone who wants to improve the experience they offer their customers. 

As I explained in my definition, the UDR centralizes data. This can be done between hotels in the same group, and also between all the other services offered by a hotel: spa, restaurant, etc. 

If John has been to your hotel 5 times and ordered wine at each meal, the UDR will give you this information. The sommelier will be aware of this and will be able to prepare a little special something. And if, that evening, John wanted to enjoy a handcrafted beer, he would still be touched by the gesture. 

This data centralization is a clever tool for making your guests’ stays absolutely perfect. You can find an infinite number of uses for it. All the data collected, centralized, deduplicated, and consolidated – birthdays, number of hotel visits, consumption habits – allows you to go further and have a long-term vision of your customers. 

Interesting, isn’t it? 

Improving your marketing costs

The third advantage is a reduction in campaign costs. It is well known that Google Ads campaigns can be very expensive. To avoid these expenses, one is quickly tempted to start e-mailing. But emails that are not personalized are becoming less and less likely to hit the right spot with prospects. 

With an UDR, you can create personalized e-mailing campaigns and drastically increase your engagement rate. On average, I’m talking about making a 5.2x ROI. A birthday e-mail summarizing a customer’s specific stay in your establishment, a personalized promotional e-mail in honor of customers who have already been there more than three times? 

What type of hotel is the UDR for?

The solution, while more useful for large groups, is still very interesting for hotels of all sizes. The UDR is a tool capable of adapting to any type of establishment. It would not be used in the same way for a 20-room, two-star hotel and a resort, of course, but it is able to provide the advantages mentioned above in both cases! During a web marketing campaign, the more intimate hotel would be able to send highly personalized and less formal emails to increase customer loyalty, while the resort could create an offer perfectly tailored to the customer’s profile or the global habits of its consumers. 

The time required to implement such a solution varies from case to case.It really depends on the complexity of your facility and the number and types of different software you use. But nothing is insurmountable in the hotel industry, which, let’s face it, manages far less software than many other sectors.It won’t happen in a day and it’s certainly a challenge, but I can assure you that working with an UDR is well worth it. 

My last word? Go for it! Ultimately, you will gain in productivity, sales, and customer experience. And you’ll be able to ride out the tides where others might drown.

Invest today to be serene tomorrow. 

Thank you for your reading!

Tony LOEB
Author

Tony Loeb started his career in Hotel marketing in 2001 as a webmaster, then quickly became the Technical Director of a web agency specialized in the hotel industry. Passionate about the tourism sector and attracted by the idea of taking on new challenges, Tony took over the management of a team of hotel consultants until 2014, when he decided to make hotel marketing his core business. In 2014, he co-founded the company Experience Hotel and is now responsible for its international development and deployment, improving tools for automating and optimizing customer relations, from booking to customer loyalty.

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