Omni’s Persistence

Starting a CRM project takes a lot of dedication and effort, not just in getting approval and funding but in sheer hard work pulling the data together. Starting it twice, as Omni Hotels had to do, really tests your determination and focus.

“It was quite a blow!” reports Vicki Propp, Omni’s Director of CRM. “We’d spent almost a year creating a central guest information database when the vendor told us that they were dropping out of the business. However, we were convinced that this was the right direction and so we continued with another vendor, lebensart technology. Sadly, the database formats weren’t compatible so we had to completely re-create our work. This turned out to be far easier the second time around, though, since we’d already spent a lot of time standardizing the data formats and marketing codes at all properties for the first project.”

Having the same property management system at most properties (Omni Hotels uses HIS/Lodging Touch’s Libica product in 30 of it’s 38 sites) has clearly been a considerable help, but the advantages go well beyond consistent data collection. Guest folio and preference data from Libica is imported every two weeks to lebensart, which standardizes it and passes it on to the Marketing department for analysis and campaign management. A sub-set of the guest information – “all the data we need at the point of guest contact”, says Propp – is transferred to Omni’s central guest profile database; this is interfaced to its central reservations system, which in turn is interfaced to the Libica PMSs.

“The hotels are already very comfortable with recognizing and caring for their own repeat guests,” says Propp. “This allows them to receive guest history and preference details for Omni Hotels guests who may not have visited their particular property before. Although we’re just beginning to roll this out, we’re already seeing benefits.”

“The result has been a growing demonstration to those of our hotels who don’t use the standard PMS of the benefits of adopting it and being integrated with the rest of our systems. We’re finding that guests who are accustomed to being recognized at their regular Omni destination are surprised and pleased to be similarly acknowledged when they visit a different one. They get used to that glow, and it’s important both to the chain and the individual hotel to make sure they receive it everywhere.”

Persistence, standardization and integration – three keys to success.

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