Professional Comment

Business Development Through Integrated Technology and CRM

By Henry Seddon, Managing Director Access Hospitality

The advances in hospitality technology over the last year have been well documented, with delivery and takeaway, pre ordering, order and pay at table, and contactless payments being amongst the most utilised in response to controls placed on the sector.

With so many solutions available, it’s worth highlighting a couple of areas that we expect will impact most significantly on an operators’ efficiency and revenue generation.

Firstly, the importance of technology integration. As Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality acknowledged in an Access Hospitality webinar last year “I have never seen such a rapid rollout of technology; things that would normally take three to five years to get through.We have now got that seamless integration of technology and the acceleration towards a single portal for a customer.Where you want to use technology is in a smart way to allow your staff to be freed up to deliver better service.That’s where technology comes into its own.”

Where information and data can be entered once and shared across multiple platforms, there is an obvious benefit in increasing efficiency but also reducing the potential for errors when keying in. Monitoring performance and development opportunities is also enhanced when key metrics are available in one view from a single sign-on and the volume of rich data for qualitative analysis is increased.

With so much attention given to the operational benefits of technology, a second business area that shouldn’t be overlooked is customer relationship management (CRM). Customer expectations within hospitality venues remain high; in fact, they are likely to have risen in response to the post pandemic safety and cleaning measures that have been introduced, so the ability to track, manage and build relationships with customers remains vital.

To ensure that we can provide the most comprehensive and responsive service, Access Hospitality recently acquired Acteol, the UK’s leading provider of CRM software and contracted marketing managed services to the hospitality, leisure, travel, and gaming sectors. Our belief is that by creating a single customer view where all data is in one place, de-duped and enriched, multi-channel marketing becomes more efficient and effective, with more meaningful connections, greater customer engagement and resulting sales.

CRM tracks customer interactions, visit frequency, preferences and spend providing an accurate profile that they might not even recognise about themselves. Using the information available to tailor bespoke communications and offers deepens the affinity and loyalty from customers, increasing the likelihood of them returning to venue and redeeming any incentives provided.

For any customer interaction measurement is priceless and, under- standing what works and what doesn’t, enables you to focus your efforts in the most effective way possible and make data driven decisions. Analysis of results identifies the best channels for communication – which might include email, SMS, push notifications or direct mail – as well as conveying the best sentiments or promotions to generate a positive response.

Predictions suggest that there may be fewer out of home hospitality occasions taken over the next few months, but that customers will be looking for more premium experiences.The value of integrating a powerful CRM system into your technology management suite will give your hospitality operation a significant boost and offers a compelling argument for integration with other cost saving and revenue generating technology.