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Use of CRM System to Leverage Efficiency

By John Wimmer, CIO, Xanterra

John Wimmer, CIO, Xanterra

Cloud Computing for Back Office Technology

At Xanterra, many of our locations have extreme bandwidth challenges due to their remote locations which make cloudbased initiatives difficult to implement and makes it unreliable for mission critical applications. However, we are focused on leveraging the cloud for more back office and non guest-facing technology where outages can be managed without creating customer service issues.

CRM with a Strategic Plan and not just to “Keep Pace” While almost all hospitality companies have gone down the CRM route, it is important to find ways to use the CRM to differentiate yourself from the competition in order to make the cost of the implementing and maintaining the product worthwhile. I believe that many have implemented this type of solution just to “keep pace” with the industry without a strategic plan in place for how to effectively use it once it is implemented.

Without first creating the vision, I believe that many hospitality companies create yet another well intended product which does not meet up to its original promise. Used properly, a CRM system can add tremendous value to an organization, especially in the hospitality sector.

However, I feel that proper planning on its strategic usage and how it can be leveraged to make a difference is a key component in making it have an impact.

Residential Grade Service: The Biggest Challenge in Hospitality Industry

One of our biggest challenges is providing residential grade services in a hotel setting. In today’s world, people not only expect the same types of services in a hotel that they receive at home (Television services, Internet/WiFi, etc.) but at the same or superior service levels. With the density of users in a hotel setting and the connectivity challenges which exist at many of Xanterra’s locations (especially inside the National Parks), providing these services at the quality levels guests expect has become one of my largest challenges. This is an even bigger challenge at Xanterra than at other hospitality companies due to our need to extend these services to employee housing units which are also required for our employees due to the remote nature of many of our locations. This growing need for bandwidth (and our difficulty in delivering it at many of our locations) has also extended challenges into our corporate network where the demand for improved bandwidth continues to grow at an almost exponential rate while our ability to deliver that bandwidth at a reasonable cost does not grow. As our desire to implement newer and more advanced technology platform grows (for items such as CRM, Business Intelligence, etc.), I have real concerns about our ability to provide the necessary network backbone to support the communication needs of the company as its dependency on these technology platforms continues to increase.

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