Salesforce-Backed Mews Shifts Hotel Tech Focus From Room to Guest

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The investment arm of the enterprise giant Salesforce may see its investment in Mews as another way to get its suite of services into the hands of hotel companies.

Sean O’Neill

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I made a “bold and outrageous prediction” in 2019 that Salesforce would enter the travel space. Although this has not happened, a recent event indicates that the enterprise giant is roaming the sector.

Last month, Salesforce invested in travel technology company Mews through its venture arm Salesforce Ventures.

  • Mews has not disclosed the size of Salesforce Ventures’ investment.
  • But the Amsterdam-based startup said it plans to increase the number of employees by more than 90 percent next year in all positions.
  • The startup’s last funding round was in 2019 when it was a top-tier company battery projects He led a $33 million Series B tour of the company.
  • Thayer Ventureis being MUSE also supports. Chris Hemiter, managing director of the venture, told me in October that Muse could become a great source of income like withoutIt is on track to be the fund’s biggest success to date.

Mews provides enterprise software to hotels with what is commonly known as a property management system, or PMS. The startup has some notable clients.

Mews founder Richard Valtr argues that the building blocks of a hotel property management system cannot be the room.

  • “It made sense when the room was the main unit that could be sold in a hotel to have technology systems that make the room the core of its design,” Valtr said. “The basic architecture of hotel technology systems was laid down in the 1980s and 1990s, when basically all hotels thought of asking in this way.”
  • But Valtr said the new wave of hospitality leaders, such as those at Accor-owned brand The Hoxton, see guest data as the most important building block of the technology stack.
  • “People always ask me why is it so hard for hotel companies to recognize them when they come back and visit a hotel or property in the same chain,” Walther said. “This is precisely because of the awfulness of guest profiles, because tech systems are designed to take care of reservations and room allocation first and not the guest profile.”
  • “Hotel companies spend a tremendous amount of time trying to piece all customer data together, but the standardized view is never delivered in a practical way to service providers,” Valtr said. “So the receptionist still doesn’t know who I am After my fifth visit in three years.

A segment of hotel companies is increasingly interested in the possibility of profit from additional services and facilities. This is driving interest in purchasing a new operational technology.

  • “A guest might be a local person coming in for a business meeting in the lobby or to work in the co-working space or use the gym on some sort of monthly ticket,” Walther said. “Traditional hotel systems that tie everything into a ‘room file’ struggle to adapt to take advantage of these additional sales. These systems can only recognize me if I book a room and I have a hard time keeping track of other buying behavior.”
  • When engineers set up systems with the room as the primary unit for data linkage, challenging solutions can be required to provide customized service to guests. That’s because the relevant guest data is scattered.
  • “It gets more complicated when there is more than one guest in the room,” Walther said. “If you are traveling with my young daughter, we may require completely separate services at the hotel. But in a traditional hotel property management system, we would be part of one booking.”
  • Hotels may need different core technologies to reach a higher level of revenue to take advantage of the additional sales.
  • “You don’t have to be a full-service hotel to benefit,” Walther said. “You can outsource some of the jobs, like food and beverages [food and beverage], while taking part in the sale and learning how to provide superior service to your customers based on their buying behavior. You can monetize a lot of potentially guest-consuming services from your property as well.”

Many vendors promise to help hotels extract data from a range of hotel software systems to create a customer’s “golden record” – or a unified profile of a customer’s purchases and preferences. Walter is skeptical of the hypothesis.

  • “At trade conferences, a gold profile is always explained as someone trying to clean up data and see who the guest is even when an ordering partner like Booking.com doesn’t share the full email or other key details,” Valtr said. .
  • “It feels like hanging fruits to be pursued,” Walther said. “Because what you really want to know is how to capture all the characters or identities that a person has, like a person’s purchasing behavior and preferences on a business trip compared to a leisure trip.”
  • Valtr hopes that hotels will be able to bypass the use of middleware that translates the logic of one system into another. He would like hotels to have clean data that marketers can analyze via CRM, reputation management, and digital marketing tools like travel Revinate or global Salesforce.
  • In the typical tech pile of a hotel today, there’s a fundamentally great difference between what’s going on at CRS [central reservation system], menstruation [property management system], and in CRM [customer relationship management] And the level of the loyalty system,” Walther said. “You don’t have the kind of connection that you need for seamless interconnection.”
  • Walther said some hotel managers do not appreciate the severity of the problem. A hotel group guest experience manager might have interesting e-commerce profiles on their software and feel fantastically informative. But if the frontline workers don’t get the information, the guest is poorly served. In addition, hotel workers are missing out on great selling opportunities at the moment.

A closing side note about Salesforce: Whether or not the tech giant will one day enter into travel through an acquisition, more and more travel companies will adopt Salesforce services.

  • Case in point: In 2020, Mews went from using five sales, support, and customer relationship management systems to Salesforce.
  • The logic was simple. Cloud-based Salesforce tools get highly engineered for their synchronization with other commonly used software tools.
  • Many hotel companies are already using Salesforce’s loyalty program management product to help promote their loyalty programs.

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