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Background of the company

Hilton Worldwide (formerly, Hilton Hotels Corporation) is a global hospitality company. It is owned by the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm. As of January 2009 Hilton brands encompass 3,200 hotels with 545,000 rooms in 77 countries.[1] Hilton is ranked as the 43rd largest private company in the United States by Forbes.[2]
Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a broadly recognized, widely-implemented strategy for managing a companys interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new clients, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former clients back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service.[1] Customer relationship management denotes a company-wide business strategy embracing all client-facing departments and even beyond. When an implementation is effective, people, processes, and technology work together to increase profitability, and reduce operational costs.[2]

Phases of CRM
The three phases in which CRM help to support the relationship between a business and its customers are, to:

Acquire: a CRM can help a business in acquiring new customers through excellent contact management, direct marketing, selling and fulfillment.[3] Enhance: a web-enabled CRM combined with customer service tools offers customers excellent service from a team of trained and skilled sales and service specialists, which offers customers the convenience of one-stop shopping.[3] Retain: CRM software and databases enable a business to identify and reward its loyal customers and further develop its targeted marketing and relationship marketing initiatives.[4]

Challenges
Tools and workflows can be complex to implement, especially for large enterprises. Previously these tools were generally limited to contact management: monitoring and recording interactions and communications. Software solutions then expanded to embrace deal tracking, territories, opportunities, and at the sales pipeline itself. Next came the advent of tools for other clientfacing business functions, as described below. These technologies have been, and still are, offered as on-premises software that companies purchase and run on their own IT infrastructure. Often, implementations are fragmented; isolated initiatives by individual departments to address their own needs. Systems that start disunited usually stay that way: siloed thinking and decision processes frequently lead to separate and incompatible systems, and dysfunctional processes.

We just announced recently an enterprise solution called OnQ. It's a proprietary software to Hilton. The idea was we want our technology to provide the information to our people so they can provide our guests with customer service, so they are 'OnQ,' standing by waiting to perform.

Title: Hilton Hotels Corporation: Data Driven Hospitality

Discuss the problem facing the organization. The problem here is the fact that without any technology, this hotel chain has no way of recognizing a customer. The corporation wanted to find a way to track customers and see if they had a hard time at a Hilton Hotel before and if they did, try even harder to make the stay peaceful.

- How was the problem resolved, answer questions. The problem was solved by the creation of an IT system called OnQ. This is a program that keeps customer information about previous stays including their personal information and how well the stay was for the customer. It is a decision support tool that helps make managerial decisions when a situation is to arise. 1. The benefits of the OnQ program is that it will help make customers feel more important. If a customer is to come in a hotel 1,000 miles away from the first one they stayed at, information about the person will still be right there at the reach of the desk clerk on duty. A drawback is that only 4.7 customers are recognized. It needs to be to where every customer who has stayed at a Hilton Hotel has a pleasant experience. 2. To create a competitive advantage with the OnQ program, Hilton needs to have their desk workers treat the customer as if they are coming into their own house. They should call the customer by their first name and maybe even ask questions about why they are traveling, where they are traveling, and how long they are traveling. 3. Yes it is possible to have too much information about a customer. There are certain things that should not be kept about a customer. For example, how many people are with them, who it is with them, or maybe even why they are traveling.

- What other options are available today? Other options include having every guest fill out a questionnaire. This can be annoying for both parties, but it would help provide information about a guest. Once the questionnaire is filled out, the information should be transferred into a computer system and the OnQ will be ready for the next trip the customer makes.

- What would you recommend?? I would recommend that each customer be given a questionnaire in which the questions are totally optional and they do not have to fill out any personal information that made them feel uncomfortable. The could implement something that if the customer filled out the questionnaire that the customer would get a gift certificate to a nearby restaurant of get free movie passes or something like that.

1. What are the benefits and drawbacks of the OnQ system at Hilton?

An obvious benefit would be the ability to offer customized products and services based on customer preferences i.e. business travelers would need internet access, dry cleaning, newspaper, conference room availability, etc. Like the article explains Hilton also has the ability to leverage their customer database through extranets to attract high volume corporate accounts. Hilton must also be careful not to inundate customers with ancillary products, there is certainly a line that companies often cross when it comes to up-selling and cross-selling (see article below about the walking dead theory). It can be beneficial if the customer profile is accurate and they are offering relevant products.

2. What does Hilton have to do to create a competitive advantage through OnQ? Provide some specific examples.

The key to creating a competitive advantage with the OnQ system is expanding their customer profile database. For Hilton to tailor reservations to customer preferences they have to know their customer therefore they must remain diligent in accumulating customer information. With that information its important their employees be able to utilize the systems and with 100% turnover in front desk employees its amazing to me that they can keep employees trained and informed. Another competitive advantage may be derived from a cost savings standpoint. As the article mentions they have been able to consolidate their call centers. These savings can be passed on to the customer through lower rates, or nicer amenities (this may be a stretch as I am sure the savings from 2 call centers is somewhat insignificant considering the system was $50 million).

3. Is it possible to have too much information about a customer? Explain

I personally dont think too much information is possible as long as it truly is information and not just useless data. If the information can be accessed to assist employees in the decision making process, employees can make well-informed

decision. There could be a point of paralysis by analysis where employees have too much information that makes them indecisive.

I would like to add for question number 1 that One of the benefits that OnQ system delivers to Hilton is customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is the most important element in business, so OnQ can help Hilton to get that by highlighting the problems or inconvenience that the customer faced. For example, if a guest has complained in the past about being bumped from an overbooked hotel and moved to another Hilton property, the system will highlight that history should the same situation come up, thus making it less likely a hotel will ask that customer to walk again. Also, establish the value of a customer to Hilton based on personal history and on predictive modeling of the business the person is likely to do.

When Fiorendino recently arrived at one of the Hilton properties he frequents most, the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, Calif., front-desk manager Sheila Santos entered his name, was prompted to welcome him, and confirmed that the room he was getting based on his preferences in OnQ was what he wanted. Santos then asked him if he wanted to get frequent-flier miles for his stay--something OnQ can do for just about any airline. He provided an account number, and the miles were his. Next year, Hilton expects OnQ to help drive more revenue per visit, such as letting Santos sell restaurant reservations or tee times or concert tickets. Or it may let Fiorendino check in by himself at a kiosk. OnQ might even make the high-stress, high-turnover front-desk jobs more appealing. Santos says it eases the pressure by speeding up a variety of check-in tasks and makes it more likely that she can give customers what they want, making the job more rewarding. "It has made me as a front-desk manager and desk clerk much more efficient," she says. A key measure of success for Hilton is share of wallet--of all the money a person spends on hotels, how much goes to Hilton? One of the main values OnQ delivers is establishing the value of a customer to Hilton based on personal history and on predictive modeling of the business the person is likely to do. The extra attention to VIP customers has been paying off: Among its 6 million most-valued guests, Hilton says, the percentage of their spending on hotels in one of Hilton's eight hotel brands grew from 40% to 61% over the last two years, coinciding with the "customers really matter" strategy and rollout of OnQ.