I woke up this morning to the news that SAP has agreed to acquire Qualtrics for $8B in cash. Not only is this the second largest SaaS acquisition ever, but it’s a great outcome for Qualtrics. What excites me about this deal, however, isn’t the money changing hands. It’s how it validates Revinate’s vision and strategy for the hospitality industry. It shows the tremendous value of having one, integrated platform for Customer Experience (CX), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Communications Management (CCM). It gives me confidence that we’re leading our customers down the right path.
When we founded Revinate in 2009, review sites, review content and social content were exploding globally and impacting market rankings, hotelier rates, occupancy, revenue and profits. We knew that guest feedback and guest satisfaction were ultimately the underpinning of hotelier success so we developed and launched our Reputation Management solution for hotels, which quickly became the global gold standard.
We also knew that unsolicited feedback would need to be paired with solicited guest feedback. The industry had been collecting feedback with physical comment cards, then guest satisfaction surveys (GSS), but these long surveys were largely focused on hotel operations and weren’t guest-centric in their design or in their purpose.
We saw solicited guest feedback as an opportunity to gauge not only how well hotels were serving their customers but also to discern the strength of the bond. In other words, are guests happy and will they return and advocate for the hotel? We launched Revinate Surveys, a guest-centric and user-friendly solution with powerful sentiment analysis and cutting edge reporting to help answer these questions. We pioneered automated survey syndication of verified guest reviews to TripAdvisor and Google, so guests could provide feedback to both the hotel and to the online channels that matter most with a single response. This has provided tremendous measurable marketing value and impact, giving hoteliers the ability to know their guests, with all solicited and unsolicited feedback in one place.
In the news about the merger, there is reference to the powerful value of “X-data” (customer experience data) merged with “O-data” (operational data). Essentially being able to measure how customers feel about a product or experience, and then seeing the related operating results. Similarly, Revinate partnered with Smith Travel Research (STR), which measures and benchmarks operating metrics for the hotel industry. We designed a way to ingest our customers’ STR reports so they could compare qualitative customer sentiment analysis with quantitative operating results to identify correlations and drivers.. We saw clear correlation, for example, between hotelier guest feedback ratings index versus their RevPAR index. The higher their relative ratings and rankings in their guest feedback scores relative to competition, the higher their ability to maximize rate and occupancy results relative to those same competitors.
While having all guest feedback data combined in one place was incredibly powerful and convenient for hoteliers, we knew that in order to maximize its impact, it must be combined with all the other known customer data. Guest feedback, when coupled with guest relationship data, like stay patterns, preferences, and spend history, should ultimately dictate how hoteliers engage with guests in a more personalized way. We knew that personalization was the key to increasing customer lifetime value.
As we researched this idea further, we had a major a-ha moment. The industry was completely stifled in its ability to produce synthesized rich guest profiles because various snippets of guest data were buried deep in various siloed, non guest-centric hotel systems that don’t easily interact or integrate.
As a data company that deals with incredible amounts of data from many sources — ingesting it, analyzing it, and making it useful to power critical use cases — we knew that solving this tough problem would be incredibly valuable and strategically important to this industry. How else could a hotelier easily surprise and delight it’s customers, and build meaningful, lasting relationships? We knew most hoteliers didn’t have the time, money, resources or expertise to do this themselves, and there is no modern, cloud-based data management platform specifically designed to solve this problem for them. We knew we could be the first to deliver the hospitality industry’s next core system of record: a modern Guest Relationship Management system that easily connects to and synthesizes data from any other hotelier system with ease.
Based on customer reviews, Revinate now ranks as the #1 CRM/Marketing solution for Hospitality on Hotel Tech Report. We have built the core CRM system for easy synthesis and management of hotelier guest data. And, we have built the leading marketing automation CCM platform that now leverages this rich data to power smart, personalized, and revenue-generating communications across the guest journey.
Bringing it all together
In his Stratechery blog post about the Qualtrics acquisition, Ben Thompson said, “The real potential of this deal is tying data from consumers about their experience to actual transaction data, whether that be a purchase or a customer service interaction.”
We agree. That’s exactly it. Our vision is a world in which hoteliers have a new way to create personalized experiences that surface the right information to the right guest at the right time, with Revinate as the hotelier’s cornerstone platform for revenue performance. With guest data and analytics, hoteliers can easily attract and retain their most valuable guests, all in a highly personalized and automated way. Unified guest data will unlock the next levels of guest experience, loyalty, and profitability, across all touch points throughout the guest journey.
At Revinate, we are already delivering the industry’s first integrated platform that spans CX + CRM + CCM today. We’ve also gone the extra mile to make it completely specialized for hoteliers, super easy to use, and capable of driving unmatched revenue results. SAP + Qualtrics is awesome validation and reaffirmation that we’re on the right track here. The future for hoteliers is indeed bright, powered by Revinate.
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